How To Apply Bronzer (Plus The Top Picks That Beauty Gurus Love)

All of your questions answered, just in time for glowy season.

by

While we love the fresh-from-vacation look of bronzer, when it comes to application things can get a bit…confusing. How do I find the right shade for my skin tone? Where exactly do I apply bronzer so it looks natural? Does it replace contouring? SO MANY QUESTIONS. We caught up with Toronto-based makeup artist Temi Shobowale, as well as celebrity makeup guru Pati Dubroff while she was in town recently with Winners, to share their wealth of knowledge and get to the bottom of how to apply bronzer once and for all. Plus, keep scrolling for our favourite products, that make getting your glow on a breeze.

How do I find the best bronzer for my skin tone?

The first step in nailing down a natural bronzer look is selecting the right shade for you. “For really fair skin tones, go with the softest warmth—almost like a touch of gold but in a matte formula,” says Dubroff. “Medium and darker toned skin can play around with deeper shades if it’s blended out well.” For Shobowale, shade selection has one hard-and-fast rule: “Whether your skin’s undertone is pink, golden or neutral, be sure to go a shade and a half darker than your complexion.”

Can darker-skin babes wear bronzer?

If you’ve ever heard that deeper skin tones can’t get a sun-kissed look, that’s a makeup myth. While darker skin tones don’t necessarily need bronzer, you can still go in and add a dewy, beachy golden glow. Dubroff recommends products that are highlighting and that are going to add life into the skin with golden-bronze hues.

Should I choose a cream or a powder bronzer?

While powders are the most common choice for bronzers (and will get the job done beautifully), when it comes to formulas, the experts agree: Creams reign supreme. “Creamy textures are so important for bronzing,” says Dubroff. Due to their velvety finish they impart a subtle glow and tend to look more natural on the skin and less makeup-y than powders. “They are what I rely on to add that warmth and depth to the skin.” Shobowale says that cream bronzers are an absolute must in her makeup kit, too, as their blendability make it easier to create that dewy, summery finish. Please repeat after Dubroff: “Do not be nervous about using a cream!”

Should I still contour if I use a bronzer?

Bronzer is typically used to get a hint of tint but when it comes to shaping your face, stick with a specific contour product. “I would wholeheartedly recommend using a different product for contouring,” says Shobowale. Dubroff has a similar take. “If you want to contour your nose or jawline, don’t use a bronzer, use something that’s cooler as you don’t necessarily want it to look sunkissed,” says Dubroff. If you’re just looking to add a bit of shape to your face, Dubroff says buffing on a bit of bronzer through your cheekbones and jawline will do the trick, it’s just not meant for full contour as the golden undertone won’t give you that chiseled look you crave from contouring.

Which brush is best for bronzer?

“I like using a stipple brush for creams as there’s a lot of air between the bristles so it won’t deposit too much bronzer,” says Dubroff. “If you use a dense brush it will pick up a ton of product and it’s like, bam! Too much colour in one spot.” Dubroff is also v into using a fan brush for powder bronzer as it will help give more control over where you’re depositing colour. Shobowale calls out Make Up For Ever’s 110 Kabuki Brush as her MVP for its soft, tapered shape, which makes for easy buffing.

Where do I apply bronzer?

In terms of how to apply bronzer, the classic ‘3’ shape application is a good place to start. “Starting at the top of your temple, take it down to under your cheekbone then down to under your chin in the shape of an inward 3,” says Shobowale. In addition to your cheeks and the frame of your face, Dubroff mentions a few oft-missed areas where some bronzer can do you good, like the top of your nose bridge along with your neck and collarbone. “I like using liquid bronzers as you can put it on your fingertips and then tap it onto your face and neck as well. It’s a mistake to bronze up your face and chest and then neglect your neck.”