Make-up artists share their top tips for applying bronzer for a naturally sun-kissed look, which means you can get your glow on.

With holidays to sunny, far-flung destinations pretty much impossible right now, if you want a tan the old ‘fake it till you make it’ adage is more relevant than ever.


Bronzer is the easiest option if you want to get a gorgeous glow in no time, but it’s still possible to go overboard, pick the wrong shade or end up with uneven patches.

That’s why we’ve enlisted a pair of pro make-up artists to school us on how to create a subtle, sun-kissed look with either cream or powder formulas with their tips for applying bronzer.


Here are five common mistakes – and how to avoid them, plus our pick of the best bronzing products.

Tips for applying bronzer

1. Prepare your skin properly

“Skincare is a tool to make your skin beautiful and healthy and glowing,” says Julia Carta, celebrity make-up artist on behalf of Cetraben. “Using skincare the right way, you’re going to get a beautiful canvas.”

She recommends moisturising with Cetraben Natural Oatmeal Moisturising Cream, which will create a smooth, hydrated base, whether you’re using cream or powder bronzer.

2. Find your perfect shade

“Making sure you get the right bronzer for your skin tone is so important because getting the wrong one can either make you look orange, ashy or like there’s no make-up on you,” says Bobbi Brown make-up artist Zara Findlay.

How do you find the perfect shade? “Your bronzer should be the same undertone as your skin – cool, warm, olive, or neutral – and should be the natural colour your skin tans,” Findlay says.

“The easiest way to see if it is the perfect colour for you is to place the bronzer against your chest and see if the bronzer lifts and compliments your skin tone.”

3. Apply bronzer naturally

“After you prep properly, then you can start to look where your placement goes,” says Carta. “With bronzer, it’s across the cheekbones and across the bridge of the nose where the sun would hit you naturally.”

You can also use matte bronzer to gently contour your face.

“So if you’ve got a wide face, you want to slim it down by putting bronzer in certain areas,” Carta says. “Use the same placements that you would do with contouring technique, which is a ‘C’ shape around the temples.”

4. Combine matte and shimmer bronzer

Bronzers usually fall into one of two camps: matte or shimmer. Carta recommends combining the two to create a three-dimensional look.

“Use the matte where you put your contouring powder, then where you want your highlights, use the shimmery one.

“That’s a clever way of doing it – it’s what I do a lot when I’m working on celebrities because it gives them that beautiful subtle glow.”

5. Ensure you apply bronzer to your neck

The cheekbones are the most important area for bronzer, but it’s important to finish off with a light dusting of colour over the rest of the face to even out your skin tone.

“Always bring the bronzer down to your neck – you don’t want to look like two separate people!” Carta warns.

“To define the jawline and get rid of a double chin, you should blend it in – and don’t forget your ears as well.”

Bronzer best buys

From cult classics to hot new launches, get your glow on with these brilliant bronzing powders and creams.

Tips for applying bronzer - Hoola

Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer, around £27


Morphe Brontour Fantabulous, around £12

Tips for applying bronzer - Pays For Days

Beached Rays For Days Natural Bronzer Serum, around £21, Beauty Bay

(Dr Hauschka/PA)
(Dr Hauschka/PA)

Dr Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint, around £29.50, Look Fantastic

(Bobbi Brown/PA)
(Bobbi Brown/PA)

Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder Duo, around £38, ASOS


MUA Bronzed Perfection Golden Dunes, around £4, Superdrug



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