Bronzing Blunders: Bronzer Masterclass

On my way to work, I watched a lovely young lady, with a lovely pale complextion, smother herself in a deep terra cotta, all over her face, and then use the same oversized brush to apply a bright pink blush.  I was saddened by this sight of a lovely skintone painted dark pinky orange. 

 To be clear, Bronzer is not a necessary step, I use bronzer to warm up a skin tone, to give a sun kissed, healthy glow, but never to change the colour of someone's skin.

I use 2 techniques to Bronze:

1. Warm Tan: I go along the whole hairline, under the cheekbone and on the neck a bit in the depressions on either side of the throat. This gives a slightly contoured effect, illuminating the centre of the face but giving an overall bronzed look.

2. 1) Sun-Kissed: I mimic where the sun actually hits: Top of the forehead, top of the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose and the décolleté.

Choosing a texture is the first step. All these products can come in matte, semi matte, glowing or shimmery. Shimmer and glow work better with a Sun Kissed look, while the Matter finishes are better for a Warm Tan.

Liquid: It is a great option for a more blended, natural look. Try NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer or Armani Liquid Summer or from the master of watercolours: Daniel Sandler Liquid Golden Glow

Cream: This tends to be a slightly more opaque option, and is best used at the tops of the cheeks,  try Cosmetics a la Carte Bare Bronze or Vapour Solar stick or You can even layer a cream with a powder blush or bronzer, for a more sophisticated 'makeup' effect.

Pressed Powder: By far the most common bronzing product available from nearly every company on earth! The classics are the Guerlain Terracotta series, but my favourite is the sadly discontinued Shu Uemura Light.  Pressed Bronzers can have a lot or little pigment and can be quite sheer or provide quite good coverage.

Colour selection is most important as this type of Bronzer tends to sit on top of the skin, but can be used as an elegant finisher, like the Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient bronzer.

I have seen products marketed as Bronzer that vary in colour from almost Ivory to a deep Rusty Brown. Choosing the best shade can be a challenge. I recommend going for a warm tone, more toward a Yellow/Golden than Orange/Bronze, with a more Neutral undertone if you are unsure. You want to mimic the effects of a suntan, not a sun burn! If you are slightly more olive or yellow toned, a bit of pink or coral in the bronzer is fine.

Some of the darker Bronzers almost have Plum undertones, which I would be careful with, but do look good on darker olive and Asian Skin tones. I sometimes just use a darker foundations to Bronze because some of the more red or plum undertones to darker bronzer can go terribly wrong.

I always recommend if you can try a product before buying it, check it in daylight and also wear it for a few hours to see how it "lives". Some Bronzers can get "muddy" as they blend with the natural oils of the skin or are the wrong undertone. Happy Bronzing!

Above Photos by Claire Harrison, Right hand shot for Pro Hair and Beauty, Hair by @splitenz, make UP by Me