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Bronze Like a Pro

An expert weighs in on the right way to wear this summer staple

Everyone wants to have a natural glow and exactly zero people want leathery, unhealthy skin. We’re past that. It’s old news. But how exactly do you achieve the bronzed, slightly sculpted look? Now that’s work for a pro, so we brought one in. Here, Christian McCulloch for Dolce&Gabbana Beauty shares his insights into creating elegant, elevated looks with bronzer.  

What brushes should people be using to apply bronzer?

I like soft, fluffy and full blusher brushes for applying bronzer. Dolce&Gabbana’s Powder Brush are my favorites. The Powder Brush is lovely for applying to the whole face, and the Blush Brush is great for contouring or a more targeted application. 

But how and where should it actually be applied?

I like to apply bronzer in light, soft touches and build up the color by dusting off the excess bronzer on the brush before applying to the face. Just put the brush in the bronzer, and then get rid of the excess by lightly rubbing on the back of the hand or a soft tissue. This way you get a nice even application on the brush, and avoid the “stripy” look that heavy bronzer application can create. I’m always avoiding the striped, non-blended look and striving to create a diffused, blended color.

As for where, the key is to apply in three places: temples/forehead, cheeks, neck/jawline. Start by brushing it on above each eyebrow towards the hair line, then blend to the temples, and work your way down to the apples of the cheeks which you can find by making a small smile and applying to the roundest part of the cheek that pops out, a tiny bit on the tip and bridge of the nose – apply the most to planes of the face where the sun would hit. Then, with the residual bronzer on the brush, dust or blend over the rest of the face for a natural glow, don’t apply more bronzer directly to the rest of those areas.

The last little trick is to apply to the jawline and neck so that the skin looks even from the forehead down to the neck. I always apply a little bronzer to these areas, paying a little extra attention to the sides of the jawline, then down the neck towards the collar, but not so close that you get makeup on your clothing. 

To contour, you might suck in your cheeks slightly, and then shade under the cheekbone and lightly on the cheek for a light contour effect. 

How can people figure out what shade to use?

I would go up two shades, any more than that and it might look patchy and unnatural. The desired look is a subtle and seamless, sunkisssed, warm and golden color. Orangey tones are great on dark, medium skintones, but lighter skintones should avoid them, and move towards a more burnished, toasty shade like Dolce&Gabbana Bronzer in Desert. Desert is my go-to shade for light skintones, it’s a true burnished tan and Sunshine, is wonderful for the summer months.