Do you love the sunkissed glow that a beachy vacation gives you? Bronzer can give that fresh-from-the-beach kind of vibe without the sunny rays. Here’s our guide on how to apply bronzer with ease, which will details where to apply bronzer, how to apply it, what tools work best, and how to deal with different types of formulas!
What does bronzer do? Bronzer is a quick, easy way to add warmth to your natural skin tone and can also be used to define and accentuate certain features by creating more definition by using bronzer to contour. Follow our steps below on how to apply bronzer to get that beautiful, sun-kissed effect!
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When to Apply Bronzer
It is easiest to apply bronzer before blush and highlight, since it tends to be applied in a more diffused manner and in more areas of the face, so it often works as a guide on where to apply your brush with your bronzer. Think of bronzer as a bit of an outline for how to place your blush and highlighter, which typically are applied after.
You can also apply bronzer after your blush and highlight as a final step if you’re looking to add only a hint of warmth as needed–perhaps the blush color you applied went on cooler-toned than you wanted for your look–or you feel like the foundation you’re wearing is running too light for your skin tone at the moment!
Where to Apply Bronzer
Apply in the shape of a 3. This is a tried-and-true method where you gently apply and diffuse the bronzer along the outer edge of the forehead (by the hair line), moving downward and then just below and slightly on the cheek bones, which will make cheekbones stand out a bit. Then, gently diffuse and drag the color down the jaw line.
Think about where the sun would hit. That’s all bronzer is — adding warmth to your skin without having to go tanning — so it’s all about where you’d naturally get a little more golden and deeper in hue. That’s why it’s usually the perimeter of the face (forehead/hairline, jaw line, just below the cheekbones but not in the hollow, like a contour).
You can wear bronzer all over the face, too. You’ll want to use a more diffused application method and a sheerer product, but you can definitely add warmth all over the face — this is especially useful for those who have trouble matching face and neck/shoulders.
How to Apply Bronzer to Contour
Contouring is all about creating depth to your facial features by adding shadows, which is often most visible when you apply a contour product under the hollows of the cheekbones or along the jaw line, as it makes cheekbones appear sharper and the jaw line to be more defined.
You can apply bronzer the same way as you’d apply a contour product by applying more heavily in the hollows of the cheekbones and diffusing gently along the edge (but not blowing it out so much that you lose your definition). We have how-to contour your face step-by-step tutorial for those who want to learn more about contouring their face!
What are the Best Brushes for Bronzer?
For subtle color, use a larger, less-dense brush (a brush that feels more airy, feathery, and less heavy against the skin) and apply by holding at the tip of the handle, which will allow for gentler pressure. This ensures that the color will be applied in a more diffused, natural-looking way.
For heavier color, use a more tapered, denser brush, which will allow you to get more coverage in the areas you want it while still allowing you to diffuse the edges out naturally.
How to Choose a Bronzer
Choose a bronzer with the right undertone so that it complements your skin. The goal of bronzing is to add the effect of spending a bit of time in the sun; a natural tan without any of the risks of the real sun. You can find bronzers with yellow, orange, and red undertones and the occasional neutral undertone (but much harder to find–consider looking at contour powders if this is your preference). If you have warmer undertones, yellow and orange work well, while cooler undertones will want to look for rosier or redder bronzers.
Opt for more pigmented bronzing formulas for deeper skin tones or more defined bronzing/light contouring. Often, bronzers only come in a few shades, so for deeper skin tones, something pigmented is critical to getting it to show up. Pigmented formulas are also better for someone who aims to define and do light contouring with a bronzing powder as well.
Opt for sheerer, more buildable coverage formulas for lighter skin tones or for applying all-over. There are a few brands that have more extensive shade ranges for bronzers, but often, there are just a handful, so once you get the right undertone, it’s really about the depth of the shade–lighter skin tones will need a light shade (often lighter than typical) to keep the warmth looking natural and avoiding dreaded orange-comparisons. Similarly, when applying all-over, sheerer coverage enables a more seamless, effortless blend and application.