Expert advice: bronzer and self-tanner

By Bobbi Brown

Make-up maven Bobbi Brown offers her expert advice on achieving a natural sun-kissed look, MiNDFOOD reports.

I’ve always loved the sun-kissed look and I remember going to great lengths as a teenager to turn my skin that perfect golden brown.

If my hours spent baking in the Florida sun didn’t do the job, I would lock myself in the bathroom on the return flight home and use my mother’s stick bronzer liberally.

Thankfully, I’ve since learned about the dangers of sun exposure and I now rely entirely on bronzer to fake the glow I crave. From bronzers to self-tanners, there are countless ways to achieve a “tan” that not only looks natural but is healthy, too.


Bronzer comes in a handful of formulas: powder, cream (stick or compact) or gel. Bronzing powder is my favourite because it’s quick and virtually mistake-proof. Use a short, fluffy brush to apply it where the sun naturally hits your face – forehead, cheeks, nose and chin – and dust your neck and chest if you’re wearing a low-cut top.

For a dewy look, try a cream formula. Gel formulas are good for oily skin. Use your fingers or a sponge to apply cream and gel bronzers.

Once you decide on the formula, choose your shade. The most natural-looking bronzers have predominantly brown tones (with a bit of red). Avoid bronzers that are orange-toned or frosted, as they look artificial on any complexion. Most product ranges offer light, medium and dark shades. Choose the shade based on how you tan naturally. For example, if you turn medium golden brown in the sun, a medium bronzer is your best bet. The bronzer should blend easily and warm up your face. If the colour looks too orange or obvious, try one shade lighter.


For colour that lasts a few days, try self-tanner. Choose the shade according to the guidelines above. Clean, smooth skin is the secret to a good out-of-the-bottle tan, so exfoliate any rough patches before you apply the tanner. Do a patch test on the inside of your arm to ensure you’re not allergic to the formula.

When applying self-tanner to your face, spread a thin layer to start. If you want a darker colour, you can always wait until the colour develops and repeat the application. Avoid your eyes but include your ears and neck so you don’t end up with any obvious lines.

Wash your hands thoroughly after applying self-tanner and allow enough time for it to be absorbed before getting dressed or going to bed.

Mistakes, such as too-dark colour or obvious streaks, can be faded with a gentle exfoliant and lots of moisturiser. Use a tinted moisturiser on your face to help even out your skin tone.


After applying bronzer or self-tanner, sweep pink or rose blush on the apples of your cheeks. If you’ve been blessed with a porcelain complexion, even the lightest bronzers and self-tanners will look unnatural on you. Skip them and use a soft pink or apricot blush to warm up your complexion.


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