As much as I love and adore makeup, bronzer completely stumps me. I just don’t know how to wear it. And I have a theory: it’s because my face is already brown. As a woman with Chinese heritage and a tendency to tan quickly, my skin already has a caramel latte tone.
If the object of using bronzer is to make one’s skin browner, then what’s a brown girl to do? Double down on the brown? I need help!
The Glow already has bronzers for pale skin covered, so I decided to figure out bronzer on behalf of all the women out there with skin tones that are olive or darker.
Step 1: Shade.
Successful bronzer application begins with the right shade selection. "An ideal bronzer shade for someone with olive skin would be one or two tones darker than your skin," explains Valerie Giraud, makeup artist to the stars and founder of Antonym Cosmetics (available exclusively at Sephora).
Ah! That's what I was doing wrong! I was choosing bronzer that was too dark.
For women with deeper skin tones, like the gorgeous Danielle Brooks (Taystee from Orange is the New Black), Valerie has a great tip.
"I personally think that the best thing for women with darker skin is to bring a glow to the skin." She suggests using a bronzer just one shade darker than your natural skin tone, as well as a highlighter "to bring more light to the face".
Step 2: Placement.
I love looking at photos of celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Sarah Hyland, Jennifer Lopez and Mindy Kaling, to see where they place bronzer on their faces. I've noticed that these women place shimmering bronzer on the apples of their cheeks and upwards towards the temples to create a plump, sunny effect.
Valerie suggests that olive-skinned girls apply bronzer "all over the face". For women with darker skin tones, she recommends creating a contoured effect - that is, applying the bronzer under the cheekbones.
Step 3: Formula.
Bronzer comes in a myriad of different formulations: creams, gels, sticks and powder. It's also available in matte and shimmer finishes. It's bamboozling. I've tried all of these formulas and finishes, and can't seem to get it right.
When it comes to Valerie's formula choice, it's powder all the way. "I prefer powder, as it is easiest to control the amount applied," she advises.
She also recommends using a shimmering bronzer, as it "looks better on darker skin".
Step 4: Tools.
OK, so I've got the shade, formula, finish and placement sorted but how do I get the bronzer onto my mug? Grab a brush for this one.
"A powder brush would be ideal as it allows you to apply the product very gently and slowly to the face," explains Valerie.
Step 5: Amount.
Part of my problem with bronzer is that if I use just a little bit, it doesn't show up. But when I apply more, it looks like I've melted chocolate onto my face or something. I asked Valerie how much bronzer I should apply, and this is what she said.
"With bronzer always remember to apply lightly and build up to the desired effect. It might take a few times before you get that perfect look. But it’s makeup… if you put too much, simply remove and start again. That is the fun part."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Bronze away!