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How to apply cream bronzer for a subtle, sun-kissed look

Oh how we wish the sun could shine every day. Fake the forecast when the weather isn’t playing ball by learning how to apply bronzer like a pro. Radiant, healthy-looking skin is just a few sweeps away…

What is cream bronzer?


Not sure what cream bronzer is? Allow us to get you up to speed. Bronzer is a type of makeup designed to give skin a deeper hue and intensified glow, mimicking the way skin looks when it has been exposed to the sun.


Bronzer is available in a range of different textures, including powder, liquid and cream. For the purposes of this piece, we will be focussing on cream.


Why use cream bronzer?


There’s something magical about how your skin looks after spending time in the sunshine, isn’t there? The way the high points of the face become deeper in tone, creating contrast with the low points and sculpting your face. The way your overall complexion looks healthier, fresher, more awake.


Of course, this comes with the caveat that we should all be wearing adequate daily sun protection, which means a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. And, for this very important reason, a faux glow is far safer than a real one.


Wearing bronzer offers not only a risk-free route to a golden glow, but allows you to enjoy said glow all year round – even when it’s very much out of season. “Bronzer is going to give your skin that lovely warm, sun-kissed look,” explains Katie Levy, Pro Makeup Artist at Trinny London.


That being said, not everyone will find they need to wear bronzer every day. For some, it could be a rare occurrence, only reached for if and when their skin feels in need of a pick-me-up. “I wouldn’t say that everyone needs a bronzer in their makeup stack,” adds Katie. “If you’re quite fair, and wouldn’t naturally tan during the summer, then you may find that adding bronzer feels too much.”


Cream bronzer vs powder bronzer


Try and picture your skin during the summer, or when you’re on a hot holiday. Chances are it will have more of a sheen and glow to it than the flat, dehydrated skin so many of us can experience during the colder months. For this reason, choosing a cream bronzer over a powder will help you to achieve a more natural look.


Also, if your skin is on the dry side, it tends to be thirstiest around the forehead and cheeks – exactly the places you’ll be applying bronzer. Powders can cling to dryness, amplifying fine lines and creating a patchy, uneven finish.


There’s a case to be made for cream bronzer when it comes to application too. “If you go wrong with powder, it’s much harder to make it softer,” says Katie. “With a cream bronzer, like Trinny London Golden Glow, you can use either your fingers, the flat outer edge of your hand or a clean brush to blend and remove any excess. This will make it look softer, and more natural, without having to start afresh.”


How to prep your skin for cream bronzer


The best way to prepare your skin for applying cream bronzer is by sticking to a consistent skincare routine. Making sure you are cleansing your skin properly, regularly exfoliating to remove dead skin cells, using a serum to treat specific concerns and a moisturiser to nourish will ensure your skin looks its best.


As for makeup prep, bronzer can be applied to bare skin or layered over a base, depending on your skin confidence and desired look. If you do want to wear a base, apply this first, making sure you’re happy with how the overall tone of your skin looks before moving on to bronzer.


Where should you apply cream bronzer?


To accentuate your features and achieve a natural finish, bronzer should only be applied in particular areas of the face. So, before you pick up your bronzer, use your hands to feel where the highest points of your face are, as these are the areas the sun would naturally hit. Your forehead, the tops of your cheekbones, nose and chin are all the first places to pick up colour when you tan.


How to apply cream bronzer step-by-step


Here’s how to apply bronzer like a pro makeup artist:


Step 1


Take a little cream bronzer either onto your fingertips or onto a fluffy brush. If using a brush, swirl it around the clean inner lid of the product pot to remove any excess.


Step 2


Apply the bronzer to the skin, one side of the face at a time. Start from the most prominent bit of your forehead (the temples) and bring your fingers or the brush downward in a curve, pausing when you’re in-line with the outer corner of your eye. From here, create a second curve, working downwards and inwards across the cheekbone towards the centre of your face. If you need a way to visualise it, imagine you are creating a number “3” on the side of your face. Repeat on the other side.


Step 3


With the remaining product on your fingers or brush, sweep a little bronzer across the centre of your nose, and the middle of your chin. The lighter the dusting of colour, the better.


Step 4


Retrace your steps with a clean brush or finger to blend and buff the colour into your skin. Remember, applying bronzer is all about working in soft, fluid motions for a natural finish, not creating strong, harsh lines.


Should you apply cream bronzer with a brush?


Whether you use your fingers or a brush to apply your bronzer is ultimately down to personal preference. “I think it really depends on the person, their expertise, and the look they’re going for – but there’s no wrong way to do it,” says Katie. “I personally prefer using a brush as I like my bronzer to look soft and subtle, whereas if you’re working with your hands you can build the colour a bit more. If you’re someone who is new to bronzer or hasn’t used brushes before, I would say start with your fingers to get an idea of the placement. You can always go over it, or soften it off, with a brush afterwards too.”


Can you wear cream bronzer and blusher together?


Musing over whether you can wear bronzer and blusher together is a little bit like pondering if you can wear a blouse and a blazer at the same time. They’re serving different functions within your makeup routine, and therefore can most definitely be worn in tandem. The key is to get the placement right, so that they complement each other.


“I think blusher and bronzer work really well together,” advises Katie. “If you just wear bronzer on its own, sometimes it can feel a bit flat. You want to add in blusher to bring that colour and flush back to your face.” If you focus your blusher on the chubbiest parts of your cheeks then you shouldn’t have to worry about crossing over with bronzer, as this will be placed on the highest part of your cheekbones.


Blusher and bronzer pairings


Keen to wear blusher and bronzer together? Look for shades that complement both each other, and your skin tone.

Golden Glow in Jensta

A gentle golden bronze that’s perfect for fair skin that doesn’t tend to pick up much natural colour in the sunshine. Wear with:

Bronzer

Golden Glow

Jensta

$42.00

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Lady J

$42.00

Blusher

Flush Blush

Wiggs

$33.50

Blusher

Flush Blush

Electra

$33.50

Golden Glow in Jensta

A gentle golden bronze that’s perfect for fair skin that doesn’t tend to pick up much natural colour in the sunshine. Wear with:

Bronzer

Golden Glow

Jensta

$42.00

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Lady J

$42.00

Blusher

Flush Blush

Wiggs

$33.50

Blusher

Flush Blush

Electra

$33.50

Golden Glow in Gaia

A neutral toffee bronze that’s perfect for medium skin with olive, honey or tan tones. Wear with:

Bronzer

Golden Glow

Gaia

$42.00

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Freddie

$42.00

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Veebee

$42.00

Blusher

Flush Blush

Katrin

$33.50

Golden Glow in Gaia

A neutral toffee bronze that’s perfect for medium skin with olive, honey or tan tones. Wear with:

Bronzer

Golden Glow

Gaia

$42.00

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Freddie

$42.00

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Veebee

$42.00

Blusher

Flush Blush

Katrin

$33.50

Golden Glow in Soala

A rich chestnut bronze that’s perfect for skin with caramel, toffee or nutmeg tones. Wear with:

Bronzer

Golden Glow

Soala

$42.00

Blusher

Flush Blush

Schmoogie

$33.50

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Sherin

$42.00

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Chloe

$42.00

Golden Glow in Soala

A rich chestnut bronze that’s perfect for skin with caramel, toffee or nutmeg tones. Wear with:

Bronzer

Golden Glow

Soala

$42.00

Blusher

Flush Blush

Schmoogie

$33.50

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Sherin

$42.00

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Chloe

$42.00

Golden Glow in Naomi

A deep mahogany bronze that’s perfect for bringing warmth and glow to dark complexions. Wear with:

Bronzer

Golden Glow

Naomi

$42.00

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Munchkin

$42.00

Blusher

Flush Blush

Yassi

$33.50

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Rossy

$42.00

Golden Glow in Naomi

A deep mahogany bronze that’s perfect for bringing warmth and glow to dark complexions. Wear with:

Bronzer

Golden Glow

Naomi

$42.00

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Munchkin

$42.00

Blusher

Flush Blush

Yassi

$33.50

Lip + Cheek

Lip2Cheek

Rossy

$42.00