After taking a long hard look at our bronzed-up party snaps from the mid-2000s – courtesy of the point-and-shoot cameras that hung from our wrists – we fast transitioned from over-bronzing to cool-toned contour in the 2010s. More recently, both have taken a backseat as we’ve welcomed a new-wave era of blush.
Made in the shade
Orange or red-tinged bronzers look incredible on deeper skin tones and deliver sunlit dimension – no grey or ashy hues in sight.
However, on fairer skin, a shade that’s too orange-based can guide you away from a more natural look. The secret to natural-looking bronzer for fair skin tones is choosing one with an undertone more akin to your own.
On the warm side? Reach for Estée Lauder’s cult-favourite Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer in ‘Light’. If you’re cool-toned, try Kevyn Aucoin’s The Neo-Bronzer in ‘Sunrise Light’. And if you sit somewhere in the middle, the bronzer in Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze & Glow in ‘Fair Medium’ will be your cup of tea.
The same applies to medium skin tones. Though they’re often described as ‘golden’ or ‘olive’, a wide variety of shades fall within the medium range, making finding the right bronzer even more important.
NARS Bronzing Powder in ‘Casino’ flatters warmer-toned medium skin, while Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Powder Bronzer in ‘Saddle’ suits cooler undertones and Westman Atelier’s Beauty Butter Bronzer in ‘Soleil Riche' leans neutral, while being rich enough for medium-deep complexions.
Less is definitely more
How to apply bronzer the natural way? Start soft and diffused.
A fluffy makeup brush – like MECCA MAX’s Super Powder Allover Brush – is a must, as is tapping off excess product before you start.
We get it, saturating your brush with powder or cream is satisfying… but it can also be a one-way trip to over-bronzing. While we love to see richly-pigmented eyeshadows and lipsticks, a sheer bronzer application (whether cream or powder) can ensure an even, buildable, non-patchy bronze that looks natural and sun-kissed – never muddy.
It’s all about the placement
If you’re not sure where to put bronzer, a good rule of thumb is to start at the temples, gently buffing the product back toward the hairline and then blending down the tops of your cheeks.
However, the great thing about bronzer is that as long as you build it up slowly, you can’t go too wrong.
For an all-over glow (or to match your face to your body come summertime), add a few drops of Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi™ Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops to your favourite moisturiser, tinted moisturiser [link to tinted moisturiser - link TBC] or foundation.
For a subtle, lit-from-within bronze, lightly dust Hourglass’ Ambient® Lighting Bronzer in ‘Nude Light’ over your face; or, for a ‘seen-some-sun’ look, take your favourite bronzing formula and build it up where the sun would naturally hit – your forehead, nose, cheeks and shoulders.