Was ever there a more fickle relationship than that between a woman and her bronzer? With ghostly models adorning catwalks, the Fashion Pack et al. hastily relegated trusty bronzers to the bottom of bags, the backs of drawers, and (dare we say it ) the bottom of bins – Pasty Paula ruled supreme. But then, just as the “English Rose” justification was starting to wear a little thin and we began to gaze longingly at the tangoed TOWIE stars, make-up artist Lucia Pica sent Henry Holland’s models glowing down the runway, and just like that, the bronzer is back. Hurrah! We’re rekindling our love affair with the bronzer, and predicting it will be the product du jour this season.
But the fact that our shelves are now awash (“ablaze”?!) with possibilities is in itself bitter-sweet – What shade? What formula? How to?… Get ahead of the game and chisel your cheekbones with our guide for the perfect glow this spring.
Pressed Bronzing Powder
These handy compacts are pretty versatile, with an instant mattifying effect – perfect for combating any t-zone shine. Any compact worth it’s salt will come with a handy mirror, which is essential for tan touch-ups on-the-go (it goes without saying that bronzer application sans mirror is a definite no-no).
Perfect for achieving that much-coveted natural glow, as the rocks cling individually to the brush, allowing even coverage. However, transport these at your peril! – We’ve had many a handbag fall foul of this rule.. We love St Tropez Bronzing Rocks
Keeps your complexion dewy and natural-looking, and sticks to the skin better. Application takes some getting used to, and the idea here really is to start small as these tend to have excellent colour payoff. Best used smudged onto bare skin for a subtle sun-kissed glow. The Body Shop’s new Honey Bronze Bronzing Gel For Face launches in May, and feels wonderfully decadent.
Calling all liquid-bronzing virgins! Best for drier skin types, or those who can feel a little cakey under powder. Try velvety Maybelline Dream Mousse Bronzer.
How to apply powder bronzer
1. Pick your shade. Makeup artist to the stars Mally Ronca suggests opting for a golden rather than brown shade, to avoid looking “muddy”. Draw a swatch along your jawline to test.
2. Prep your skin with your weapon of choice, and allow a couple of moments for the moisture to sink in. Skin should be dry to the touch, to avoid streaks.
3. Choose your tool carefully. Go for a large head and soft bristles for a natural-looking glow. Bobbi Brown’s Bronzer Brush ticks all the right boxes.
4. Coat your brush with a light layer of bronze and blow gently to remove excess product. It is always better to start light and build up than be over-enthusiastic and regret it!
5. Mimic the sun – begin your bronze on areas the sun hits first and then blend, blend blend! Beginning with the cheekbones, draw your brush in a “3” on each side of the face – forehead, cheekbones, chin – and repeat until you achieve your desired intensity.
6. Finally, without re-loading the brush, draw it lightly across the forehead and down the nose.
Mousse/cream/gel/liquids are the most travel-friendly of all bronzers, as there’s no need for a brush. Simply press some colour into the apples of your cheeks using the back of your lower thumb and smudge for a gorgeous sun-kissed stain.
Et voila – bronzed and beautiful and not a tango in sight!
See also our article Bronzing Beauty: How To Apply Bronzer for more tips and recommended products.