How To Get The Most Out Of Your Bronzer

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Bronzer

Pro make-up artists will tell you a bronzer does more than just add warmth to your complexion on those days when it could do with a bit of glow. In fact, there are a multitude of ways to use it – from adding shape to the face to making lips appear plumper and fuller. To find out how to make the most of yours now that high summer is over, we asked three experts to share their insider tips…

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Make-Up Artist at Illamasqua & SFX Artist Nilofar Mussa

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To fake a year-round glow: “In the summer most of us tend to catch a bit of sun and bronzer is a great way to enhance this. On light or medium skin, if you want to create a sunkissed glow, use a large round brush to gently sweep bronzer over the high points of the face – start at the top of the cheek bone and bring it across the cheeks and into the side of the nose. Also, blend a little bit into the temples and into the hairline in a horseshoe shape. This mimics the process of the skin naturally tanning in the sun. For medium or deep skin, choose a matte bronzer in a darker shade and use the product in the same places, but the magic will be in the highlighting. Choose a bronze toned highlighter and buff into the top of the cheekbones, and down the centre of the face and finish with a terracotta toned blusher.”

To transition into A/W: “You can absolutely still use a bronzer to warm up the skin at this time of year – just tone it down a little as the weather cools and natural lighting becomes lighter and weaker. During this season, our skin is a bit more dehydrated and weather sensitive, so the focus tends to be on moisture and coverage. But bronzer is a great product to reach for, as it's warm and neutral – perfect for sculpting cheekbones and creating soft, smoky eyes.”

To contour: “The trick is to choose the right tone and texture of product. With contouring, you're trying to carve out shadows and structure, so choose a more matte bronzer rather than something with shimmer or reflection. Also, stay away from anything too orange and opt for something with more of a brown undertone. MAC’s Mineralize Skin Finish Powders have a very natural skin-like finish and give you the perfect balance between sculpture and warmth. Liquid bronzers are also great for contouring as they’re so easy to blend, and a great alternative if you have dry skin and are worried about them looking patchy or cakey. Gel bronzers are also available – in fact, Illamasqua's Gel Sculpt is one of my favourites, as it's a water-based formulation with zero shimmer or shine. It's so natural.”

To enhance the eyes: “I love to use bronzer on the eyes – it’s a great tip for anyone who likes to keep their make-up routine on the minimal side, too. Using an eyeshadow brush, sweep some of your bronzer across your eye socket and into the outer corner. It’s a technique we use as make-up artists to keep the eyes connected to the rest of the make-up look – by mirroring the bronze warmth of the skin on the eyes, you end up with a very cohesive and polished finish. Complete the look by buffing some highlighter into the centre and inner corner of the eye – such a great hack when you don't have much time but still want a professional-looking result.”

To save a broken product: “If you've ever found yourself in the unfortunate situation where you drop your powder bronzer and it smashes into smithereens, don't despair – you can save the remains in a jar and use as a loose bronzer, or even mix a small amount of it into your body lotion for a quick and easy body bronzer. Genius.”

Make-Up Artist Jessica Kell

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To prolong a summer tan: “I love to make the most out of my bronzer as the seasons change and we get the last of the summer heat. The simplest way to do this is apply a powder bronzer liberally with a big fluffy brush to give skin that effortless warmth and colour. My go to is the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Bronzer, a powder bronzer that always seems to melt into the skin. I also like to take just a little cream bronzer and mix it with a peachy blush for a fresh glow. Pair this with a warm toned highlighter to give the effect of perfectly sun kissed skin and make the most out of your summer tan. If you have picked up a summer tan, you can use a cream bronzer to deepen the colour of your foundation by liberally applying it to the edges of your face – think all along the hair line, the top of your forehead and along the cheekbones and jaw line. Alternatively, if you’ve stayed out of the sun you can use a few drops of liquid bronzer mixed into your foundation to give the effect of a natural tan. I love Noid’s Photography Fluid, Opacity 8% for this.”

To add more definition to the face: “Make your bronzer go further by using it as a contour along the hollows of your cheekbones and tucked under your jawline for a more sculpted effect. You want to make sure you are using a bronzer with a matte finish and no glitter or sheen to it at all. The best bronzers for contouring have a slightly neutral tone to them, so it's best not to use one with too much of an orange undertone. I love to use the Victoria Beckham Bronzing Brick; the two matte shades apply in perfect harmony for both sculpted cheekbones and bronzed warmth.”

To enhance the eyes: “The undertones in bronzers lend themselves perfectly to just give the eyelid a touch of warmth and a little colour without looking too heavy or made up. If you are using a cream, just sweep a touch of it over the entire eyelid with your fingers and then blend out the edges with a fluffy brush. If you are using a powder, pop a little into the crease of the eyelid to sculpt and define with a brush – then add lashings of black mascara for a super quick, no-fuss look.”

To plump the lips: “You can use a touch of bronzer underneath your bottom lip, just tucked into the bottom line, to help sculpt and make your lips look bigger and add a little bit of dimension to their shape. Pair this with a touch of warm highlighter just above the cupid's bow for a well sculpted lip shape.”

The undertones in bronzers lend themselves perfectly to just give the eyelid a touch of warmth and a little colour without looking too heavy or made up.
Jessica Kell

Make-Up Artist & Writer Sophie Tilley

Follow @SophieTilley.UK & Visit SophieTilley.UK

To find the right tone: “Dial down the tone and don’t go for bronzers that are too warm.  Choose ones that are brown rather than bronze, and which contain less orange and red pigment.  It will make an autumn/winter tan tone way more believable. Also, depending on your skin type, consider going for a matte version rather than those with too much sparkle and sheen, which won’t translate well on darker, colder days. If you’re using one to contour, you need to choose one with no warmth to it – you almost want a ‘greyer’ toned bronzer. Essentially, you’re using it to mimic shadow and depth to ‘push’ certain features forward.”
To bring out your best features: “For extra definition, apply a little bit of bronzer under your jawline for a slimming effect – especially if you have a rounder face shape or jowls are starting to make an appearance. If your nose is not the desired shape, you can define it easily too; take a smaller brush (a fluffy eyeshadow one is ideal) and apply down each side of the nose, scooping it around under the tip, too.”
To apply: “Bronzer is good for all seasons and will always be in style. As well as giving you a glow-giving faux tan, bronzer can be used strategically to sculpt your face in the autumn and winter – think of it as a way to cast shadow on your features, carving out sections you’d like to define and snatch. Just remember, blend until you can’t blend any more, no-one wants to see obvious areas where your bronzer finishes, let alone the dreaded ’mars bar’ contouring! Then where there’s shadow, there also must be light. So where you’ve applied bronzer, highlighter is its best friend.  Apply highlighter right alongside your bronzer; where you have bronzer in the hollow of your cheeks, highlighter goes on the cheekbone, where bronzer is along the sides of your nose, highlighter can go down the bridge to the tip. You get the idea. Be it powder, cream, liquid and even sprays, there’s so much choice in terms of texture and tone these days, there’s almost no excuse to get it wrong.”

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