Creating a believable summer tan without the sun takes a little elbow grease and we’ve found some high-achieving sunless tanners and shimmering oils to help the cause—both of which add to the illusion of a sun-kissed body. One more tool is also necessary: a good bronzer, which steps in to create realistic shading on the face, as though the sun’s rays had added natural highlights and dark points. Apply the most bronzer to the highest areas of your face (nose, centre of forehead, chin and cheeks) where the sun would naturally hit, then blend outward over the rest of the face, neck and chest. Choose a bronzer that is only a few shades deeper than your bare or faux-tanned skin and dust on small amounts of powder with a large, rounded brush, building as you go. Here are three brands that gave us subtle, believable colour:
Annabelle Multi-Bronze Palette in Natural Bronze, $12, at pharmacies and mass market retailers in June.
Annabelle’s newest bronzing palette offers five shades ranging from pinky beige to deep copper. Swirl them together or choose the single shade that works best for your skin tone. The powder has a pearly (not sparkly) finish, which means it will illuminate your face. We love a little light reflection to enhance our tans, but for those with oily skin or a preference for a matte finish, this might be too reflective.
M.A.C Pro Longwear Bronzer in Nude on Board, $36, maccosmetics.com as of May 23, 2013.
For those looking for a long lasting hit of colour without any shimmer, M.A.C’s Pro Longwear Bronzer is for you. We tried out the Nude on Board shade, and it created a deep bronze, as though we’d been baking on the beach for a week. Since the colour is so rich, it’s extra important to blend—especially into the hairline and neck—otherwise you’ll be left with two-tone skin. It can be used on lighter skin tones, but apply sparingly with a big fluffy brush.
The bronzer is part of M.A.C’s gorgeous summer collection, Temperature Rising, which also features lipsticks and lipglasses in shimmery beige, chocolate and violet hues along with matching eyeshadow quads, pencils and nail polishes (including a lush glittery purple). Bronzers and bronzing oil round out the tropical sunset collection.
Almay Smart Shade Powder Bronzer in 40 Sunkissed, $13, at drug and mass retailers in June.
This buildable, pearlescent powder starts off with only a hint of bronze and deepens as you go, which makes it ideal for fair skin tones (no muddy or orange colour here!). Though the golden undertone will accentuate any skin tone the same way that a highlighter would, medium to dark skin tones that want a true bronzed effect would be better off using a product with a bit more pigment.