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5 Places to Apply Bronzer for Sun-Kissed-Looking Skin

Where you use this makeup staple can affect your overall look.
January 23, 2024

Bronzer is a beloved makeup product that is an un-skippable step in many makeup trends (from latte makeup to glazed donut skin) for its ability to contour and sculpt the face without adding too much pigment. Of course, how dark your bronzer looks will depend on how you apply bronzer and which bronzer you use. Bronzer is incredibly popular for those who want a “just got back from the beaches of Greece” look year round. 


There isn’t any one right way to apply your bronzer, but there are different ways to use bronzer to create a natural-looking, bronzy tan. If this is your goal, keep reading to learn where to apply bronzer, plus discover a few drugstore-favorite bronzers for faking a sun-kissed glow 365 days a year.


What Is Bronzer?

Bronzer is a makeup product that’s used to give certain areas of the face (and body) a more tanned, warn look. When used properly on the face, bronzer will give the skin a sun-kissed appearance (without the sunburn). While bronzing and contouring are two different things, you can use a bronzer to contour the face for a more defined and sculpted look. All skin tones can benefit from bronzing to bring warmth to the face for a natural glam or full glam makeup moment. It all depends on where you apply bronzer.

Where to Apply Bronzer

Bronzer application is key to giving your skin a fresh glow without the need to actually sunbathe. If you’re looking for a natural glow or a dramatic contoured look with bronzing, explore the five bronzer applications below to take your makeup to the next level.


1. Cheekbones 

You probably already know (and apply) bronzer in this area, but to confirm, the most popular spot for bronzer is on your cheekbones. For a sculpted and defined look, swipe a bronzer like L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer onto your lower cheekbones for a long-lasting glow. The matte makeup formula is transfer-proof, sweatproof and waterproof to last through any weather and long work days without creasing or melting away completely. 


As a general rule for sculpting and contouring with makeup, the lighter shades (and highlighter) should be applied to the higher points of your face, while the darker ones go where shadows naturally occur. 


2. Jawline

Applying bronzer on your jawline will help create the illusion of a more chiseled face. Try it out for yourself by using a fluffy face brush and bronzer of your choosing. Sweep the bronzer onto both sides of your jawline, running from underneath your chin to about an inch from your ears. Make sure you’re not coating the brush in bronzer to avoid blocky streaks. Instead lightly swipe bristles across your bronzer to pick up a small amount to buff into the skin. 


If you want a more contoured look, choose a dedicated bronzer or a concealer one to two shades darker than your complexion. Add a few dots of the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage along your jawline and gently blend the full-coverage, non-caking concealer into your skin for an airbrushed bronzed look. Then be sure to blend, blend, blend — the goal isn’t harsh dark lines, but rather minimal color to accentuate the natural shadow of your jawline.


3. Temples and Hairline

Your temples and hairline are some of the best places to apply bronzer if you want to create the appearance of a smaller forehead. The darker color will create a shadow-like effect around the areas, making the forehead appear lower. 


Use the following three-shape technique for the best bronzer application. Visualize the shape of the number three on each side of your face, with your temples, cheekbones and jawline each being one part of the number.  then sweep your bronzer on in that three pattern. Be sure to extend the bronzer from the temples and across the hairline for an even and blended makeup look


4. Collarbone

Applying bronzer isn’t limited to just your face. Try bronzing around your décolletage (specifically the collarbone and cleavage) to bring more definition and glow to the area. It’s a great makeup hack for major events like weddings and proms for a full-glam look, or if you just want to bring attention to your chest. Always keep in mind that a little goes a long way with bronzer. 


Instead of using a powder bronzer, opt for a highlighter or liquid bronzer to add glow to your chest. Cover your entire chest with a thin layer of L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer in your skin tone to mimic a wet glow before applying a darker bronzer to the divots on either side of your collarbone. 


If these divots are hiding in your neck, place your fingers on your collarbone and roll your shoulders to see where your natural lines are — that’s where you’ll want to apply your bronzer. Add the Lumi Glotion in a darker shade to the tops of your collarbones (and even your shoulders) for some extra shimmer and added definition. 


5. Eyelids 

Face bronzer may be the number one product for adding a sun-kissed glow to your complexion, but it also looks really pretty when used on the eyes. It’s a quick way to create a sultry look and help relieve the appearance of tired eyes by adding some warmth to the area. To try it out, reach for a dark brown matte eyeshadow like L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Matte-Ison Avenue or Cafe Au Lait for a makeshift, eye-safe bronzer. 


Lightly dip a small liner or crease brush in the eyeshadow and tap off the excess before gliding your brush across your lower lash line to give eyes the appearance of wider eyes. Then, using the same color and makeup brush, apply eyeshadow in your crease and blend to the outer corner to add dimensions to your eyes. Bronzer is all about definition, and this slight eye-contouring will widen your stare subtly without the need for other eye makeup. 


How to Get an All-Over Bronzed Glow

If you’re looking for a way to get all-over glowing, bronzed skin, you can reach for a self-tanner that you apply at home. there are different formulas you can choose from, including self-tanning facial mist, tanning mousse or self-tanning facial drops. And you don’t have to worry about L’Oréal Paris self-tanners ever leaving you looking bright orange and streaky. Here are our picks:

L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Water Mist, Vitamin E

For a quick-dry, streak-free tanner, use this facial mist that can be used on your face and neck. It offers a natural-looking tan that gradually changes to an illuminating glow as the formula sets on your skin. Just spritz a light layer on your face, making sure you keep the bottle ten inches from your face, for a subtle glow.


L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse

This mousse tanner applies as a clear foam and gradually develops on the skin within four to eight hours for a natural-looking glow. The hydrating and lightweight formula softens the skin with the formulation of coconut water and vitamin E while it deposits color. 


L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops, Fragrance-Free

For those looking for a product specifically made to give your face a natural glow, use these facial drops. This serum can be mixed into moisturizer so you can add it to your nighttime face cream and wake up to a golden glow. Plus, the infused hyaluronic acid helps your skin stay hydrated with every application. You can customize your glow by adding five to seven drops for a light tan or eight to ten drops for deeper bronzing. 


Next: The Best Makeup Products for Glazed Donut Skin


Photographer: Ted Cavanaugh, Producer: Becca Solovay, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Prop Stylist: Katrina Rozeville, Prop Assistant: Emily Ramirez, Photo Assistant: Ben Berkes, Digi Tech: Aaron Barton

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