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All About Bronzing: Your Guide to the Perfect Summer Glow

by Michelle Doan

| Posted on June 10 2021

Bronzing is a simple way to give your features a more sculpted, structured look.  And thanks to the sun-kissed glow it gives your skin, it’s the perfect step for a radiant, vibrant summer look without tanning your skin and risking sun damage.

But for a lot of us, bronzing may seem intimidating, or even off-putting, suggesting imagery like harsh lines, a blotchy, dirty-looking finish, or too much orange.

While looks like these can sometimes give bronzer a bad rap, keep in mind that all forms of makeup have a “too much” or “incorrect” version. For instance, blush can give anyone a lovely bit of color, but the wrong shade or application can leave anyone looking like a clown!

Just so, bronzer looks beautiful when it’s done correctly, and learning to do so is simpler than you think!

Bronzing vs Contouring

Before we learn how to bronze, let’s talk about how it’s different from contouring.

Just over a year ago, makeup was all about creating sharp edges through contouring. Now, bronzer is making a comeback in a big way.

But you might be wondering: what’s the difference between bronzing and contouring, anyway?

These two methods are indeed quite similar, but there are a few key differences.

Contouring can be used to create sharp lines for a chiseled, hyper-sculpted look in the cheek bones, jawlines and nose. And while bronzer creates a similar effect, it’s much more subtle and not quite as severe.

The main difference is this: bronzing is all about creating warmth in the face, while contouring is about creating the illusion of shadow and light. As a result, you’ll probably notice that bronzers tend to have a warmer tone to them, while contouring products usually have a cooler, grey-toned color.

And while contouring can take ages of practice and perfecting for your own face, you’ll find that bronzing is a much more approachable, beginner friendly way to give your look a little definition.

The key is choosing the right bronzer.

Choosing the Right Bronzer

At first glance, all bronzers might look the same, but all of the different formulas available on the market are endless!

When choosing the right bronzer for you, consider the formula and color of your bronzer. 

Generally, sticking with a talc-free formula is recommended, and make sure all of the ingredients are non comedogenic.

Bronzers can be found in a cream or powder, and the right one for you will depend on your skin type. For those with normal, oily, or combination skin, powder bronzers are usually the best option, while a cream formula may work better for those with dry skin. 

If you’re having a hard time finding a cream bronzer with skin-loving ingredients, here’s a great hack: purchase a cream-based foundation in a “bronzing” shade!

As for choosing a shade, stick with one that’s only about two or three shades deeper than your natural skin tone, because this is going to give you a more natural, healthy looking glow. And while a warmer tone is what you want, make sure you’re not getting something too orange!

How to Bronze for the Perfect Summer Glow

When using bronzer, treat it as one of the final steps in your makeup routine. By the time you’ve applied it, you should’ve already put on your foundation, concealer and blush.

  1. Using a fluffy powder brush, load on the bronzer and tap out any excess product. Starting at your forehead, sweep a sheer bit of bronzer across the edge of your hairline and down your temple.
  2. From the temple, glide the bronzer along the apples of your cheeks, just a little lower than where you’d normally put your blush. Make sure to thoroughly blend out any harsh lines.
  3. Finally, sweep the bronzer along the underside of your jaw, once again blending out.

If you’re using a powder bronzer, you might find it helpful to lightly brush on a little bit of setting powder, as this can help even out the surface of your skin to prevent patches or blotchiness.

If using a cream-based bronzer, apply before powder, and use the powder to set afterward.

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