The best bronzer for your skin tone

Monday, 28 November 2016


The ultimate summer accessory, a little bit of bronzer is all it takes to give your skin a healthy glow. When applied correctly, it warms up your complexion and gives the illusion that you’ve spent a holiday on the beach. But what exactly is the “correct” way to apply it? We have some expert tips to help you get your bronze on.

Select your shade

Bronzer suits every skin colour EXCEPT for porcelain and alabaster skins – they end up looking dirty because the brown and bronze pigments don’t agree with the pink and peachy tones in porcelain skins. But if you’re not prepared to give up on your sun-kissed glow altogether, the key is to make sure that the undertones are more golden, not orange. Gold will soften the skin and give fresh colour instantly. If you’re very fair, rather wear a pearly highlighter to accentuate your features.

Bronzer looks best when the colour is close to your natural skin tone, so opt for one that is only one or two shades darker than your complexion. Light skins should wear beige bronzers while medium skin tones pull of brown-pink bronzers well. Deeper skin tones can wear brown bronzers containing either red, orange or a blue tone.


Our picks for fair skin tone: essence Light Up Your Face Luminizer Palette (R76,95), The Body Shop Baked-To-Last Bronzer in Warm Glow (R270), M.A.C Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Powder – which is technically not a bronzer, but can be used as one on fair skin, just choose the shade that works best for you (R420), Mii Cosmetics Celestial Skin Shimmer (R580).


Our picks for medium to olive skin tone: Catrice Sun Glow Matt Bronzing Powder in 030 (R79,95), NYX Matte Bronzer in Medium (R154,95), Clarins Bronzing Duo SPF 15 Mineral Powder Compact in 02 Medium (R425), Elizabeth Arden Mineral Bronzing Powder in Medium (R425).


Our picks for brown to dark brown skin tone: Avon Glow Bronzing Pearls in Deepest Bronze (R99,90), Avroy Shlain Coppélia Colour Bronzing Pearls in Shimmer Gold (R119), 3INA The Bronzer Powder 103 (R269,95), theBalm Bahama Mama Bronzing Powder (R299,95).

Choose your formulation

Bronzer is available in powder, liquid, cream and gel formulas. The powder version is the most popular, but it’s best to play around until you find the formulation you enjoy the most. Here’s a general guide by skin type:

Normal, oily, or combination skin – powder bronzers

Normal to dry skin – cream or fluid bronzers

Very oily or breakout-prone skin – powders, gels, or liquid bronzers. Stay away from the creamy options and overly sparkly options. A shiny finish just looks even oilier.

Apply it properly

If you’re new to applying make-up or just prefer quick and easy products, then a powder formulation is for you. Use a large flat brush to apply powder bronzer. Lightly dust it across the top of the product and gently sweep along the apples of your cheeks, the length of your nose, the point of your chin and the length of your neck. If you’re wearing a revealing top, brush some bronzer onto your shoulders and collarbone area for extra shimmer.

Skilled at applying make-up? Then why not try a gel bronzer? It is usually sheer and buildable but can be a little bit tricky to blend. Use your fingers for best results, and start by blending the gel onto the apples of your cheeks. Next, move on to your nose and chin. You may find you need to apply a little bit around your ear, lips and forehead areas to even out the colour. Remember to blend well!

If your end result looks like you got a bit carried away in the bronzing moment, take a small amount of foundation and a foundation brush and blend into the skin to tone down the colour a bit. This is a great way to fix streaks and give yourself a more natural look.

Now that your bronzer’s sorted, finish off your look with some lip gloss and a few coats of your favourite mascara. That beach babe glow will be yours in no time!

Other articles you may be interested in:
On trend: the natural glow
Apply foundation flawlessly
Contouring with Elizabeth Arden
Ten make-up brushes to invest in
Four steps to an immaculate complexion

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  1. PrudenceB

    When I first purchased a bronzer it was for a fair skin colour and I didn’t like how it looked on me and know I know which one I should buy.

    3 years ago •

  1. Khalieda Osman

    Totally needed this advice!!

    3 years ago •

  1. DIVA

    Thanks for the information, never thought of applying it on my shoulders and neck.

    3 years ago •


    I don’t know much about bronzer, so this really helps. I like the liquid ones because it’s not drying to the skin.

    3 years ago •

  1. Cookie Nandlall

    The bronzing pearls are the only one thus far that I have tried. I love the blend of the earthy fiery radiant glow contrast on my cheeks. Highlights your cheek bones and I find it best to use on a night out event/function. So many variants to choose from.

    3 years ago •

  1. Amanda Dugmore

    With a natural warm skin colour I really enjoy the application of bronzers. It’s fairly easy to use a powder bronzer but with a bit of practice the cream fluid bronzers work wonders for the shoulders and upper arms areas. Cream bronzers need to be properly blended and can be finished off with a dab of powder. I have successfully used both and love the glow.

    3 years ago •

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