The Female Bronze Age

When spring arrives I start dreaming of summer and despite my pasty, freckly complexion, I picture myself with tousled beach waves, honey-toned skin and Gisele’s bum! In my younger years, I would misguidedly reach for the bronzer and proceed to pad it on until I looked like an Oompa Loompa. Jennifer Lopez has a lot to answer for!  But bronzers (and thankfully my makeup skills) have come a long way since then.

Bronzers used to be ‘one dimensional’ and flat, resulting in a patchy mess, but now the formulas are so skin specific it’s harder to get it wrong.

SS15 collections were all about tanning with everyone from Balmain, Gucci, Michael Kors, Pucci and Burberry sending models down the runway with a glossy tan and a stand-out sweep of bronzer.

So how do you achieve the perfect bronzed runway look and avoid the 80s orange overkill?

The most important thing to remember is to know your limits. If your skin is pale and verging on the translucent like mine you are not going to be able to turn yourself into a Brazilian beach babe with a quick swish of a brush.  You should choose a bronzer that is no more than two to three tones darker than your skin colour.  You also need to compare the undertone of the bronzer with the undertone of your skin.

Secondly avoid too much shimmer. Matt or minimal sheen bronzers work best.  Shimmer looks great at night or when you’re on holiday, but just looks plain wrong at your 9.30 am breakfast meeting.

Thirdly, BLEND, and when you think you’ve blended enough, take a clean brush and blend some more. If you think you’ve applied too much, just use a clean cotton pad to remove the surface layer and blend your edges.  When using coloured powders on the face make sure you add a light dusting of powder to the areas you’re going to apply the bronzer to.  This will ensure that your product doesn’t stick and that it goes on evenly.

Don’t forget your neck and chest.  You can’t warm your face up and forget a bright white neck, you’ll look like you’re wearing a mask.

Pat McGrath has a few wise words on the subject: “[Bronzer] should be applied with a light touch and a small contouring or blush brush, directly underneath the cheekbone in a diagonal line, going from the bottom of the ear to the apple of the cheek…using a blending brush or a sponge, blend it in with small circular motions.” Continue with the same movement down the sides of the nose, underneath the chin and around the temples.

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But the most important thing is to remember to match the bronzer to your skin and don’t go too dark. Just think of those Oompa Loompas again!

Here’s a round up of my favourite bronzers modelled by me. Just a few candid shots someone took of me chilling on the beach with my bronzers.

Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing powder

The skin glows with an instant natural tan that is both matte and luminous.

Terracotta is available in eight shades for all skin tones but don’t be fooled by the names: the shades are categorised by hair colour which can be deceiving, Look at the colour in the compact before you buy.

Gisele-bundchen-GUERLAIN Terracotta-moisturising-bronzing-powder

Chantecaille Compact Soleil Bronzer 

This is a beautifully milled powder that goes on with ease to give that sun-kissed look

Chantaecaille Compact Soleil Bronzer - St. Barth’s-Gloss

Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder 

This comes in five shades for all compexions and is a beautiful matte finish