Welcome to our Ask Beautyeditor column, where our experts answer your hair, skin and makeup questions. To request makeup advice:
- Email email@example.com with “Makeup Question” in the subject line.
- Briefly describe your makeup issue.
Please note: All photos will be published.
Q: Hi Michelle! I'm an avid reader of Beautyeditor and trust everything you say! With that being said, on Sunday I believe you posted a few snaps of an RMS bronzer and blush, and you said they gave off the look that you'd been out the sun. I want that look (without actually having to go out in the sun! LOL). Can you tell me the names of the blush and bronzer you mentioned? Thanks, Michelle! — Lindsey
A: Lindsey, thank you for the kind words!
A little faux sunburn—just across the nose and cheeks—is one of my favourite looks during warm weather. (Key word: faux. I don't endorse getting this look the "natural" way. Please keep up with these, people!)
Thankfully, it's easy enough to recreate with some rosy-bronzey makeup.
First, some examples of the effect we're going for. Erin Heatherton nails the look (of course, her natural freckles also help!):
Gisele Bündchen does this a lot, too:
Also Italia Ricci:
And here's the same idea at Michael Kors (too red, but it's exaggerated, as is the norm for runway makeup):
What I'm talking about is that flush that goes right across the cheeks and the bridge of the nose, to mimic where the sun would naturally hit.
Although I couldn't find an example on darker skin, I think this could work on anyone, provided you use the right (i.e. realistic-looking) shades.
Step 1: Create a Tan
The first product I recommend, to add tanned colour, is new RMS Beauty Contour Bronze. It's a bronzer and contour in one, and what makes it unique are its brown undertones (as opposed to the usual red-oranges in 99 percent of bronzers). Like all RMS products, it has a cream texture, which looks much more authentic on the skin than powder.
If I were to use the Contour Bronze as contour, it would be too dark, but it looks completely natural when I apply it the way we're going for here—across my cheeks and the bridge of my nose. (It's also very buildable, if you need more intensity.)
I blend it on with the RMS Beauty Skin2Skin Blush Brush, which I also have to mention because it makes ALL the difference when applying cream products. It buffs the pigment into the skin for a truly seamless finish that doesn't even look like you're wearing makeup.
Step 2: Add a Tawny Blush
You might be happy with how that looks alone, especially if you've already got a bit of a tan. Otherwise, I like to add some cream blush on top—concentrated across the nose and inner cheeks—to exaggerate the sunburnt effect even more.
Instead of the usual pinks and peaches, I suggest looking for warmer, deeper, tawnier shades, such as RMS Lip2Cheek in Promise. This is described as a salmon pink with subtle gold shimmer, but you'll not be able to see the shimmer on your skin—it's more like a "your lips, only better" type of shade. On the nose and cheeks, the effect is very much like burnt skin (but in a good way!).
Although I'm partial to the RMS Beauty line, you could also do this with other cream products, such as:
- Stila Convertible Color in Peony or Camellia
- Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Ibiza
- Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick in No. 20 (reviewed here)
- Bite Beauty Multistick in Cashew (reviewed here)
Step 3: Fake Some Freckles
One more thing... if you're REALLY into this look, for extra cuteness points, you can add fake freckles! Penélope Cruz draws them on all the time:
So do I, once my own start to fade. The most realistic freckle-maker I've found is Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Taupe. (You might think Blonde would be better, but it's actually too reddish.) This is a waterproof cream that really stays put.
You need a tiny, pointed-tip brush to stipple on the fake freckles—I use the Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush. Then, just smudge a bit with a fingertip, and your sun-kissed look is complete!
I hope this helps you get the faux sun-kissed look you've been after!