Seriously, Who Does NOT love Bronzer????
If that is you, then this post is probably not for you….but come on, after this post, you WILL love bronzer, I promise!
Bronzer’s entire job is to add depth of color to your skin, to mimic the look of Sun exposure….period. Finite’.
Therefore, it is important for your bronzer to have a few basic criteria.
A. it should mimic an actual “tan” skin shade. Meaning, IF your skin turns that color when tan, then it is an appropriate shade for you to use.
B. Matte is best! shimmery highlighter all over your face is not going to realistically mimic the look of tanned skin. Instead, strategically use a highlighter just to the High points of the face, which really does accentuate both bone structure AND the glowy skin look! And, keep the bronzer matte on the rest of the skin.
Shade choices, and understand these are a general guideline, so you may be able to choose from more than one category as skin tones vary widely even across tonal ranges.
Some gals, especially my paler skinned gals, may never tan or only very slightly. Mostly because they simply MUST rely on great Sun protection, and tend to burn rather than tan. Some may achieve a very light “Golden Tan” think “California Girl”. This means your bronzer will look best with a slightly Golden tone like here:
and here is a more golden tones one from Sephora:
Of course we also have our Rich Amber that fits this category as well.
For the mid range gals-Who again MAY tan, but only after careful application of spf and limited sun exposure, a balanced bronzer that has both gold and red tones will suit you. These, I notice, to be a tad more difficult to find, especially in matte shades but look for something like this (FFM Brazen):
For Skin tones that “tan” a more reddish/brown shade, you need to see that red tone in your bronzer as well. This is the more classic “San Tropez bronze”
Nars Laguna Bronzer is a very popular shade in this category, and is a great Matte.
Faux (as in Faux Tan) to fit this category as well.
Lastly, are the deep tones, and yes, bronzer looks amazing on deeper skin tones! I find that both a burnt red or burnt orange, depending upon the undertone, can really liven up the skin and look so fresh. In the deeper ranges this is the one area where I do love the barest hint of a golden sheen (notice I say Sheen and not shimmer) rather than a true 100% matte, which can often read flat on deep skin tones, something with that hint of satiny finish can actually enrich already deeply pigmented tones
I love, and use, our Adobe a deep, brick red/brown, which has that slight golden sheen (and is much deeper than it appears in photo)
Now, to address technique, and again, this is a basic guideline. I love 3 products for this: a bronzer, (matte) a highlighter, and either a bright pink or bright red blush.
This technique starts on an evened complexion, so use foundation or tinted moisturizer, etc, if you need to even the skin first. If not, lucky you, proceed to this step.
Swirl bronzer onto a dense, but full bristled, brush. Work into the bristles and always tap off excess powder. Sweep bronzer over all the high points of the face; forehead, cheekbones, chin, and, very lightly, over the bridge of the nose. I also like to use the “halo” effect of bronzing, which was very popular awhile back. Take entails taking the rest of the bronzer around the outer perimeter of the face- very lightly- NOT as a contour, but to slightly deepen ALL the skin on the outer 2/3 of the face, while leaving the center just a tad lighter. Be sparing in the amount of bronzer used, and if you are attempting to match the rest of your body, then please, do not forget the neck, and/or chest. If you are like the average woman, then your arms, and chest are probably already darker than your neck and face and you are going to use your bronzer to match the rest of your skin. (All who need this raise your hand, *raises hand) I personally use Faux, as it most closely matches the shade I would tan, if I did tan, which I do NOT deliberately do, and work hard to protect my skin from sun damage.
I then will take my highlighter, personal fave is Golden Luster, and hit the high points of my face. What the “sheen” on recently tanned skin is, is actually the tightened skin, due to inflammation from damaging skin cells by tanning, (yeah, pretty right?)
Ok, actually glowy skin IS pretty, but let’s concentrate on achieving this healthfully, therefore, I suggest you make some highlighter your best friend. Kevyn Aucoin’s Celestial powders are making gal’s Swoon with love, and He was a genius at makeup so you know they have to be amazing!
Lastly, for that “fresh off the beach” look, for lightest to mid dark tones, a well pigmented, bright Pink,
or for midrange dark to deepest tones a bright, matte red,(FFM Wanton) Very lightly dust on center of cheekbone slightly onto Apples of cheek, lightly just touched to the bridge of nose, and also just over brow ridge, and tip of chin can realistically give you that “Just tanned look.
Voila’ a Healthy and realistic looking bronze!
I would love for you all to try this, and comment here with your feedback! This is just one method, but it is one I personally Swear by, as both a cosmetics formulator, but also as a professional makeup artist.
As always, don’t be shy about asking questions, I love answering your questions!
Colors may appear different on screen*