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Bronzers 101: Look baked, not caked

Sommer Caraway is a freelance writer and public relations specialist based in Arizona. Follow her updates on Twitter @sommerPR or check out her blog at SommerCaraway.com.

Go for the glow with bronzer

Summer is around the corner. You know what that means, girls! Time for a gorgeous, dermatologist-approved faux tan! Instead of baking in the sun and paying for it with fine lines and wrinkles, opt for a little sweep of bronzer. But how can you achieve a healthy glow without looking like a carrot? We asked expert makeup artist and aesthetician Diane Aiello of Glam Lounge Artists for buying, applying and complementing your bronzer from

Celebrities with bronzer or a tan

don't be tone deaf

Aiello suggests purchasing a bronzer that is one to two shades darker than your skin, not four or five shades darker like some people mistakenly buy to fake a deep tan. Check the color in natural lighting on your face instead of your hand or arms before handing over your Visa.

"Florescent lighting in drugstores and department stores will not give you an accurate read, as they tend to neutralize orange tones," she warns.

let your skin have a say

Powder bronzer

Powdered bronzer is perfect for oily or normal skin; if your skin is dry, consider a cream or liquid bronzer. Aiello's pick for a subtle hint of tint is Benefit Hoola Powder Bronzer, $28, or for more color, she loves Model Co Glow Summer Bronze, $36. Her recommendation for giving a tanned glow to the fair-skinned is the cream-based You Rebel by Benefit, $30. Want to parade around town like those beautiful sun-kissed celebrities? A favorite tinted body moisturizer of the stars is Body Bling by Scott Barnes, $38. Caution: Don't wear white with this bronzer, as it may rub off on clothes!

blend it like beckham

Becca half moon bronzer brush

When it comes to applying a bronzer, Aiello admits "It's a short step from golden goddess to Oompa Loompa." But rest assured this makeup pro has a step-by-step process for the bronzer virgin.

How to apply bronzerDip: To get started, she says it's important to always use a big, fluffy brush for powder bronzer application, such as Becca Cosmetics Half Moon Brush, $45. (A beauty blender sponge or your fingertips are perfect for applying a liquid bronzer.)
How to apply bronzerSwish aaaand flick: "Swirl the brush first in the product, then, tap off just a bit on a tissue to avoid splotching," advises Aiello.
How to apply bronzerSweep: "Apply in gentle, light strokes across the forehead, on each cheek, then on the chin, with just a dab on the nose."
How to apply bronzerBuild... slowly: If the shade isn't as dark as you were expecting, you can build the color by slowly adding more bronzer in thin layers. Don't apply too much too quickly or you will look cakey.

    Multi-toned cream bronzerlove is in the pair

    Aiello says, "Bronzers tend to look good when complemented by a warmer cheek, lip and eye." Try peaches, sheer warm pinks or nude tones. Her fave cheek-enhancer is Becca Cosmetics Crème Blush, $30, in Tuberose or Turkish Rose, which she attests is gorgeous on just about any skin tone. She's also crazy about Stila Eye Shadow Trio in Bronze Glow, $28, to boost your radiant glow.

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