V is forever being told she’s an English rose. Which is all very well and good, but in reality she has dreams of being golden-limbed and sun kissed. Her complexion is very  pale, yet pinky toned (she’s spent years avoiding the intensity of the sun) and she likes nothing more than giving her skin a warmth and a radiant glow with her trusty bronzer. V wears it daily, year round, over her foundation, to add a radiant flush.  For her, it’s less about looking ‘suntanned’, and more about looking healthy. It’s fair to say we all feel better and less pasty with a hint of bronze on our skin. We all want to be told “you look well”, and bronzer – applied correctly and often sparingly! – is the way forward.

From a young age, V was seduced by the high-end beauty counters, thanks to her mum who knew a thing or two (and still does) about great cosmetics. She introduced her to Guerlain – the first cosmetics company to launch bronzers back in the 80’s – whose  fabulous Terracotta range just goes from strength to strength. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. V vividly remembers the liquid bronzer she bought that first time – a pump dispenser filled with clear gel, and suspended in it: golden brown spheres. With just a press of the pump, the spheres were crushed and mixed with the gel, and the most perfect, light bronzing liquid was released. She wore this for years until Guerlain discontinued it. Why Guerlain, why? Does anyone else remember this? And bonus marks if you can remember what it was called as we’re struggling! V’s moved on and is now a big fan of their powder bronzers, which all have that unmistakable, indulgent Guerlain scent – similar to parma violets. She wears Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder, in Blondes 02, £37. It’s the perfect shade for her fair skin, and with its pinky tones, she always feels natural with it on. And no, she’s not a blonde.

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Palette Power. We love a multi-functional palette and these are two of our favourites. Splash out on ByTerry Sun Designer Palette, £65, (left) which promises to last for ages. Or try Becca’s brand new Chrissy Teigen Glow Face Palette, £45 which is causing a storm in the beauty world.

As for M, she has more of a weathered look thanks to her childhood years spent in the Indian sun in Goa. That’s what you get for having hippie parents. That, and the middle name, Moonbeam! She is also fair-skinned, but her face is now spattered in freckles(euphemism for ‘skin damage’. Sorry M’s mum – don’t feel guilty, she likes them! Joking aside, if only we’d have known then what we know now and had access to SPF30+). Thanks to the freckles, her skin looks different whether it’s summer or winter, as they fade somewhat when there’s less sun. So when it comes to bronzing, she also wears it year-round like V, but has to build up colour accordingly, or switch products. So for the summer, she opts for Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, £59, which promises a sheer, shimmering finish and complements the freckles. And in the winter, she uses Clarins Bronzing and Blush Compact, £30, which builds up colour beautifully and gives skin a warmth, as opposed to a tanned effect.

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Back in the day, her 15-year old self began bronzing with The Body Shop Brush On Bronze bronzing beads, £14. This pot of shimmering brown balls delivered a perfectly natural finish and was iconic in the 90s. Fickle as ever, it wasn’t long before M was lured away by other brands such as Clinique and YSL.

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So now for the technical part. The rule of thumb for bronzer has always been to sweep it ‘where the sun naturally hits the face’. So down the nose, along the forehead, up the cheekbones and along the jawline. And remember to build up the colour gradually – when it comes to bronzer, less is definitely more! Your brush is also crucial. Go for a large, fluffy one, to ensure a soft, natural and even finish and avoid a ‘stripy’ look. We love Clinique Bronzer Brush, £25. Or go for The Body Shop Slanted Kabuki Brush, £16. And don’t forget to blend past the jawline, bringing it down a little onto the neck.

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Top Tip: For the most natural effect, choose a bronzer that’s not too red or orange and go for a product that’s 1 or 2 shades darker than your own complexion. No more. Always remember to apply in natural lighting.

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Grrrrr: We’re wild about this Too Faced Pink Leopard Bronzer, £25. Although it’s more of a highlighter than a conventional bronzer and gives a subtle glow.

You can also use bronzer to contour (definitely a buzzword for the noughties. V & M are not fans of this trend, preferring a fresh, natural look, with a flush of colour on the face. But it’s a trend that looks set to stay with us for a bit longer!). For contouring only use a matte product, not one with shimmer. The point of contouring is to build up shadows that enhance certain features and/or slim the face. The idea is to create a number “3” on both sides of your face. So begin at the top of the forehead, bring it under the cheekbones  and then apply along the jawline, taking it all the way to your chin.

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Get Your Glow on with our pick of the best bronzers on the market…

Best for pale skins: Choose a bronzer with pink, peach or golden undertones. We love Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder, £30. An ultra-lightweight, matte formula that gives a totally natural finish. Try shades Golden Light or Natural.

Best for medium skins: Urban Decay Beached Bronzer, £22. This finely milled powder has an almost creamy feel to it, making it a joy to use. It gives a very natural glow.

Best for deep/dark skins: Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, £49, in Medium to Dark. A bronzer and highlighter in one gorgeous palette.

Best Suits-All Bronzer: Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna, £29. The bronzer that beauty editors and makeup artists alike, come back to time and time again. The perfect shade, infused with subtle, golden shimmer. It’s now available in a liquid version – Laguna Liquid Bronzer, £27. Or try the brand’s latest bronzer offering, Sun Wash Diffusing Bronzer, £29, a translucent matte powder in a variety of shades (including Laguna) that subtly enhances your natural complexion.

Best For Contouring: Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, £25. The perfect matte bronzer to use for contouring – it evens out skin tone and neutralises any redness. Plus it smells of chocolate. Does it get any better than that?

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Cult Product: BeneFit Hoola Bronzing Powder, £24.50, is the UK’s best-selling bronzer. For a reason. It’s the perfect matte powder and it’s great for travel, as it’s packaged in a cute, compact box. So popular is Hoola, that BeneFit has now introduced it in liquid form – Dew The Hoola, £24.50, (try adding to your  foundation) – and also launched a lighter version, Hoola Lite, £24.50 for paler skins.

Best for a dewy finish: Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel, £36 If you’re not a fan of powder bronzer, try this decadent, whipped up cream-gel bronzer. It leaves skin glowing and flawless. Or try Clinique Sun-Kissed Face Gelee, £23.50, a sheer gel that blends in easily and can be mixed in with your foundation.

Best Highstreet Buy: Rimmel Kate Sculpting Palette, £6.99. M bought this cute palette for her 13-year old daughter and they’ve been fighting over it ever since! A highlighter, bronzer and blusher in one slimline palette, not only are the powders wearable and blendable, but the price is attractive too.

Best Luxury Splurge: For M’s recent ‘big’ birthday, V treated her to Tom Ford Bronzing Powder, £52. She wears Terra, which is a matte shade (one of the things she loves most about it), perfect for fair to medium skin tones. It’s a very indulgent bronzing option, but M is totally hooked.

Best Shimmering Bronzer: If you’re a fan of shimmering bronzer, you can’t go wrong with YSL’s new Sahariennes Bronzing Stones Collector, £35. It’s sheer, light and gives a natural radiance.

Best for On-The-Go Application: Bobbi Brown Glow Stick, £26. A highlighter-come-bronzer that gives a gorgeous, sunkissed glow.

Don’t forget to click on the link below for our Youtube Video tutorial on how to bronze your face. Hope you enjoy!!

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter @verymakeupmad. And email us with your beauty queries at verymakeupmad@gmail.com. Our Bronzing tutorial vlog will be on our You Tube channel very soon. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted!

Love & bronzed beauty,

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Bronzed up: V, left, wearing Guerlain Sheer Bronzing Powder in Blondes 02, and M, right, wearing Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette.

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  1. Super informative post! I love my Tarte waterproof bronzer in Hotel heiress – it’s my go-to. I’ve always had issues with my bronzer looking muddy because I don’t know where to place it but this is really helpful!

    Amanda | thebeautypanda.com

    1. Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it. We will definitely try the Tarte bronzer. It’s not been that easily available in the UK until quite recently. Can’t wait to give it a whirl!!

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