How to Apply Bronzer

Whether you have fears about tanning, very pale skin, or want to learn how to contour your face, applying bronzer is the ultimate solution. Applying bronzer incorrectly can make your face look orange or dirty though, so follow these steps for easy and perfect bronzer application.


  1. Image titled Apply Bronzer Step 1
    Choose a bronzer. Since the purpose of a bronzer is to darken the complexion subtly, the one you choose will depend on your skin tone as well as how dramatic a change you're looking for. Generally, it should only be two shades darker than your natural skin tone. Test a little on the clean skin of your face to make sure it "warms" your skin tone without making it look fake.
    • If you have fair skin, look for a honey-colored bronzer; for a medium complexion, choose a rose-bronze or gold flecked bronzer; dark skin is best enhanced with a tawny or amber bronzer.
    • Choose two separate bronzers for when you're at your palest in the winter, and for your tanned summer skin. This will keep your bronzer uniform year round.[1]
  2. Image titled Apply Bronzer Step 2
    Get a bronzer brush. Choose a wide, fluffy powder brush with a rounded top. If your brush is too small and stiff, it will give blotchy results. There are specialized bronzer brushes available on the market, although any large blush or foundation brush will work equally as well.
  3. Image titled Apply Bronzer Step 3
    Apply your foundation. Bronzer is added as a step after your concealer an foundation have been applied. Put these on in an even coat over the entirety of your face to smooth out your complexion and create a blank canvas for your contouring. Be sure to blend the foundation down your neck slightly for a more natural look.
  4. Image titled Apply Bronzer Step 4
    Swirl the brush evenly in the bronzer. It is best to apply your bronzer in light, even coats to build up color rather than adding a single dark layer at once. Therefore, just lightly coat the end of your brush in the powder and tap off the excess onto the lid of the container.
  5. Image titled Apply Bronzer Step 5
    Put on your bronzer. Apply bronzer to the areas of the face the sun would naturally hit. Using very light strokes, first apply the bronzer to the top of the forehead, the cheekbones, and down along your jawline. Done correctly, your bronzer application will be in a "3" shape on either side of your face.[2]
  6. Image titled Apply Bronzer Step 6
    Check the bronzer in daylight. Make sure your bronzer application is not too heavy and has an even appearance, watching for streaks. If too much bronzer is applied, blend the bronzer down evenly with a cotton pad or apply a little more base powder.


  • To make a contoured look, suck your cheek bones in and apply bronzer to the hollow. This makes your cheekbones look more prominent, but still natural.
  • Don't get to much product on your brush at a time, build it up if you need to!
  • Make sure to evenly coat each side of your cheeks if you are doing them.
  • Make sure not to get too dark of a bronzer, and make sure its the right tone for you skin.
  • Cheap bronzers are lumpy and can streak your face, so spend a few extra dollars on a quality brush for your bronzer application.
  • Wash brushes regularly to keep them clean and in good condition. Make-up artists often wash their brushes in warm water with washing-up liquid and conditioner.


  • Don't blow on the brush to remove excess bronzer -- if a little moisture reaches the brush, it can cause streaks.
  • The most common mistake made with bronzers is choosing one that looks too orange on the skin, which in turn looks artificial.

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