My gateway makeup product was a blush compact that I bought in sixth grade — a compact that my mom noticed on the drive to school one morning and promptly tossed out the car window. (I have yet to forgive her.) As an adult, I figured you had to choose between blush or bronzer, and I opted for a peachy swirl on my cheeks every single time. What can I say? Old habits die hard.
I’ve since learned the error of my ways. Blush isn’t bad, but it’s so much better when paired with bronzer. In fact, bronzer is a true MVP product that kind of does it all. The trick is in learning how to use it. Applied correctly, it can sculpt, enliven, and create the effect of natural, subtly sun-kissed skin. And is that not the dream? (It totally is.) As a beauty writer, I’ve picked up a few tricks from makeup artists over the years — and, more importantly, put them to good use. In partnership with Walmart, here’s the advice I swear by.
Choose The Right Color
Getting the right bronzer shade is probably the most important tip. If it's off, it'll never look natural no matter how much you blend. The best way to find your perfect bronzer color is to think of how red or gold your skin gets in the sun and match accordingly. For peak radiance, one celebrity makeup artist told me to go for a powder formula in a pale gold or honey tone (such as Maybelline Facestudio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter in Molten Gold) instead of brown or orange.
Switch It Up
To keep bronzer looking as au naturel as possible, another makeup artist told me to adjust its placement throughout the year. In the summer, it's most believable if you blend it (we love L'Oréal Paris Summer Belle Bronze Please! Bronzer in Taormina) where the sun naturally hits your face, such as your chin, forehead, the tops of your cheeks, and the bridge of your nose. But in the winter, bronzer works better as contour when it's applied to the hairline, the hollows of the cheeks, and the jawline.
Blend It Better
A dead giveaway that you're wearing capital-b Bronzer, per one makeup artist: that clear, obvious line between your bronzed skin and your bare skin. To prevent it, dust the formula on with a fan brush and then use a Beautyblender sponge to buff the edges.
Add It Everywhere
Another sneaky thing that makes bronze skin look a little less natural? When your face and the rest of your body are two different shades. One makeup artist swears by dusting bronzer all over — we're talking on your face, down your neck, and across your chest — if there's any sort of color discrepancy. The multiple shades in Stila Perfect Me Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette are perfect for mixing and blending so your skin tone matches allover.
Multiple makeup artists recommend starting with a light dusting, ideally with the aforementioned fan brush, to control how much you pile on. Then, if you want to up your level of bronze, it's easy to gradually add more.
This post is sponsored by Walmart.