Bronzer is one of those cosmetic products that I eschewed in my tomboy days.
“I’m black, I live in the Caribbean. My skin is baking in the sun all day. I don’t need bronzer or blush,” I’d scoff.
What a fool I was. A little blush can take your look from a’ight to amazing with minimal effort, and bronzer can be an afrobella’s best friend – especially for those of you who are living in chilly climates and can’t get a sunkissed glow the natural way.
I’ve been meaning to hold forth on the benefits of bronzer since November, when a reader by the name of St. Lucian Spirit asked me this Ask Afrobella question:
“Hey Afrobella, thanks for taking the time to blog about black beauty and so forth. My question is, can black people wear bronzer? I tried wearing it once just on my cheeks but I looked darker. Is there something known just as shimmer? Thanks in advance.”
First of all — big up to all my island sistren! Secondly, St. Lucian Spirit, black women can and should wear bronzer! A little shimmer along the bridge of your nose, on the apples of your cheeks, and the top of your cheekbones can give you a gorgeous, natural outdoorsy glow.
The key is in application — like every skin-enhancing cosmetic item, less is definitely more with bronzer. Too much and you could wind up looking like an extra-crispy Lil Kim. Use a light hand to highlight your features, and apply your makeup in full, natural light if possible. I open the blinds and sit facing the window to put on my blush and bronzer. That way, I know I’m not going to leave for work looking like Carnival Tuesday.
Iman’s The Beauty of Color offers the following tips:
1. First, make sure your face is clean, dry and matte. Bronzer will stick to oily or damp areas and streak, making your face look dirty.
2. Women of color always need to apply blush before bronzer. Why? Since we’re already brown, most bronzers wouldn’t show up on us. But if it’s blended over a rosy blush, it’ll not only be visible, but the rosy-bronze combination gives an impossibly sexy, slightly sunburned look.
3. Want a dewy look? Dab a sheer gel bronzer over gel blush, or blend a bronze highlighting stick along your cheekbones.
4. When going for a sunkissed look, apply bronzer with a big fluffy brush, and concentrate on the areas where the sun naturally hits your face – cheekbones, bridge of nose, and forehead.
Afrobellas who happen to be darker than a paper bag are advised to use true bronze shades, with a gold shimmer.
For bellas cruising the drugstore aisle (or drugstore.com), Physician’s Formula gives a wide range of options.
A great start-up bronzer is the Pearls of Perfection Multi-Colored Powder Bronzer.
The container comes filled with these little multicolored bronzer balls that swirl together to make an effortless and subtle sun-kissed look. If you’ve got little ones, keep this product far out of their reach. I think the little round balls are adorable and fascinating enough for an inquisitive toddler to try to put in their mouths.
Physicians Formula also makes Pearls of Perfection Multi-Colored Face Tint, which comes in one of those gel formula pumps that I’ve already admitted to being fascinated by. I’m itching to try this one, because I bet it goes on sheerer than its powder-ball compadre, which means I’d be less likely to wind up overapplying.
Bronzer experts like Lianne The Makeup Girl recommend that you have a specific brush for your bronzer.
When I’m making big-girl money and can buy all the makeup I want, I plan to get Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks in Bronze, Rose, and Brownie, and her Face Blender Brush.
But because I’m always trying to look fly on the cheap, for right now I’ll stick to e.l.f Natural Radiance Blusher in Bronzed.
This is my favorite of all of the e.l.f products I’ve had the pleasure to try so far. The color perfectly compliments my skintone, and the subtle gold glimmers absolutely illuminate my cheeks. AND it only costs a buck! I love e.l.f. stuff, and I highly recommend them to any bella on a budget.
Here’s a great, affordable bronze goddess look for beautiful brown-skinned bellas — after your eyes are lined with your liner of choice (both top and bottom lids), sweep some e.l.f bronze blusher on the apples of your cheeks, then swirl some of the Physicians Formula Pearls of Perfection over that. Highlight your brow bone with a little HIP Illuminating Highlighter, slide on some Milani Glitzy Glamour Gloss in Lady Like or Star Stunned, and work the look with a beautiful earth toned or golden yellow top and some gorgeous yellow gold earrings.
Fabulous for less than $25!