The truth is, not everyone has sun-kissed skin 365 days a year. For most, it’s all about faking it with makeup. If you aren’t blessed with a naturally bronzed complexion no matter the season, you can use bronzer to create a faux glow. A little bit of bronzer can help instantly transform your skin by adding a hint of warmth. Of course, this little face makeup trick isn’t completely foolproof. If you apply too much bronzing face powder, or the wrong shade, you risk ending up looking seriously orange. No thanks! Thankfully, if you stick to a few simple guidelines, you can create a makeup look with a golden glow that looks believable (and not at all orange). Follow the below bronzer rules to bronze your skin without looking orange.
BRONZER RULE #1: LOOK FOR COLORS WITH A BEIGE BASE
If you tend to end up with an orange tint when you use bronzer, it could be because you’re using one that is too warm-toned for your skin. Be particular about the shade of bronzer you choose, especially if you have fair skin with pink undertones. Look for bronzers with a hint of beige in them, which can help keep your complexion from looking too warm. Try the L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Bronze It Bronzer, which is available in three shades.
BRONZER RULE #2: USE ONE THAT IS 1-2 SHADES DARKER THAN YOUR SKIN TONE
Is your bronzer too dark? The goal of using bronzer is to create a sun-kissed glow that helps add warmth to your face. While the obvious assumption might be that the darker your bronzer is the more tanned you’ll look, this isn’t actually the case. (If a serious tan is your goal, stick with self-tanner.) Creating warmth requires a shade that’s only 1-2 shades darker than your skin tone. If you go deeper than that, your face could end up looking like it doesn’t match your body.
BRONZER RULE #3: DON’T WEAR IT ALL OVER YOUR FACE
To achieve the kissed-by-the-sun look you’re going for, stick with applying bronzer to just the high points of your face. These are the places that would naturally be warmed by the sun: your forehead, cheekbones, and jawline. Dusting bronzer over your entire face can end up making your skin look dirty and muddy instead of glow-y and bronze. The easiest way to apply bronzer in only the right spots is to follow the “3” rule. Use a brush to apply bronzer in the shape of a 3, going from your temple to your cheekbone and finishing with your jawline. Repeat on the opposite side, creating a backwards 3 shape and blend out. Remembering this simple technique can make all the difference when it comes to application.
BRONZER RULE #4: SKIP Super SPARKLY ONES
When you’re working towards creating a sunny-looking glow, a bronzer packed with shimmer might seem like the right choice—but reconsider that for a minute. Too much sparkle can make skin look slick and greasy, along with instantly telling everyone your touch of a tan is totally fake. A matte bronzer, or one with a subtle shimmer (like the one we recommended earlier), will be your best bet for creating realistic-looking radiance.
BRONZER RULE #5: DON’T USE IT TO CONTOUR
Just like bronzer shouldn’t be used all over your face, it also shouldn’t double as your contour product, either. The point of contouring is to help create shadows on your face, which requires a cool-toned powder or cream with a grayish tint. Since the coloring of your bronzer is completely different from a good contour product’s hue, using it in this way may leave you looking neither bronzed nor contoured. Bronzer should be used to subtly complement your face, not change it. If you use bronzer to contour, your makeup may end up looking too heavy.
BRONZER RULE #6: WEAR COMPLEMENTARY MAKEUP
With only bronzer on your cheeks, the rest of your face could fall flat. Use a warm blush to add definition and a youthful rosy glow. Finish the look with a golden illuminator above your cheekbones, which can help create the effect of skin shining when hit by the sunlight. Try the L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Shimmerista Highlighting Powder in Sunlight for a warm highlight.
Once you’ve mastered using bronzer, contouring should be next on your list. Here’s How to Contour Like a Pro Makeup Artist.