Fake It, Don’t Bake It with My Favorite Bronzers

by Sonja on June 8, 2009

Oh, how I love a good bronzer. I’m pretty fair so I love the way a good bronzer warms up my complexion and gives me that healthy, sunkissed look without needing to bake (and damage my skin) in the sun. Powder bronzers are super easy to use. A few sweeps of powder here and there and you’re good to go.

Today I’m showing off two bronzers I’m loving – a new mineral bronzer from Elizabeth Arden (along with a brilliant lip gloss) and a unique, waterproof bronzer and highlighter set from IT Cosmetics. They’re both very different. I’ve got some pics and a video to give you a better look, and some tips for using bronzer – including tips to make you look thinner without looking like Sarah Palin (damn, they did some contouring on that woman).

Elizabeth Arden Bronze Minerals

Elizabeth Arden Bronze Minerals is a new collection for face and cheeks. They’ve done a lovely job of bringing minerals into bronzing. The products are infused with microlight minerals and natural extracts to enhance your skin tone and your skin. Out of the collection, I’ve been using the Pure Finish Mineral Bronzing Powder ($32), which lights up my skin with a warm bronze that has an exquisite golden shimmer. The goof-proof powder glides on easily and comes in a beautiful, tortoise-shell-like compact. It also comes with its own Kabuki-style brush, which does a fabulous job of sweeping on the color, and is available in light or medium.

This bronzer is made with lots of great ingredients:
• Silica to blur lines and soften imperfections
• Mica to add luminosity, highlight and enhance skin tone
• Aloe vera to moisturize and soothe
• Chamomile to calm and soothe
• Pearl pigments to add a hint of tint and subtle shimmer

The bronzer is perfectly complemented by High Shine Lip Gloss ($15) in the new shade Maple. It has a glamorous, glossy formula with lots of pigment. There’s no need to put on a lipstick first. This isn’t one of those glosses that looks like it has color in the tube but then you can barely see it when you put it on. It also feels great on the lips, isn’t sticky, and stays on nicely. This gloss also comes in four other new shades, including a limited-edition shade called Tropicoral.

Available at shop.elizabetharden.com and at a variety of stores, including Macy’s, Ulta, and amazon.com.

IT Cosmetics Get Wet Waterproof Highlighter and Bronzer

IT Cosmetics Get Wet Waterproof Highlighter and Bronzer ($32) is quite unique. You can get these wet, and they really do stay on. Splash around in the summer sun and you will still look like a bronzed beauty. And yet they wash off easily with soap and water. How cool is that? This is a set of three, easy-to-apply powders with lots of pigment.

The bronzer is matte so it’s ideal for using it as a contouring powder to define cheekbones and cleavage. If you prefer a shimmery bronzer, swirl the bronzer with either or both of the highlighters. There are two highlighters – a flesh-toned shade and a more dramatic white pearl – to play up your assets. These all multi-task – all the powders can also be used as eyeshadows. This set works for a full range of complexions. For darker skin, simply layer on more color. For lighter skin, just sweep it on lightly.

IT Cosmetics are not tested on animals are available at itcosmetics.com, beauty.com, amazon.com, and Pure Beauty stores.

Video Demo

To see these bronzers, highlighters, and gloss in action, check out my video. I’ve also got bronzing tips below.

Bronzing Tips

A Touch of Pink. To get a really natural look, apply pink blush before bronzer to add a bit of pink to your cheeks. This mimics the way skin looks naturally when we get a touch of sun. I didn’t apply blush in the video so you could see how the bronzers look on their own.
A Light Touch. Start with a light dusting of bronzer to look sunkissed without looking freakish. You can always add more. If you put on too much, dust on a bit of regular face powder to tone it down.
Blend, Blend, Blend in Good Light. Another important point for keeping bronzer looking natural is making sure you blend well. It’s easiest to see if you’ve blended well enough by applying makeup in natural light. I avoid putting on makeup under the harsh florescent light in the bathroom and apply by a window instead.
Where. Apply bronzer to the apples of your cheeks (smile so you can see exactly where those apples are). Also sweep it along the hairline and on the forehead, nose, and chin – where the sun would naturally tan your face.
Smooth Skin. Keep skin nicely exfoliated so that shimmery powders don’t highlight dry, flaky skin. That’s no good.
Slim Down. To look like you’ve lost five to ten pounds, use bronzer to contour your face. But use a light hand so it doesn’t look like you’re bringing back the worst of the eighties. Lightly brush bronzer a bit below the cheekbones, into the hollows of your cheeks (suck in your cheeks if you need some help figuring out where it should go). Also sweep bronzer along the jaw line to minimize any extra chins. What you’re looking to do is create a shadow to minimize the look of those areas. But if it looks like you’re wearing bronzer in those areas, step away from the bronzer. You have gone too far. Dust on some face powder to reel it back in.
Rock the Body. Also use bronzer with a large powder brush to accentuate and contour cleavage, arms, and legs.

Bronzer-Highlighter Hybrid from Benefit

You might also like to check out the beautiful, new face powder one hot minute from Benefit that I previewed recently. It’s an unusual powder that’s sort of a bronzer but more of a highlighter with a bronze finish.

Coming Soon from Bobbi Brown

Next week I’m shooting a makeup lesson at a Bobbi Brown counter with Bobbi’s new makeup, including the stunning Bronze Collection, which includes an alluring collection of bronzers (some with touches of pink and coral), a hot Shimmer Brick for Body and a big, super soft brush also for the body. Knockouts across the board. Be sure to check back soon for that.

Do Tell

Do you break out the bronzer for spring and summer? Do you wear it year round? Do you use it to contour? Do tell.

P.S. Check out our regularly updated Beauty Resources page for some amazing beauty deals at amazon.com, beauty.com, Sephora, and more.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Denise@Swelle June 8, 2009 at 2:20 am

I love the idea of bronzers but as stated above, you have to remember to use a very light hand when applying!

I bought a MAC loose bronzing powder years ago and it had a strong sheen to it which I didn’t realise until I caught my reflection in the sun and I looked like C-3PO’s girlfriend. I’ve been a bit skittish ever since! The Elizabeth Arden mineral bronzer sounds nice, maybe I’ll pop by a counter for a trial! Thanks for the tips!

Denise@Swelle’s last blog post..Design Piracy Prohibition Act Will Kill Fashion?


2 Sal June 8, 2009 at 8:45 am

I’m out of my depth with bronzers, I’ll admit it. Plus I’m actually TRYING to stay pale this summer. Such a contrarian, eh? ;)

Sal’s last blog post..Love You Tender


3 K-Line June 8, 2009 at 8:52 am

I’ve never tried bronzer - I am so pale, I just don’t think it would work. But you look beautiful wearing it. It generally looks fake on people. On you, it is entirely natural seeming.

K-Line’s last blog post..The Grass is Greener


4 Sonja June 8, 2009 at 9:50 am

❤ Denise@Swelle, C-3PO’s girlfriend! haha! It’s amazing how much shimmer they put in bronzers sometimes. It can easily be too much. The shimmer in the Elizabeth Arden is about as much shimmer as I’m up for to avoid said C-3PO looks. You might also like the IT Cosmetics set, because the bronzer is matte and you can control the level of shimmer by swirling in a little or a lot of the highlighters.
❤ Sal, that’s so funny. I’m good with pale. I just like my skin to look warmer. I think pale can be very pretty. Sallow… not so much. haha!
❤ K-Line, I’m definitely all about using a light touch. Try one of the lighter shades on top of blush. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’m very interested in seeing how the new Bobbi Brown bronzers look, considering she has incorporated pink into one. I think that will look really natural and perfect for people who normally stay away from bronzer.


5 alyson June 8, 2009 at 10:01 am

Your tip about applying bronzer in a “3″ is so awesome… and totally new to me! I never really knew where to brush it on and usually resorted to spastic blending in the general cheek region hoping for some measure of success. Great video!


6 Sonja June 8, 2009 at 10:45 am

❤ alyson, so glad you found that helpful! It’s something I’ve been doing forever but only just had it described that way to me recently. Thanks so much for watching the video and stopping by! :)


7 Winnie June 8, 2009 at 11:46 am

Oh man, Bobbi Brown is amazing. I always stop by and have a look at the lovely Shimmer bricks! I don’t use bronzer really but do own MAC’s Everson blush which is a lovely bronzey-peach cheek colour. I think I should wear it tomorrow and try and defy the gloomy rain in the UK!

Winnie’s last blog post..Rain rain go away.


8 Sonja June 8, 2009 at 11:55 am

❤ Winnie, her Shimmer Bricks are outstanding. And I agree, I think warming up the face with a bronzer or bronzey-type blush is the perfect antidote for a gloomy, rainy day. Hope the weather improves soon!


9 Patti Lee June 8, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Hey, I lived and loved the eighties! (I’m an oldie!) Good tips! xoxo

Patti Lee’s last blog post..Noodle Bowl Greetings


10 lisa June 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I’ve never really jumped on the bronzer bandwagon until recently; I got a free sample of Clinique All-Over Color in Almond Blossom and have been experimenting it. Your contouring tips are terrific-I might have to try them out!

lisa’s last blog post..Lisa’s Most Coveted List: Bonus June Edition!


11 Sonja June 8, 2009 at 2:20 pm

❤ Patti, the eighties were great but there were some questionable makeup and fashion choices that I’m confused to see making comebacks. haha! Contouring can look really good but 80s-style can be a bit scary! :)

❤ lisa, glad you found the tips helpful. A friend has asked me a couple times if I’ve lost five pounds when I’ve done a bit of contouring. One of these days, I’m gonna have to fess up. :)


12 THE SHOE GIRL June 12, 2009 at 9:39 am

Great post!

THE SHOE GIRL’s last blog post..Kim Kardashian’s Dazzling Idea


13 Sonja June 12, 2009 at 9:53 am

❤ THE SHOE GIRL, thank you! So glad you liked it!


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