Glow Baby Glow!

There are several “staples” you will find if you are ever lucky enough to dig into a professional MUA’s kit, like incredible skin care, false lashes, industry concealers and foundations, flesh tone pencils, liquid liner, cake mascaras, the perfect nude lip gloss and of course…bronzer!

This Pro’s kit is packed with several variations of bronzer in shades ranging from light to dark. I can’t do a television spot or film project without them and I rely on bronzers for correcting and creating natural beauty. My favorite types are matte colors (no sparkle) because I use them to sculpt the face, jaw bone, nose area and correct flaws or create illusions, which ultimately trick the viewer’s eye into thinking the actor or model's face is completely flawless.

Bronzer should be primary in your makeup bag as well to give your face a sun-kissed glow and to wake up tired, pasty skin. Finding the right color for your skin tone is crucial because you want to be able to wear a bronzer all year around.

Here are a few guidelines:

Fair Skin: peach/pink bronzers

Light: beige brown with a hint of pink

Medium: Browny pink with a touch of cooper for warmth

Olive Skin: copper shades

Dark Skin: dark shades with a touch of red or blue if you are deep dark skin toned.

Avoid orange shades, which will immediately give you an unnatural look and leave you feeling like one of Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas or like one of those overly spray tanned actresses (who shall remain nameless).

My preference is powder-based bronzers applied with a fan brush, but there are also several cream- or gel-based products that work well for dry skin and should be applied with a sponge, which I do use now and then on certain television and film projects.

This Pro uses the following application technique when contouring and correcting: apply bronzer to jaw line, under cheekbone, down sides and tip of nose and at the temples. Always blend into the skin for the best results. To help illustrate, check out the great contour/highlight chart below:

For everyday application apply bronzer lightly to the areas of your face that the sun would naturally tan; apples of cheeks, chin, forehead and down the nose area.

Bronzer can replace the need for blush color, but feel free to add a shimmer highlight just above your cheek bone directly under your eye area. Complete your look with eyeliner, a coat of mascara, add a pretty gloss and you are ready to take on the day! Bronzer is magic and looks best on the days when you don’t need a ton of coverage from foundation or concealer.

Self-Tanners are also used to warm up the complexion of the skin on the body and face, but if applied wrong or excessively can lead to disaster. However, if you are not a sun worshiper or if you are completely conscious of sun damage, then using a self-tanner is a necessity for you during the year.

If applying self-tanner on the face, be sure several hours have passed before makeup application and make sure to apply the tanner to your neck and ears and wash your hands throughly after. Self-tanners come in cream, gel and spray formula usually mixed with a moisturizer for easy application and best results. Don’t forget to wait the recommended time limit before getting dressed and most products take an hour or more to develop color on skin.

Here are a few Bronzers and Self –Tanners that this Pro can’t “glow” without:

Nars: you can find several shades of Nars Powder Bronzers in my professional makeup kit, as well as a few of Nars’ Multiples. Powder shades include: Zen (matte), Irresistiblement, Casino, Laguna – Zen is a Nars blush color, but I use it as bronzer. Multiples: Rapa Nui, Malaysia, Tuomota.

Dior: love these shades from Dior, they are incredible on the skin and give a very natural radiance! Shades: Honey Matte 002 and Amber Matte 003. Dior’s Bronze Original Tan in Healthy Tan 01, Honey Tan 02 and Amber Tan 03 can be found in my personal and professional makeup arsenal. I also use Dior Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow Face and Body.

Shu Uemura: beautiful color for lighter skin tones in Light and Warm.

Calvin Klein: sunkissed, healthy glow for medium to olive skin tones in Sun Dance and Sun Drenched.

Laura Mercier's Bronzing Duo: perfect harmony for medium, olive and dark skin tones. Choose Bronzing for olive tones, Pink Bronze for dark skin and Coral Bronze for medium skin.

Mystic Tan: self-tanner for face and body is an aerosol formula that will give you a deep, even application. It is alcohol-free and it dries quickly.

Bliss, A Tan For All Seasons: this is a great self-tanner infused with antioxidants and aloe vera. Amazing color and no gross odor!

Speciality Products: Tarte’s Glam Gams Leg Bronzing Stick can be used when you are not able to self-tan or if you want to faux glow your legs (and arms). All Tarte’s products are packed with fruit complex like goji, acai and pomegranate. Lucy B. Bronzing Body Shimmer Oil is made from organic coconut, jojoba and sunflower oils. Use all over face, body and hair to achieve a fresh sun-kissed look!

Most product listed above can be purchased at except for certain Nars bronzer shades and Lucy B. products can be found at

If you are going to wear bronzer to the pool or beach, check out Cargo's newest line of waterproof bronzers. This product stays put no matter how much you get wet or sweat!

Remember, a little bronzer goes a very long way so use a light touch and build the color onto your face and body! If you find your bronzer leaves your face looking too matte or flat add a pop of color with a pretty blush color.

One more trick up my Pro sleeve; if you are very fair skinned you may want to try using a powder foundation color instead of a bronzer. Look for a shade that is one shade darker than your usual foundation color.

Up next on IMPO – The Loose, The Compact and The Mineralized - all about face powders!


  1. Hi! Have you ever had any problem with the cases of Dior's bronzers? I've bought my today and when I come home I found out that it doesn't close :(

  2. Hi delerith21 - I have not had any problem with the Dior components - sounds like a defective one - i am hoping you can return it and get a new one!

  3. I retured my bronzer and got a new one which case closes nicely as it must close :) And the shade itself is just great for my fair skin (i've got 001)!!! Thank you very much for writing about this one! I will recommend it to my friends :)

  4. Hi Delerith! So happy to hear that you were able to return the defective product for new and that the color works for your skin tone! Dior is a product line that I turn to many, many times!

  5. I'm looking for a bronzing lotion that gives the skin an olive tone but everyone I try is giving me a more orange tone, any suggestions?

  6. Angel - try the Gleam by Melanie Mills product line. It's great!