How to Find the Right Bronzer for Your Skin Tone
We may be well into fall and on the brink of winter, but faking a sun-kissed glow doesn't depend on the weather. When it comes to bronzer specifically, it's all about the perfect match for your skin tone, but no complexion is too pale or dark to reap the benefits of beautiful, radiant makeup. It's all about shopping smart (because we all know nothing is worse than an unnatural look or a borderline orange faux glow). Enlisting the help of the top industry pros, we sought out the lowdown on how to shop for your bronzer soul mate—because we don't know about you, but we're not going to settle for lackluster skin this season. As it turns out, finding a shade that works for you is a lot easier than it might seem. From cream to powder, shimmer and matte, read on to find out how to find the perfect bronzer for your skin tone.
Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer in 10M ($36)
When choosing a bronzer, color matching it the number one goal. So where do you begin? Becca Global Style Director Kerry Cole says, "When looking for the right shade for your skin tone, try to find something that mimics how your actual skin looks when it's slightly tanned."
For fair to light complexions, Make Up For Ever Director of Artistry and Education Lijha Stewart stresses the importance of neutral or golden undertones. "Don't go too dark or red with a color. Otherwise, skin will look patchy or mismatched." In other words, stay away from warm shades, which tend to look orange on light skin tones. Less is more in this case.
Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna ($39)
The finish of your bronzer can play a role in color selection too. Make Up For Ever pro educator Nick Lujan says that depending on the result you want—whether it's a light sun-kissed glow or a more sculptured look—the idea is to draw attention to the higher planes of the face. "Keep in mind that shimmer reflects light and tends to make objects appear larger, and matte tends to absorb light and push back," he says. "There is a time and place for both. Often, pros will use a bit of both and purposefully put the shimmer to accentuate the highest points of the face."
If you have medium to tan skin, you're in luck because you pretty much have your pick of any formula out there, and there's plenty to choose from. "Selecting shades for medium skin tones is fairly easy because you can use slightly warmer or cooler shades depending on your preference," says Nars stylist Niko Lopez. "I suggest something with a little shimmer to give medium skin tones a nice, healthy glow. I would also suggest anything with a light golden undertone, which will give the skin a radiant finish without looking artificial."
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured Crème in Topaz ($38)
"Shopping for deeper skin tones can be a challenge because a lot of shades either don't show up or they make the skin appear ashy," says Lopez. He suggests looking for deeper orange or red terra-cotta shades but being wary of shimmer since it's more likely to give an ashy appearance.
Lujan echoes this advice: "Be careful with shimmer if you have a richer skin tone. Try to choose a golden shimmer versus pink or silver, which can reflect a gray cast over deeper skin tones." Stewart adds that neutrals are a big no-no: "Avoid neutral or yellow shades that could make the skin look ashy, too."
How did you discover your favorite bronzer? Tell us in the comments.