How To Apply Bronzer

The Steps To Fresh Faced, Sun Kissed Style

Learning how to apply bronzer to achieve a sexy natural looking radiance takes a little strategy. It's not a hard strategy to learn, it is just an awareness of the key zones of your face to focus on, and a little 'know how' in creating dimensional color.

So what is my definition of sun kissed style?

An overall natural looking radiant glow to your skin, sheer bronze highlighting your cheeks, with a little on your nose (if you are lucky, you may even have a little speckling of freckles), forehead and chin. Definitely NOT over baked...

How to apply bronzer with radiant dimensional color?
It's all in the power of great COLOR CHOICES, THEIR PLACEMENT, and BLENDING.

If this sounds like art class, well, it kind of is. If you get these color elements right, you've got it!

In a bit of a hurry, just want to be pointed in the right direction and will catch these great tips on sun kissed style later?

You won't go wrong with this natural looking, long time cult favourite, and beauty editor top pick by Guerlain;) There is an option for every skin tone; Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder in the lightest colour 00 through the deepest 08.

Before The Bronzer

Optional - Use A Sunless Tanner

After washing your face or skin exfoliation, and well in advance of your makeup application (they usually require a little 'set' time to develop color).

You can opt to warm up your overall skin tone with a light sunless tanning lotion.  This will creates a subtle, more golden tone to your skin. 

apple graphicOne top product to try is award winning formulation Clarins Self Tanning Gel.

Here is a guide to your best bronzer product options.

MAKEUP APPLICATION- Even Out Your Complexion

FOUNDATION (AS NEEDED)  A word of caution, use a light hand and focus on as sheer and as light weight a foundation, as your skin can get away with.  Consider using a tinted moisturizer (opt for a shade or two deeper than you would normally choose if the rest of your body has picked up some summer or vacation color).

Tinted moisturizer provides coverage but is lightweight which offers a more sheer quality than most liquid foundations.

CONCEALER - Concealer as needed ( i.e. blemishes and definitely take care of the eye area for an overall even skin tone).

apple graphic*Note: Multi tone concealer kits, now widely available (Prescriptives, Laura Mercier etc.), are great. They allow you to create a perfect match to your overall facial skin tone, regardless of the season your in. No more reverse raccoon eyes in your vacation photos.

Points to remember as you go...

  • Less is more. The goal is to have a sheer flawless looking finish that allows a natural looking skin to show through SO tint/ concealer as needed.
  • Match your skin's natural tone to perfection, and take it a step deeper. If you don't know, ask for some help at a department store cosmetic counter (MAC counters have good products and well trained staff).
  • Include your neck, upper chest, and potentially your shoulders in the application touches. There needs to be a visual flow of coloration.
  • Blend well!...Critical to really pulling off believable sun kissed radiance, or any makeup style for that matter. Applications should not have detectable stop and start points and colors should flow into one another.

How To Apply Bronzer Makeup

Part I

There are a number of ways you can arrive at sun kissed... and in my opinion this is one of the best (and easiest) ways to learn how to apply bronzer for that sexy natural sun kissed beauty style. It looks effortless and casual, but it's oh so powerful.

Need help picking your best bronzer makeup?

how to apply bronzer diagramYour Prime Objective?

Create visual flow with bronzer by placing it around the face in varying degrees, targeting the 'sun kiss zones' (how the sun naturally hits your face).

How To Apply Bronzer In Powder Format

1. Using a large powder blush/ bronzer brush, dab excess pigment onto tissue, then with a light hand, place at central cheek, circle apple of cheek and sweep along bone towards temple, and circle lightly down along outer jaw (think where sun naturally hits your face).

2. Do the other cheek.

3. Place a very light diagonal sweep across each side of forehead.

4. Balance bronze with touch on chin, and touch on nose at area middle to tip.

apple graphicVisual flow is important. Don't forget to carefully place touches to your under chin, neck and chest.

apple graphicProduct choice is important. Color, shimmer, staying power are all factors that can effect the success of authentic looking sun kissed style.  Consider powder bronzer recommendations or make a careful selection in shade to work with your own complexion.

How To Apply Bronzer Makeup

Part II Adding Blush To Enhance Radiance

Enhance natural flush of skin, provide color balance and create dimension to compliment bronzer.

how to apply bronzer and blushShades

You will need two colors:

  • A pinky-peach or soft coral (depending on your skin tone)
  • A pure pastel pink- this is an added small touch that provides cool balance and a vibrant punch to all that bronzing.

apple graphicBlush Placement Trick

The trick of blush color placement is to start at the center of the *apple of your cheek so the greatest concentration of color is central and it will naturally diminish as you blend it out, eventually disappearing into your skin tone. 

Small amounts at a time helps you judge how far the color goes.

*Apple of your cheek?...When you look in the mirror and smile, its the lifted round zone of your cheek area and the center of the apple area is usually level with the tip of your nose.

Brush up on blush makeup applications.

How to apply bronzer / blush application...

  1. The earth rose, pinky-peach or soft coral shade, to the largest zone;
    - powder blush use large blush brush and light hand in circular motion around the apple sweeping out along the cheek bone towards the temple
    - cream blush dab with fingertips little bits at a time, dabbing in a circular motion around the apple out along the cheek bone towards the temple
    -cheek stain, blend exceptionally well using the same technique as cream
  2. The pure pastel pink or vibrant shade of your choice, to the small concentrated zone, at the center of the *apples of your cheeks;
    -whatever the format; powder, cream or stain, it still needs to be very sheer, well blended, and disappear into other blush

Product Suggestions


  • moisturizing lotion: Fresh High Noon Freshface Glow
  • loose powder: Bare Escentuals i.d. Bare Mineral Face Color "faux tan"
  • pressed powder: Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder (shown left), Benefit "Hoola"
  • multipurpose stick: NARS The Multiple (Cannes, Malibu, Palm Beach etc)
  • blush bronzer: Cargo Beach Blush, NARS Duos, Lorac

Sunless Tanning Application: Clarins Radiance Plus Self Tanning Cream-Gel (long time award winner) and NEW Dr. Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads (easy to use new to the scene, award winning).


  • Cheek Stain: Tarte Cheek Stain
  • Cream Blush: Stila Convertible Color Blush
  • Powder Blush: NARS , Benefit "Dandelion"
  • Multipurpose: NARS The Multiple

For more ideas and recommendations, head to my Best Makeup Products Shortlist.

How To Apply Bronzer Makeup

Part III

The Rest Of Your Makeup...

The rest of your makeup choices, really need to be in harmony with the sun kissed radiant styling of your face.  Eye makeup and lips, should also be sheer, and enhance your coloring.  I personally love earthy neutrals and metallics, but I have seen vibrant shades work beautifully, as well.

sun kissed makeup style

Eye Makeup

The eye makeup can be simple, with a sheer wash of cream shadow over the eye lids (some shimmer okay) and a deep earthy color narrowly lined along the lash line.  A couple coats of mascara in black or black-brown will provide the final touch of pretty, low key eye definition.

Want to dial it up for night?

Take this same sun kissed style, and add a smoky eyed look by thickening and smudging the liner at the upper lashes, and lining the inner rim of the lower lid with that same deep earthy pencil.


For lips, a clear or very sheer color gloss or lipstick  really heightens the 'fresh' note to this look (stay away from frost or glitter for daytime style).  I like to line my lips with a spicy brown pencil, soften the line and add sheer nude lip makeup.

Again, dialing up the glamour for night time style?  This look with a vibrant lip gloss can really look gorgeous.


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Spring 2018

Happy Spring 2018!

I would like to let all of you know how much I appreciate your support:) Please enjoy this west coast beach sunset as you soak up the beauty info. Grab some quick makeup tips or give your look a complete overhaul.

Something beautiful is on your horizon.



Yasmin, Editor

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P.S. The mystery girl strolling the beach? My sister Sarah, who has been my "go to" model over the years. Thanks Sis!



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