How Do I use a Bronzer? Top Tips on how to apply Bronzer by Maxime Poulin, Guerlain International Makeup ArtistJune 19, 2012 • By Paris B
Its June and June usually translates into Summer. Hot sun, tans…. but I hear the ladies in the Northern Hemisphere aren’t quite enjoying as hot a summer as they’d like this year. Wish I could trade you some sun for some cooling rain! Down in the Southern Hemisphere, its turning cold as winter sets in.
I’ve learnt that there is one makeup item that pops up at about this time that can transcend the seasons – bronzer. It brings glow to a tan in Summer and brings life to dull pasty skin in Winter. I am personally only just starting to get the hang of bronzers. For the most part, I’m still not quite into them, simply because the brown shades show up quite stark against my skin. But I’m learning to look at bronzers which are lighter and sheerer in colour and texture and when I do find them, comes the next question: How do I use a bronzer?
Maxime Poulin ~ Guerlain International Makeup Artist from Paris
The most important thing however, is knowing how to apply a bronzer. Sure, we’ve all heard of tips like “Drawing a big 3 on your face”, “Shading under your cheekbones”, “Use it to contour”, “Apply it where the sun hits” but seriously ladies, I don’t know about you, but these tell me nothing. I can’t apply it where the sun hits because on this pancake face, it hits everywhere Plus since I don’t tan, and don’t go out in the sun a lot, I’m not quite sure where the sun hits.
However, during a short chat with Mr. Maxime Poulin, International Makeup Artist from Guerlain, I’ve picked up some tips that I found much more helpful than anything I’d ever read. I hope you will too.
Where to apply bronzer
- Start by feeling the bones on your face. You want to look natural by shading under the bones that protrude – cheekbones, brow bone. Don’t shade where you will not naturally see a shadow or hollow. The eye isn’t tricked that easily and you could end up looking odd.
- Shade under the jawline. This gives an illusion of a defined jawline. Don’t use a colour that is too dark because it has to blend into your neck as well. Not done right, you might look like you have some dirt on your jaw that needs cleaning.
- Shade at both corners of your temples from the brow-bone creating a triangle taking it to the hairline. This tricks the eye into making your forehead look less broad and your face look smaller.
- Shade under your natural cheekbones to lift your cheekbones visually. This gives an illusion of higher cheekbones.
- Shade close to your hair line. It should be a seamless shadow that looks natural, not so obvious as to say “Look! I’m wearing bronzer!”
I have done a little collage for some simple guidelines on where you could apply bronzer and more importantly, where NOT to apply bronzer. Pictures are just so much easier to handle than words aren’t they?
The brown shaded areas show you where bronzer should go. The blue lines are the limits.
Where NOT to apply bronzer
As important as it is to know where to apply bronzer is to know where NOT to apply bronzer. Using a bronzer seems to be more of an exact science than any other makeup item! Using the image above, here’s where you should stop with the bronzer.
- No bronzer in the area between the irises of the eyes. Just looking at the irises of your own eyes, keep the area in between a bronzer free zone. This should instead be used as a highlight area which can give an illusion of a narrower face.
- Measuring from the tops of your ears to your nose, no bronzer above that imaginary line. The area above would be your natural cheekbones which would be reserved for blush and highlighter. Going above it with bronzer can throw off the line of the eye.
- No bronzer under your nose. Going too low with your bronzer, just like blush, can pull down your face visually and make you look older. This applies mostly for the cheek bronzer application. The area to shade would be just a small triangle under your cheekbones, just above the line of your nose.
- Bronzing on temples on side of brow bone to the hair line. Don’t take it too far inwards (Remember Item #1)
I was quite naturally thrilled to know that Monsieur Maxime Poulin is a big fan of the Guerlain Meteorites perles powder. Truly a man after my own heart Guerlain Meteorites are, he says, like a family secret. It is a beauty tip passed down from mother to daughter. I couldn’t agree more!
However, if a young lady in France were to go out and buy her first Guerlain item, she would likely go for the Guerlain Terracotta powders. Guerlain was the first company to use the name “Terracotta” in their bronzing powders and the powders are supposed to be light and sheer enough to suit any skintone, even mine.
In fact, and I have to agree, Guerlain has one of the largest selections of bronzing powders as compared to other brands, and it is mostly permanent. Talking to Monseiur Poulin made me want to run right out and pick up a Guerlain Terracotta powder! Sadly, with all due respect to Monseiur Poulin, I still found them too brown-orange for me. I am however happy with the colour in Terra Inca from last year, so I’ve decided to practice with it for now using these tips here, and see how I feel about it. Maybe by Guerlain’s Terracotta 2013 collection, I’ll be ready for my first proper Terracotta bronzer
I hope these tips on how to apply bronzer have helped you understand it and maybe be less afraid of it. I must say that the key thing for me, is to find a powder that can double up for contouring because many bronzers are by themselves a little too deep in tone for me. However, when you do find one, practice. None of this is an exact science and naturally, you shouldn’t be seeing lines of colour on your face as I have shown in the image. What you should see is a softly contoured look that tricks the eye into seeing cheekbones and definition without someone telling you “Oh, is that some dirt on your face? Here, let me help you remove it with some tissue paper”
Are you a fan of bronzer? Have you tried the Guerlain Terracotta bronzing powders and do you have a recommendation for one that you think might not be as scary dark for me?