How To Wear Bronzer

Warm Tan

There’s a lot of real estate on your cheeks, and you've probably noticed that the shades meant for the hollows have no business on the apples. The success of 'perfect' cheekbones or that flush that feigns coyness very much relies on placement. But since the system failed us by not making blush application part of the standard junior-high curriculum, we asked makeup artist Suzy Gerstein to help us make a hard-and-fast guide to where to put what colors—and why. Today (in our last and final installment of our How To Wear Blush series) we're talking bronzer.

The Effect: This is really nice for giving the impression that you've been in the sun without the danger of actually going in the sun. Using a warm tan blush as a bronzer works really well when layered with a pink blush. If you do too much peach on top of a bronze, it looks too Jersey Shore, but pink looks elegant and healthy.

The Placement: You can use any technique, but the places you want to apply bronzer are where the sun would usually hit. Across the high planes of the cheeks, at the bridge of the nose, across the chin, and a little bit in the crease of the eye, under the eye, and on the forehead. After applying it in a large rectangle—across the cheek for long faces, and in a curved, upward movement for rounder faces—use what’s left on the brush to do the rest of the face, especially for under the eye. After putting on concealer, blending a tiny bit of bronzer under the eye will make the concealer look like it’s your actual skin.

The Products: You can do this with cream, but powder is usually the easiest for most women. Those new Chanel Les Beiges in the two darkest colors are great as bronzers. Clinique Stay Matte Powder comes in shades deeper than most skin tones, which can work as bronzers as well. For a cream version, I also like the Nars The Multiple in Puerto Vallarta, and RMS Buriti Bronzer—that one works great as a lipstick and eyeshadow for a full 'beach bunny' look.

—Suzy Gerstein

You can follow Suzy on InstagramTwitter or FacebookHere's her website. Illustrations by Suzy Gerstein.

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  • Charlotte MacDonald-Gaunt

    Very useful - there is a lot going on on the cheeks so important to get it right without it looking messy and caked :o) Xx

    Makeup by Candlelight

  • Ailyn Koay

    i can't find any nice bronzers that are more reasonable in price. Nars is expensive here in aus

    • ITG Annie

      Try a foundation that's a few shades darker than your natural skin tone. NYX makes a good inexpensive stick foundation and powder compact.

      • Colleen Garrity

        That's exactly what I do- I have a darker version of the Sephora-brand power foundation I use, and it's perfect! (The Nars one does last a million years, though)

        • Ailyn Koay

          thanks for those tips ^_^ appreciate them a lot.

    • Ms. Minnow

      This may be a little late but I'm in Aus and I use Essence's bronzer (mine is specially for fair-skinned blondes). It is less than $10 and not orange or sparkly. Try it!

  • AKM

    The new Nars matte multiples are GREAT for this - I have Altai because I'm fair

  • Megan McClen

    Bronzer is tough because usually you're told to put it where you'd normally put highlighters, which seems counterintuitive. I feel like I just always end up not knowing what to do with it so I put a little bit everywhere, just to be safe.

  • Alaska

    No mention of bronzer's holy grail, Nars Laguna?? Dissapointed, ITG!! But I would like to try the Chanel as well. I just feel like nothing will ever live up to Nars though!! x

    • andee

      Used to love Laguna, but found Edward Bess in Daydream is less yellow, not orange at all and slightly less glitter.

    • Marcela

      I love the laguna color, it's so natural and no orange undertones... BUT the packaging SUCK! I can't travel with it or take the bronzer on my purse!! Still had no success in finding a good substitute. :(((((

    • Marcela

      sucks*** hehehe

  • Isabel

    Am I the only person who hates Laguna? It's orange and glittery. Bobbi Brown in Golden Light is where it's at.

  • Tammy

    Benefit's Hoola is amazing.

  • Kaitlin Wright

    Can you recommend a great, matte bronzer for sensitive skin? I look cheap in glittery options and my cheeks are easily irritated. Thanks!

    • equestrienne

      Alima Pure makes nice bronzers. I use Belize because I like the tiny bit of shimmer in it, but the others ones are matte. It's a mineral make up company, so their products are great for sensitive skin. Affordable, too!

    • 2tripplezip

      Kat Von D Shady Business II is excellent and stays put at for $25.00.

  • eizhowa

    Actually, the Chanel Les Beiges in the two lightest colors work great as bronzers as well - as long as you are pale enough;)

  • Emily

    Guerlain 'Terracotta' bronzing powder is my fave and lasts forever and a day. Definitely not cheap, especially in Aus but a real investment. Can't live without.

  • Ms. Minnow

    Yes, I get mine at Priceline. It's around $5 I think. I bought it thinking, if it's crap then so what it was so cheap but I've been pleasantly surprised.

    • Ailyn Koay

      cool . i do like it when things are reasonably priced

  • anastasiaC

    these are great!!! informative...


Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder
Clinique Stay Matte Powder
NARS The Multiple Stick
RMS Buriti Bronzer