Shimmer, glitter, or matte? The ultimate guide to bronzer

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When it comes to bronzer, you probably fall into one of two camps: either you use it but don’t really know too much about it, or you don’t use it because you aren’t entirely sure how to do so in at least a half-worthwhile way. 

Hence, you could benefit immensely from reading this detailed — but also to-the-point — article about various aspects of bronzer usage. 

What is bronzer?

BeautyBrainsBlush explains that bronzer’s primary goal “is to bring a healthy, radiant warmth to the sun. Think of it as a gorgeous sun-kissed glow — without the dangers of tanning.”

You can buy bronzer in various forms, including powders, gels, and creams — and you can also choose a specific shade for your bronzer. 

The usual idea is that the bronzer you use should be at least one shade darker than your natural skin tone. That way, you would be able to darken specific facial areas that are more exposed to the sun. 

How does bronzing differ from contouring? 

It’s easy to confuse the two techniques, as they are both concerned with defining and darkening particular areas of the face. However, while the ends may be similar, the means are quite different.

Contouring uses a cool toned matte cream or powder to produce the illusion of shadows on the face — and, in the process, add definition along such features as the cheekbones, jawline, forehead, and nose. 

Bronzer, meanwhile, is warmer in tone — and primarily intended to imbue the face with greater warmth and radiance. 

What shade of bronzer should I use?

This will depend on your natural skin tone — as, typically, the bronzer used should be 1-2 shades darker. A bronzer too light could leave little discernible effect, while an overly dark bronzer could, on your face, look… well, a little too much like a bronzer. 

Jessica Alba’s makeup artist Nick Barose advises The List readers to “avoid reds or browns if you’re fair, because those shades will make you look orange and dirty.”

Shimmer, glitter or matte bronzer?

Shimmer bronzers are especially common — and for good reason, as they can help skin to appealingly glow. However, they are not always the best choice for oily skin, as they can emphasize its existing shininess. 

Meanwhile, Woman & Home warns that “glitter will make dehydrated skin or lines like crow’s feet more obvious.” Matte bronzers lack any shine, and simply produce a flat shade. 

How should I apply bronzer?

To achieve a natural-looking effect with bronzer, you need to place it on areas that would inevitably become darker were you to spend enough time out in the sun. 

These areas include the cheekbones, forehead, temples, and nose. You will also need the right kind of brush — a fluffy one at that — in order to apply bronzer effectively, but suitable brushes are provided with many bronzer bundles available to buy online. 

It pays to be cautious when putting on bronzer — as, though an excessively light bronze can be easily deepened, you could struggle to remove surplus bronzer left on the face. 

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