How to Find the Right Shade of Bronzer

The new way to wear bronzer is less contour, more carefree.

bronzerphoto: geoffrey ross

Before contouring palettes were all the rage, bronzing powders were our summer go-to to help bring more dimension – and a little life – to our complexions. “The new bronze isn’t so dark or copper; it’s more healthy and glowing, with a very soft, organic look to the skin,” says Maxime Poulin, international makeup artist for Guerlain. Instead of applying bronzer all over your face with the classic “3” technique, Poulin suggests creating a more natural-looking, sunburn-like flush with horizontal brush strokes. Use a medium-sized natural-hair brush to dust the powder across the top of your forehead, close to your hairline (tapping off any excess pigment first), then in another straight line across the top of your cheekbones, going over the bridge of your nose. “By drawing the eye upward, you get a lifted, anti-aging effect, whereas a dark, all-over bronze can age you and cast shadows on your face,” says Poulin. Layer blush with a red or purple undertone (rather than orange) on the apples of your cheeks to add to the sun-flushed look.

To find the right shade of bronzer, test the pigment on the inside of your wrist, which is usually the palest, most translucent part of your body and shows off your natural undertone. Look for a satin-finish formula that’s only one or two shades darker than your skin, which should allow you to buff the colour easily onto your wrist with your finger – a telltale sign that you’ll get blended-looking results on your face without any visible stripes. If you have very dry skin, try applying a liquid bronzer with the same technique using a flat, synthetic brush.

From top: Guerlain Terracotta The Bronzing Powder in 00, $62; CoverGirl Tru Blend Bronzer in 200, $14; Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer Brush, $49; Essence Contour Powder in 01, $5; Nars Laguna Liquid Bronzer, $52

3 Makeup Brushes You Need, and 9 You Should Get
4 Easy Ways to Look Fabulous This Summer
3 Shocking Stats About Sun Protection