Who doesn’t want their face to have that natural sun-kissed, glowy face without, well, getting in the sun at all? If you’re feeling too pale or tired, you can brighten and warm up your complexion with just a few, well-placed sweeps of bronzer.

Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve shied away from bronzer after having one too many bad experiences where you ended up looking too orange. But bronzer has come a long way from the chalky, orange-y, drugstore days of old. There are so many different types of bronzer, differentiating in formula, finish, and shade. And in order to look like your best glowy goddess, you need to know how to pick the one best suited for you – and of course how and where to apply it.

So, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

How to apply bronzer

When it comes to perfectly applying bronzer, you have to start with knowing which shade to use. You should pick a bronzer that’s one or two shades darker than your skin.

Next, make sure you have a good brush. Choose a fluffy brush, with a rounded top. It can’t be too small or too dense and stiff as it might leave streaks. There are countless bronzer brushes and powder brushes you can get at makeup or drugstores. You should apply bronzer on the top of your forehead, under the cheekbones, and down under your jaw. You can also sweep it along the side of your nose.

Remember to always use a light touch, and start slow, building up as you see fit. It’s easier to add more product than remove it, right? Use light circular motions to blend it in.

One tip to remember is using the number three rule. So, start at the top of your forehead, just over your temple, bring the brush down and under your cheekbone, then back again and under the jawline, mimicking a number three.

Types of bronzer

Based on what type of skin you have, you can choose a bronzer formula that’s best suited to you.

Powder bronzer

Powder bronzer is the classic bronzer. It’s good for almost all skin types, but especially if your skin is more on the oily side. Apply it with a sparser brush and blend it well, building it up gradually. If you just load up your brush and apply it at once, it might end up looking harsh and unblended.

Cream bronzer

These will offer you a more subtle glow and are better suited for dry skin types. Just like with cream blushes, they can also be applied with your fingers (or with a brush, your choice) and tend to last longer.

Liquid bronzer

Liquid bronzers are pretty similar to cream bronzers, except they have a thinner consistency. The great thing about them is that they can blend seamlessly into your foundation – it just requires a bit more blending effort.

Bronzer finishes

Whether you want a more natural glow, or something a little more extra and shimmery, there are also different types of bronzer finishes.

Matte Bronzers

Matte bronzers are better at adding depth and definition to your face on top of warmth, and they work well with all types of skin. Matte bronzers are used for contouring – you would apply it on the sides of your face, under your cheekbones, under the jawline and the top of your forehead. Some people also use it to contour their nose.

Shimmer bronzers

You would typically use a shimmery bronzer on the cheekbones and up towards the temples, where the sun would normally hit your face. They are good for giving a more subtle, luminous, summer glow. You wouldn’t normally use one to contour.

However, if you have any blemishes or bumps on your skin, keep in mind that the shimmer in this bronzers works as a highlighter and will just bring more attention to them.

Sheer bronzer

This one packs less color then the previous two, but it’s perfect if you don’t really want any definition, just a natural glow that makes you look like you just got back from a vacation by the beach. Just like with shimmery bronzers, just apply it where the sun would naturally hit your face like the cheekbones and temples.