Bronzer 101: Types, Mistakes, and Myths

Bronzer 101: Types, Mistakes, and Myths

Bronzer can be tricky. Even if you can find the right one for your skin tone, which is a tricky task in itself, you then have to apply in a noticeable yet inconspicuous way — which is no walk in the park either. So, in order to help with all of the bronzer obstacles people face, we sat down with professional makeup artist Juliette Perreux.

Finding THE ONE


When looking for the right bronzer, Juliette suggests going for a shade only one to a few shades darker than your own skin tone. 

If you're looking for some great drugstore bronzers, Juliette recommends physician's formula or NYX. Physician's Formula has so many different shades available that there's sure to be the perfect one for everyone. NYX also has some great matte, single color powder bronzers.

As a general cult-classic for everyone I would always recommend the NARS Laguna bronzer. It has a great golden hue which warms up a wide range of complexions. This one's taken me from my high-school days into my twenties.


According to Juliette, powder bronzers are easily build-able and a safe bet for all skin types. Powder bronzers are great for everyday as they're easy and quick to dust on top of your foundation. They also keep your skin looking matte and soak up oil. A great powder bronzer that I can recommend is the Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder. Although it's on the pricey side, it has such a great tone to it and can easily fake a great tan.

If you have oily skin, make sure to get a matte bronzer without shimmer. The shimmer creates a shine that may highlight oily aspects of skin rather than hide it. In fact, Juliette told us she "rarely use[s] a bronzer with shimmer as it tends to make the skin look shiny and less natural." 

You can also look for a gel bronzer if you want a more sheer and natural looking finish. Gel bronzers can be really nice in the summer when you're looking for light coverage. You can mix in with some sunscreen to warm up the skin on your face, which tends to be lighter than the rest of your body. Cream bronzers can also be really helpful for those with dry skin as they add a little bit of moisture and are usually easy to blend.


Best Bronzer Brushes

Common Mistakes and Application Tips

Juliette says many people fall victim to choosing a color that is too dark or orange for their skin tone.

Remember to start light. You can always build your bronzer up, but often people apply too much bronzer. Juliette says if you want to build up your general skin tone, lightly swipe your brush across your forehead, nose, chin, etc wherever you feel like you need warmth. 

When applying bronzer you want to focus on contouring the face. This means the hollows of your cheeks and your temples, as well as your jawline. Consider your face shape and just work to contour your bone structure. Don't try applying bronzer all over your face, rather strategically contour the places you think are necessary. Juliette warns of contouring too close to your mouth — this can create a very unnatural look.

It's important to remember your neck and possibly chest. If you bronze your face, your neck isn't going to be the same color, which won't appear natural. So make sure to bronze your neck as well as a light dusting on your chest if you deem necessary.

For powder use a fluffy bronzing brush like the Presige Kabuki Bronzing Brush, the EcoTools Bamboo Bronzer Brush, or the EcoTools Retractable Kabuki Brush. I like to use a large stiffing brush (some bristles are shorter than others) which allows for really light application that's build-able. If you use a cream you may want to use a contour brush, or even your fingers (my favorite!) for a smooth finish.



Anastasia Beverly Hills Contouring Kit

MYTHBUSTER: You CAN keep the same bronzer year round.

Although many people think you need to switch your bronzer up each season, Juliette suggests it shouldn't be too difficult to find a bronzer that suits you year-round. It's all about your application. In the winter, use a lighter hand and be a little less generous with your application, focusing mostly on contour areas.

In the summer however, Juliette says you don't need to be as careful and can dust color on all areas of the face where the sun would hit, like the nose, forehead and cheeks, as well as the contouring areas.

However with the popularity of contouring and highlighting etc there are tons of new products out there that have a variety of different shades in them. The Anastasia Beverly Hills countour kit is a great palette filled with different shades of bronzers and highlighters.


What are your tips for finding and using the right bronzer? Have a favorite? Comment below!


About the Author
Imani R.
Imani R.
@Influenster Social Media Strategist. Brunch enthusiast. Mom to Gemma. #GemmaFromAbove @nycbreakfastclub