How to: Choose and Apply Bronzer

Getting Started

If you find yourself stuck on how to choose and use bronzer, you’re not alone. Fact is, bronzer can be tricky to shop for and even trickier to apply correctly—but when a well selected bronzer is applied correctly, it warms up and rejuvenates a dull, sallow, or too-pale complexion.

The Pink Ladies have expert tips on how to get that enviable sun-kissed glow while avoiding every faux tan faux pas and of course, without resorting to skin-damaging sun exposure. Read on to discover how to select the right finish, shade and applicator for an easy yet flawless bronze look!

The key to shopping for the right bronzer involves two things: knowing your skin type and knowing your skin tone .

The Best Bronzer for Your Skin Type:

The selection process starts with choosing the best bronzer for your skin type. Generally speaking, if you have normal, oily, or combination skin, go for pressed-powder bronzers. Those with normal to dry skin may want to consider cream or cream-to-powder formulas . Much of it is experimenting to see which you prefer.

By far the majority of bronzers are the pressed-powder type because those are so easy to use. If you have dry skin, don’t worry. Powder bronzers can work for you, too! The secret is prepping skin beforehand with a good moisturizer that offers sun protection and choosing a powder with a silkier formula.


The Best Bronzer for Your Skin Tone

The next step is the tricky part: choosing a shade. As a general rule of thumb, select a shade that is one to two shades darker than your natural skin tone. For example, if you have very fair skin, your bronzer need not be any darker than

For most people, the trickiest part of picking a shade is selecting one with a suitable undertone for their skin. Knowing whether your undertone is warm, cool or neutral is the key to ensuring that your bronzer matches your skin and looks as natural as possible.

If your skin has warm or sallow undertones, you’re in luck because the majority of golden-brown shades will work beautifully. For skin with yellow undertones, try warm peach shades that have a tan to soft brown undertone.
Those with cool or neutral to beige undertones in their skin will have more difficulty finding bronzing options that look natural on their skin but worry no more: There is little to no difference between a bronzing powder and a pressed powder—those with difficult undertones may have an easier time “bronzing” with a pressed powder.

When to Apply Bronzer

Some people wonder at what point in the makeup routine is bronzer applied. As a general rule, bronzing powders can be applied after your foundation, concealer, and pressed or loose powder is on; cream or cream-to-powder bronzers can go on before you apply setting powder; liquid or gel bronzers can be applied right after foundation, before finishing powder. If desired, apply a bit of blush to the apples of cheeks, matching the texture of your bronzer (for example, apply powder blush over bronzing powder rather than cream blush over bronzing powder).

Tips for Applying Bronzer

When it comes to applying bronzer like a pro, the mantra is “easy does it”. The golden rule is to use as little product as possible so that the end result is believably natural. Remember, you can always add more! Building color gradually is the best way to avoid the beginner’s mistake of over-applying. Bronzer should give skin a sun-kissed flush, so apply to areas of the face where the light would shine if it were directly above—where your
forehead meets your hairline, down the bridge of your nose, the tip of your chin, and the apples of cheeks.

For a more contoured look, some people find it helpful to imagine the “3” shape, while applying bronzer. On both sides of the face, make the “3” shape starting at the forehead along the hair line, and use your brush to follow along the hollow of the cheek and just under the jawline. Keep it sheer and build as needed.

A common pitfall is using your blush or powder brush to apply your bronzer, but this type of double-duty with your brushes is a no-no. Unless you’re good about cleaning your brushes every day (and really, who is?) using one brush for more than one color product can result in muddy, uneven application.

The takeaway is this: if you’re going to use a bronzer, use a separate brush. For powder bronzers, use a medium-sized fluffy but firm brush for the most control. Sweep the brush over the powder and tap off any excess before applying. Some may find an angled brush is helpful for applying bronzer to smaller faces.

Make sure to check out the final look in natural lighting! If the bronzer looks too dark, or was applied too heavily, use a clean powder brush (one with densely packed hair) to pick up and blend out the excess product by rubbing the brush in small circular motions. Double check to make sure there are no hard edges.


And voila! You’re all set to be a bronzed beauty!

– Pink Lady, Val xx