What Is Bronzer Makeup Used for?

Bronzer gives you a warm glow without the side effect of harmful rays.

Photo: Erik Snyder/Photodisc/Getty Images

Bronzer can be a wonderful tool or a terrible curse, depending on how you use it. The proper application will give you a healthy sun-kissed glow, but if you aren’t careful the look comes off heavy and fake. Nothing screams high maintenance more than layers of faux tan. So use a light hand, a subtle color and a healthy dose of restraint to get a bronzer look that’s sexy and subtle.

Types

Bronzer makeup typically comes in powder, cream and liquid forms. Powder is easier to apply and more forgiving for those who need a layer of foundation or concealer first to even out their skin tone. Cream and liquid are easily blended in to a naturally clear skin tone. Liquid forms of bronzer may also have the added benefit of SPF for sun protection or a sunless tanner that will give your skin a deeper shade of color long after the makeup has washed off.

Function

Bronzer is used to give the skin a naturally sun-kissed glow. Even if you use a sunless tanning lotion already, bronzer can be added for that finishing touch of shimmery warmth. Bronzer is most often used on the face, but it can also be dusted onto other areas. If your shoulders, neck or chest are visible, a light dusting of bronzer can give your glow a continuous effect that seems more natural than if your tan simply drops off below the chin.

Use

To properly use bronzer makeup, you should first apply foundation and concealer to even out your skin tone. Use products a shade darker than normal so that they’re a bit deeper than your natural skin tone. This will help the bronzer look even more natural on your face. Apply your bronzer to the forehead, cheekbones and chin in a "3" motion beginning at the top center of your forehead and working down. Add a quick dusting over the bridge of your nose as well. Bronzer can also be applied between and along the top of your breasts, over the tops of your shoulders and down the middle of your neck for a healthy glow all over.

Selection

Choose a bronzer that’s just a little darker than your skin tone for the most natural look. If you go too dark, you’ll simply have the horrid look of too much makeup. A little shimmer is flirty and fun, but heavy sparkle will mask the warming effect of the bronzer with the glare of the glittery reflection. Start out light, especially if you’re new to bronzer makeup. As your tan darkens and you become more comfortable with bronzer techniques, you may be able to upgrade to a darker shade.

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