How to Apply Bronzer to Your Face in Just 60 Seconds

Subtle, natural, and ridiculously pretty.

An Easy Guide on How to Apply Bronzer in 60 Seconds Flat
(Image credit: Rosdiana Ciaravolo)

If you're anything like me, your first experience with bronzer (opens in new tab) 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, (opens in new tab) 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  (opens in new tab)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.

Step 1: Buff It Out

Step1: Buff It Out

(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

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

Then, gently rub a fluffy blending brush (opens in new tab) 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

Step 2: Carve the Cheeks

(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

I promise that contouring your cheekbones (opens in new tab) 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: Define the Nose

Step 3: Define the Nose

(Image credit: 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 4: Pose

Step 4: The Pose

(Image credit: 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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Chloe Metzger is the deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan, overseeing the editorial content and growth strategy of the hair, makeup, and skin space on digital, while also obsessively writing about the best hair products for every hair type (curly girl here; whattup), and the skincare routines that really, truly work (follow her on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes pics of that magazine life). She brings nearly a decade of writing and editing expertise, and her work has appeared in AllureHealthFitnessMarie ClaireStyleCaster, and Parents. She also has an unhealthy adoration for Tom Hanks and would like to please meet him one day, if you could arrange that. Thanks.