In my teen years, I was a serious tannaholic. I grew up in Los Angeles where the sun shines 364 days a year. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I became aware of the negative effects of UV rays. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I was in a dermatologist office and there was a pamphlet about sun damage. At 20, I thought myself invincible, so damaging my complexion wasn’t of serious concern (me? skin cancer? yeah, right.). What bothered me about this specific pamphlet, however, was the photos it presented. Brigitte Bardot in her prime – a bronzed goddess, the epitome of sexy – and Bardot now – wrinkled and haggard, an effect of premature aging caused by the sun. If this isn’t the perfect PSA for sunscreen, I don’t know what is…
Ever since that sunny day in 2000, I have diligently applied sunscreen to my face – most of the time coupling the SPF with a large hat and sunglasses. I drive like this. I hike like this. I tan like this. And most of my friends think I’m overreacting. I’m sure Brigitte would say otherwise.
Don’t get me wrong – I still yearn for that gorgeous golden shade, but I’ve learned that you can fake that coveted glow and forgo the negative effects of the sun – spots, damage, wrinkles and even cancer. Bronzers – powder, cream and everything in between – give good sun while saving your skin.
Here, my favorite bronzers for summer:
Laura Mericer Matte Radiance Baked Powder ($36) – This season, I’m all about a matte bronzer. Shimmer seams so 5 years ago. Laura Mercier’s Matte Baked Powder provides the perfect natural hue with a formula that is safe for even the most sensitive of skin types (and ideal for problem skin).
Urban Decay Naked Sun Bronzing Beauty Balm ($34) – A 5-in-1 liquid, foundation-like bronzer that doubles as a BB cream to minimize pores and uneven skin tone while adding a tint of sun kissed color to the entire face.
Hourglass Superficial Waterproof Bronzer ($45) – Another matte formula, although this one is waterproof as well so it stays in place, despite swim and sweat. Superficial is free of oils, parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes and fragrances but rich with golden pigment.
Nars Matte Multiple Lip & Cheek Color in Vientiane ($39) – I wrote an entire post about my love for this specific product (and color), and while I’m not entirely sure it is meant as a traditional bronzer, this would be my cream bronzer of choice. I love the coppery shade, the creamy formula and the “matteness”. But all of this pales in comparison to the way it livens up a complexion, adding a dewy, healthy glow to the skin.
Becca Bronzing Skin Perfector ($36) – I discovered this product a few summers ago and I’m still a fan. What I like most is the gel consistency. It stays on for hours, giving a sheer and even summer bronze to your complexion. You can wear it alone or mix it in with your foundation for an all-over glow.
Michael Kors Sporty Bronze Powder ($50) – For a gorgeous, deep golden hue, Sporty is the bronzer to own. Karlie Kloss (pictured) is wearing the shade at the Michael Kors S/S 2014 runway show. The pigment is a rich gold that gives the skin that coveted sun kissed glow, sans sun.
How To Apply Your Bronzer: In an interview I did with Josie Maran (read here), she offered up the best trick for applying bronzer to achieve natural, sun-kissed color. “Make the number 3 from your temple down to your chin. So with your bronzer brush, start at your forehead, curve into your cheekbone as if you were writing the number 3 and then curve under your chin. Apply on both sides, so a backwards 3 and a regular 3, on each side of your face,” explained Josie. I use this technique every time I apply my bronzer.