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You may have seen this product in the beauty aisle or heard your favorite beauty Youtuber recommend using it. But you may still be wondering to yourself, “What is bronzer, anyway?”
There are so many beauty products available on the market that it can genuinely be confusing trying to keep up. And with all the variations of bronzer available, you’re probably not only wondering, “what is bronzer?” but “why use a bronzer?” Not to worry, though! This guide covers everything you need to know about this product, the difference between bronzer and contour, and where to put bronzer.
Whether you’re looking to answer the “what is bronzer” question because you’re just starting out on your makeup journey or recreate the ultimate no-makeup makeup look, this guide has your back.
What Is Bronzer?
What is bronzer, you may be wondering? You’ve come to the right place. Bronzer is a warm-toned product that is meant to emulate a sun-kissed glow. Usually, you’d have to spend a few hours or days out in the sun to achieve this without bronzer. Bronzer is usually a shade or two darker than your skin tone and has a relatively warmer hue to it.
What Is Bronzer Used For
So, exactly what does bronzer do, and what is bronzer used for? Think of it as a temporary tanner for your face. You may find yourself in the midst of winter or in a country with limited sunshine. Perhaps you’re a diligent sunscreen user and you tend to avoid excessive sun exposure.
This is where bronzer comes in. It helps add warmth to the areas of your face that would usually become tanned in the sun. This can help you look more radiant and glowy, which is why it’s one of the essential items for a dewy makeup look.
Foundation and concealer can also make your face look pretty flat. Bronzer can help mitigate this by bringing back some color and dimension to your face.
Where Do You Put Bronzer
It may be confusing trying to figure out where to apply bronzer. Can it overlap with your favorite pink blush? Are there areas you should avoid bronzing? These are questions that can leave you utterly confused. But, bronzer is one of the most straightforward products to apply.
Since you’re aiming to emulate where you’d naturally become more sunburnt, you should apply your bronzer to the high points of your face. These points include the highest point of your forehead and cheekbones and the bridge of your nose. You can also apply some leftover bronzer to our chin.
A good rule of thumb is to apply bronzer in a 3-shaped sweeping motion. With the top of the 3 starting at the top of the forehead and the middle of the three hitting the cheekbones. The bottom of the 3 can end underneath your jawline and blend into your neck.
Bronzer is best paired with some blush to add to the sun-kissed appearance. But you don’t want the two mixing together, as this can create a muddy color. So be sure to leave a bit of space on the high points of your cheeks where you can apply your blush without it overlapping too much with the bronzer.
How To Apply Bronzer
The aim of bronzer is to add natural warmth and glow to your face. You want the bronzer to seamlessly blend into the skin and look like you’ve just returned from a week in Hawaii. Patchiness or strong lines can ruin this natural look.
To achieve this natural appearance, it’s good to use a large, fluffy brush and use small amounts of product at a time. It’s much better to build up the product than to go all in right at the beginning.
Once you’ve got the general placement of your bronzer down, you’ll want to blend it out in light, circular motions. This will ensure that the bronzer looks like it’s part of your skin.
Tip: Be sure to blend the bronzer into your hairline and ears for a natural, seamless appearance.
Bronzer VS Contour: What Is The Difference Between Bronzer And Contour
What is the difference between contour and bronzer? I can imagine that this question is popping into your head. When it comes to the bronzer VS contour conversation, you may feel even more confused, especially as the products share a few similarities. Both bronzer and contour are a few shades deeper than your skin tone and are used to imitate the effect of light. But, the two products are used to emulate light in different ways.
The purpose of bronzer is to warm up the areas of your face that would get the most exposure to the sun. In contrast, contour is used to emulate where shadows would naturally form on your face.
What Is Contouring?
Contour products are cool-toned and used to create or define shadows on your face. It’s usually used around areas like the hollows of your cheeks, the sides of your nose, and below your jawline. You can also use it around your forehead.
Contour products help to define face structure by creating or deepening the contrast between the highlighted and the shadowed points of your face. This is why it’s usually best used in conjunction with highlighting products that help the high points of your face stand out.
But contouring products are not just great for creating or increasing depth. You can also use contour products to redefine features. For instance, if you’d like to reduce the apparent size of your forehead, you may choose to add more contour to it to make it appear smaller. You could also make the tip of your nose appear smaller or make the bridge of your nose appear more narrow by strategic contour placement.
Contour placement is usually more precise than bronzer and can be applied in various positions to achieve different effects on the face — and even the body.
Can You Use A Bronzer To Contour?
Since bronzer is also a deeper tone than your skin tone, you may be wondering whether bronzer can be used as contour. But, bronzer and contour have two very different functions.
You can technically use bronzer to contour your face. But, as the bronzer is much more warm-toned, it won’t be able to recreate the shadows of your face. It may help you achieve a soft contour if used lightly, but you won’t be able to achieve a sculpted look.
As contour is placed in the hollow of your cheeks, below your cheekbones, it may make for a “muddy” appearance and even accentuate those areas. Contour is also usually a matte formula, while bronzers can have dewy finishes and may even contain shimmer. These will work opposite to the way contour works, once again defining areas you may want to reduce or deepen.
Can You Use Bronzer and Contour Together?
If you use bronzer and contour correctly, you can end up with a beautifully defined and glowy look. You don’t have to use both products to look amazing. But, if you’re going for a full glam moment, the two products can be magical together.
You can use contour to define your cheekbones and jaw and redefine your nose and forehead. Once you’ve added definition to your face, you can add warmth and glow to your face. Be careful not to overlap or mix the two too much to avoid creating muddy colors.
Is Bronzer Necessary?
There are so many products on the market, and more and more products are released almost daily. You may feel like you need all the products out there to look and feel sexier, but it all depends on your preference. If you already have blush in your makeup stash (or the bareMinerals Blonzers, which are blush and bronzer in one!), you can use that to create a glowy, sun-kissed look too. Apply it on your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose for a “just got back from the beach” look.
You may already be happy with the warmth in your face, or perhaps you’re using a face tanning product. In this case, you may feel like the bronzer doesn’t do much for you and that’s completely fine!
How to Pick the Best Bronzer for Your Skin
Now that you know what bronzer is and how to use it, it’s time to figure out which bronzer is best suited to you. Bronzers come in various shades, tones, and formulas.
How to Pick the Right Bronzer Shade
Bronzers usually come in fewer shades than foundations would. Some brands release as little as two shades of bronzers. While other bronzers, like the Fenty Beauty Cream Bronzer, come in up to seven shades.
In general, you’ll want to choose a bronzer that is just slightly deeper than your skin. If you have paler skin, you may want to go with a shade that is only one or two shades deeper. This is because it may be much easier to see any streaks or blotches. If you have a deeper skin tone, you can opt for between 1-4 shades deeper than your skin tone.
How to Pick the Best Tone of Bronzer
Your choice of bonzer will also depend on your skin’s undertone. If you have a cooler undertone, you may want to opt for a bronzer with less golden hues and more blue, red, or pink tones. If you have a more warm undertone, you’ll want to opt for a bronzer with more golden tones like yellow or peach.
Admittedly, this can be quite confusing to figure out. An alternative way to determine which tone your bronzer should be is to consider what tone your skin turns when you tan. If you tan redder, opt for a bronzer with reddish tones in it. If you tan more golden, opt for a bronzer with golden tones. This method will be especially handy for someone with a more neutral skin tone.
How to Pick the Right Bronzer Formula
Not all bronzers are going to work for everyone, which is why it’s great that there are so many options to choose from. However, this can make it harder to find your match. Bronzers come in liquid, gel, cream, and powder formulas. Additionally, some may have light or heavy specks of shimmer in them. Knowing your skin type will help you find the formula best suited to you.
Best Bronzer for Dry Skin
If your skin is on the drier side, bronzing products in cream and gel formulas may be your best bet. These products usually have hydrating ingredients in them that help the products appear smooth on your skin. They’re usually less likely to cause flaking or accentuate any dry patches on your face.
The liquid bronzer may be a more challenging option to start with, as it can be tricky to apply. On the other hand, cream bronzers are a bit easier to apply. If the cream bronzer is in a stick form, try to warm the stick up on the back of your hand and apply the bronzer from there.
Some excellent bronzers for dry skin include:
- Tower 28 Beauty – Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
- Saie – Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer
- Milk Makeup – Bionic Liquid Bronzer
Best Bronzer for Oily Skin
If you have oilier skin, you may want to opt for a powder bronzer or a product formulated to have a matte finish. These types of products will help you keep any oiliness at bay. They’re best used in conjunction with a mattifying primer — like the Too Faced Matte Skin Primer — to ensure that the bronzer stays all day.
Below are a few bronzers worth considering if you have oily skin:
- Benefit – Hoola Bronzer
- Fenty Beauty – Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer
- Huda Beauty – GloWish Soft Radiance Vegan Bronzing Powder
Best Bronzer For Fair Skin
If you have fair skin, you may know the struggle to find the right bronzer because quite a few bronzers look orange (aka too warm) quickly. To help avoid this in the future, try to opt for a neutral-toned bronzer.
What is bronzer for fair skin:
- Charlotte Tilbury – Beautiful Skin Sunkissed Glow Bronzer (P.S. if you use my code beautymoneFA078 you’ll get 15% off!)
- Fenty Beauty – Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer in Butta Biscuit
- Patrick Ta – Major Sculpt Creme Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo in She’s Statuesque
Best Bronzer For Dark Skin
If you have dark skin you probably know that Fenty Beauty is your go-to brand, thank you RiRi for creating such an inclusive brand! So it won’t surprise you that this list contains 2 Fenty bronzers and one gorgeous Saie bronzer for dark skin.
What is bronzer for dark skin:
- Fenty Beauty – Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer in Thick Mint
- Fenty Beauty – Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer in Toffee Tease
- Saie – Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer in Deep Bronze
Final Thoughts on “What Is Bronzer?”
Hopefully, this guide has helped you clear up the question “what is bronzer” and you figured out what a bronzer is, how to apply it, and how to choose the best shade and formula for your skin. Finding the best makeup to suit your needs can be a tricky business. But the reward of finding your go-to beauty must-haves is unmatched. Be sure to have a look at this guide to curating a makeup collection for tips on streamlining your beauty stash. You’ll also love these creative makeup organizing ideas.
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