What is the Best Way To Make Bronzer Look Natural?

"I have no idea how to use it properly."
Sabrina Rinaldi
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"I have no idea how to use it properly."
How to use bronzer - Leighton Meester at 3.1 Phillip Lim Spring 2009

For a natural look, your bronzer must be the right shade and texture.

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Q: How the heck do you use bronzers? I bought a Rimmel London one a few years ago, which is apparently okay for my complexion, but I have no idea how to use it properly. I follow the “draw a 3 on your face” rule, but I never really notice much of a difference. I am super-duper pale and need to stay out of the sun, so I never have that nice hint of summer tan happening on my face. If it’s doable with a bronzer, how do you keep it looking natural and not like you’ve suddenly become a pumpkin? — Gimped

A: Gimped, there are a few different ways you can approach this. 

The reason it's not working can be a combination of colour, technique and the consistency of your product.

For someone like yourself that is super-pale, you definitely want to avoid looking too orange, which is a very common problem. I like choosing bronzers that are more beige and have no orange or red undertones.

My favourite is DuWop Mattilume, in either Lighter or Darker.

These powders don't even look like bronzer, but when applied, they give the perfect colour to pale skin. This is because fair skin tends to show pigment very easily, so even when it looks light in the packaging, it tends to show up darker on the skin.

Another tip would be to use a cream texture instead of a powder. I will often just use a foundation that is a couple of shades darker than the person's skin tone, instead of a bronzer. 

You can apply it with a foundation swirl brush (the ones that have black hairs on the bottom and white on the top) to the outer corners of the face. This also gives a nice, natural finish.

Applying your bronzer in the "3" shape is correct! That's how I always recommend to do it. Make a "3" on the outside of the face, sweeping the product across your outer forehead, cheekbone and along the jawline—and then repeat that in reverse on the other side.

Lastly, I would also steer clear of too much shimmer or glitter in a bronzer. This can definitely make it look too intense and unnatural.

Sabrina Rinaldi is a Toronto- and Montreal-based hair and makeup artist.