How to Bronze Your Décolletage, According to a Makeup Artist

September 14, 2022
Victoria Moorhouse
By: Victoria Moorhouse | by L'Oréal
person touching their decolletage

You’ve probably heard that you should blend your foundation down to your neck. This tried-and-true tip helps prevent these two areas from being noticeably different shades. “Makeup does not stop at your face,” says celebrity makeup artist Genevieve Herr. “Makeup should be blended down to your neck and onto your décolletage. Your face and your décolletage are supposed to match your skin shade.”

But have you ever tried applying other base makeup products — like bronzer — to the lower neck region, or the décolletage? 

Applying bronzer (or any makeup, for that matter) on your décolletage isn’t always necessary. In fact, Herr only uses this technique on a case-by-case basis, like when a client is wearing a low-cut gown, when creating sun-kissed makeup looks or when creating a faux tan with makeup. 

If you are interested in bronzing your décolletage to better match your foundation or for a radiant look, check out a few essential tips below. 

How to Apply Bronzer on Your Décolletage

Step 1: Hydrate the Area and Create a Glow

“Because the chest area is very thin and delicate, it needs to be hydrated,” says Herr. To prep the skin, Herr adds a bit of body lotion to the foundation she’ll be using and applies the mixture to the skin with a damp sponge. Adding a few drops of liquid highlighter into the mix can help create a glowy base as well, she says. One of Herr’s favorite products to use during this step is the Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hydrating Body Shimmer — which she dubs “the perfect body shimmer.”

If you’re looking for a non-shimmery body lotion to moisturize this delicate area, we love the La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+M Triple Repair Body Moisturizer. The deeply hydrating formula is made with glycerin, the brand’s signature probiotic thermal water and ceramides to support the skin’s protective barrier. It’s even accepted by the National Eczema Association. 

Step 2: Use Cream-Based Products to Contour the Collarbone Area

After blending out the foundation, Herr says the next step is shading and contouring the cleavage and collarbones. She recommends cream-based products that are two shades darker than the color used on the face. “I like Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick or Lancôme Teint Idole Ultrawear Foundation Stick,” she says. 

For a budget-friendly yet high-performing option (it rings in at less than $15!), we love the NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick Contour and Highlighter Stick


To easily contour this area, NYX Professional Makeup PROs Alexandria Cervantes and Andrea Santiago recommend pushing your shoulders slightly inward, which will help you see the natural contours of your body. “Apply your contour anywhere you see a shadow and lightly blend with a brush,” they note.

When it comes to product application, Herr mentions that “less is more” here; if you apply too much product, you run the risk of it transferring to your clothing. 

Step 3: Set the Look With Setting Powder and Apply Highlighter

The next step in the process is setting the look with a translucent loose powder, says Herr. We love the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Tinted Loose Setting Powder.

Finally, Herr applies a powder highlighter, like the Lancôme Dual Finish Highlighter, to the tops of the shoulders, the collarbones and down the center of the chest area. Your end result should be a bronzed and highlighted décolletage that shade-matches the makeup on your face.


Photo: Chaunte Vaughn; Design: Juliana Campisi

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