PSA: This is Exactly Where and How to Apply Your Bronzer

I'm going to be honest here - using the wrong bronzer can make you look incredibly patchy, muddy, or ashy, or as though you’re wearing the wrong shade of foundation.

To create a bronzed look with enviable warmth and radiance, you need to pick the right product for your complexion, skin type and know a little bit about where to apply your bronzer.

Where and How to Apply Your Bronzer_woman with bronzed face makeup and small gold hoop earringWhere and How to Apply Your Bronzer_woman with bronzed face makeup and small gold hoop earring

Choosing your bronzer: shade, formula, and finish

Our tips will set you on your way to a successful glowy makeup look, and help you figure out the difference between bronzer and contour.

How to pick your bronzer shade:

Realistically, it’s best that your bronzer should be no more than two shades darker than your natural skin tone if you’re going for a natural look.

You should also pay attention to your skin’s cool, warm, or neutral undertones to choose a shade that matches your overall colouring.

To glow up warmer skin tones, try the Inika Baked Mineral Bronzer. This beautiful baked formula provides an effortless radiance to the complexion without any glitter. It’s a clean formula that is also vegan and cruelty free. Plus, it also includes a lot of skin-loving ingredients such as Squalene and Magnolia Bark Extract to keep the skin healthy and happy.

The ultimate bronzer for those with cool undertones is theBalm Take Home The Bronze Anti-Orange Bronzer. Ditch the warm tones with this bronzer that runs cool, delivering the subtlest hue of golden bronze. It’s a seamless matte formula that can also be used for contouring. Super blendable and still incredibly pigmented.

A truly neutral bronzer that suits a wide range of skin tones is the Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder. These fairly subtle golden shades are perfect for achieving a natural look. This powder provides a buildable soft matte finish and can be applied with a powder bronzer brush. It's a super easy go-to choice that is simple to perfect for an everyday glow.

Choosing a bronzer formula:

Bronzer comes in various formulas to suit your skin type and personal preference. Cream, liquid, and gel bronzers are easier to work with and suit dry skin types best.

A powder bronzer may suit those with oily skin types better but can be slightly more difficult to blend.

Powder bronzers can also give a more natural skin-like finish, whereas the wet formulas give your skin a dewy look.

The Dr Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint is a multitasking product that is incredibly easy to blend. This skincare/makeup hybryd can be concentrated on the highpoints of your face or blended all over for an effortless and natural bronze. It’s also great to mix in with your everyday foundation if it’s a shade or two too light in the summer. This product provides a truly hydrating and dewy summer glow.

For the perfect powder bronzer that will suit a variety of skin tones, we recommend the Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer. It has a weightless matte formula that is easily blended for a serious glow and an airbrushed finished. We recommend this bronzer for those with oilier skin types or anyone who needs their makeup to stay on all day.

Now let's talk bronzer finish:

A matte bronzer such as gives a more natural finish and warms up your skin tone quietly whilst adding subtle definition.

A shimmery bronzer works more like a highlight, adding a radiant glow to your skin.

Those with problem skin should opt for a matte finish, as shimmer can highlight uneven skin tone and texture, whereas those with dull skin should go for a shimmery bronzer to add a bit of life and light to the skin.

You can’t go wrong with a classic like the Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer. It’s a truly matte finish that carefully defines your cheekbones, adding the perfect amount of warmth. This formula also comes in a range of shades to suit your skin tone. They’re all super flattering shades that won’t emphasise skin texture, pores or dryness. The perfect powder to make your everyday go-to.

The M.A.C Cosmetics Bronzing Powder comes in various shades that offer pearl or shimmer. These illuminating powders provide the perfect amount of radiance to dull or dry skin types. This is a smooth and sheer formula that is incredibly versatile and allows you to build up the colour. Perfect for a natural look and creating your ideal summer glow.

But where should I apply my bronzer?

Bronzer should be applied to areas where your sun hits your skin the most and where you naturally tan.

These tend to be the raised areas of your face such as the bridge of your nose, the temples, and your cheekbones.

One of the best ways to apply bronzer is to lightly dust the product in a figure ‘3’ along each side of your face.

Starting at the temples, move through to the cheekbones, and then finish by sweeping the brush across your jaw towards your chin. Be sure to thoroughly blend the product into your neck and hairline for a natural finish.

If you want to go for a full sun-kissed glow, lightly dust bronzer over the bridge of your nose and the chin. It’s easy to go overboard with this stage, so a very light hand is essential.

The key to the perfect bronzed glow is subtle application. It’s always much better to start lightly and build up layers, as bronzer can be very hard to blend if there's already too much product on your face.

Once you’ve practiced the look, you can have a holiday-fresh look all year long.

What to use for putting on bronzer:

Cream and liquid products are best applied with a beauty sponge or stippling brush. An affordable and effective option is the elf Small Stipple Brush, which creates soft layers of colour with two layers of synthetic bristles. The small size of the brush also helps you blend product into hard to reach places such as your hairline.

While it may be more on the expensive side, the Bobbi Brown Bronzer Brush is the berfect size and shape for applying bronzer seamlessly. With a rounded head and extremely soft bristles, this luxurious bronzer brush allows you to have control for easy application. It’s a great investment that will provide you with even application for years to come.

Watch professional makeup artist Megan share her tips on applying bronzer, blush and highlighter in the video below...

Find more of our best tips on getting glowy, bronzed skin in the guides below...

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

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