No Sun Required
By Caitlin Brown
We all deserve a sunny vacation, but if your travel plans are still on hold, there are easy and safe ways to get that sun-kissed glow.
Who doesn’t want to achieve that post-vacation glow? We just don’t want the sun damage that comes with it. Luckily, there are amazing bronzers out there to do the job, resulting in a radiant tan without the harmful effects of baking in the sun.
Once heavy, orange, and coated in hard-to-remove glitter, the bronzers of our youth were designed to create a look that veered more faux than flawless. The bronzers of today have come a long way since, providing us with tons of options in terms of colors, textures, and finishes.
They come in many forms and address all skin concerns, whether it’s anti-aging, dryness, or oiliness. They come in powders, gels, creams, drops, you name it. Some work better for fairer skin complexions; others for medium or dark.
Whatever you’re looking for, or don’t even know you’re looking for, it’s out there waiting to make you look like the beach babe you are.
Bronzer is a great way to add a little warmth and radiance to the skin. The right one is also a great way to help sculpt the face a bit and give it some extra definition.
When picking a bronzer, choose one that is correct for your skin tone. There is no one-size-fits-all. As a general rule: go one shade darker than your complexion. Another big one: do <<not>> go for one with too much glitter/sparkle, especially if it’s chunky. Instead, opt for a subtle shimmer for a radiant effect. There are some great matte bronzers out there too, but beware of a heavy hand… a brush stroke too much can age the face.
We all have different skin concerns that weigh into the decision-making process, here’s a list of some “bests” to address your specific needs.
If you’re looking for a beautiful golden shimmer, these bronzing powders are a highlighter and bronzer in one: NARS Bronzer Powder, Sephora, $38; Becca Sunlit Bronzer, Sephora, $38; Kosas The Sun Show Moisturizing Baked Bronzer, Sephora, $34.
If you’re looking for something with a subtle shimmer to really tailor-make your glow, or looking for a very subtle contour/highlight situation, try Jouer Cosmetics Sunswept Bronzer Duo, $30, Sephora; or my favorite, Trish McEvoy’s Light & Lift Face Color Duo, Blue Mercury, $78.
Unlike a light-reflecting bronzer, a matte formula creates a natural-looking, deep tan-like bronze for a just-stepped-off-the-beach finish.
My recommendations are: Westman Atelier, Beauty Butter/Coup de Soileil, $78, westmanatelier.com; Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder, Saks Fifth Avenue, $44; Ilia NightLite Bronzer Powder, Sephora, $34.
Best Cream Bronzers
Most of these go on very sheer, so they are a great foolproof option for even the most inexperienced of bronze seekers, because they can easily be built up. These happen to be my personal favorite in that the good ones are chock full of delicious skin-loving natural oils that nourish and add a subtle glow. My top pick is Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream, Saks Fifth Avenue, $50, but RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer, Sephora, $28, is also excellent.
Best Gel Bronzer
If you’re looking for a natural, easy-to-apply formula, look no further than Chantecaille Radiance Anti-Age Gel Bronzer, Blue Mercury, $44.
Best Liquid Bronzers
Though perhaps the trickiest type of bronzer to use, liquid formulas can be some of the most realistic looking when done correctly. For the safest bet, use a form that can be easily blended or added into your existing makeup and skincare products. Best bets include: Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Serum, Sephora, $36; Nars Laguna Liquid Bronzer, Sephora, $40; CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops, Ulta Beauty, $42; Iconic London Sheer Bronze Liquid Bronzer; Sephora, $25.
Best Bronzing Sticks
These are also great for the novice/beginner in their ease of use. If you are looking for a soft, subtle glow (who isn’t?) this is a terrific option. You don’t need a brush with these, although if that’s your preference, go for it. I, personally, like to gently dot stick on the areas of my face the sun hits and blend with my fingers. You can’t go wrong with By Terry Glow Expert Duo Stick in Amber Light, Blue Mercury, $48.
How to Apply Powder/Cream:
<Step 1>: After applying your foundation or tinted moisturizer, take a makeup brush — a pointed blush brush is best — and gently swirl it around your bronzing powder. Gently tap off any excess.
<Step 2>: Starting at the back by the ears in the hollows of the cheekbones, begin sculpting your face by sweeping the bronzer along your cheekbones and around the perimeter of your face. Be sure to get along the temples, forehead, and the edge of your jawline to create a defined look. (Essentially, you want to go where the sun naturally hits your face.)
<Step 3>: Once you’ve dusted around the outside of the face, use the excess powder on your brush to dust over the T-zone. Just remember: you want the biggest concentration of color to be on the hollows of your cheeks, around the hairline, and then along the jawline. (I like to go in a “W” shape across cheeks — down and up — and bridge of nose.)
<Step 4>: Blend, blend, and blend some more, softening any color lines that stand out and fading the product for a natural, seamless glow.
Application really depends on the consistency — liquid, cream, powder — so do your homework.
Until next time, Bronze Goddesses. Wear your sunblock and keep them guessing where that gorgeous glow came from.