Bronzer definitely has a lock on summer. With its universally appealing sun-kissed finish, a touch of bronzer adds an instant glow that evokes a breezy, beachy, weekend look. But it's not foolproof, or, unlike the bright makeup we're also loving this summer, something to take creative license with. Read: Over-applying or picking the wrong shade can result in that cringe-inducing, beyond bronzed look. In the hopes of demystify the world of bronzer, we turned to celebrity makeup artist Carmindy for some expert tips, and also rounded up a bevy of new bronzers, including options that go beyond the basics—think shimmer, cream, and liquid formulas. Because, as Carmindy affirms, "everyone can wear a bronzer, it's just about knowing which shade works best for you." 1. Pick Your Shade and Go Easy With Application—"Go about two shades deeper than your natural coloring, and don't dust bronzer all over the face, which can make you look dirty," says Carmindy. "Instead, strategically brush it on in a C formation. Start at the temples and sweep along the sides of the face and under cheeks for a more natural glow. You can add a slight sweep across forehead, nose, and chin at the end, but very lightly."
2. Matte vs. Shimmer—A common mistake Carmindy sees often is applying a too-dark metallic bronzer all over the face. Instead, for day, try a matte bronzer: "Matte looks good if it's very sheer and applied lightly," she says. "It's more natural than shimmer bronzer, so it wears best during the day and on lighter skin tones. If you're really porcelain, make sure you use a very light shade of bronzer, and if your skin is really dark, use a deep shade with a bit of shimmer."
3. Rules Of Sparkle—"Make sure to only use heavily metallic bronzer at night and stick to shimmer bronzers that have a slight pearlescent glow for day."
4. Try A Bronzer-Blush Combo—Carmindy recommends using bronzer and blush separately, with the blush applied on the apples of the cheeks and bronzer in the C formation. But some duos are made for blending and these duos can give you a brightened up tan if you start off light and build from there.
Above, from left: Chanel Soilel Tan de Chanel in Bronze Corail, $50, available at Chanel; Topshop Cheek Duo in Desert Sun, $24, available at Topshop; Too Faced Peach Leopard Brightening & Perfecting Bronzer, $28, available at Sephora; Dior Diorskin Nude Healthy Glow Powder in Aurora, $46, available at Saks; Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired By Carmindy Sunglow Powder Bronzer, $12.99, available at drugstores nationwide or visit Sally Hansen Natural Beauty.
5. Step Into Liquid—"Liquids can be messy and tricky," says Carmindy. "So, it's easier to stick to creams or powders. But if you must use liquids, try mixing them in with your moisturizer." Plus, some of the new products with a foundation-like texture (like Guerlain's Terracotta foundation and Stila's One Step), help illuminate and can be applied all over the face or just in the T-zone.
Above, from left: Chloe spring '11 images courtesy of MAC; Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Luminous Liquid Bronzer, $28.50, available at Estée Lauder; Tarina Tarantino Sparklicity Bronze Shimmer Dust, $39, available at Sephora; Stila One Step Bronze, $29.95, available at Stila ; Guerlain Terracotta Skin Healthy Glow Foundation, $49, available at Sephora.