The Right Way to Apply Bronzer, According to a Pro

February 26, 2021
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal

You may have mastered how to apply foundation for a flawless finish and how to give your cheeks a rosy flush with blush, but it’s important to learn the best technique before swiping on bronzer, too. After all, you want to look sun-kissed and tanned, not over-contoured, splotchy and ruddy. Here, we chatted with Lancôme National Makeup Artist Darais to get his expert tips for achieving a golden and bronzed glow. 

Don’t Apply Bronzer All Over

“When bronzer first came out, people were told to put it all over,” says Darais. “Instead, use bronzer to achieve a sun-kissed look.” For a softer glow, apply it to the top of the cheeks, tip of the nose and above your temples. “You can also use it sparingly on the neck and under the chin,” he adds.“A touch of bronzer can even this area out with the rest of the face and body.” For a blendable, glowy bronzer, try the IT Cosmetics Ombré Radiance Bronzer

The Brush Matters

According to Darais, applying bronzer flawlessly is best done with a brush. “The softer the brush, the softer the effect,” he says, “So depending on if you want a more subtle or dramatic finish, you can change the brush based on that.” If you want a lighter, more glowing finish, he recommends reaching for a soft brush. And if you want a crisper, denser finish, he recommends trying a firm brush. 

“I love Lancôme’s Highlighting Brush #3 for a beginner, soft finish, Cheek Brush #6 for intermediate, medium finish, and Precision Cheek Brush #7 for expert and overall dramatic finish,” he says.

lancome highlighting brush #3
lancome cheek brush #6

Use the Correct Bronzing Formula


“The trick to maintaining bronzer all day is using a formula that is right for your skin type,” says Darais. If you have dry skin, try a liquid bronzer, like the Giorgio Armani Neo Nude A-Line Contour Liquid Bronzer, and if you have oily skin, reach for a powder formula, like the NYX Professional Makeup Born to Glow Illuminating Powder in Desert Night. Above all, remember that bronzer serves a different purpose than your contour. “Contouring is for creating shadows, but bronzing is for achieving a glow and warmth that will get noticed,” he says.

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