How to Apply Bronzer: The Sunglasses Trick

how to apply bronzer

Do you get yourself into a bit of a mess when it comes to bronzer application? I think that it can be really tricky to get right – especially as there are so many different methods shown in video tutorials and beauty pages. The application pattern du jour on the internet seems to be more of a contour method than anything else; a matte bronzer taken quite heavily under the cheekbone, to the sides of the nose to slim it down and in a very concentrated way around the hairline to sort of chisel the forehead. (No comment on any of this. Each to their own. Although if anyone remembers Kryton from Red Dwarf…)

My preferred way to bronze is to take a large powder brush in the shape of a big “3” on each side of my head. If I turned my face to the side to show you what I mean (nose pointing left!) then the top of the 3 would cross the temple, the middle part of the 3 would cross the cheek, and finally the bottom part of the 3 would land beneath the jawline. This “3” shape is actually quite similar to the way in which you’d apply a contour, but it’s nowhere near as dramatic in effect. There’s no faking of razor sharp cheekbones or extreme nose slimming, it’s just an easy way of working out where to put the colour. This way does shape the face a little, but little is the operative word. There are no precise lines, you use a bronzer that’s pretty close to the natural colour of the skin  – and at any rate, the use of a warm-toned bronzer is always going to give a very different result to the matte, greyish powder that you’d use for contouring. The bronzer mimics a tan, the contour powder tries to replicate a shadow.

how to apply face bronzer

But to find an even more natural and foolproof method of bronzer application, I turned to my fount of cosmetics knowledge, makeup artist Caroline Barnes. She had an amazing trick up her sleeve which perhaps seemed a bit gimmicky at first (and it was supposed to be a bit of visual fun!) but it created such a beautiful sunkissed effect that I was forced to eat my words.

Watch the video below to find out how Caroline creates a very believable tan by bronzing everywhere on the face apart from the areas that would be hidden by sunglasses. You wouldn’t think that this would work, but it creates a beautiful highlight around the centre of the face where the brush doesn’t deposit so much bronzer – it’s a great way of adding interest without resorting to harsher contouring tactics.

Caroline uses matte bronzer in the video (details below the screen) but I must say that I’ve tried this technique with a whole load of different powders now and shimmery ones work just as well. Matte looks more believable and subtle, but if you love that beach goddess look and want to sparkle in the sunshine then by all means go for a bronzer with more of a shimmer. Last week I raved about the Kevyn Aucoin one, but I think that this could possibly be a little OTT for all-over face bronzing; my next-in-line for a spot of glizty bronzing would be the Guerlain Ultra-Shine.

GUERLAIN Terracotta Collector Ultra-Shine Bronzing Powder

Not least because the packaging is so absolutely gorgeous; look at that tin! It’s not the most convenient way to present a bronzer – the lid with mirror is plucked off completely, meaning that it’s not automatically propped up, which in turn means that you need to grow a third hand to hold it with – but the retro styling more than compensates.

GUERLAIN Terracotta Collector Ultra-Shine Bronzing Powder

The Terracotta Ultra-Shine formula contains very finely milled mother-of-pearl, giving the skin a beautiful soft sheen. It’s chic and expensive looking – there’s no garish glitter at this particular bronzer party. You can find the Guerlain Terracotta Ultra-Shine Bronzing Powder at Escentual here* – it’s £39.60 and the compact is refillable.

Caroline (Instagram here) used:

Rosie for Autograph Matte Bronzer in Bronzed Beauty:

Zoeva Face Definer Brush:

Sunglasses are quite old ones, they were from Polaroid.

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