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How to apply bronzer correctly for the perfect summer glow

Check out these need-to-know application tips…


Model with bronzed skin
Orin Carlin
Content Writer
May 24, 2023
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Faking a healthy sun-kissed glow is a total cinch with intelligent makeup application. Basking in the sun isn't on the agenda for everyone – perhaps your propensity to burn banishes you to the confines of the shade, or your luxury getaway is further away than you'd care to come to terms with?

What does bronzer do? 

Infusing your skin with a dash of warmth is easily achieved with bronzer. "You can subtly accentuate a person's facial features by adding a touch of bronzer to certain key areas," makeup artist Isabel Concetta says. "It also can bring life and a healthy glow back into the face." Suffice to say, bronzer deserves a place in your summer beauty arsenal.

READ: How to apply foundation correctly: according to a celebrity makeup artist

What is the difference between contour and bronzer?

Model with bronzy skin © Spotlight

Bronzer and contour do different jobs – the former adds warmth, and a healthy, sun-kissed effect, whereas the latter is cooler toned, and helps to sculpt the face. 

"Contour has more of a grey undertone," Isabel explains. "It's used to mimic your bone structure – for example it can be placed in the hollows of the cheeks or just under your cheekbone and gives a sculpted look."

"Bronzers are usually warmer, and you want to be careful that your bronzer does not have too orange of an undertone, a nice warm neutral brown is great."

What is the correct way to apply bronzer?

 As usual, there's no one-size-fits-all approach, but as a general rule of thumb, you want to apply your bronzer after you have completed your base. "First I apply my foundation or concealer, and then I fill in my eyebrows to give shape to my face. Once these steps are done you have a good canvas to start 'painting', sculpting and bringing colour back into the face," Isabel explains. 

Cream formulas glide onto the skin and can offer a dewier, more natural-looking finish, whereas powder lends itself to a more matte look. However, plenty of shimmer-infused powder formulas exist, and so it boils down to the kind of look you're going for.

READ: Why tubing mascara is a total makeup game changer

MORE: Mary Greenwell shares her royal-approved beauty tips

Model with bronzy skin © Spotlight

 "I love to apply creams with my fingers, the warmth of my hands gives such a natural finish, so the skin just looks like skin, but a very healthy version," Isabel says. For powders, Isabel recommends a medium-sized brush with bristles that are not too densely packed. 

"I often apply bronzer where the sun would naturally hit, so the cheekbones, the forehead, and a little bit around the jawline. This will bring natural definition and a nice natural healthy warmth to the skin."

Bronzer application tips and tricks

"Don't overdo it, and don't use one that doesn't suit your skin tone. Go warm and neutral as opposed to extremely warm and orange," Isabel advises. 

"Keep a light hand and warm up the product beforehand if it's a cream instead of applying directly to the face. This will give the most natural finish. Make sure everything is blended and the colour is not too harsh for your face or skin tone. You can always start with a cream, warm it up, apply it to the face and then add a powder on top lightly to lock it in."

"When I am applying bronzer, or any makeup, I just keep in mind that makeup isn't a mask and you just want to make yourself look like you, but healthy, awake and sun-kissed. Adding a touch of warmth with bronzer or blush can make all the difference, but less is always more."

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