Holding down Ohio, gorgeous DC reader KB wrote requesting advice on how to fake a Miami glow in the Midwest:
“I would like to look sun-kissed but don’t want to damage my skin. I got sunburned by accident two weeks ago and my skin looked worse almost immediately. And not just redness, wrinkly. So the issue is twofold; I’m interested in the Demeter Clarc recommendations for sunscreens as well as a way to fake the tan. I’ve never done a tanning lotion or bronzer (more interested in faking through the latter…I feel like there are scary nasty things in those turn-ya-orange lotions). So I don’t know which is better, how to apply, or what yields the best results. Also, if there are products in the mid priced range, I’d be much obliged as well.”
I’ve avoided giving general advice about bronzers. Achieving the perfect bronze usually requires a bit of trial and error. That said, I’m not about to leave you beyond the pale, so here are a few tips and recommendations to get you started down the terracotta brick road.
The first and most important rule of bronzing is that the product MUST be matte. No shimmer. No sparkles. No glitters (ever, anywhere). Add luminosity later; this is not the place.Next KB, you gotta decide on liquid or powder formula. Both have advantages and disadvantages, therefore it is worthwhile to have one of each in your arsenal for different occasions and purposes.
Let’s start with liquid/cream/gel options. On a really good skin day, this type of bronzer replaces foundation for good glow. This time of year, mix bronzer with foundation for a subtle transition to summer. Many of these products contain sunscreen too.
Luxury: Bobbi Brown All Over Bronzing Gel SPF 15, Soleil Tan de Chanel.Budget: Organic Wear Liquid Bronzer, Bonne Bell Gel Bronzer.
Powders are more a common choice, but also the source of many a makeup mistake. Finding the right color is super challenging. For the most part, avoid red or orange undertones (unless you are a red-head). Look for a brown base. Go too dark for your skin tone and risk looking muddy. Fair-skinned folks look for light brown sandy shades. Often when a brand offers two shades, the lighter one can look orange and the darker one is too dark. Think café au lait.
Luxury: Nars Bronzer in Laguna, The Balm Bahama Mama Bronzer.
Budget: Rimmel Natural Bronzer, Organic Wear Natural Bronzer.
Once you find the perfect product in the most flattering shade, keep these bronzing commandments in mind.
1) Exfoliate first.
2) Matte finish only. Said it once before, but it bears repeating.
3) Don’t forget the neck! Blend softly all the way down to the collarbone.
4) Consider blush compatibility.
5) Less is more. Forehead, nose bridge, chin, temples, cheekbones, stop there.