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What Are the Best Tips for Using Bronzer?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 21, 2024
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Bronzer is a cosmetic product designed to give the wearer the appearance of a healthy, sun-kissed glow without looking like a fake tan. Though bronzer and self tanner are sometimes referred to interchangeably, they are actually two different products; generally, self tanner will actually color the skin for a few days, while bronzer is just like make up foundation, and is washed off at the end of the day. The most important thing to remember when using bronzer is to use it in moderation, so that it looks natural. Using bronzer does not mean slathering it all over the face like a foundation, but rather applying it in certain areas such as the cheekbones and forehead so it looks realistic.

Using bronzer effectively begins with selecting the perfect shade. It should be just a few shades darker than the natural skin tone, and as close as possible to what the skin looks like when it is lightly to moderately tanned. A shade that is too light will not show up, and a shade that's too dark will likely look fake. Selecting a bronzer with a little bit of shimmer can be pretty, help to reflect light, and even out the skin tone, but be careful it is not too glittery.

Application method is also important when using bronzer. In general, most people apply it like blush, as a final step after concealer and foundation have already been applied. Powder bronzer should be applied with a large makeup brush, while cream bronzer may be applied with a makeup sponge or even the fingers, and then blended very well. It is generally best to simply brush it on the areas where the sun would hit naturally, such as the upper cheekbones, the forehead, and the chin. Start with a light application, add more if necessary, and blend to be sure it does not look like a stripe.

Another tip for using bronzer is to apply it to the collarbones and top of the shoulders when wearing a tank top or sleeveless top. This can also make it look more natural, and highlight an existing tan. Remember when using bronzer that less is more; a little bit can really help to brighten the face, but too much will make the skin appear orange and unnatural. Regardless, bronzer and self-tanners are much safer for the skin than laying out in the sun, which can cause wrinkles, sun spots, or even skin cancer.

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