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The Ultimate Guide To Using Bronzer

If you're looking for a sun-kissed glow no matter the time of year, bronzer is the answer. The secret weapon of many make-up artists, it gives skin a healthy glow, enhances a natural tan, rejuvenates tired-looking skin or contours and defines facial features.

Ready to get a gorgeously natural glow? Check out our how-to guide packed with tips to help you choose a bronzer for your skin tone and tricks to add warmth and definition to your face.

Where should I use bronzer?

You can apply matte bronzing products to your forehead, the apples of your cheeks and cheekbones, along your jawline and across your hairline – regardless of powder or pearls. This technique creates a sun-kissed look and helps to contour your face in a flattering way. When applying a bronzer, think about all the areas where the sun naturally shines on your face.

Gel bronzing products are great for your face, and you can use them and creams all over your body for a sun-kissed look in all weather. Why not swipe carefully along your collarbone and décolletage to radiate a sense of blush and warmth?

How to apply bronzer

Here are our tips to achieve a beautiful glow all year round.

  • Wash and dry your face following your normal skincare
  • Apply your everyday make-up. After your foundation, concealer and blush, bronzer should be one of the last products to be applied.
  • If you're using powder or pearls, tap a brush into the product and sweep it across your face, lightly dusting your cheeks, cheekbones and the edges of your face.
  • You can add definition to your face by gently brushing along your jawline.
  • Blend the bronzer, taking the brush in small circles to remove harsh lines. If there's any product left, sweep across your chin, neck and nose for a seamless finish.

The process is similar for cream-based or liquid bronzers, though you'll want to apply those by dabbing small dots of the product to your face and then blend, blend, and blend for an all-over glow.

Our guide to choosing bronzer for your skin tone

The first step to getting a beautiful glow is to pick the right shade for your skin tone. You'll usually find a choice of light, medium and dark shades, and aim to choose one that's no more than two shades darker than your natural skin tone.

Using bronzer on pale skin tones

If you have fair skin, look for a bronzer with peach or pink neutral undertones. Avoid anything that's too orange. Choose a buildable product – our Bronzing Pearls work well as you can apply lightly and then build and contour to your desired colour.

Try not to start with a heavy hand, as you might need to reapply your entire look. It's always a good idea to opt for buildable coverage. Use a powder brush to gently dust across your cheeks and jawline, and continue with this method until you've got the desired colour.

Brunette model poses with her hand near her face in pale blue shirt.

If you prefer a dewy look to a matte finish, you could also mix a few drops of liquid bronzer into your foundation for a soft, subtle glow.

Model with hair in ponytail and in orange shirt poses with her eyes closed against a sunset background.

Using bronzer on medium skin tones

If you have olive or a medium skin tone, most bronzers will look great on you! Copper and earthy tones enhance your natural tan, while rosy undertones add a gentle flush to your skin.

Model with long dark hair, rust coloured shirt and gold earrings smiles to the right of the camera.

Using bronzer on deep skin tones

Avoid orange undertones if you have a deep skin tone to ensure your glow is natural-looking and beautifully radiant. Try a reddish undertone to bring warmth and natural blush. Our True Bronzing Pearls come in a variety of shades, so you can choose the one that best matches your skin tone and texture.

Finding the right product for your skin type

There are different kinds of bronzer, and your skin type should influence which kind you buy. For normal or slightly oily skin, matte powder bronzers or pearls work well, as you can apply these to the high points of your face using a powder or blush brush. If you have dry skin, a cream-based or gel bronzing product works best, as it'll blend more easily into your skin. You can apply these with your fingers or a sponge, like foundation or liquid concealer.

Acne-prone skin

If you struggle with acne, ensure your make-up products are non-comedogenic, meaning they're formulated not to block your pores. Choose a fragrance-free matte bronzer and apply it to clean skin. A skincare regime with our Clearskin range will help create a great base for your make-up.

Mature skin

Bronzer gives you a healthy glow at any age. If you have mature skin, a gel or cream bronzer will generally give you better results, as powder can emphasise fine lines and dry patches. Simply dot along the areas of your face you want to add colour, then gently blend with a sponge.

Want to create a full-body glow? Take a look at our ultimate guide to using fake tan.