A sun-kissed glow is the prettiest look there is.
Whether you're going for bronzed goddess or pale and subtly luminous, it's not simply about faking a tan. The trick is looking brighter and glowier—and decidedly less makeup-y. "You want to play up your skin," points out L.A. makeup artist Kerry Malouf. "It can be as simple as using a warm pink or peachy blush to make you look really happy and healthy."
"A true tan isn't completely bronze," notes celebrity makeup artist Paul Starr. "You need rosiness in the cheeks."
Translucent gel and cream formulas are brilliant in summer. "It's that dewy, fresh-faced feeling," says Delux founder Jillian Dempsey. "The colors are sheerer—less obvious in bright light."
"If you've done self-tanner, use powdered bronzer as blush," says Jeanine Lobell, founder of Stila cosmetics. "It'll make the whole look more natural."
Go easy: Let your skin be the star. That means mascara and a trace of soft liner, or neutral, sunny shadows. "I like islandy colors, like soft pinks and browns, with just a hint of shimmer," says Lorac creator Carol Shaw.
"Keep it fresh and modern with a monochromatic palette—all peachy bronze and glowy," says Lobell. "Competing colors are too much."
"With makeup this minimal, I love a glossy mouth in a peach or a nude tone," says celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal.
The prettiest options are sheer and luminous.
If You Have Pale Skin...
Aim for peach or gilded pink tones. "On its own, pink can be too cold," says Roncal. "Peach is warmer and glowier."
If you want to go darker, use a light self-tanner, advises Lobell, and remember to do your neck as well.
Beware of bronzing powder. "It's not the thing for every skin," says Roncal. "People with lighter skin tones turn more rosy in the sun."
Blush and bronzer shouldn't cover your whole face. "Just pop the color where the sun would hit," Shaw says. "On your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, maybe a teeny bit on the chin."
If You Have Darker Skin...
Go for all-out bronze. "You can pull off the look of a deep tan," says Shaw. Choose a bronzer that's two to three shades darker than your natural skin tone, says Chanel makeup artist Susan Sterling.
Or bypass bronzer for blush. "Blend a reddish pink cream rouge into the apples of the cheeks," says Roncal. Embrace a sheer ruby lip stain.
Choose a Powder if:You already have a tan—fake or not—and want to highlight it.
Your skin is oily.
How to Apply it:
"The larger the brush, the more natural the effect," says Sterling. Tap away excess before you put it on.
"Start where you want the most color: cheekbones, above the eyebrows, across the bridge of the nose," says Lobell. "Last, sweep what's left on the brush over the rest of your face—that makes it all really natural."
Choose a Gel or Liquid if:You want an overall wash of color.
You have dry skin.
How to Apply it:
Prep with moisturizer or sunscreen, or mix the bronzer in, then apply. Starr mixes liquid bronzer with a sheer foundation, then burnishes cheeks with cream blush. For the beach, Malouf mixes a few drops of liquid bronzer into SPF30 sunscreen.
If you're going for a darker look, dab a bit directly on your cheeks with your fingers, then work your way outward to cover the rest of the face.
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