Thursday, March 26, 2009

How To Choose And Apply A Bronzer

As summer approaches and we get outside more, Bronzer sales are ever increasing. We start to get a bit of color to our skin, ever so slightly sunkissed as we garden, ride our bikes, take walks or perform whatever favorite outdoor activity we may be into. Using a Bronzer allows us to keep our faces protected, yet provides a beautiful tan in order to match the rest of our bodies as our melanin gradually deepens from careful sun exposure.

Bronzer allows us to create subtle shifts in shading as our skin begins to darken. It also is used for contouring our faces. Bronzer is a very versatile product since it can be quite sheer. Yet with so many on the market it is difficult to know how to choose a Bronzer or even how to apply one once you get it.

There are several types of Mineral Bronzing Powder available: Outside of a variety of color choices these are the basic formulations on the market today in loose powder form.

      1. Sparkle Bronzer ~ Usually is an all colored mica based bronzer with only Titanium Dioxide added to the blend.

      2. Shimmer Bronzer ~ This Bronzer is formulated with colored mica blended in a base of mineral and / or botanical ingredients including iron oxides.

      3. Plain Bronzer ~ Typically a Bronzer that is formulated in the same way a matte blush is. A simple base of minerals, Sericite (mica) and Iron Oxides.
You may be wondering what is the significance of this?

Each Bronzer will perform in different ways on the skin.

For instance the first one will offer a sunkiss glow of color and is great for literally adding sparkle to the skin and face. Makes for a lovely evening highlighter that lends elegance to that enchanted evening. But for those that don't care for the sparkle effect then this would not be the one to choose.

The second choice is how we formulate ours and is the most popular among Bronzer selections. This Bronzer has a subtle shimmer effect, is quite sheer and boosts the skin shading to the perfect depth of color. Your skin will have a lovely luminous glow about it without looking sparkly.

The third choice, is strictly for deepening the skin tone as we tan, is great for contouring the face, is typically matte, and women use this type of Bronzer when wishing to only contour their face. For women that wish to deepen their entire complexion will find this type of Bronzer difficult to work with.

Now for the downside to certain Bronzers:

The first one is self explanatory. Many women will feel as though they are wearing glitter on their skin, and some love this effect while others don't want to look like they just stepped out of a New Years Eve Party.

The second one gives subtle shimmer, and is the best compromise for achieving the healthy glow of sunkissed skin. Even so, some women may be concerned about using one with just a hint of shimmer. The good news is this formula of Bronzer with a shimmer effect can be diminished as I will explain in a bit.

The third choice, though it has no shimmer effect can produce a flat, muddy appearance to the skin. This type of Bronzer can rarely be applied sheer enough and can go on heavy in color and make the face lose dimension. This is a poor choice for achieving sheer perfection.

Understanding The Performance Of Bronzers:

Bronzers are not designed for coverage of facial imperfections but to refract light to diminish their appearance. When formulated correctly they are excellent for boosting skin tone as we darken from the sun. They can be mixed with your foundation for deepening its' tone or applied last thing over your foundation and mineral veil.

Tip: For best results always apply last thing rather than blend with foundation. Use a darker shade of foundation if you want to darken your skin rather than with a use of a bronzer in this way.

Bronzers are also formulated to recreate the natural appearance of being out in the sun. Typically as we darken, our skin gets a healthy glow about it and doesn't go flat or look splotchy. Skin tone tends to even as we gain a tan. That is why women with a tan can hide spider veins, and redness on the skin seems to disappear behind the ever deepening healthy looking veil.

This is why the second type of Bronzer works so well. It gives a beautiful subtle, deepening glow of naturally tanned skin due to the slight shimmer effect it offers. Without the use of colored mica, the skin loses the 3 dimensional effect. A shimmer Bronzer gives our faces depth and natural contour.

The third type of Bronzer because of how it is formulated may add color and will darken the skin, but the complaint by the women who use this type of matte Bronzer claim it makes their skin look splotchy, muddy and flat looking. Not a very pretty picture.

The reason this occurs is due to the heavy formulation of base with Iron Oxides. You can achieve coverage with this type of Bronzer, so it is more like a foundation rather than an actual Bronzer. Hence the problems you get when trying to work with this type as an individual layer to your makeup.

Bronzer should float across the skin in sheer form, so the coverage must be sheer like a mineral veil with just a hint of iron oxide to shade them correctly.

How To Apply Bronzer:

When using a quality Bronzer, you can apply it alone or over your makeup. When used alone, remember it will not provide any coverage but will deepen your skin tone allowing "you" to shine through. Also, be aware, when used alone, make sure your skin is dry and moisturizer is completely absorbed, otherwise, Bronzer will stick to moist areas and not readily disperse.

Applied last thing over your makeup is ideal since this will provide the most depth to your facial features, give a natural healthy glow and make for a gradual deepening of skin tone. Very easy to control the shade you wish when applied this way. Bronzer also is designed to sit on top of the skin and / or your foundation leaving skin lustrous with the effect of a slight shimmer I described earlier.

Always use a large fluffy, open bristled brush for Bronzer. This will allow the bristles to flare and prevent too much powder from going in one spot on the skin. Brushes used for mineral foundation are too dense and will make for a less than favorable result.

When dipping your brush into the Bronzer, make sure you always tap off excess or tap bottom of handle and sift powder in amongst the bristles. You should only see a smattering of powder tipping the bristles as demonstrated in the picture to the right. Sweep quickly with light strokes, barely touching the skins' surface with the bristles. Dip and reapply in layers only to keep shading and contouring even.

Continue to work in broad sweeping strokes as the powder gets placed where you want it. Always apply in layers and allow to warm to your skins' natural oils to see how dark you get before adding more. Using a light spritz of distilled water will hasten this effect. Don't forget to go down onto the neck and Décolleté area. Applying to your shoulders also for a subtle touch of color.

Want To Reduce Shimmer?

Many women love the sheer application of a Bronzer but wish to reduce the shimmer effect that accompanies this popular formula, realizing the latter choice will make their skin uneven and muddy and the first choice is too much glitter for their taste.

It is very simple! It is similar to foiling eye color.

Many women aren't aware of this, but when you spritz the skin with moisture after applying Bronzer, it not only deepens the shade quickly, but it minimizes the shimmer effect.

Once your face dries, go over the face again with your foundation brush to meld the Bronzer with your foundation. Or if needing it a bit darker, add another layer and repeat the steps again to reduce the shimmer effect.

This is the same way you foil an eye color with a moist brush. It intensifies the shade, yet any shimmer is greatly reduced.

The healthy sheer, deepened glow is all that remains! Beautiful!

Wishing you continued skin health....and be careful out in the sunshine.

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