How to pick the right bronzer formula and placement for your complexion

How to pick the right bronzer formula and placement for your complexion


Are you reading this while enjoying your morning cup of coffee? If so, you might like to know the warm creamy glow of your caffeine hit is the inspiration behind one of this summer’s biggest beauty looks: latte make-up. Of course, the internet loves making up faintly ridiculous (and usually food-based) names for fairly classic beauty styles, and latte makeup simply means wearing tonal shades of brown and caramel on the cheeks, eyes and even lips.

The effect is a flattering, slightly sculpted, sun-kissed look, and an ode to one make-up product in particular – the bronzer. Clearly shoppers are on board with this idea too, as there’s recently been a sharp increase in Google searches for bronzers (no doubt the washout that was July had people searching for ways to fake a golden glow).

Bronzing powders, creams and liquids can instantly make your skin look brighter, healthier and more youthful; they can also sculpt your face and even double up as eyeshadow. Find the right one for you and it’ll be the hardest working product in your make-up bag this summer.

Where to glow

Yes, bronzer can be multipurpose, but that doesn’t mean just brushing it haphazardly all over the face. The general rule is to apply the product anywhere the light would naturally hit: the cheekbones, the top of the forehead, the bridge of the nose and the collarbones – even the tops of the ears can get a little dusting.

Another trick often used by professional make-up artists is to sweep bronzer over the eyelids – it ties together your whole look (and is a key step in nailing latte make-up). Bronzer can also be used to shape the jawline, and even brushed lightly under the bottom lip to fake a fuller pout. It’s basically your one-pan wonder.

Shade selection

The perfect bronzer should be one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone, and just golden enough – too warm and it’ll be orange, too cool and it’ll look ashy and flat (this is what differentiates bronzers from contouring products, where a cool undertone is necessary for creating shadows).

Luckily nowadays most make-up brands have got this balance spot-on, and cater to a wide range of skin tones. MAC, Charlotte Tilbury and Revolution in particular have excellent shade ranges, with bronzers to suit the fairest to the darkest skin tones. And as for whether to opt for a matte or a shimmer finish, that’s really just personal preference. A matte bronzer can look more natural, whereas something with a slight radiance to it can give a gorgeous golden-hour glow.

Find your formula

Powder bronzers are the original type, and are still the best choice for longevity and buildability. Cream bronzers, on the other hand, give a slightly more dewy finish, are less likely to settle in fine lines, and are easier to blend. The downside is that they don’t stay put as well as powders.

For those who prefer to get hands on, opt for a liquid bronzer, which is fairly sheer and can be quickly buffed in with fingers. Or try bronzing drops, which can be applied neat or mixed into your moisturiser or foundation to give a completely customisable glow.

There’s something for everyone with these latest launches…

Best… liquid bronzer

Jones Road Gel Bronzer, £32 here

A sheer tint that works well dabbed on with fingers. It can also be mixed in with your moisturiser or foundation for an all-over skin tint.

Best… cream bronzer

Vieve Modern Radiance Cream Bronzer, £31 here

It’s hard to go wrong with this beautifully buildable and blendable formula, which melts seamlessly into the skin. Available in four shades, it gives just the right level of warmth to all skin tones.

Best… budget bronzer

Collection Cosmetics Cream Bronzer, £8.99 here

With a moisturising, easy-to-blend formula and a glowy finish, this cream has been compared to Chanel’s pricier pot. The downside is that it only comes in one shade.


bareMinerals Gen Nude Blonzer, £25.50 here

This blush-bronze hybrid powder with a touch of sparkle gives a pretty, been-outin- the-sun-all-day vibe – and also streamlines your make-up bag.

Best…powder bronzer

MAC Skinfinish Sunstruck Bronzer, £30 here

Available in an impressive 10 matte and five radiant, shimmery shades, this silky pressed powder gives a sun-kissed look.

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