Summer Glow Series Part 1: Finding the best bronzer and contour for your skintone
Welcome, friends! The Summer Glow series will be all about bronzers and finding the right one for your undertone, their difference from contour powders, my top bronzers and contour powders, how I use them, and gradual tanning lotions.
A friend recently asked me for a bronzer and highlight recommendation. At first, I thought that I’d be easy to point her in the direction my favorite bronzers, but then I realized that my favorite bronzer may not work as well on her depending on her skin tone. So with that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to explain the differences between the undertones, and how it may affect your decision while shopping for a bronzer or contour powder.
Step 1: Determine your undertone
Before we get started, it’s important to determine your undertone. There are a couple ways to do this.
You are cool toned if:
- The veins on your wrists appear blue.
- You prefer how silver jewellery looks on you.
- Most of your wardrobe consists of blues, purples, and greys.
You are warm toned if:
- The veins on your wrist appear green.
- You prefer how gold jewellery looks on you.
- Most of your wardrobe consists of corals, pinks, oranges, and yellows.
You are neutral toned if:
- Some veins on your wrist appear green, and others appear blue.
- You have an equal amount of silver and gold jewellery in your collection.
- Your wardrobe is essentially a rainbow.
If you’re still having trouble determining your undertone, there’s lots of other tips and tricks. This is the best post I’ve found going into detail about skin tones.
Important: Remember that even as you tan, your undertone does not change. Your skin tone may get darker, so you may need to get a darker bronzer. But the undertone of that bronzer should not change.
Step 2: Spotting the right bronzer and contour powder for you
Bronzers that have a warm undertone lean more yellow and orange in comparison to cool-toned contour powders that lean more towards greys. Here it is broken down between bronzers and contour powders:
What: Most bronzers lean warm by having a yellow or orange tint in them. For that luminous, healthy effect, a lot of bronzers also have a slight sheen. Usually, the main component to a good bronzer is finely milled shimmer that does not come off as chunks of glitter when applied to the face.
Where: Bronzers are typically applied wherever the sun would naturally hit the face. The tops of the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and the middle of the forehead are all common areas where people apply bronzer.
Undertones: While most people reach for a warmer bronzer for that sunkissed glow, it’s important to still keep your undertone in mind. For example, if you are cool-toned, you might want to stay away from bronzers that are warm, because it’ll show up more orange (oompa loompa-esque) on your skin. On the other hand, someone who has neutral to warm undertones will not run into this problem because their warm undertone is closer to the warm undertone in the bronzer.
What: Any cool toned bronzer can be used as a contour powder, and usually there is no shimmer or sheen.
Where: The purpose of contouring is to slim the face by creating imitation shadows. These powders are used on the hollows of the cheeks to emphasize cheekbones, and sometimes on the sides of the nose to make it appear narrower.
Undertone: If you are warm toned, and you get a very cool grey powder for contouring, it might look ashy and muddy on you while creating beautifully chiseled cheekbones on someone who was cool toned. On the other hand, if you are cool toned, a simple bronzer with a slight neutral-warm undertone may still look too warm toned for you, when in comparison, it looks more grey on your warm-toned friend.
Some popular contour powders known to the makeup world are the with the Kevin Aucoin sculpting powder or the NYX blush in taupe, both which are very grey powders.
So there you have it, my guide to finding the perfect bronzer and contour powder for your undertone. I hope you found this fun and informative and remember to check in for Part two of my summer Glow series, where I talk about my top bronzer and contour picks for each undertone!