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How to Apply Bronzer to Your Face in Just 60 Seconds

Subtle, natural, and ridiculously pretty.

kris grikaite
Rosdiana CiaravoloGetty Images

If you're anything like me, your first experience with bronzer was in middle school, when you covered your entire face with a layer of sparkly, too-dark bronzer that left you looking like a weathered Oompa Loompa. And if that experience forever turned you off of a life of glow, I'm here to lead you back to the fold, because trust me—bronzing your face is really, truly simple, as long as you know where to apply it.

Bronzer is a must-have makeup product in your beauty bag. There's a reason it's been J.Lo's signature beauty look all these years—it adds dimension and a glowy warmth to the skin that brightens your complexion like no other. If you want to look like you've been bathing in the sun on vacation, but in reality have just been on your couch, a swirl of shimmery bronzer using a fluffy brush will do the trick.

But the world of bronzers includes textures, shades, and finishes galore, which can feel challenging to sift through for your skin tone, skin type, and face shape. We've cut out the guessing game to bring you a straightforward approach to achieving a believable bronzed glow. Below, a nifty five-step guide that'll take you approximately 60 seconds or less to complete. Pop a squat in front of your mirror and keep reading to get that I-just-left-Miami glow.

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Step 1: Buff It Out
Kathryn Wirsing

First, you need to find a bronzer that actually matches your skin tone (yes, we have a comprehensive guide) to mitigate your chances of looking like a Cheeto.

Then, gently rub a fluffy blending brush over the bronzer, tap off any excess, and swirl it in small concentric circles across your hairline, from one temple to the other.

Step 2: Carve the Cheeks
Kathryn Wirsing

I promise that contouring your cheekbones is way easier than you've been led to believe. Just reload your brush in bronzer, swipe a line of powder from your ear to the apple of your cheek, then gently blend it out using tiny circular brush strokes, rather than a back-and-forth wiper motion.

Step 3: Chisel the Jaw
How to Apply Bronzer

The key to a natural-looking bronze is to frame your face in a warm glow. After dusting your hairline and cheekbones, finish off the frame by blending more bronzer along the edge of your jawline, swirling from the base of your jaw to the chin.

Make sure to straddle the edge of your jawbone—rather than apply all the bronzer to the side of your face—then continue blending under your chin and down your neck.

Step 4: Define the Nose
Kathryn Wirsing

Don't worry—powder bronzers (rather than cream bronzers) are so sheer, they won't leave you with an ulta-skinny, obvious-looking lines. Sweep a bit of bronzer down each side of your nose (make sure to tap off the excess from your brush, first) for a subtle contour.

(Please make sure to make this exact pose, too.)

Step 5: Pose
Kathryn Wirsing

Pose for the mirror, like our model here, and then take at least one-billion selfies. You've officially mastered the art of bronzing.

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