BeYoutiful Beauty


A Fail-Safe Guide On How To Use Bronzer Properly

20 Oct, 2020
By Andie Reeves
So, what’s the deal with bronzer? You may already use a blush, highlighter and contour powder. Why do you need a bronzer in your makeup kit as well? For more shimmer - or what?

For starters, a bronzer is used to add colour, warmth and dimension to your face (all very subtly), making you look healthy and glowing. Who wouldn’t want that?

If you want a natural sun-kissed glow, or are a beginner just starting out, applying a bronzer will give you similar results to other face makeup basics - just a touch more toned down. It’s one of those all-in-one makeup must-haves for a quick and easy natural look.

But if you’re in the mood to channel your inner makeup artist, bronzer has a role there too - working together with your blush, highlighter and contour powder to subtly enhance your whole face. Also, bronzer isn’t always shimmery; you get matte formulas too. So even if you just want the warmth without the glitz you should still add a bronzer to your makeup bag.

Still, they can be risky - it’s easy to go wrong with bronzer. Here’s exactly how to select the best bronzer for your skin, apply it right - and nail this gorgeously glowing look…

Choosing The Best Bronzer For You

Shimmer or matte? It depends…

We all know the difference at face value, one is shiny and one is not, but they also add completely different elements to your look.

Shimmery bronzer contains light-reflecting particles. They are really easy to over-do and because they have a hint of glitter about them can easily look unnatural. Be sure to tap your brush a few times before slowly building up layers of your bronzer.

Shimmery shades work particularly well for fair skin (which can risk looking simply grubby when using a matte bronzer) and dark skin (as matte products can get lost on deep tones). If you have any skin texture issues or blemishes it’s best to avoid this type of bronzer as it can accentuate and add dimension to unwanted problem areas.

Matte bronzers have nothing shimmery about them. These work great on medium and olive skin and for those struggling with things such as dark marks, uneven texture and other skin issues as they are more forgiving. To add a glowing dewy look without looking too shiny you can use a cream bronzer, which often come in matte formulas.

Consider your skin type too

While the most common bronzers come in powder form, you can also get cream and liquid bronzers. If you suffer from dry skin then a liquid or cream bronzer is going to be your best bet for a flake-free finish. Use your fingers to apply it in a stippling fashion (that means lots of little light pats). Matte products can look cakey and make dry skin look worse so go for one with a shimmer. Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer has a luxuriously rich creamy texture and a gorgeous shimmery bronze finish ideal for drier skins.

Those with oily skin should stick to powder and you might want to try matte formulas as super shimmery ones could make you look too shiny.

Using your bronzer correctly

Powder bronzers are easiest to use, especially for beginner bronzers. This doesn’t mean you need to use a powder foundation however, as powder bronzers are easy to blend and build, mainly because you are using such a small amount. If you use a powder foundation, however, you need to stick to a powder bronzer as cream or liquid bronzers will cake when layered on.

Just be sure to first set your foundation with powder before applying bronzer. Your setting powder will mattify your face, hiding all the light-catching particles that make bronzer so amazing. Rather apply your bronzer at the very end of your makeup routine.

Read More. Natural No-Makeup Makeup: The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Dewy Fresh-Faced Skin
Use the best bronzer for your skin tone

Bronzer is not a one-shade-suits-all product. Also, many people’s skin colour changes slightly with the seasons, so get a bronzer palette with more than one shade that you can use all year round.

A good go-to-rule is to choose a colour that is one or two shades darker than your skin tone. Another tip for fair to medium skins is to opt for the shade that you would naturally go if you spent time in the sun tanning.
  • Dark skin: A sheer bronzer with a light shimmery sheen is best for your skin tone. Shimmery shades work better than matte shades that can make the complexion look dirty and muddy on a darker skin. Bronzers with a red, burgundy or orange undertone work well to add warmth and brighten deep complexions. We like Palladio Baked Bronzer in Caribbean Tan.

Read More. How to Cleverly Contour and Highlight to Enhance Your Face Shape

How to Apply Bronzer

Think of bronzer like perfume: it’s easy to apply too much and impossible to tone it down without a good shower. The best tool for applying bronzer is a large, soft and fluffy brush. A brush with compact bristles will apply too much product and will leave you looking more dirty than dazzling.

A common mistake is dabbing the centre of the brush in your bronzer. This will result in too much product in one area and give you an unnatural finish. You should actually use the sides of the brush to dust on your bronzer, so rather gently roll your brush in your product. Tap the brush to get rid of any excess product then use a light, swiping motion to dust it on. Blending is crucial; you don’t want that dreaded tell-tale line of bronzer going across your cheek.

How to use bronzer for a warm, sun kissed glow

A lot of tutorials simply say to apply a bronzer ‘wherever the sun would naturally hit your face’, but that could be pretty much everywhere. The key is to focus on your temples, your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose. You only need the lightest of touches - you just want to subtly warm and brighten up your face to give you a healthy-looking glow.

The best technique is to lightly dust on the product in a figure 3 along each side of your face. Start at the temples, move down the side of your face to under the cheekbones, and then downwards from your ear about halfway across your jawline towards your chin. Finish off with a light sweep along the bridge of your nose and on your chin.

Your bronzer can look totally perfect in your room but muddy and orange in the light of day. Apply it in daylight if possible, and have a good look at yourself in a mirror (or your selfie camera) before you leave the house. Inspect your jawline and cheeks in particular for any unblended areas.

Finishing off with a light shimmery dusting on your décolletage, collar bones and shoulders looks amazing with little strappy summer tops or dresses. And if you’re wearing your hair short or up, bronzer can work well along the back of your neck too.

How to use your bronzer to contour

It’s easy to get bronzing and contouring confused but think of it this way: bronzing involves making your face look sun-kissed and healthy while contouring carves and sculpts your face by creating shadows.

You can use your bronzer to contour lightly; however, if you’re wanting a serious carved out look then you need to use a matte product specifically for contouring first, and apply your actual bronzer afterwards. A shimmery bronzer won’t work for a super contoured look as it adds light instead of doing what contouring is supposed to do (which is to add shadow).

To use bronzer to not only add warmth to your face but subtly contour as well, start at your hairline. Swirl your brush in small circles all along your upper forehead, from temple to temple. Next carve out your cheeks. Swipe a line of bronzer under your cheekbones from the apple of your cheeks towards your ear. Now buff out this line with small circular brush strokes instead of a wiping motion.

Now swirl your bronzing brush from the start of your jaw to your chin, all along your jawline. Make sure to blend down your neck too to keep it looking natural. Lastly, swipe a touch of bronzer down either side of your nose. This will add definition to your nose and warmth to the centre of your face.

Our product picks for multipurpose contouring and highlighting palettes which also include bronzing shades: -
Maybelline Master Bronze Color and Highlighting Kit
Catrice Luminice Highlight & Bronze Glow Palette in Feel Gold
Palladio I'm Glowing Highlighting Palette
Physicians Formula Glo Bronze Booster Strobe And Contour Pallette Matt
Michelle Ori Compact Bronzer in Radiance and Sunkissed

How To Use Bronzer With Highlighter And Blush

Up your glow with highlighter

This isn’t a way to get you to spend more money on makeup; you really need highlighter to balance the contract made with your bronzer. We’re trying to add dimension to your face and if you only use bronzer then you’ve only added dark shades; it’s time to lighten it up a little.

Sweep highlighter along the top of your cheek bones and your brow bone to keep your face from looking one-dimensional and muddy. We love LA Girl Illuminate Glow Cream Afterglow and Revlon Insta-Fix Skinlights Highlighting Stick.

You also need a blush

It’s a common mistake thinking you can skip your blush - because just how much product can your cheeks even take, right? Well, bronzer and blush are two different products with different results and it’s worth using them both. Using bronzer on its own can look unnatural and flat. Blush is for making you look rosy and healthy while bronzer is for making you look sun-kissed.

Apply your blush first in circular motions to the apples of your cheeks. Your bronzer goes just below and next to your blush, from under the apple of your cheek to your ear. As a general rule try to use the same formulas all over your face, so a cream blush with a cream bronzer, or powder blush with powdered bronzer.

Read More. How Choosing the Best Blush Is the Key to Always Looking Awesome

Shop Your Products Now

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Cala Angled Contour Brush
R 109.00

Cala Deluxe Powder Brush
R 149.00

Michelle Ori Compact Bronzer 56 Radiance
R 210.00

Palladio Baked Bronzer - Caribbean Tan
R 145.00

Palladio Baked Bronzer - Illuminating Tan
R 145.00

Rimmel Kate Sculpting Palette Bronzing 006
R 169.95

Bronze Summer Makeup Tutorial | Dark Skin

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