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How to Apply Bronzer – Tips & Tricks

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Apply Bronzer

Share your best tips and tricks for applying bronzer!  Feel free to share your experiences, how you mastered techniques, or what you struggle with.

My Tips

  1. If you’re planning to apply it as more of a contour color, use a slightly fluffy, angled blush brush, which will fit nicely into the hollows of the cheeks and be small and precise enough to skim across the temples and the forehead.  The fluffiness also helps to ensure it doesn’t go on too strongly initially and can also be used to blend out the color.
  2. To add warmth, most bronzers will do this, but if you’re looking to add primarily definition, look for bronzers with brown or gray undertones.
  3. Apply in the shape of a 3–you want to skim along the edges of the forehead, along the temples, in the hollows of the cheek, and lightly along the outer jaw line.  Imagine the 3 beginning as the curve of the side of your forehead, with the middle of the 3 being the hollows of the cheeks, and the bottom of the three being the curve of your outer jaw line.

Thanks to Jayne for this week’s topic!

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A list of grey undertoned bronzers would be super helpful. Assuming there are any, which seems more and more like a unicorn. I regularly dig through Sephora and come up empty. They’re all too orange/coppery, which looks horrific on my cool-but-ruddy skin. The Chanel grey blush is a bit too grey, but I still have to pull myself away from buying it on eBay. The paint pigments equiv would be Van Dyke Brown or Burnt Umber.

Have you tried NYX Taupe blush (assuming you’re looking for a contouring product)? I’m on the lighter end of the spectrum, as well, although extremely neutral. I really like the NYX, but it isn’t HG, however it’s the closest I’ve found. I’ve seen it recommended on boards/blogs as a great pick for pale, cool tones, and I would have to agree it’s best for cooler skin tones. Another product to try is MUFE #139 with a very light hand, or NARS Multiple in St. Bart’s, or NARS Zen (again, a bit too “rosey” for me to be HG, but still works very well).

I have found two bronzers that work great for my NW20-25 skin. They both have grey undertones. They are Mac sculpting powder in Sculpt and TheBalm Bahama Mama bronzing powder. Of the two, Mac Sculpt is slightly lighter.

“Bronzing” is so weird to me… it’s one of those terms like “smokey eye” that people attach to any kind of color on the face LOL!

IMO there are two ways to “bronze,” one involves a quick and easy contour (which is what 99% of people want when they talk about bronzing) and the other is about achieving a faux tan effect… oddly enough doing the whole “fake tan” thing involves almost the exact opposite color placement as the contour technique:

For “bronzing” as a quick and easy contour – I take the color and sweep it in an ALMOST “3” or “E” shape: mostly across the temples, the cheekbones (hollows or on the cheecks a bit depending on the bronzer) and just along/under the jawline. This is what gives people that “pop” they’re usually looking for when they talk about bronzing: warmth along the outside of the face so the center of the face kind of glows.

For “bronzing” as a faux tan – I apply the product wherever the sun hits the skin: the top of the cheeks and across the bridge of the nose, a little on the chin and a little on the forehead (don’t overdo the forehead, it just looks stupid LOL!) I favor bronzers that are more red-toned for this OR I mix and take a little bit of blush with a little bit of bronzer for my color.

Actually, a cream/stick foundation may be a better choice. Unless the foundation has a very high level of pigment, it may just “melt” into your regular foundation, especially if the basic formula is the same. There are liquid bronzers, though, if that’s the effect you’re going for, and they’re formulated to wear over liquid foundation.

I tend to do both at once, which is why I think I favor bronzers that have more than one shade in the compact, like PF Shimmer Strips or those four-season bronzers.

Thank you soooooo much for this! I finally went a got a matte bronzer for contouring and every time I use it I feel like I’m doing it wrong but hopefully I can finally get the hang of it with these tips!

Christine, this is more of a general question. Now that fall is here and everyone’s rocking the dark lip trend. What would you say is the best blush color to go with the dark lip look? I myself switch things up. I’d go for my trusty Nars Taj Mahal or use MAC’s Sweet as Cocoa/Ambering Rose. But sometimes I cannot take the berry blush/berry lip combo. Any suggestions? If you can post it as a general discussion to get more feedback that’ll be great. (I can’t find where to submit questions oopsies lol)

I gave away all of my bronzers except one. It definetely doesn’t work on my coloring it always makes me look muddy.

I sometimes put a bit of tinted moisturiser then a peachy cream blush and I then apply bronzer lightly all over my face and my neck.

I don’t like using bronzer for contouring. I use MAC Studio Tech in about 2 shades darker than my skintone. I also have (and love) the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate. It’s definately a splurge product, but it makes contouring so effortless! I like applying both products with the new MAC duo fibre blush brush-I can’t remember the number. I’m still in search of a great bronzer for providing myself with a little warmth when I get a bit pasty in dead of winter.

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