Fact: Using bronzers can sometimes be tricky. You have to pick the right shade and undertone so you don’t look muddy or splotchy or just plain orange; and you have to apply it the right way so you look sun-kissed not sun burned.
To soothe your concerns and demystify the world of bronzers, we’ve tapped on the expertise of Shireen Osman, a freelance makeup artist since 2013.
“Bronzers are mostly warm-toned and are used when you want to look sun-kissed,” says Shireen. When looking to use it as a contouring product, pick one that is cool-toned. These are great to sculpt the face with. “If you want go subtle with your contour, a bronzer works just as well,” she adds.
When it comes to choosing a bronzer, she recommends picking a buildable formula over a pigmented one as it gives you more control. It’s always easier to add more, than to remove excess product. And while shimmery bronzers can give a nice glow, people with textured skin should skip them and opt for matte bronzers instead as the former can accentuate texture.
Shireen stresses the importance of finding the right shade of bronzer so the skin on your face and neck don’t look completely different. You want to look sun-kissed, not a deeper skin tone altogether. “A person with paler skin can use a light brown bronzer, while people with darker skin can opt for a golden bronzer to create the illusion of a nice beach tan.”
When shopping for bronzers she suggests testing the shade on your wrist rather than the back of your hand. “The skin on the wrist is much lighter, hence I have a good gauge on the pigmentation and how much control I have over building colour on the face.”
The method of application matters too. Shireen recommends using a fluffy brush to build and diffuse colour to achieve the desired level of sun-kissed glow. If you want a pinpoint application, go with a denser, tapered brush. Finally, sweep bronzer over where the sun naturally hits the face. This includes the temples, cheekbones, sides of the nose, chin and around the hairline. Tap the bronzer below the cheekbones if you want to create a more chiselled effect.
Now that you know how to find and apply the right bronzer, we share with you some of our favourites for Asian skin tones below.