The bronzer : Misunderstood and misused!
Bronzing and contouring are words often used interchangeably in the beauty world. However, each has its own purpose: contouring is meant to create shadows, while bronzing is meant to provide a sun-kissed glow. Typically, contouring comes before bronzing and is aimed to deliver structure and definition. For this, a contour product has cool undertones rather than being orange and ‘bronzy’.
For some reason, however, (and don’t be ashamed to admit you do the same!) warm bronzers are often used to ‘contour’ the face. Since bronzer’s warm undertones fail to create shadows, using it this way leads to disappointing results and that familiar cringe-worthy orange complexion.
Instead of using a warm-toned bronzer, to find your perfect contour shade, choose a grey-toned shade that is 2-3 shades darker than your skin tone. Personal favorites include the NYX blush in the shade ‘taupe’ and the contour shades in the Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Cream Contour Kit’. These shades have cool undertones and are effective in creating shadows, while being suitable for several skin tones. In terms of bronzer, the products many brands come up with are for the most part universal.
Some bronzers are matte while others contain a fair amount of shimmer and sparkle. Choosing which one suits you comes down to personal taste. I absolutely love the Bourjois ‘Bronzing Powder’ as I find it to have the perfect amount of shimmer for that beautiful sun-kissed glow. There are also some fantastic products from makeup lines that use only natural ingredients, like the ‘Tartiest Pro Glow Palette’ from tarte and the BareMinerals ‘READY Bronzer’.
In terms of placement, the contour shade should be placed in the hallows of the cheekbones, the temples, along the sides of the nose, and along the hairline. However, as with anything to do with makeup, these spots are optional and dependent on the face structure, but are typically the spots many makeup artists go for. Contrarily, as pictured below, bronzer should be placed along the T-zone and around the tops of the cheekbones. This is meant to mimic the areas where the sun would naturally hit your face. Again, this is dependent on personal taste and how bronzy you want your complexion to be.
As always with makeup, less is more. Be frugal with your contour so it doesn’t look muddy, and modest with your bronzer so it doesn’t look too orange against your normal skin tone. Hopefully this piece helped you and you’ll never have to look like an Oompa-Loompa again!