What Is Bronzer – How To Pick And Use It?

Shalu B

Updated At  16 Sep 22

Want sun kissed radiant skin without actually bearing the heat of the sun? Do you wish for the after-holiday glow even without going for the holiday? If yes, then we have one word for you—bronzer.

You might want to know what is bronzer and what does bronzer do. When the bronzer is applied correctly, it can transform your appearance from the girl next door to that of a Greek goddess. For those of you who are still clueless or confused about the wonders that a bronzer can do, we have compiled this guide.

Keep reading our complete guide on bronzer as we tell you everything from what is bronzer and what does bronzer do to how to pick a bronzer and how to use it. We have covered it all.

We specifically cover the following:

  • What Is Bronzer
  • What Does Bronzer Do
  • How To Pick A Bronzer
  • Where To Apply Bronzer
  • How To Use Bronzer
  • Bronzer Vs Contour Vs Highlighter
  • FAQs




What Is Bronzer?

As the name suggests, a bronzer is a makeup product which when applied to skin gives it a bronzed look.


A bronzer is used to give skin some warmth, shine and radiance which is similar to a sun tan without actually going out in the sun.


You can kiss goodbye to tanning beds and sun’s harmful UV rays if you have got a bronzer in your bag. Many celebrities swear by it. From Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Lopez, and from Rihanna to Beyoncé, bronzer is a favorite of many.

Bronzer comes with three different finishes: shimmer, matte and sheer. That’s not it. It also comes in many different formulas: powder, creamy, gel and liquid.

A bronzer can help you achieve the A-game when it comes to your makeup. Let’s find out what exactly does a bronzer do?



What Does Bronzer Do?

So, what does bronzer do? Is it like a fake tan? Or is it like contouring?

Bronzer is used for attaining a tanned look but it is so much more than just an alternative to a fake tan. It is a makeup product which sits in the deeper parts of your skin to add warmth and shine to it. Consequently, you get a natural looking sun kissed glow. You cannot control the tan when in the sun but you can surely control how much bronzer to use. Isn’t that so easy and wonderful?

Bronzer when applied also adds some definition to the face. It is helpful in hiding most of the blemishes and other skin defects. We now have bronzers not just for face but for full body application as well. It can be used to give an illusion of slimmer and long legs.

Want to show off a deep cleavage? Use a bronzer. Want a sun-kissed glow when roaming around the beaches? Use your SPF lotion mixed with bronzer. Long legs like Beyoncé? Bronzer. Tired looking face because you pulled an all-nighter? Go for a bronzer and look fresh. Have pale skin? You guessed it right. Use a bronzer to add some warmth to your skin. The uses of a bronzer are endless.

With so many makeup trends bombarding us almost every other day, it is easy to get confused between which is which. How is a bronzer different from a contour and highlighter? Let’s understand the differences.


Where To Apply Bronzer


Where To Apply Bronzer?

A bronzer is used to achieve a sun-kissed look. Therefore, it is to be applied at places where the sun will naturally hit your skin. This means when applying on face, you must use bronzer near the temples of forehead, on cheekbones, nose and chin. For an easy guide, you can make the numeral 3 starting from temples to your cheekbones and then moving on to your jawline.

You can also use some on your shoulders and collarbones and flaunt your sun-kissed glow while wearing an off shoulder or V-neck top. You can also enhance your cleavage by adding some bronzer to it.

There are body bronzers too which come as moisturizers as well as mists and can be used to get a uniform tanned look.




How To Use Bronzer?

Using a bronzer is very easy and the bronzer tutorial explains the same. While applying bronzer, it becomes easier when you have the right equipment. The equipment here means the right makeup brush. No, you just can’t apply a bronzer with any brush.

Before proceeding with how to use bronzer steps in details, let’s give you a quick guide on the use of correct makeup brushes for applying a bronzer.

The type of brush to be used depends on the formula of the bronzer.

  • Use a synthetic brush for creamy bronzers but use a natural brush for the powder ones. This is because the natural brush will absorb the cream bronzer and synthetic brush won’t be able to hold off powder bronzer effectively.
  • For a gel or a liquid bronzer, you can use a wet makeup sponge or simply your fingertips to make the blending easy and perfect.
  • Matte and sheer bronzer is supposed to be applied with a brush which has a rounded head.
  • Bronzers which are shimmery should be applied with a sculpting brush as you have to be careful with the shimmer.
  • For the endgame that is to blend in the bronzer, you can use a kabuski or a stipling brush.

Now, you know what the perfect tools for each bronzer type are, let’s go ahead and talk about how to use bronzer. bronzer tutorial

  • Step 1: Start by cleaning your face. Follow your makeup routine as you normally would that is apply moisturizer, primer, concealer and foundation.
  • Step 2: Set everything with a translucent powder.
  • Step 3. Pick the makeup brush and rub it lightly into the bronzer. Tap off the excess quantity, if any.
  • Step 4. Use gentle circular movements to put bronzer across your temples and hairline.
  • Step 5. Tap into the bronzer again with your brush and swipe it across your cheekbones. Start from your ears and move to the front to the apple of your cheek. Blend well with small circular movements. Repeat on the other cheek.
  • Step 6. Now apply some just along your jawline and take the brush from your jaw towards your chin and go slightly down the neck.
  • Step 7. Finish off with the nose in the last step. Swipe just a bit of bronzer on both the sides of your nose.

While applying bronzer, always remember:

  • Pick the correct shade of bronzer.
  • Less is more. Don’t go overboard with the product.
  • Ensure your movements are circular and gentle.
  • Blend till there are no visible hard lines.
  • Apply where the sun would naturally hit your face. You can make a numeral 3 for a quick and easy guide.
  • Always do your makeup in proper light.




Bronzer Vs Contour

Both bronzer and contour are used to add depth and definition to the face. However, these are two very different products and techniques.

  • Contour is used to take the attention away from parts where it is applied whereas bronzer is used to enhance the dark and deep areas of skin.
  • Bronzer adds warmth to skin while on the other hand, contour adds shadows.
  • Bronzer gives a sun-kissed glow whereas a contour is used to sculpt the face and add definition.
  • Bronzer only gives the glow while adding some definition to face by means of color. But contour is used to achieve a slimming effect.
  • Bronzer is applied where the sun will naturally hit the face. Contour, on the other hand, is applied to add depth and shadows and to mainly achieve sharp cheekbones and jawline, slimmer face, or a sharp and slim nose.


Highlighter Vs Bronzer

Like bronzer, highlighter too adds a glow to your face. But, there are differences between the two.

  • Bronzer enhances darker areas of skin whereas highlighter reflects light.
  • Bronzer is used to give an illusion of a sun-kissed look. Highlighter, on the other hand, gives an illusion of a skin which is bright form within.
  • Bronzer adds warmth while highlighter adds height.




How To Pick A Bronzer?

By now, you know what is bronzer and what does bronzer do. You also know the difference between bronzer, contour and highlighter. It is now only fair to go ahead and tell you how to pick a bronzer that is right for you.

It doesn’t matter if you have a dark skin or fair skin or if it is dry or oily. There is a bronzer out there for everyone. To determine which bronzer is perfect for you, you have to work with mainly two things: your primary skin tone and the undertone of your skin.


How To Pick Bronzer – As Per Skin Tone

- Bronzer for fair skin - It is a makeup myth that bronzers are meant only for olive and medium skin tones. Even light skinned people can use it. But they would have to be very careful of their choice as a wrong step can leave them looking a clown escaped from circus. If you are fair to light skinned, go for rose or peach colored bronzers which are just a shade darker than your primary skin tone. Don’t go too dark.

Top Pick: Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer


- Bronzer for olive skin - If you are looking for bronzer for olive skin tones, then go for shades of copper and golden browns.

Top Pick: Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer in Mahogany


- Bronzer for dark skin - Dark skinned beauties too can use bronzer and they should choose rich and dark shades of brown.

Top Pick: Becca Cosmetics Sunlit Bronzer Maui Night



How To Pick Bronzer – As Per Undertones

- Bronzer for warm undertones - Look at your wrist. If you see green colored veins, then you have a warm undertone. The best bronzers for you are gold and brown.

Top Pick: M.A.C. Mineralize Skinfinish Gold Deposit


- Bronzer for cool undertones - If you have blue colored veins, then you have cool undertones and you should go for peach pink and rose gold bronzer.

Top Pick: Jane Iredale Mineral Bronzer in Rose Dawn

- Bronzer for neutral undertones - The neutral undertones fall between the warm and cool tones. This is why you should go for something which is between the shades – not too gold and not too pink.

Top Pick: Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer



How To Pick Bronzer – As Per Skin Type

You have to be mindful of your skin type along with your skin tone to determine the perfect fit of bronzer. Because oily or dry, skin types have a great influence in deciding our look.

- Bronzer for oily/combination/acne prone skin - Oily and combination skin work well with powder based bronzers. Shimmer can add shine to your already shiny face. Go for very light shimmer, if you are comfortable.

Those with extremely oily and acne prone skin should steer clear of shimmer and creamy bronzers. Powder and gel bronzers are your best bet.

Top Picks: Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder and Tom Ford Bronzing Gel

- Bronzer for dry skin - Isn’t it obvious? Cream and liquid bronzers are your best friend.

Top Pick: Sonia Kaushik Undetectable Crème Bronzer


- Bronzer for normal skin - You are the lucky ones and choose any formula of your liking.

Oh, but there is more. Isn’t it? What about matte, shimmer and sheer bronzers? What are they about? Let’s find out.

  • Shimmer bronzer: This bronzer comes with shine and is available for all skin tones. It is best for achieving a summer like glow. But, it doesn’t go well with blemishes. Top Pick: Milani Baked Bronzer
  • Sheer bronzer: This bronzer comes with a barely there subtle finish. It is best suited for extremely light or dark skin tones. Top Pick: Jolie Mineral Silky Sheer Bronzer
  • Matte Bronzer: Now this bronzer doesn’t come with any shine or shimmer. It is subtle but not as subtle as the sheer ones. It adds a defined sun-kissed glow. Top Pick: Elizabeth Mott What Up Beaches Matte Bronzer



Frequently Asked Questions On Bronzer


Q. What does a bronzer do?

A bronzer adds warmth to your skin, enhances the dark areas and gives you a natural looking sun-kissed glow without actually going in the sun.


Q. What is bronzing powder?

It is a bronzer in powder form and is best suited for oily, acne prone and combination skin.


Q. What is the difference between bronzer and contour?

The main difference between a bronzer and contour is that the bronzer is used to get a natural sun-kissed glow whereas contour is used to sculpt the face.


Q. Where does bronzer go?

The bronzer is applied on areas where the sun will naturally hit your skin. These areas are forehead, cheekbones, nose, and jawline.


Q. How to put on bronzer?

Tap a brush in the bronzer and proceed to apply on the temples, across the hairline, cheekbones, jawline and on the sides of the nose. We have explained the complete process in details above. For a quick and easy guide on how to put on bronzer, you can make a numeral 3 starting from your temples to your cheekbones and ending at your jawline.


Q. Is there a bronzer for fair skin?

Yes, there is a bronzer for fair skin. You can opt for a shade of rose gold or peach pink. You can also use pressed powder which is a shade darker than your skin tone.


Q. Which is the best bronzer for olive skin?

From tan to gold to brown, you get quite some choices if you have olive skin.


Q. How to apply bronzer on the nose?

Tap the brush in bronzer then apply lightly on both the sides of nose in circular motions and blend well.


Q. Can you use bronzer and contour at the same time?

Yes, bronzer and contour can be used at the same time. Bronzer can be used to give a sun kissed natural glow whereas contour can be used to add structure and definition to face.


Q. Can a bronzer be used to contour?

Bronzer and contour are fundamentally different products. Bronzer is used to enhance the dark and deep parts of your face whereas contour is used to take the attention away from certain parts by adding shadows. Even though many makeup bloggers and vloggers are interchanging a bronzer and contour, it is not a good idea to do so.



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