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Bronzers In The Backyard

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Zara Velez photographed by Alexandra Genova. Makeup by Shayna Goldberg.

We can duke it out about a lot of things over here but here’s one thing we all surely agree on: a bronzed look never goes out of style. Skin touched with a little bit of golden warmth just looks healthier, brighter...like it’s got an extra pep in its step, but at the same time a little more rested. Which is probably why brands have been whipping up and pumping out sunshine in bottles and pans, otherwise known as bronzer. Sunkissed skin just looks good.

Despite bronzer’s theoretical appeal, it’s a sore spot for many makeup users at home. Where... exactly... do you put it? To solve this quandary once and for all, ITG enlisted the help of makeup artist Shayna Goldberg, certified cheek expert. Her answer? Well, she pretty much puts it everywhere—bronzer looks great on the tops and hollows of cheeks, on your forehead, your jaw, your nose, your eyelids. She happily demonstrates it all below. Keep scrolling for four ways to go big and go bronze.

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The All Over Bronze

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Bronzer doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can be as easy as dipping a fluffy brush into a compact and sweeping it all over your face. A bronzer that’s close to your skin tone but a little warmer won’t necessarily make you look tanner—but that’s not the goal here. Instead, it fixes sallow laptop-face and helps you look alive. Because it’s not a far departure from your natural shade, it’s really hard to look blotchy, or orange, or uneven. A bronzer newbie’s first winning step.

After prepping Zara’s complexion with Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation in shade 8 and spot-concealing with Cinema Secrets foundation as needed, she did a quick pass with the lighter shade in Victoria Beckham’s Bronzing Brick 04 all over. Don’t forget to blend down the neck! After that, (are you ready for some extra credit?) she took the darker tone and brushed it just along the outer perimeter of Zara’s face, from the top of her forehead, down by her ears, and finally underneath her jaw. The second shade adds dimension, and glow.

Shayna also swiped Chanel’s Baume Essentiel stick in Perlescent, which adds lived-in shine and a brightening effect, on Zara’s eyes. She finished the look with a soft blend of Sunnies Face Fluffmatte lipstick in 143.

Zara's dress is from Jason Wu. Her necklaces are by Retrouvai and Foundrae, and her earrings are vintage.

The Sunburn Cool Down

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Have you ever tried sunburn blush? It’s where you place your blush on the most protruding parts of your face, just where the sun might hit. For the next look, “I wanted this look to read almost like blush, but not blush,” Shayna explained, before finally landing on the word “sunkissed” as her ultimate goal. Imagine if your “sunburn blush” calmed and faded to tan—swap it out for bronzer, and you have a totally different look. Bronzer gets a rap for looking sexy, or mature, but there’s something very youthful about wearing it this high up on your cheeks. It almost looks like what you’d see on a little kid who’s been playing with their friends in the streets all summer.

Shayna started by picking up Glossier Solar Paint in Volt, a deep mahogany flecked with microscopic copper pearl that adds warmth and brightness to Zara’s complexion. Blending it on the back of her hand and then tapping it in with her fingers, Shayna brought the color across the tops of Zara’s cheeks and the bridge of her nose. She kept the lower half of Zara’s cheeks (where contour might sit) totally bare. You’re doing a thing with bronzer, but it still reads totally effortless.

Shayna finished off the look by applying Glossier Solar Paint in Heat on Zara’s eyelids and brow bone for a hint of golden shimmer. She filled in Zara’s eyebrows with the Huda Beauty brow pencil, defined her lashes with Victoria Beckham’s mascara, and applied a thick coat of Bite’s Agave Lip Therapy mask on her lips for a juicy shine.

Zara also wears a vintage necklace and chunky gold hoop earrings are from LuvAJ. Her bodysuit is from Intermix.

The 90s Supermodel Contour

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Another way to use bronzer? To sculpt and lift—otherwise known as contouring. Contouring is meant to mimic and enhance the shadows that happen when light hits your bone structure. Anything that catches the light (like protruding cheekbones) looks brighter, and anything that doesn’t recedes. By adding a little bit of darkness to those natural hollows, you get the look of sharper features. On set, Shayna explained that Bobbi Brown’s bronzers are “the most classic” for this, and feature the perfect balance of undertones so you look healthy, not muddy, even in natural light. (The key? A teensy drop of red running though each of the shades.)

Deep, the shade Shayna used on Zara, is almost a rich taupe. The easiest way to contour is to follow a “3” shape from your temples, down into the hollows of your cheek bones, and back around under your jaw—which Shayna did, using a medium fluffy brush. After that, she picked up a bit more of Deep to add dimension along Zara’s lower lashline and in the outer corner of her crease. The move adds natural definition to make her eyes really stand out, without reading like she’s wearing any eye makeup.

Since this bronzer is matte, Shayna took the matte idea and ran with it for a wearable take on 90s supermodel glam. She created a multidimensional nude-brown lip with Victoria Beckham’s Lip Definer in No. 5, and filled in the center with Sunnies Face Fluffmatte lipstick in Bday.

Zara's green linen slip dress is from Sleeper, and her twisted gold hoop earrings are vintage.

The On-Vacation Glisten

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When the air is heavy with humidity, like in a tropical place or Brooklyn after rain, you can either fight it or lean in—here, you get a glimpse of the latter. So maybe powder’s not your thing! You can also use a creamy contour stick and smudge it in with your fingers—per Shayna’s instructions, always remember to blend your contour up. As we approached the end of our day on set and started to think about where we were headed next, Shayna demonstrated how to take a bronze glow from day to long, bright summer night. Now you know how to contour, right? Up the ante by blending it into a highlight shade, right on the tops of your cheekbones.

On Zara, Shaya used a two-sided contour stick from Uoma Beauty, the Double Take Contour Stick in Bronze Venus. This time she only contoured right under Zara’s cheekbones, so they’d really stand out. She also applied the light end of the stick to the higher planes of Zara’s cheeks, and pushed the contour shade up until they melded into each other. Because the bronzer’s dewy, not matte, it enhanced her skin’s natural sheen and gave an overall tropical vacation vibe.

Shayna drew a thick line of Shiseido Kajal Ink Artist liner in Nippon Noir on Zara’s lower waterline and lashline. She finished the look with a swipe of Chanel’s lip gloss in shade 204, a pale crystal pink. It’s a sultry take on Y2K makeup that feels fresh with the returned prospect of dancing out all night. And as the day’s sun began to fade, Zara’s glow didn’t.

Zara's haltertop is vintage Theory.