It seems bronzer takes a back seat in the midst of highlight-mania, but we’re making a case for the often overlooked, and seriously underrated, beauty product that sculpts our cheekbones and makes us look like we just came back from vacay, even when it’s 25 degrees outside

Bronzer is super versatile, doubling as blush and can be used to contour too. But before patting on a bronzer that’s a shade too dark, or walking out of the house looking like an elected official who’s hit the tanning bed a little too long (cough, cough, Donald Trump!), read on.  Beauty Banter has the scoop from expert MUA’s so we can bronze, the right way.

Get the right amount of shading and the flush…

Kristine Cruz, Senior Makeup Artist at Antonio Prieto Salon in NYC, who also boasts celeb clients such as Nicole Scherzinger, Jourdan Dunn, and Nikki Minaj tells us: “You want to start light with bronzer application, as you can build it later on. Use a stippling brush to apply because it disperses the product lightly. And don’t forget to shake off excess bronzing powder by tapping it before application. I like to use a shimmer bronzer like Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Bronzing Veil ($48) or Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder ($53) and apply it where the natural light hits the face. Contour using a tapered brush for definition. Use light strokes starting on the forehead near the hair line, on the cheekbones and be careful not to go too far in toward the nose area, and down along the jawline. Blend, blend, blend.”

We learned this tip long ago: Apply bronzer by drawing a “3” on the face, starting on the forehead near the hairline, down onto cheekbones, and then back out to the jawline. If this sounds daunting, it’s not, see this beauty vlogger nail it.

The first step is choosing the right bronzer, which totally depends on your skin type, says celeb makeup artist Min Min Ma, who has painted the pretty faces of Brie Larson and Zosia Mamet. For oily or acne-prone skin, a powder formula with a matte finish works best, or a gel-based bronzer like Clinique Sun-Kissed Face Gelee Complextion Multitasker ($27) because it’s oil-free but still gives a dewey finish. For dry skin try a cream-based bronzer like Tata Harper Very Bronzing Cheek Tint ($40) or Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base ($50). To apply, Min Min Ma says: “Use a big powder brush like Marc Jacobs Beauty Bronzer Brush #12 ($78) or Bare Minerals Full Flawless Face Brush ($28), dust off any excess powder, and in a circular motion apply the bronzer around the temples, bridge of the nose, cheeks (give extra love to cheekbones for a soft contouring effect), jawline, and into neck line.”

Tip: Min Min Ma says that she also gives a wash of bronzer onto eyelids for a pretty daytime natural look.

So, skip the contour, it’s out anyway, right now we’re all about the bronzer.

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Claudia Mercado is a beauty-obsessed writer living in Long Beach, CA.

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