Found: The Perfect Bronzer for Your Skin Tone

Updated 03/29/18

It may not be springtime just yet, 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 too dark to reap the benefits of beautiful, radiant makeup. We have to shop 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.

Dark to Deep

Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer in Cappuccino
Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer in Cappuccino $28

Unfortunately, shopping for deeper skin tones can still be a challenge. "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.

Make Up For Ever Director of Artistry and Education Lijha Stewart 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."

Medium to Tan

Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna
Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna $39

The golden shimmer creates an all-over warmth on the skin, perfect for enhancing the look of olive and tan skin tones. It delivers a soft, shimmering color for a luminous glow. Kelli Bartlett, the director of artistry and education for Glamsquad, explains: "Nars' Bronzing Powder in Laguna has gained a huge cult following because the bronzer effortlessly mimics sun-kissed skin. It's more intense than a bronzer I'd recommend for paler complexions, but perfect for those with medium to tan skin tones.

Fair to Light

Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer in 10M
Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer in 10M $36

When choosing a bronzer, color matching is 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.

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