Bronzed Beauty: The New Rules

As the world takes sun protection more seriously than ever (a very good thing, in our books), it’s become more common to see sunless tans and bronzer-kissed faces than authentic “sun-crisped” skin. In light of this, we spoke to Maxime Poulin, International Beauty Artist with Guerlain (the bronzing authority that actually invented and sold the first commercial bronzer), for his tips on getting the best bronzed look possible. He answered our two biggest concerns.


It might seem as simple as “darker” or “lighter” when it comes to choosing a bronzer, but getting one with undertones to suit your skin can make a world of difference to the final result. How to do it?

Start with your wrist. “The skin here is often the palest,” says Poulin. “It’s also where we can figure out our undertones, because the skin is so transparent here.” In a nutshell, Poulin advises using the fingers to lay a heavy stripe of bronzer to our inner wrists—more than we’d ever use on our faces. Without blending, does the bronzer clash with the skin? If your bronzer has the wrong undertones for your skin, it’ll clash and look either yellow, or muddy. If the hue looks flattering even in this extreme scenario, then you can bet it’ll look beautiful atop the cheekbones.


While most women apply bronzer in a “number three” formation (on the temples, and across the cheekbones and jawline), Poulin prefers a method that looks more natural, as well as more flattering.

“If you get a sunburn, where is the sun going to hit you?” he asks. “At the top of the cheekbones, across the top of the nose, and at the hairline.” Taking your bronzer brush and applying it horizontally like this creates a more authentic glow.

For an even more authentic look, add a reddish (or violet, even) blush just below the bronzer. It’ll create the most natural flush. The added benefit of this “bronzer 2.0” beauty look is that while it won’t sculpt the killer cheekbones we see on the runways, it’s a lot more youthful. Where a contour can drag the face down, this look draws the eye up, creating a youthful fullness in the cheeks.

And just like that, we’re sold. Shop our favourite bronzers below!


1. Tata Harper Very Bronzing Cheek Tint, $55.

2. Yves Saint Laurent Les Sahariennes Bronzing Stones Sun-Kissed Glow Creator, $63.

3. Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder, $60.

4. Stila Stay All Day Bronzer for Face and Body, $47.

5. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer, $60.

6. NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer, $52.

7. Givenchy Healthy Glow Bronzer, $60.

All available at Sephora.ca


Feature image by Jennifer Polixenni Brankin