How to Apply Bronzer

Summer is right around the corner, so it’s time to pull out those bronzers!  The trick to applying bronzer is to pick the best shade and apply sparingly- too much and you’ll look dirty, and the wrong shade will make you look like an oompa loompa…

I apply my bronzer somewhat differently than other makeup artists as I like my bronzer to be a bit darker to give me a suntan look, but here’s my tips for applying bronzer:

  • Using either a contour brush or a rounded face brush to apply just under the cheek bones, then blend upwards onto the cheeks
  • You can also apply bronzer along the temple and top of your forehead to give a sun kissed glow
  • Pick your correct shade- you want something that is just 2-3 shades darker than your skin
  • It is up to you if you want a shimmery bronzer or a matte finish one- shimmery ones will give a nice glow, but it can also emphasize pores

My favorite matte bronzers:

Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer

Cargo Matte Bronzer

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder


My favorite shimmery bronzers:

NARS Laguna Bronzer

Sephora Sculpting Disk

Too Faced Carribean in a Compact


Best tools for applying bronzer:

MUG Deluxe Contour Brush

MAC Small Contour Brush




Profile photo of Marlena

CEO of Makeup Geek and Makeup Educator


Comments are now closed on this article.

You can buy Too Faced cosmetics at any ULTA store nationwide, I know of that. Do you have one near you? Hope this helps. Have a nice day! :)

Hi Marlena!
Thanks so much for this video. I have found bronzers hard to work with as my skin is very fair and I tend to look dirty with them, so I can’t wait to try these suggestions! Could you possibly talk about your spray tanning routine? Such as how often you go, what kind you get, how it wears, etc? I am very interested in spray tanning as I would LOVE some color for summer but have no intentions of tanning by sun or by tanning bed. Please let me know if ever you get a chance! :)

Perfect timing for this tutorial! I am getting graduation pictures done tomorrow and I was wondering what you recommend for keeping my makeup stay on all day? I have dry skin that tends to break out easily. I also have several pimples that I’m worried will show up in pictures, is there any way to make sure they don’t? Thanks in advance, Marlena!! You look stunning!!

I find that the Urban Decay Dew Me setting spray might work. It’s worked well for me. While it doesn’t make my make-up last all day, it does keep it look fresh much much longer.

Model in a Bottle works really great and Marlena loves it. (She has mentioned it alot.) I don’t really like the Urban Decay Dew Me spray, I prefer the all nighter.


The camera was acting funky (auto-focus I think had a mind of its own). I love the simplicity of today’s tutorial. Could you do a tutorial or just post what colors you were wearing on your eyes for HIGH END HAUL Video. Thanks love your work. You have inspired me as I, too, am on a weight loss mission.

woooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww i’m the third comment!!, love the reviewes and your videos!! i am from argentinaa!!! and i love make up! please please answer me!!, this video helped me a lot!

Hey Marlena thxz for the tips on how to apply bronzed I’m gonna try it soon hopefully for my nieces birthday this next weekend. But I had a question on ur main page for when u click the link u have a dark smokey eyed look. I was hoping that u can do a tutorial for that makeup cause i’ve been trying to perfect it but for some reason I can NEVER get it right!!! So plz do a tutorial on it I would really appreciate it!!!

I personally like HOOLA alot. It is a very nice Matte finish bronzer that lasts FOREVER! However, I only buy it when I have a 20% off coupon for ulta. :)

Also, does anyone know the color of the nail polish that Marlena is wearing as well? It looks great on bronzed skin.

She has false nails on, just the light pink color. She said it in a video on her Youtube channel. :)

I belive it is MAC’s Up the Amp Lipstick with Rags to Riches Dazzleglass but Im not sure. :)

Hi,Marlena.I love this look.I need your help. Two questions for you:

1. what is your favorite liquid eyeliner now?

2.I’m Mac NW 20/25. Is it medium tone skin?


I know Im not marlena but….

MY fave liquid liner is PALLADIO EYE INK. Marlena likes it very much too :)

MAC NW20/25 is light skin tone in my opinion.

There is no video ??? I´m from Germany. Could you pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaase upload it on another mirror, thanky SWEETIE!!!

Yes! I would love to see a tutorial on that picture too. That was the only disappointing thing on the video: not the look from the picture!!

LOVE the make up on the cover photo of this video! Would love to see a tutorial on this :)

On my end, it says the video has been removed by user? :( What happened?

I, also, wanted to see a closer look of the makeup you were wearing in the close up pic. I haven’t worn blues since I was in my teens but I loved that look. Will you be doing a tut on it? (fingers crossed) ;) Love the work by all you ladies.

Hey Marlena…How are you? You videos are really really helpful…Love them so so much! But I need you to educate me, what is the difference between bronzer and blusher…do you apply bronzer if you have already applied blusher or how does it works..? Thanks Marlena in advance! haha…stay healthy and happy too…:)

Blush is meant to be applied to the cheeks for a healthy rosy glow. Bronzer is meant to contour (like what marlena does in the video.) Yes, you can apply both. You just apply blush as usual and apply bronzer as marlena does. You can do Blush first if you’d like, or bronzer first… whatever you want!

What if I have a narrow face and I don’t want to contour. How would be best for me to use bronzer?

You can just lightly LIGHTLY Dust a light shade of bronzer all over your face. I recommend doing this in natrual light. (so you can see if you apply too much) Hope that helps! You can also just apply to the cheeks LIGHTLY Aswell :)

Hello Marlena

I had writing to you on the tutorial with Minal.

But if you didn’t see my text or for another reason, maybe you can say to me how I can contact you to know :

What is your nails lacquer on the post with Minal ?

And please, how do you do to style your hair on all your tutorials ? Is it possible for you to make any tutorials about your hair style ?

Thanks for your happiness !

Does anyone know where I can pick up the sephora sculpting dis or perhaps post a link for where to get it, I can’t find it anywhere on the website and am wondering if it is discontinued :). Thanks so much :)

Can you tell me what color nail polish you have on your nails in the “How to Apply Bronzer” tutorial? It’s beautiful on bronzed skin and on you.

LOVED IT! OHHHHH MMMMMMMM GGEEEEEEEE! You NEED to do a video on how you did the makeup look for the picture of this post! What a smokey eye! PLEASEEE!


i wanna a tutorial on the make up you have on the home page for this tutorial….pllllllleeeeaaaaasseeeeeeeeeee

This video won’t work for me here in New Zealand, it says “removed by the user” :(. LOVE your channel btw!

I work for ULTA and we cannot keep Benefit’s Hoola in stock, its a really nice matte finish, buildable coverage and will last you for awhile, definitely recommended! :)


The makeup look you have on the home page for the bronzer video is AWESOME!!!!!! Like Jessica said…PLEEEEEASE do a tutorial on that smokey eye!!

Hi Marlena,
if I am very very pale skinned, is there a bronzer you would recommend or should I just stay away from bronzer completely? I just feel like my skin is too pale for even the lightest, fairest bronzers I’ve seen… I’ve heard pale skinned girls can’t or shouldn’t wear bronzer, but I would if there was one that wouldn’t look too shocking. It would help so much if you could give me some tips :)
Have a lovely day!!

I have the same problem. A makeup artists suggested to me that I use a bronzer with shimmer in it to help reflect light and make it appear lighter on your skin. Too Faced has great bronzers that work on pale skin, but you still need to use them sparingly for contouring. My skin has pink undertones, so I use the Too Faced Pink Leopard bronzer. Snow Bunny is also a good one for pale girls. Hope that helps. :-)

Dear Marlena,
I’ve start to watch you and your beutiful work some time ago , and i am very happy for you (as you’ve lost so many kilos) .
I leave in Athens Greece and i’ve studied makeup. i love watching you so i am very sad because you don’t make videos as often as you used to!!!
You made video twice a week, and with many new ideas for make up, colours etc. and now only one every two weeks and ( a short one).
Why?? do you have so many work to do?? if so i’m very happy for you (and very sad for all of us your funs)!!! Please make more videos, as you used to!!! Pleaseeeeee!!!!
I hope you have a great time and keep up the good job you do!!!! many many kisses!!!

Marlena, I LOVE your look in this vid!
Love it love it, you look fantastic! If you could do a video of this look it’d be fab.
Looking absolutely gorgeous, love the uber-dark hair. Suits you! x

Anybody have bronzer suggestions for a pale white girl? I have a nice clinique bronzer but I don’t think the shade suits me, it’s a bit dark. My current foundation is MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation (N4 or 5, it’s a bit summer-ey for me right now- it’s rained for a month straight here in Nova Scotia).

Ugh, I know what you mean about the rain (I’m from Nova Scotia too). I pretty pale as well, and I actually have a bronzer from Physician’s Formula that is a good colour! They have some that aren’t too dark, and have a nice finish. Hope that helps! :)

Wow Marlena you look stunning!! You really need to do a tutuoral on the cover pic. So stunning!!! Love the blue and the lippie is gorgous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m really glad you had a blog post on two types of bronzer: matte and shimmery cause I’ve been mad looking all over the place for a matte one. The Guerlin looks like it’ll take a hit to my wallet… but I’m tempted.

Thank you once again for this amazing method (a method I’ve been wanting to learn but not so much taught by other MUA)


Can you please do a tutorial on your eyeshadow in the video how to apply bronzer. Plz & thank you :)

Absolutely gorgeous! Please do a video for the smoky eye and flawless face you have in the picture! Thanks for the refresher on bronzer :)

Ok…the pic of the smokey eye you have at the beginning of the video….how did you do that? it looks amazing!

Omg could you pleeeaaaasssseeee do a tutorial on the picture for this video? It is absolutely gorgeous!!

Do you have any recommendations for some great self-tanners? I’m very pale but want a sunkissed glow with out the damage of the sun or tanning booths.

Great tips. Thanks.
You look absolutly radiant in this video. Would show us in a tutorial how you did your eye and lips makeup ? Please.

Marlena my name is heather and i was wonderin if you could please tell me how u acheived the eye look on ur “how to apply bronzer” im in love with the look if u could let me no i would reali app it

thanks :)

I love the makeup on the beggining with the purple eyes why dont you make a tutorial on that one please :)

Marlena hi i really loved your bronzer explanation it wasvery good but I would really like to see you do a tutorial on the smoky eye picture you used for the bronzer tutorial it is simply beautiful

Hi Marlena,
Thanks for this tutorial! I wonder if it’ll work on my round face…
Could you please make a vid on a sweet & sexy graduation look?

I’m graduating in a couple of weeks, and I’m not sure what’ll look best with a cap and gown. Plus, I’m going to be out in the sun for awhile, but I’m also going to see a lot of friends and family. I want something that won’t melt, and will totally look glam by the graduation dinner that night!
I’m sure a lot of other girls out there who are getting ready to walk across the stage are wondering the same thing (:


Great tutorial as always. I have one request. Would you please post bronzers suggestions for darker skin tones? I’m nc45 and find it difficult to select colors that don’t look too red on my skin. Thanks for all you do for us mugs!!

Hi Marlena!!!

Can you please do a tutorial on the picture you have for this video (the dark blue smoky eyes) I’m in love with that looks. I want to use that look for a wedding in which I’m attending. THANK YOU BRI

Marlena! Please do a tutorial on the cover picture for this bronzer tutorial! It’s GORGEOUS! What lipstick are you wearing in this video?

Hi Marlena :)
Can you please do a tutorial of the picture on the cover for the bronzer tutorial. I love it! It’s so sexy and hot. :)

I love your videos, I’m from Mexico. Your videos helping me to look great. I commented to my houseband about your videos on youtube because we went to a wedding I love smooke eyes so I desided to looking advices how to do that so I found your videos, thank you so much. I think you are a beatiful person and please if you could some words in spanish in your videos I will be happy. Sorry for my English I’m not very good


im from sri lanka and i love your tutorials. i always try them out.

Please could you let me know where i can find the tutorial for the picture on the tutorial archive which is put up for ‘how to apply bronzer’ tutorial. i love the dark blue/purple eye make up on it.

thank you

hello, thank your for this tutorial. i want to get nars laguna since it seems to be most makeup artists favorite shimmer bronzer. i have also herd its not to shimmery. so my question is… how shimmery is it??? i want a mate bronzer but if laguna really isnt that shimmery then maybe i should just get one instead of a mate and shimmer??? ive herd multiple things from different makeup artists. laguna is very shimmery, while others say it had subtle shimmer. so whats the deal, subtle shimmer or not??

I Marlena , I love your videos can you make a tutorial of blue eyeshadow in the bronzer video & the look for the rocker hair. Love your vidoes!!!!!!!!

Hi Merlena. Thank you so much for ur video on Bronzer. I love Nars Bronzer n Blush kit. its soo pretty.
can you make a video with Blushes for the SUMMER…?

i was just wondering are any of your makeup brushes similar to any of the mac brushes for example the 217
thank you

maleena you MUST MUST MUST do a tutorial on the eye makeup for this video!! i love lovee loveeeeeee it!

Hey Marlena, thank you for making a video about the bronzer, but I would really appreciate if you made ??a new video on how to shade a face with pose and negative shades. because I think I speak for many when I say that not everyone has a perfect face and especially I have a bit bigger cheek and don’t find what face shape I have and what products to use.
would be very grateful for an answer / a girl from Sweden

Hey Marlena,

The video was very helpful! thank you!!

Just a comment about the fact that your camera keeps getting out of focus – it happens because of the background. The camera is trying to find more than one spot to focus on, and the background is confusing it. If you will use any plain or clear background, it won’t happen.


hey hey marlena i was wondering if u could do some tutorials on some dark skin tones. like wat colors would look good on dark skined people.

Luv your tutorials. Good timing too. Quick question: how would I know what type of bronzer(s) to use between matte and shimmer? Thanks

Hi Marlena=)
Love ALL your tutorials! youre so talented and beautiful. i just started working for a bridal makeup company and i also have my own makeup parties for fun. all your tutorials have helped me learn so much!! ive done some makeup photoshoots and all looks are inspired by your tutorials. thank you thank you! i would feel so blessed to get my makeup done by you someday=)

Hi Marelan=)
i love ALL your tutorials. You are so talented and beautiful! i recently started working with a makeup bridal company and i also do my own makeup parties for fun.ive learned so much from all your tutorials and website. thank you thank you so much! i would feel so blessed get my makeup done by you someday=)

Hi Marlena, your work is beautiful. Where can I find your “who to” vIdeo to learn to make up eyes like you are wearing in this :How to Apply Bronzer video. Thank you in advance.