On application: "I train my clients to imagine that they're tracing the number three on their face," explains Smashbox makeup pro Lori Taylor. "Start at your forehead and go around the eye socket to the cheek. That's the first half of the three. Then go down to the chin, and trace it backward, too." Remember, it’s easier to add more product to achieve your desired shade than correct once you’ve applied too much. Blend the color into your neck and chest too, for an even, sun-kissed glow. Keep the rest of your makeup simple—subtle lips, eyes, and cheeks—to avoid looking over-done.
On choosing your product: Choose a bronzer a half to full-shade darker than your natural skintone. It should match your skin’s undertones—whether you’re warm or cool toned make sure you shop for one that is complementary. Shy away from rosy, blush colored bronzers to avoid looking flushed. Also, powders are ideal for oily skin or try a cream or gel bronzer for dry complexions.
To shine or not to shine: If you choose a product with mega-shimmer, use caution when applying (too much shine can make skin appear oily). Keep glittery powders to the high points of the face; top of nose, cheekbones, and chin. Finish with a light dusting of translucent powder to set your look.
Pure Color’s innovative triple-blended formula combines liquid, powder, and gel for a completely unique and luxurious finish like never before. The bronze pigment is blended with light-reflecting pearls for a soft, luminous sheen. In its golden-topped case, the embossed powder reminds of sunbathing on the dunes. Just using it makes us feel glamorous.
$42; available at neimanmarcus.com
This two-toned Highlighter and Matte Bronzer Duo allows you to achieve perfectly contoured, bronze skin professionals would be proud of. Lorac’s formula is oil, fragrance, and talc free, making it ideal for any, even sensitive, skin types. Its compact design complete with a mirror makes it perfect for on the go touch ups and keeping your shine at bay. Check out this contouring tutorial for an expert lesson in faking model-worthy cheekbones.
$32; available at beauty.com
A two-in-one product that actually works! (We love saving steps but shampoo/conditioner? A joke.) This double-ended space-saver features two luscious cream sticks in the form of bronzer and sheer cheek color. The two color combinations, Abby Elliot: bright azalea/milk chocolate and Mindy Kaling: rosy peach/toasted almond, are inspired by New York City neighborhoods and two of Charlotte’s friends. Their rich textures lend to flawless blendability and Light Filtering Technology ensures an exceptional glow.
$26, available at sephora.com
From the Sensai Collection, the two-color gradation powder boasts more than just smoldering bronze shimmer. This powder comes complete with flecks of 24K gold and pearl for an unparalleled golden finish. Diamonds on the soles of her shoes? We’d rather have our bling where everyone can it—on our radiant complexions. Use the two shades to create your own professional contour or blend together for just the right amount of pigment and glow.
$45; available at neimanmarcus.com
Here is one sweet bargain for this multi-shaded bronzer complete with extra sun protection (SPF 20 against UVA aging and UVB burning rays). Light to medium matte shades, in light bronze and bronze color combinations, allows you to build your desired color, which is perfect for year-round use (as your natural tan deepens and fades). It’s hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and the oil-free formula works to keep your complexion shine free.
$12.95; available at physiciansformula.com