Bronzer, I think everyone can agree, is a little bit scary at first. In fact, the mere mention of the word “bronzer” tends to conjure up haunting images of the first edition of Kim Kardashian and that one girl in your sixth grade class who insisted upon painting her entire face Jack-O-Lantern orange because she didn’t know any other way. Basically, it’s one of those makeup products that has a terrifyingly drastic success-to-failure ratio–when you do it right, it looks great, but when you do it wrong, everyone can tell–that makes it seem like it’s easier to stay away from altogether rather than do it wrong.
And, in fact, most people do mess up when they put on bronzer–at least at first. But, just as there are a ton of mistakes that can be made with bronzer, there are also a ton of super easy ways to prevent said bronzer mistakes. So, check out everything you’re probably doing wrong with your bronzer, and how to fix it, right here:
Wearing The Wrong ShadeI mean, duh. But picking the wrong shade of bronzer is easier to do than you might think, since "bronzer" shouldn't always be totally bronze--your skin could be significantly lighter or darker than that particular hue. Bronze works on some skin tones, but it can transform others into a pumpkin-orange hue you'd probably rather stay away from. To see if you're picking out the right shade, swab a little bit onto your inner arm and see how it looks. If it looks pretty neutral, you're good to go. If it looks more orange or red, go a shade lighter. Image source: iStock
Putting It All Over Your FaceA light dusting of bronzer all over is okay, but anything more than that almost always looks a little off. Generally, the best way to get a natural, sun-kissed look is by dusting bronzer over your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, the center of the chin, and the temples. This accentuates areas that would get color from the sun naturally, so it doesn't look like you're totally made up. Image source: iStock
Applying In Dim LightingYou shouldn't be doing any of your makeup in, like, dungeon-type lighting, probably, but this is especially true with bronzer, since you might not notice how it looks until you step out into natural lighting. So, if you can, try to use natural lighting. If you can't do that, just make sure that you have the brightest indoor lighting possible. This way, you'll be able to tell right away if it doesn't look the way you'd like. Image source: iStock
Applying Too QuicklyIn addition to using your product sparingly, you should also go slowly. Bronzer is easy to build but hard to remove, so if you go too fast, you might end up totally orange with no real way to fix it other than wiping your face totally clean and starting from scratch. And nobody has time for that! So, start as light as you can and build as you go, taking care to blend with the rest of your makeup. Image source: iStock
Using The Wrong FormulaMost people tend to use powder bronzers. This can be fine, but it's definitely not the only formula of bronzer you can use--for example, if you have oily skin, a lot of makeup artists actually recommend using a liquid bronzer, which blends better with your natural face oils and doesn't give you the flaky, cakey look that can come from powder bronzer. And if you prefer a subtler bronzer look, you should actually get a pressed powder bronzer as opposed to one with loose powder, since it goes on lighter. Buy it at Tarte for $10
Using The Wrong BrushYou're probably using a kabuki brush--AKA that big, round, fluffy brush--to apply bronzer. This is fine when you're doing an all-over application, but it can apply too much product at once. This means that it can look super heavy when you're applying bronzer to more targeted areas. Instead, try for a fluffier blush brush or bronzer-specific brush instead. Image source: iStock
Forgetting To 'Tap' Before You ApplyEven if you use the right brush, you can still apply the wrong amount of product by using it the wrong way. Basically, you're supposed to swirl, tap, and then apply your bronzer. A lot of people forget to do the middle 'tap' step, which means that it goes on too heavy. So, just make sure to tap your brush to remove to the excess powder, and you should be all set. Image source: iStock
Do you wear bronzer? Did you know about any of these mistakes? Let us know in the comments!