Ask & Answer: What’s the difference between blush and bronzer?

by Paris B on · 23 comments

in Blush,Discussions,You Asked?

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Blush is a subject dear to my heart but bronzer is like whoosh! Flies over my head.  So when reader Effa emailed me a question a while ago about the difference between blush and bronzer, I was a little stumped.

Hey Paris!

[snipped for brevity]

I tried to search any review on “bronzer” in your blog but I didn’t find any. (if there’s any maybe you can provide me the link?) Whats the different between a bronzer and a blusher? I mean, of course a bronzer would not come with pink colour (or do they?) , but what exactly a bronzer can do for us? What is the difference between a blusher (e.g brown color blusher) and a bronzer?… I don’t know but i think it is something worth to try on, but not sure if I’d look okay or not. I’ve never tried any sample or even dare to ask about it at any beauty counters, ‘fret buying a bronzer might be a big mistake. Have you ever tried wearing a bronzer?

Have a nice day!


My answer to Effa then was essentially that I haven’t really reviewed any bronzers because I don’t own any. The only bronzer I own is probably the Dior Bronze Harmony Rose Brazilia which I mostly use as a blush as it works for me that way.

A difference between bronzer and blush visually is that Bronzer is usually browner (sometimes with hints of pink or golden tones or orange tones) and Blush tends to be pink, peach or orange. They can sometimes be used interchangably dependingon your skintone. A person with darker skin might be able to pull off a bronzer as a blush while a person with lighter skintone might have to use a darker blush as bronzer may be too dark.

Bronzer is also usually used for contouring and for faking a bit of a tan to look healthy while Blush adds colour to the cheeks for a rosy/pink cheeked look.

Personally, I don’t use bronzer because most of you might have seen that I’m quite fair skinned and when I tried using a bronzer, I look dirty like I have been playing in dirt. I do have some light shimmer bronzing powders I use in the evenings when I remember but its rare. Also if I wear a darker color on my face it won’t match the rest of me and I’d look weird 😛 You aren’t supposed to use bronzer all over the face but mostly around the hairline, near the ears, under the cheekbones and perhaps on the chin. The most common way to apply bronzer is to draw a big 3 on your face starting from your forehead, onto your cheekbones and then onto your chin.

Far from me to give a thesis lecture on bronzers and blush, why don’t you, my dear readers help Effa and myself out? 😀

What do you think is the difference between bronzer and blush? What is your favourite bronzer and your skin tone?

If you’d like a question featured do email me at parisb {at} mywomenstuff {dot} com and we’ll all chip in and help you get an answer!

Stay beautiful

Paris B

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[ 17 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Jooj July 17, 2009 at 10:16 am

i have just discovered the wonders of bronzers myself! i treated myself to a longtime lemming, NARS Laguna when i was in Paris (!! lol) a couple of months ago. it’s one of the most raved about bronzers around. i use it lightly under my cheekbone as a contour, blending up to the temples and then apply blush as usual, on top of the bronzer. it adds warmth and dimension to my face, and i don’t think it makes me look dirty or darker at all. i can’t stress the importance of finding the *right* shade of bronzer for your skintone, because too dark or the wrong tone will definitely make you look muddy. application is key, and using the right brush so it doesn’t go on too heavily makes a big difference.

Bobbi Brown actually has some shimmery bronzers out right now that may be limited edition, or may be permanent depending on how well it does. they come in different shades, and the lightest one is a nude pink that i swear looks more like blush to me, and i think would look great on fair skintones.

i see Revlon also has a blush/bronzer duo out now at the pharmacies. i swatched them on my hand but they don’t seem to be amazing quality. honestly i’m a bit disappointed, because Revlon is one of my favorite lines at the pharmacies. hope this helps!


maizura July 17, 2009 at 10:27 am

iI tot bronzer is blusher in bronze-golden brown colour while blusher is the other blusher :p

I have both. Bronze one from Chanel and pinkish to peach one from Bobbi Brown. I think I can wear both depends on the outfit Im wearing and my mood of the day.


Nikki July 17, 2009 at 11:38 am

you are so right with the difference of blush and bronzer, but unlike you, I found myself leaning onto bronzers as the bronzers look better on my cheeks that regular blush! lol could be just my imagination 😀


Saintangelius July 17, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I normally go for bronzers from Japanese companies as it fits my skintone better. These tend to be lighter in pigmentation and thus less ‘muddy’ looking. You have to be careful as the japanese bronzers are usually more shimmery/glittery compared to their western counterparts. I don’t have any that I can speak of now tho. Got off the bronzing bandwagon a while back. CanMake just realised a new bronzing line for summer which seems to have rave reviews in the japanese mags. Looks like a lot of shimmer to me but when swatched it was an acceptable shade that wouldn’t look too out of place. I’m just not into obvious glitter.
Shiseido’s Face Creator palettes has a bronzer shade that is usually used for contouring near the jawline.


Kahani July 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Besides colour, bronzers are meant to be sheerer and less pigmented than blushers but also finer milled.

contouring with a bronzer can give you a natural glow that’s quite entrancing. =)


lemon July 17, 2009 at 12:55 pm

I accidentally bought a redder shade of blusher for my skin tone from Bobbi Brown and later on I acquired a Body shop Bronzer, I hve been using both together, applying bronzer first and then the blusher. It tamed the red color and looks more natural on me with more orangy, preachy tone 😉


Renee July 17, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Oh, what a timely post. I found one of my old bronzers and tried it on again and realized I think I suit bronzers and darker colors rather than the pink/peach colors of blush. And I just bought NARS Orgasm! Damn … haha.

Anyway I think the difference would be:
bronzer: adds warmth, “tan” to the face
blush: adds flush, lighter colors to the face


Connie July 17, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I have a medium warm skin tone so bronzers are totally made for me! In fact, I have too many for my own good. The bronzers that I have usually contain a little bit of shimmer so I use it primarily for giving my skin a “tanned” and healthy all-year-long summer glow. I apply mostly along my cheek bones from the temples. sometimes I do the 3 and buff the remaining on the brush all over my face for a more baked look. When I use bronzers, I’d apply blush only on the apples of the cheeks. For contouring, I use a matte (no shimmer) shade :)


Vonvon July 17, 2009 at 3:31 pm

I have been wondering and pondering on this same question. Always wanting to know what a bronzer really is and its function. Now I got some of the questions answered with this post of yours. Thanks a bunch!


Shay July 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Here’s a good video on Bronzer application. Its mainly on the forehead and on the cheekbones to get a sunkissed look.

Paris, the way you described it, I think you meant contouring.

Here’s a good video for simple face contouring.


gio July 17, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I stayed away from bronzers for years cos I have very pale skin and was afraid thy wouldn’t look good on me. I started using them last year to contour my face and it really makes a huge difference. I usually just apply some on my nose to make it look smaller and on my cheeks to give me some instant cheekbones.

I don’t have a favourite bronzer, though. At the moment I’m using one included in one of my Pupa palettes that looks nice on fair skintones.


Shay July 17, 2009 at 11:27 pm

From the reading of the other comments, I realised that some might use bronzers for contouring. I am quite puzzled.

To my understanding, the purpose of bronzing is supposed to give you the “sun goddess” look. They are light reflecting powders/creams.

Contouring is to shape the face into desired shape/size by casting “shadows” on the skin. Contouring is often matte on the skin because those parts are not supposed to reflect light and catch attention. Precisely, those parts are to be “de-emphasised” by hiding them in “shadows”.

Someone mentioned the shiseido mq face creator palette. That’s good as I have that one. The beige-y colour on the left is a bronzer and its shimmery. The dark chocolate colour at the bottom of the palette is for contouring and its matte.


Muta July 18, 2009 at 12:23 pm

My skin is not very fair like You, Paris B, but I have enough friends telling me I have a fair skin (I use no.22 ZA two-way foundation).

And I bought Revlon beyond natural blush-bronzer, and a few of ELF bronzer, after trying all of them a few times, I notice they don’t give me the promised healthy glow. But rather, like you said, dirty look.

I think from now on I’ll stick to blushes, instead of bronzer.


Melissa July 20, 2009 at 7:30 am

Bronzer is great, if used correctly. It should be subtle (go light – you can always add more). Creating a 3 on either side of the face is a good way to start. You will hit the spots on your face where the sun would hit naturally. You’ll like the natural glow that you can give to your face.


Coco May 18, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Can I use Bobbi brown bronzer powder all over my face instead compact powder?


ParisB May 18, 2011 at 10:37 pm

If you aren’t afraid of looking brown, possibly. Compact powder is meant to set foundation/ aa foundation. Bronzer is to add colour. They have different uses.


Coco May 18, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Thanx Paris,actually I have dark skin tone/brown.but I like to looks natural or brown on my face so I choose kinda tropical beige colour for my powder.but lately I seen Bobby brown bronzer is suit on me


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