The Easy Way To Bronze Up Now
The Easy Way To Bronze Up Now

The Easy Way To Bronze Up Now

5 minutes read

Learning how to apply bronzer is a skill that will serve you for a lifetime. Who doesn’t want to fake a holiday glow, even if you’ve been cooped up at home for months? Or maybe you were on a sunny holiday but spent it wearing a big hat and skin slathered in SPF (we sincerely hope so). Read: Can you reverse sun damage? 

To most of us, the idea of sun-kissed skin, minus the sun damage, is very appealing. And a bronzer gives you that. You can use it on its own or enhance the effect of your self-tanner.  

So, how do you find the right bronzer and make the most of it? We’re breaking it down, step by step.

Bronzy natural make-up
Instagram: @fionastiles

Choosing the right bronzer for you 

There are two primary factors to think about when shopping for bronzer:

1. Texture

First, there’s formulation to consider. There are liquids, gels, creams and powder bronzers to choose between. In our opinion, powders and creams are the easiest to use and can look very natural if applied correctly.

2. Colour

No matter your skin tone, the rules of bronzer application stay the same. It’s more about making sure you’re using the right colour. It can work wonders to liven up a sallow complexion, while the wrong shade can make your bronzer look ashy or orange.

“Ideally, you should only be going a shade or two darker than your skin tone,” says Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager. “You need to find a colour that matches your natural tan.”

In addition, you also need to consider your skin’s undertone – something you hopefully already think about before buying foundation. We highly recommend reading: Everything you should know about your skin tone, if you’re unfamiliar.

If you’re naturally cool-toned, your bronzer needs to be cool too. And vice versa, if you’re warm.

“With darker skin tones, you need to go slightly more golden, in terms of tone,” McHale elaborates. Also, if you have a dark skin tone, look for formulas that are richly pigmented. Steer clear of light, sheer powders. Those are ideal only if you are fair-skinned and need very subtle colour.

Top bronzer picks

If you’re looking for a powder bronzer, the new Ever Bronze powders are the ones to reach for. They’re infused with a bunch of skin-loving plant extracts (including organic coconut oil) that make them feel buttery smooth.

Clarins bronzer

The Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Creams are great if you enjoy a creamy texture. And the Kosas Sun Show Moisturizing Baked Bronzer in Deep is beautiful on deeper skin tones.

How to apply bronzer

Even for seasoned make-up wearers, bronzer application can get confusing. Foundation goes all over the face; blush goes on the cheeks. But where exactly are you meant to apply bronzer? And how do you get it to look good?

Here’s everything you should know.

The pre-bronzer do’s and don’ts

A common concern for many bronzer wearers is that it can look patchy and almost dirty on the face. The key to preventing a patchy application is priming your skin correctly before applying any bronzer.

If you’re using a cream bronzer, you want the skin underneath to be hydrated to perfection. This will ensure that the product glides over the skin with ease.

On the other hand, if you’re using a powder bronzer, you want minimum moisture on the skin. Of course, this doesn’t mean you skip moisturiser. Instead, set your base with a powder before applying your bronzer. This is especially important if you’ve used a liquid or cream-based foundation.

The application process

“Bronzer is about adding warmth to the skin,” McHale explains. “If you think about where you normally get freckles, that’s where you want it. So, apply it where you would usually catch the sun: above the temples, tops of the cheekbones, the chin and the nose. You can also add a bit on the forehead, close to the hairline, and a little along the jawline.”

Use a big brush, “do a good swirl in your bronzing powder (especially if you’re using the Ever Bronze – as there are two shades), tap off the excess, and then swipe it in a big number three-shape on both sides of the face. If anything’s left on the brush, dust it on the tip of the nose,” McHale adds.

Clarins’ Multi-Use brush would work for both powder and cream bronzers. A big, fluffy brush like this one paired with a powder bronzer is ideal for a more diffused application.

Clarins powder brush

Then, apply your blusher on the apples of the cheeks, or if you like a more lifted look, place it just below where you applied bronzer on the cheekbones.

Wearing something that exposes your shoulders? Dust some bronzer over the collarbones and the tops of the shoulders too. You could also layer some highlighter on top.

For a more dramatic look, apply a lighter shade of bronzer in all the usual spots and skim a slightly darker shade along the periphery of the face, on the tops of the ears and along the collarbones.

What not to do

“Many people get contouring and bronzing mixed up,” McHale points out. In a nutshell, a contour powder is meant to mimic natural shadows on the face, which can accentuate its shape. A bronzer’s job is more straightforward – it’s just creating the look of a natural suntan. But at the same time, its placement can enhance your bone structure too.

Keep the bronzer on the high point of the cheek, not under the cheekbones. You want to apply it where the sun would usually hit the face.

Another thing to be cautious of? Over-bronzing. “If you use too much, you end up just bronzing all over, so you’re left with a face that doesn’t match your neck,” McHale explains. “It stops looking like you’ve caught the sun and starts looking like you’re wearing the wrong foundation.” And no one wants that.

Next read: How To Apply Foundation Like A Pro

Cover image: Instagram @staud.clothing

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