Jan. 10, 2013 at 11:16 AM ET
Nothing channels a summery state of mind like a sun-kissed complexion. A quick sweep of bronzer warms up the skin, and creates a flawless canvas like Jennifer Lopez's or Jennifer Aniston's. Like foundation, it evens out your skin tone and masks imperfections in a warm veil of luminosity. Keep reading for tips on how to create a natural bronzy glow, and to find out how to pick your perfect color.
The basic tips
For a Kim Kardashian-esque complexion, apply bronzer where the sun would naturally hit. Swirl a powder brush into the product and sweep over the cheeks, bridge of the nose, and forehead.
Create a more contoured look by focusing on the hollows of your cheeks, but be sure to blend so the effect is subtle.
'I can't find shades for fair skin'
If you have very light skin like Elizabeth Banks, it's important to choose a bronzer that isn't too dark or orange — both can make pale skin look muddy. Since your complexion has rosy tones, go for a palette with pink in it. We like Physicians Formula Organic Wear Natural Origin Bronzer & Blush 2-in-1. Swirl the two shades together and apply all over the face, or concentrate the lighter shade near the apples of the cheeks for a more flushed effect.
'I can't find shades for medium skin'
Olive skin like Emmanuelle Chriqui's can handle a bit more pigment and warmth. Guerlain's Terracotta Light with multiple tones is your best bet, as it will add dimension to your face and prevent the color from appearing flat. A formula with flecks of golds and apricots brings out the natural warmth in your skin. Use your finger to dab on extra gold to the tops of cheekbones.
'I can't find shades for dark skin'
For darker skin tones like Kelly Rowland's, illuminate your complexion with a rich, shimmery bronzer. Pick a formula that's dark, sheer, and faintly iridescent — this will bring out your bone structure without looking chalky. We love MAC's Powder Blush in Format, a deep sienna with just a hint of copper.
'It doesn't look natural on me'
Try out a matte powder like Benefit's Hoola or NARS's Laguna. The shimmer-free powder mimics the magic worked by sun's rays, and creates sculpted cheekbones with ease. Simply blend the color into the hollows of your cheeks, and stop at the outer corner of your eyes for instant definition.
$28, benefitcosmetics.com; $34, narscosmetics.com
'How do I keep skin from looking flat?'
Dab on this shimmery peach wonder to create a gleaming, lit-from-within appearance. Blend onto your eyes, lips, and cheeks before a party, but for daytime wear, swipe just along your cheekbones. Thanks to the dynamic gold shimmer and warm undertones, it's like a kiss from Turks and Caicos, and indistinguishable from real UV rays.
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