Before and After: Our Fair-Skinned Editor Gets a Bronze Makeover

Here at Byrdie, we love a good challenge. Which is why when we got the chance to work with famed Australian makeup artist Max May, known for his signature golden-bronze glow and a client list that counts the likes of Aussie babes Teresa Palmer, Abbie Cornish, and Lara Bingle, we knew we wanted to do something a bit off the beaten path. The Aussie-inspired bronze makeup look tends to be limited to a specific type of person: an olive-skinned gal with beachy blond hair who’s already tan. We knew that would look amazing no matter what, but we wanted to see how the glow could translate to a completely different type of skin tone and hair color. Enter a porcelain-skinned Irish gal with bright red hair. Shouldn’t fair-skinned girls be allowed to bask in the warm glow of being a bronzed beach babe too? With that aim in mind, we set out to see if May was on board for a makeover, and in a similar adventure-taking fashion, he told us, “I love a good challenge”—wink face emoji. A man after our own heart! Below, May explains:

In Australia, there is such a focus on the outdoors, the beach, and health that women choose to keep their makeup very minimal, focusing on perfecting their skin with a golden, dewy finish rather than wearing heavier makeup. It’s also a great look on everyone, no matter your skin tone or type.

With the right tools, products, and step-by-step instructions, the bronzy-golden glow is achievable no matter how dark or light your skin tone is. It’s all about choosing shades that are within your natural skin tone, just a shade deeper. 

The key is all in the blending and taking your time to work the products into the skin so the skin and the product can become one. The more seamless the blending, the more natural the finish. Makeup is all in the details—brushing and filling brows, curling your lashes before applying mascara, and highlighting spots like the inner corners of the eyes and the Cupid's bow of your top lip—all these little things help in giving your makeup a more professional finish. Remember less is always more, and when in doubt, warm everything into the skin using your fingers!”

Keep scrolling to learn how May turned our fairest-skinned editor into a glowing, golden-bronze beach goddess and to see the before-and-after transformation for yourself!