Bronzer is one of those makeup items that I think every woman, and quite a few men, have in their makeup arsenal. It’s a product that is easy to understand WHY you want or need it, but not always easy to understand the exact right way to use it.
Firstly, let’s start off with this- Sorry gals, bronzer is RARELY good for contouring- I say rarely because there may be an exception or two out there, and I have learned to never say never! The good news is there is a placement technique (that I will discuss SIMILAR to contouring that bronzer IS great for) Bronzer tends to be too warm -golden or red toned to work as a true contour. Contour mimics shadows created by where light doesn’t hit- and shadows are cool.- grey/brown/taupe
That being said, there are ways to add a tad of strategic sculpture to the face while mimicking a bronze that is more subtle than contouring- but offer a similar benefit. In the 80’s it was called the halo effect and I have been doing it for years, teaching this to my clients, and I have also modified it slightly over time to include the typical Bronzer pattern ( the Z we will get to later in the post) as well for those that want to create that just from the beach glow.
One note before we start and that is- The bronzer must be matte (though below I address the slight golden sheen acceptable for the deepest skin tones). Highlight can be added very lightly to the highest points of the face- but the bronzer itself should be matte.
The Halo Effect was typified by using a bronzer around the outer perimeter of the face- very slightly darkening and warming the area- this does 2 things- one it warms the skin giving a natural bronzed glow, and 2, It causes the center area of the face from tops of brows to just under lip and the heart-shaped area left light in the center- to become the natural focal point. This is accomplished without the use of heavy highlighting that we see today- with concealers, highlighters, Banana Powder, setting powders, etc. This results in a look that is much more natural- and uses bronzer in the correct way to warm and brighten skin- NOT as a contour color-under cheekbones, etc which often ends up looking muddy. Instead the bronzer becomes one with any blush shade added, or can simply stand alone. Do you see in the pic above how the outer edges of Cindy’s face look the same shade as the rest of her body? That is IMPORTANT- exposed skin must match- so take note and I always take down the neck as well like here:
The simplest way to achieve this naturally, is by using the 3 motion on both sides of the face- illustrated here on the gorgeous Naomi Campbell-Notice that the bronzer is taken over the cheekbones NOT simply under as you would a contour shade. It does encompass MORE of the cheek area- and you can blend a blush shade over and onto the top portion of cheek to create a flush of color.
Naomi’s red toned Halo Bronze is paired with a fantastic orangey blush shade-If choosing a bronzer from FFM I would use Faux or our Adobe with a rich reddish undertone (has a teeny hint of golden sheen which I do recommend for deeper skin tones. deeper tones can sometimes lack dimension and any shading/contouring is less effective than highlighting in this case, so a slight natural sheen can enhance bone structure around the perimeter of the face)- Another bronzer option Is this- Nvey! just look at this rich gorgeous shade from Nvey! And blush shade like this- is gorgeous together.
Now to take the bronzing a bit further and actually mimic sun exposure you add a “Z” motion, this sweeps a bit more bronzer over the forehead, cheekbones and across bridge of nose, and over tip of chin- doing this lightly bronzes the highest points of your face- which is where the sun naturally hits your skin! For the most realistic “burn” pair with a red cheek color, and a subtle highlight on only high points.
here you can see where I have used the just the halo technique on a recent shoot-and kept it concentrated on forehead, temple, and sides of face, and lightest along the jaw. And, yes I took this down her neck a bit as well.
Along with Faux, I used FFM Tan 3 Foundation, (loose powdered products ALWAYS appear lighter in the jar than on skin so be sure to get samples!) and Golden Luster highlighter over brow, onto highest point of cheekbone and on her body.
On Liane (below) Brazen bronzer was my color of choice- and to the 3 shape of the halo I added the Z for a hint of sun along with a tad of Golden Luster to just the tops of cheekbones. I also love the Soliel Matte Bronzer from Two Faced Cosmetics, which would work just as well!
You all probably have what you need already in your makeup bag to achieve these looks! I would love to see pictures of you in your “Halo”! Feel free to post to our FB page!
I am sure you couldn’t help but noticed that all the reference pics from the 80’s are from Vogue, well that’s because they tend to do it right! The editors and the artistic teams they choose are often the trend makers, and make a great reference for beauty done exquisitely!
Now- because you know I like to add a sample to any full sized* order- Faux is the free sample shade of the week! yay! And as always, we welcome comments and questions!
* full sized order only does not apply to sample only orders