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Hair & Makeup

The best bronzers: Beauty Editor’s essentials

Models sported natural-looking golden glows at Isabel Marant SS18

NEWBY HANDS Beauty Director

“At last, I think I’ve perfected my bronzing technique. Firstly, color choice: don’t be swayed by those gorgeous golden caramel shades in your compact – it’s what it looks like on your skin that counts. Generally, the slightly more flat, even drab shades of brown can work beautifully on mid- or yellow-tone complexions, as it looks more like a real tan, rather than bronzing makeup. NARS Sun Wash Diffusing Bronzer in Laguna is a best-seller for good reason: its super-sheer formula builds up a seamless color.

Secondly, using a darker all-over base never works – the trick is to build up subtle layers over cheekbones, the bridge of the nose and forehead. Either warm up your skin tone by using faux-tan, or mix the tiniest drop of liquid bronzer – try the Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer SPF30 – into your foundation.

Finally, apply bronzer in the shape of a ‘3’; blend the bronzer from the center of the forehead, out along the hair line, down the temples, in over the cheekbones and then down the side of the face and in along the jawline. One last tip: for truly natural-looking bronzed skin, add a few tanning drops (Tan-Luxe and Dr Sebagh both do great versions) to a light serum and blend over the face, then use a couple of drops neat over cheekbones and across the bridge of the nose, making sure to lightly blend it out – the resulting color is like a long weekend in the sun.”

  • Perricone MD
    No Bronzer Bronzer SPF30, 10ml
    The Face Anti-Age Rejuvenating Self-Tan Drops - Medium/Dark, 30ml
  • By Terry
    Sun Designer Palette - Happy Sun 6
  • Hourglass
    Illume Sheer Color Trio

CHANELLE HO Junior Beauty Writer

“Over the colder months, I prefer a natural-looking tan and use a light, matte bronzer, such as Chantecaille HD Perfecting Powder in Bronze, then add highlighter to my cheekbones for a subtle glow. For spring and summer, I choose a warmer-toned bronzer to add color to my cheeks. Instead of doing a bronzer plus highlight, I use a shimmering bronzer instead – my favorite is Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer – along the cheeks instead of blush, and just above the brow.

If you find that you’ve placed your bronzer (or any face color) with a heavy hand, or it looks too orange on the skin, buff a damp Beautyblender sponge dipped in a loose translucent powder over the area to fade it out. You can also use a brush to mix the powder with your bronzer if you find the color too dark or orange.”

  • Hourglass
    Ambient Lighting Bronzer - Nude Bronze Light
  • Chantecaille
    HD Perfecting Powder - Bronze
  • Hourglass
    Veil Translucent Setting Powder
  • Kevyn Aucoin
    The Gossamer Loose Powder - Diaphanous

EVIE LEATHAM Associate Beauty Editor

“Pale skin like mine can be unforgiving when it comes to the wrong shade of bronzer or inelegant application; I’ve found that warming up the complexion first really works. Use a tinted moisturizer or lightweight base no more than a single shade darker than your natural complexion and team it with a peachy, gold-toned shade of bronzer to add dimension. I love Tom Ford Beauty’s super-sized Bronzing Powder in Terra applied over the T-zone, around the temples and over the tops of cheekbones.

I give everything a last buff with Artis Brush Elite Gold Palm Brush. Blending has to be flawless on pale skin, and this soft-bristled brush merges everything together beautifully, so it looks like a real sun-kissed glow, not makeup.”

  • NARS
    Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF30 - Alaska, 50ml
  • Chantecaille
    Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer SPF15 - Wheat, 50ml
    Bronzing Powder - Terra
  • Artis Brush
    Elite Gold Palm Brush

The models featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.