Give your face a sunny glow without actually baking outside: Apply bronzer following these three easy steps.

By Jenny Jin
Updated July 01, 2014
Woman with glowing skin
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| Credit: Susie Cushner

Bronzer: the one beauty product that elicits equal parts fear and intrigue among makeup minimalists and mavens alike. Too much can look muddy and contrived; too little is a waste of time. But just enough can conjure up that sun-kissed glow from vacations past. Here, the golden rules to achieving “natural” radiance.

1. Choose the right tools. If you’re a novice, opt for a powder bronzer (it’s easier to apply than a liquid or cream) that is no more than two shades deeper than your skin tone. For a foolproof color match, look for a palette with multiple shades (try Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact in Bronze, $44, You’ll also want a soft, fluffy brush with a rounded head for a smooth, even application.

2. Prep skin. After applying your foundation or tinted moisturizer, wait a few minutes before sweeping on the bronzer. If your skin is still damp, the color will go on patchy or streaky.

3. Tap and blend. Swirl the brush over the top of the compact and tap off any excess on the back of your hand. Then start sweeping the brush along your temple, down toward one cheekbone, and then to your jawline, completing a number “3” figuration. Repeat on the other side. Finish by dusting the powder over your nose and neck (even the back, if your hair is up), making sure to blend at the neckline.