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How To Nail That Million Dollar Glow With Your Bronzer Game

Get that sun-kissed look in the right bronzer shade without the tanning commitment.

Fact: Using bronzers can sometimes be tricky. You have to pick the right shade and undertone so you don’t look muddy or splotchy or just plain orange; and you have to apply it the right way so you look sun-kissed not sunburned.

To soothe your concerns and demystify the world of bronzers, we’ve tapped on the expertise of Shireen Osman, a freelance makeup artist since 2013.

“Bronzers are mostly warm-toned and are used when you want to look sun-kissed,” says Shireen. When looking to use it as a contouring product, pick one that is cool-toned. These are great to sculpt the face with. “If you want to go subtle with your contour, a bronzer works just as well,” she adds.

When it comes to choosing a bronzer, she recommends picking a buildable formula over a pigmented one as it gives you more control. It’s always easier to add more, than to remove excess product. And while shimmery bronzers can give a nice glow, people with textured skin should skip them and opt for matte bronzers instead as the former can accentuate texture.

Shireen stresses the importance of finding the right shade of bronzer so the skin on your face and neck don’t look completely different. You want to look sun-kissed, not a deeper skin tone altogether. “A person with paler skin can use a light brown bronzer, while people with darker skin can opt for a golden bronzer to create the illusion of a nice beach tan.”

When shopping for bronzers she suggests testing the shade on your wrist rather than the back of your hand. “The skin on the wrist is much lighter, hence I have a good gauge on the pigmentation and how much control I have over building colour on the face.”

The method of application matters too. Shireen recommends using a fluffy brush to build and diffuse colour to achieve the desired level of sun-kissed glow. If you want a pinpoint application, go with a denser, tapered brush. Finally, sweep bronzer over where the sun naturally hits the face. This includes the temples, cheekbones, sides of the nose, chin, and around the hairline. Tap the bronzer below the cheekbones if you want to create a more chiselled effect.

Now that you know how to find and apply the right bronzer, we share with you some of our favourites for Asian skin tones above.

Backstage Photo

This article first appeared in Cleo Singapore. 

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Bronzer, $86, Sephora
The latest addition to Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup line, the Airbrush Bronzer is made with hyaluronic acid as well as finely milled mica, silica and powders to ensure a velvety texture that applies smoothly and seamlessly. This is available in four shades and is refillable ($62). Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer, $46, Sephora
True to Riri’s promise of creating an inclusive beauty line, her bronzers are available in eight long-wearing, transfer-resistant shades. Mango and papaya extracts ensure a matte-but-not-flat finish. Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer, $53, Sephora
An iconic product from Benefit, the Hoola bronzer leans more neutral-toned which makes it great for both bronzing and contouring. Nars Bronzing Powder, $65, Sephora
Available in four shades, Nars’ long-wearing bronzers are formulated with finely milled tiny gold shimmer particles that impart a radiant, healthy sun-kissed look. Sephora Collection Sun Disk Bronzing Powder, $30, Sephora
This Sephora iteration is for those who want to stretch your dollar, thanks to its hefty weight of 30 grams. PS: bronzers can do double duty as eyeshadows too, and are especially great for lazy days where you can’t be bothered to create a whole eyeshadow look. This is available in two shades. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer, $86
Hourglass employs its Photoluminescent Technology to create their Ambient Lighting Powders, which are infused into this radiant-finish bronzer. The innovation ensures a smooth, buildable coverage that won’t leave harsh edges. This is available in four shades. Cover FX Monochromatic Bronzer Duo, $56, Sephora
For those who can’t decide between matte and shimmer bronzers, Cover FX provides you with both in this duo palette. Try using the shimmer formula as a highlighter to create a monochromatic effect. This is available in two shades. Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer, $20.03, iHerb
Physicians Formula uses a combination of murumuru, cupuacu and tucuma butter derived from the Amazon forests and ultra-fine pearls to leave a healthy, radiant glow. This is available in four shades.