Your guide to expertly applying bronzer for a sunkissed finish

There are no hard and fast rules in makeup, but the placement of your products can make a real difference to the overall effect on your face.

Take blusher for example – you can apply it to the apples of your cheeks for a rosier and plumper look, or higher up to give a lifted appearance to cheekbones.

But what about bronzer?

We’re now at the peak time of the year for new bronzer launches given that come summer, trends tend to move toward warmer complexions and sun-kissed tones.

MAC Cosmetic’s makeup artist Charlene Williams tells us this is the key thing to think about when wearing bronzer.

How to apply bronzer

Getting the product right

This is going to affect the outcome of your look, even before getting to application.

When picking your bronzer shade, Charlene advises going two or three times darker than your natural skin tone for the most seamless effect on skin.

You’ve got a choice between powder or cream formulas.

‘A cream bronzer will be a little more dewy so if you like a glow to your skin, this is a great choice. I like to use our Studio Fix Sticks,’ she says.

Creams can be a little more forgiving if you get the shade slightly too dark, as ‘they’re very easy to sheer down when buffing it in to your skin’.

If a matte finish is more your vibe, powders are the way to go.

‘If you prefer more of a matte finish or your skin tends to be a little oily then a powder product is best,’ says Charlene. ‘Or if you want a matte feel but with a touch of shimmer, try MAC’s Bronzing Powder.’

Application method

A good way of knowing where to apply bronzer on the face is to think about where the sun naturally ‘kisses’ your skin.

‘That will be the top of the forehead, your nose and cheeks,’ Charlene explains.

‘When applying bronzer always start from the very edge of your face and hairline. Starting at the very edge of your hairline will ensure you don’t have a gap of natural skin coming through, which will make your bronzer application look more natural.

‘I would also apply bronzer to the ears so your skin matches the warmth of your face.’

Bringing any cheek colour lightly onto the ears might seem like an unnecessary step, but it will help unify your makeup and make it appear more in keeping with your natural tones and shades.

Charlene’s pro tip is to avoid applying bronzer too quickly after liquid foundation, as this can make application harder.

‘I would be really careful not to apply a powder bronzer straight on to your foundation whilst wet as this can really deepen the colour of the bronzer and often make it quite muddy looking and can make the application quite patchy,’ she notes.

‘Applying a powder bronzer on to a base that has been set by powder is often best.’

Tools

For cream bronzers, use a small contour brush so you can control how far the product spreads across your cheek with ease.

Cream products are easier to sheer out, but having more slip means they can travel further along your cheek than you’d like if you use the wrong brush.

‘Applying in circular motions will help to buff the bronzer seamlessly into your skin so you don’t have any harsh lines,’ Charlene says.

For powders, Charlene recommends a large fan brush as you can ‘sweep’ bronzer across cheeks in an effortless motion.

Bronzer for deeper skin tones

There’s a myth that people with deeper skin tones don’t need to or shouldn’t wear bronzer – this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The problem in many cases is that often brands simply don’t offer bronzer shades that go dark enough (though thanks to longstanding and newer brands like MAC and Fenty, that is slowly changing), which adds to this ignorant idea that bronzer is only for lighter skin tones.

Bronzer is about adding warmth to the complexion and the impression of having been in the sun.

Charlene says: ‘I have a medium dark skin tone, and for me my makeup isn’t complete if I haven’t warmed up my skin with a bit of bronzer.

‘The deeper your skin the warmer and redder the tone of bronzer you want to reach for, as this will help to enhance that rich golden sun kissed look we all love.’

She also says ‘if anyone says bronzer “isn’t for black skin”‘, it’s categorically not true. So that’s us told.

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