That just about blows my mind, because bronzer is one of those must-have products for me now and I can't imagine how I ever lived without it. I think I thought it made you look like a desperate cast member of Jersey Shore, that you put it all over your face like fake tanner. I didn't realize that with a light hand and a little subtle contouring that you could make your face look more alive, slimmer, and as if you had slept a good ten hours under a gentle sun.
Currently, I own five bronzers: four "higher end" and one from the drugstore. My first bronzer was NARS Laguna, a holy grail of almost everyone in the beauty world. It's a great bronzy color without being sparkly, and it doesn't make you look muddy or dirty. I've already got a fair amount of red in my skin, so I don't need to add orange or yellow; Laguna is good to warm things up a bit without making me look like an overtanned St. Tropez beach broad. After buying Laguna I got a few more bronzers--a red one by Bobbi Brown that is really only for the height of summer as it's so dark on me, a Dior bronzer-blush limited edition that barely shows up (a bummer, but it's pretty and pricey so I do use it) and a cream bronzer by Revlon that is pretty dark. All of these I got almost a year ago in a bronzer-buying spate. The best was still Laguna, and if you haven't tried it, you should.
Laguna by NARS--apart from MAC, NARS is my favorite brand. I pretty much love everything they do. See the shimmer? It's so subtle but gives the skin such a nice sheen. I was so psyched when I hit pan--it was such a geeky moment for me!
Recently, I started to feel that maybe Laguna was a bit too dark for my pasty winter skin. I had heard really good things about Two Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil bronzer, which apparently smells LIKE CHOCOLATE (they also have an eyeshadow palette that smells like chocolate. They infuse their products with cocoa powder). The color is lighter than Laguna and a bit more matte, but it's very finely milled, and if you smell my face you may end up craving a snack.
Two Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer. Also comes in darker shades! Loooove the packaging.
Swatched--the Laguna is on the bottom, Two Faced on the top. Both products available at Sephora and both are in the 30$ range. Sidenote: See how red my skin is?
So to put on bronzer I use a cheap Real Techniques brush that looks like this:
And I sweep it under my jawline to create a shadow there, on my temple near my hairline, and in my cheekbones. Sometimes I try to sculpt my nose but I'm still learning how to best do that without looking like I've been sticking my face in a mud pile. The bronzer instantly wakes me up and gives me a subtle glow. I follow with blush on the apples of the cheeks--the overall effect is healthy and natural. Add highlighter on the tops of your cheekbones and you'll look like a beach bunny babe, not a shriveled up raisin.
If you haven't tried bronzer yet I highly recommend either the NARS or Two Faced, especially for Spring. Both will last you forever and will give you a yeah, I just spent a few hours in the sunlight, so what of it? sheen that will have everyone asking where you managed to find some sunshine in this endless winter. No self tanner or sun damage required!