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The right bronzer for your skin tone

Bronzer isn’t just for summer. In fact, it’s the colder (sunless) months when wearing bronzer can keep you looking healthy and glowing. But choosing the right shade can be tough. That’s why we’re sharing some expert tips for getting it right (as opposed to orange).

Woman wearing bronzer
Woman wearing bronzer in winter

How to use bronzer
in the winter

If you want to keep some of that just-back-from-vacation vibe through the cold and slush, bronzer is the way to go. Click here for tips!

We asked Joanna Schlip, celebrity makeup artist for Physicians Formula, to share her tips for choosing a bronzer that will flatter — not detract — from your look. “When choosing a bronzer, it’s important to get the color right so you have a natural glow,” she says.

How to choose the right shade

No matter your skin tone, the general rule is to choose a bronzer one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone, Schlip tells us. “Never use a shade that’s more than two shades deeper than your skin tone or it will look artificial.” The last thing you want is for your bronzer to look fake, especially in the winter when everyone is walking around paler than usual.

Bronzer breakdown

So what should you look for? Schlip shares her guide for choosing the perfect shade for your skin tone.

Quick tip: Look for a bronzer with multiple shades. When it’s pre-blended for you, it comes across more natural as opposed to a one-dimensional shade, Schlip explains.
  • If you’re fair to light: Women with fair to light skin should use a sheer, slightly rose or peach-colored bronzer.
  • If you’re medium to olive: Women with medium to olive skin should look for a sheer copper or earth-colored bronzer for the most natural look.
  • If you have darker skin: Women with dark brown skin should try rich, chocolaty-brown bronzers with subtle shimmer, which have warm or blue undertones.

More than just bronzer

Bronzer is actually more versatile than you might think. Once you’ve found the right shade, it can actually be used for more than just a bit of golden glow. “Use it to sculpt your face and add dimension,” Schlip suggests. “You can define cheek bones and slim a nose with the right techniques.” To establish where to apply the bronzer, look for where the shadows on your face would naturally fall and use that as a guide for contouring and adding dimension where you need it. “Then, use a kabuki brush to blend and avoid lines of demarcation.”

Our picks

Our favorite bronzers

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