What is bronzer?
When many think of bronzer, most of the time they picture that ridiculous orange powder that leaves you looking like an oompa-loompa. But bronzer has come along way and it is (or should be) brown. Bronzer is a powder or liquid makeup applied to the face to give your skin a naturally sun-kissed glow. Not only does bronzer give your face warmth, but it also shapes your face by adding dimension. Without bronzer, your face is left looking flat. When bronzer is applied to certain areas such as the forehead, cheekbones, and chin, your face becomes contoured. This makes your face look slimmer and more structured. Trust us, it’s definitely a product you’re going to want to have in your makeup bag.
In case you were wondering, not all bronzers are the same. In fact, there are hundreds of bronzers to choose from. They vary from matte to shimmer finishes, light to dark tones, and more affordable options to designer brands. There are also many different consistencies of bronzer including powder, gel, liquid, cream, stick, and oil. Feeling overwhelmed yet? Don’t worry, we’ve already chosen the best ones in the list above so you don’t have to.
How do you use bronzer?
The secret to getting that perfect glow is not just about having the right bronzer; it's about knowing how to apply it as well. The good news is, applying bronzer is pretty simple. Before applying, you want to make sure your face is cleansed with a good facial cleanser. Also make sure to exfoliate at least once a week to remove any dead skin cells. This will create a smoother canvas for your makeup. After you’ve washed your face, it’s time to hydrate and protect your skin. Massage in a quality moisturizer with an SPF. An unclean, dry face will leave your makeup looking caked on and flakey.
It’s important that you create an even base before applying your bronzer, and that starts with foundation and concealer. After you’ve applied these products, you are ready for bronzer. To apply bronzer, you want to use a wide, fluffy brush with a rounded top. There are bronzer brushes available, although any large brush will work just as good. Swirl the brush in the bronzer to lightly coat the end of your brush. You want to make sure to tap off the excess powder onto the lid of the container. Simple sweep or tap the bronzer onto the parts of your face where the sun would naturally hit you. Here’s what we mean:
First, apply the bronzer to your forehead. Your bronzer should be applied in the shape of a “3”. What do we mean by this? Lightly sweep the brush along the outer sides of your upper forehead and along your hairline. Next, you want to apply the bronzer to your cheekbones. You can do this by making a fish face. This makes it easier to see where your cheekbones actually are. Finally, sweep the bronzer along your jawline as well. This will add definition to your face. Don’t forget to brush lightly over your chin, nose and neck. Do a final dusting of bronzer to your neck so that it matches the color of your face. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also apply bronzer to your chest area to emphasize your collarbone.
Why use bronzing powder?
Like we said before, bronzing powder (or bronzer) is used to warm up the complexion of your face. It gives you a naturally sun kissed glow without being out in the harmful rays. Bronzing powder is also used to give your face dimension through contouring. When your face is all one color, it tends to look dull and flat. With the use of a darker shade, your face is instantly left looking slimmer and more structured.
Can you use bronzer as a highlight?
No. Basically, highlighter is face makeup that attracts light, creating the illusion of brightness, hence that glow-from-within look. A bronzer adds a natural-looking tan to your face, which is completely the opposite. Bronzers are basically darker versions of highlighter. Highlighter contains shimmer that reflects light to create flattering points on your face. Highlighter is applied to the brow bone, bridge of your nose, inner corner of eyes, and top of the cheekbones. If you were to apply bronzer in these areas, you would be left looking like a muddy mess.
How do you use highlighter?
Now that you’ve got bronzer down, it’s only fitting that you master highlighting, too. Highlighter is a miracle product that leaves you feeling like a sun goddess. We’re serious here. If you don’t currently use it, we suggest you start. We love highlighter because it gives your face a nice, angular contoured look and spotlights your best features. When the sunlight hits the highlighter on your face, it shimmers like no other.
Highlighter is one of those beauty products you can use on many areas of your face. Using a small to medium brush, lightly tap the highlighter along the tops of your cheekbone from under your eye area towards your hairline. Highlighter can also be used to make your eyes look bigger and more awake. The oldest trick in the book for looking awake when you’re running on no sleep? Add just a pinch of highlighter to the inner corner of your eyes to brighten them. Just a touch of highlighter in the center of your eyelid will simultaneously make your eyes look bigger and more awake, too. Finally, apply highlighter just under your brow bone, but above the crease in your eyelid, to give the illusion of larger eyes.
Highlighter can also be used to accentuate your lips. With a small, pointed brush, apply highlighter to your cupids bow and just under your bottom lip. This makes your lips look larger and more defined. Who needs lip injections when you can use highlighter? We’re still not done. You can also apply a lightly dusted line of highlighter down the center of your nose to make it look slimmer.
What is the difference between blush and bronzer?
This is a question that confuses many. Both are applied to the cheek, so what’s the difference? Let us explain. Bronzer is meant to make you look like you just came from the beaches of Mexico. It gives you a sun kissed tan that makes you glow all year long. Bronzer only comes in brown shades. Its main job is to emphasize the cheekbones and contour your face. Bronzer can be used on your cheekbones, nose, forehead, jawline, and even your chest.
Blush is used to add color to your cheeks, and only your cheeks. Blush is used to imitate the natural blushing of your skin. You know that pinkish color that comes out when you see the guy you’ve been eyeing? Therefore, it comes in shades of peach, pink, and red.
Many women face the dilemma of choosing between wearing a bronzer or a blush. The good news is, you can essentially wear both at the same time. Sweep bronzer along your cheekbones and lightly tap blush on the apples of your cheeks. If wearing both is too dramatic for your liking, consider the occasion instead. Outdoor events such as beaches, parties and concerts make bronzer a more ideal choice. For indoor events, like weddings and meetings, choose blush. It’s a classic choice. The time of year is also important. During the winter months, you’re probably looking a little more pale. Wearing blush can help turn a pale winter look into a rosy dream. When summer arrives, consider using bronzer to accent your (real or fake) tan.
How to select a bronzer:
Choosing the right shade of bronzer can be somewhat overwhelming. The good news is, we’re here to help. Your bronzer should be one to two shades darker than your natural skin tone. Those of you with fair skin should be wearing a bronzer with golden and honey undertones. For medium skinned girls, choose a warmer bronzer that’s a little rosier. And if you have darker skin, an amber bronzer with red undertones will look best.
It’s also important to think about your skin type when choosing a type of bronzer. Liquid bronzers are more moisturizing and give you a dewy appearance. So, those with dry skin should use this type. Those with more oily skin can benefit from wearing a powder bronzer as it can help absorb any excess oil throughout the day. Finally, choose two different bronzers to have on hand. One for when you are palest in the winter, and one for when you are tanner in the summer.
What is the best bronzer?
Because choosing a bronzer depends on your skin type, it’s hard for us to pick just one. However, the Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer is award winning and a number one best seller pretty much everywhere. We even put it at the top of our list as the Best Overall Bronzer based on reviews.
The thing we love most about the Hoola Bronzer is its pure matte color. It doesn't leave behind any shine or shimmer. This pigmented bronzer gives a beautiful hint of color right away, so you don't need to use more than one layer of product at a time. Unless of course you want a darker look for nighttime. The chocolate brown color isn't too dark so even those with fair skin can wear it without ever looking orange. The Hoola Matte Bronzer comes in a square box and includes a soft, natural bristle cheek brush that is stored inside, so you don’t have to spend extra money on a brush. We like that.
If you are looking for something with more of a shimmer, we suggest the Nars Bronzing Powder. It’s highly rated and a best seller as well. On a budget? Grab the NYX Matte Bronzer. It comes in five shades and you can find it at any drugstore.