One swoosh of a good bronzer over skin, and a lacklustre visage is transformed into one that radiates good health. After a summer in which the sun has made a less than ideal number of appearances, there has never been a better time to swot up on your bronzing skills, to learn the simple tricks of the trade that take your application and look to the next level. For that surfer sun-baked skin in seconds, take your cues from make-up artists Sir John and Celia Burton, who share their tips here.
Start with your skin
First thing’s first, you should always start with a clean canvas. “Make sure that your skin is hydrated, possibly with some light exfoliation,” recommends Sir John, who is Beyoncé’s make-up artist. “In the summer, stay away from chemical exfoliators (like alpha-hydroxy or beta-hydroxy acids), and include a light, soft manual exfoliator in your routine instead, to even out your complexion and lift any sun-damaged skin that has attached itself to your dermis.” This will also help your ensuing moisturiser to penetrate, plump and hydrate. He then recommends applying a light complexion base, whether that’s a tinted moisturiser or a foundation.
Consider a cream formula
“The trick to a hyper-natural glow is not just where you apply the formula, but also the texture of the product you use,” explains Burton, who is Glossier’s European make-up artist. “Gel and creme bronzers can be blended into the skin without sitting heavy. Combine them with conscious application and everyone will comment on how well you look.” Sir John also says they’re a great texture to try for a natural and lived-in effect, “like you’ve been sunbathing by a pool”. Which is a definite yes from us.
What color to go for
When considering what colour to go for, Sir John advises simply choosing one that is a shade or two deeper than your natural complexion – although he does point out it’s always beneficial to have a couple of colours on hand for different areas of the face. “Maybe one to highlight and one to sculpt,” he suggests.
Deeper skin tones should look for a colour that warms up the complexion and “allows your melanin to look even juicier”, he says. Burton’s advice to those with darker skins is to look for anything with a warm undertone, to “achieve the rich depth of sun-kissed skin”.
For seamless application…
Look no further than a decent brush to buff your bronzer onto the skin. “I love to use a brush, although you can still use fingers to warm the product up and melt it into skin too. My favourite cream bronzer brush is Real Techniques Expert Face Brush No 200,” says Burton.
Where to apply
Sir John name-checks Glossier’s Solar Paint as a formula to try for all complexions. “I like to use a dime-sized amount on the back of my hand. Then, with a fluffy blush brush, I buff it into the temples of the forehead, underneath the cheekbones, and a little bit on the neck and jawline – all over the perimeter of the face,” he says. “But you want to leave the centre of the face void of any shimmer and bronzer [in order] to look brighter in that area.”
Burton recommends taking a step back to assess your application in the mirror, and says that a good rule of thumb is to apply bronzer wherever the sun hits for a natural appearance.
If you’re oily, living somewhere warm or anticipate getting hot, it might pay to set your cream formula with a powder bronzer. “Applying a powder bronzer on top will allow you that bit more longevity,” says Sir John. “I like to call this ‘Teflon face’, as it will stay put for hours longer.”
Summer face: on
What to pair with your now immaculate bronzer? “You can dress a good bronze base up as you will,” says Sir John. “You can go with more eyes and mascara, or pare it back and do almost nothing, with maybe just a few freckles across the bridge of the nose and cheeks and some tinted lip balm.” For Burton, it’s all about shining “like a disco ball” this summer, and she’s pairing a curled lash (sans mascara) with a defined and hydrated lip. “After the 17 months we’ve just had, I’m craving radiance, health and a bit of luxury.”
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk