When I looked in the mirror this morning it was abundantly clear that I’d need a little help from my bronzer drawer. It’s just that time of year; the little tan I had is speedily (and suspiciously, might I add; it takes my skin about thirty days to recover from a spot and yet a mere week to shake off a tan) fading to reveal my lily white skin once more, leaving only a few spots of pigmentation to remember it by. The answer is clearly a nice sweep of warming bronzer to join the freckles up a touch and render my pale skin honeyed once more.
Before I get going on the bronzers I’m reaching for, four notes:
1) I should warn you – bronzer is officially out at the moment. Make-up artists want you to ditch the stuff, warming up your paler skin with blusher instead. To this I say tish tosh (and privately some rather more plum expletives). They’re right, of course: a peachy or plummy blusher does herald autumn nicely and look more vogueish, but it also means waving bye to looking beachy for about, oh, nine months on these inclement shores. I’m not quite there yet.
2) Placement is everything. You cannot ‘fake a tan’ with bronzer and a liberal application all over your face will not make you look glowing, it will make you look exceedingly peculiar. Think of it as rounding off edges rather than adding colour – I tend to take a fairly small headed brush (at the moment: bareMinerals), swirl it in bronzer and brush off most on the back of my hand. That way my brush is evenly and lightly loaded (the old rule of thumb applies here: you can always apply more but taking it off is a real pain). I start under my cheekbones, buffing colour around my temples before dusting a tiny bit on the centre of my forehead and bridge of my nose – you know, where the sun would hit.
3) A bronzer to warm your face should be matte as matte can be. You want this to mimic skin and any shimmer particles will give the game away. During the evening, however, if you’d like to make your skin look hyper-real (make-up speak for really, really polished, perfect skin) in dark light, a finely-milled shimmer can blend in with your highlighter nicely and make cheekbones pop. Note: shimmer will also exacerbate imperfections so if your cheeks are spotty, steer clear.
4) Don’t limit your bronzer to face make-up – a wash of the very same colour you’ve applied to your cheeks around your eyes softly defines while tying in nicely with the bronzy tones of the rest of your make-up.
My Top Ten /
– Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor-Made Bronzing Power in 03 Natural Brunettes, £42.30 here. Guerlain make cult bronzers. This finely milled, completely matte palette made me understand the hype entirely. Note: the four separate colours can be used to make a perfectly nude eye.
– Maybelline Dream Sun in 09 Golden Tropics, £6.49 here. So cheap, so beautiful. This one combines a little blush with a pale bronzer that doesn’t have a whisper of shine or the dreaded orange about it.
– YSL Terre Saharienne Bronzing Powder in Golden Sand, £35 here. This is seriously pigmented. I’m talking one swirl of your brush would cover two or three faces. Apply with caution, then be amazed at its transformative powers.
– Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in 02, £24 here. I just had to double check the price on this; not only does it infallibly create a glow (mine makes it onto my face every other day), but even with frequent use there’s still an awful lot of it left. So, £24: bargain.
– MAC Kelly Mineralize Skinfinish Duo in Jolly Good, £24 here. Possibly sold out, but if you can get your hands on one, do – this is the best example of a bronzer that lends a little sheen without any shimmer to the skin. Also; a magnificent colour. Well done Miss O.
– Clarins Graphic Expression Face & Blush Powder, here. Clarins release one of these every year or so and they’re always worth snapping up. The balance of colours courtesy of the bronzy, peachy, healthy look-like-skin stripes just warm up a face in an instant and, as with Guerlain, you can pick out eyeshadow colours from the palette.
– Burberry Beauty Light Glow Earthy Blush 07, £29 here. Before I talk about the bronzer, I need to mention the metal it’s encased in. Beaut. It’s also magnetic, with a mirror as big as the compact on the inside and a brush that I have kept to apply the bronzer with (this rarely happens – most mini brushes are pants). The colour itself is sold out (surprise surprise), but stick your name on the notifications list – it’s a perfect pale matte bronze.
– Liz Earle Natural Glow Bronzer, £19.50 here. This one is for slightly darker skins or those of us building up a faux holiday glow. Do not make the error of buying Liz’s four-toned bronzer – it’s not a patch on this one.
– bareMinerals All-Over Face Colour in Warmth, £16.60 here. As long as you remember to swirl then remove most the bronzer on the back of your hand, the loose powder nature of this one shouldn’t offer any more difficulty in applying than a pressed bronzer. Also, if you do suffer from spotty cheeks, it may be well worth switching to this talc-free formula to avoid further aggravation and clogs.