Have you ever wanted to get a gorgeous sun-kissed glow — but without the damaging effects of the sun?
Read on to discover how to choose the best bronzer, with tips to select the right finish, shade and applicator for an easy-yet-flawless, professional-looking bronze tint.
Using bronzer for a sunny glow
When it comes to applying a bronzer, 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.
Here are some expert tips on how to get that enviable sun-kissed glow, while avoiding every faux tan faux pas, from the Paula’s Choice Research Team.
When shopping for bronzers, keep your skin type in mind: women with oily to very oily or breakout-prone skin should choose a matte finish powder bronzer like Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder or Revlon PhotoReady Bronzer. These keep oily skin in check without adding unwanted shine.
For dry skin, a creamier product with a radiant finish — such as NARS Multiple Bronzer or Tarte Park Avenue Princess Bronze & Glow Matte Bronzer & Cheek Tint — is preferable because they offer extra moisture that dry skin lacks, plus a radiant finish.
Getting the right shade
Once a bronzing powder, cream, gel or liquid is selected, it’s time to choose the most flattering shade. A woman should select a shade that is one to two shades darker than her natural skin tone. So, if she has very fair skin, her bronzer need not be any darker than light-medium.
For most women, the trickiest part of picking a shade is selecting one with a suitable undertone for their skin. This can be especially difficult for those with cool or neutral to beige undertones.
Don’t despair; there is little to no difference between a bronzing powder and a pressed powder — those with difficult undertones may have an easier time using a pressed powder like L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Powder as an alternative to a product labeled “bronzing powder.”
Women with warm or sallow undertones are in luck, because the majority of golden-brown shades will work beautifully. For yellow undertones, try warm peach shades like “Honey” in Dior’s Diorskin Nude Tan Nude Glow Sun Powder.
Go light or stay home
Once it’s time to apply bronzer, use as little product as possible. 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 the forehead meets the hairline, bridge of the nose, tip of the chin, and the apples of your cheeks.
Turning to tools: for powder bronzers, use a medium-sized fluffy angled brush for the most control. Sweep the brush over the powder and tap off any excess before applying.
Sponges or a foundation brush are recommended for applying cream bronzers; apply a small amount of product to the sponge then use a stippling effect to bronze one area at a time. For bronzing liquids, use fingertips to dot and blend –but do so quickly, as these products dry fast.
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 — if there are, blend them out using a slightly dampened makeup sponge.
With the tips and product recommendations above, everyone can enjoy a soft, sun-kissed look without incurring any of the damage that comes from getting a tan from the sun or, even worse, tanning beds.