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TikTok’s Bronzer Contour Hack Is Silly But It Made Me Skip Foundation

Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
TikTok is the home of ridiculous beauty clips. Not a day goes by where I don't see someone applying lipstick over clingfilm (pretty useless) or using oil and washing up liquid to soak off acrylic nails at home (don't bother). Every once in a while, though, one video piques the interest of a handful of TikTokers and before you know it, it's a viral sensation. It happened with the recent jaw highlighting hack inspired by Bella Hadid, and with the rise of white concealer to hide dark circles. This week, only one beauty trick is ascending the popularity ranks — and it might just transform your makeup game.
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Enter: the all-in-one bronzer contour.
TikToker @glamzilla was one of the first beauty content creators to popularise the fun hack, saying that she's "obsessed with doing things in one fluid motion, like bronzer". In the video, which has 1.3 million views, she takes a flat foundation brush packed with liquid bronzer and traces her entire face, starting at her eyes, going down to her nose, around her cheeks and up to her forehead. It wasn't long before TikTokers like @hp_makeup.kr and @reginayavaku took to the app to try it out, with interesting results. For more of a flawless finish, some fill in the gaps with concealer and use a damp makeup sponge to blend everything into the skin, lending a bronzed glow that subtly contours and defines features at the same time.
Considering how much I loved the recent rainbow contour hack (I even vowed never to wear foundation again), I had to try this. The all-over bronzer contour enlists fewer products and with the winter weather this dreary, I'm in need of a serious glow boost. You could use a foundation or a concealer in a darker shade but I've been using Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick, £44, in my everyday beauty routine, which I'd say is a little less messy. If you don't own cream bronzer, I'd recommend NudeStix All Over Face Colour, £28 (great for dry skin), UOMA Double Take Contour Stick, £34.50, and the more affordable bPerfect Bronze & Define Shape Stick, £12.95.
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I started at the outer corner of my left eye, snaking up towards my inner eyebrow and down my nose to reach my other eye, then all around the perimeter of my face and around the top of my forehead. It was surprisingly easy (and very satisfying to do in one full swoop). I looked and felt very silly but I persisted in the name of Beauty In A Tik and used my trusty Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, £22, to fill in the gaps. TikTokers use a damp makeup sponge to blend everything in, starting with the lightest shades first, but I really struggled to be precise and so I switched to a foundation brush. Try NYX Professional Makeup Can't Stop Won't Stop Foundation Brush, £14.50.
Though there's technically a little less makeup compared to a full face of foundation, the blending took a while longer because I was keen to avoid any muddy tide marks. After a bit more blending here and there (along my hairline specifically) the bronzer and concealer started to come together and my skin actually looked great! It appeared sun-kissed and glowing thanks to the cream bronzer, while the lighter areas of concealer highlighted and lifted certain features like my cheeks and nose. Surprisingly, the final result was so natural that I skipped blush and highlighter. The finish was so much better than I'd imagined. Bronzer contouring 1, foundation 0.
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I found it strange that TikTokers were applying bronzer underneath the eyebrows, seeing as it's not really a trend to contour this area. But blending it in gently lent my eyelids a really soft, matte, nude eyeshadow effect, so essentially you get two looks in one. Over the course of the day I noticed that the makeup didn't dry up or collect in my fine lines and creases like a heavy helping of foundation usually does. I think that's because the bronzer and concealer are meant to be applied strategically, rather than all over like foundation. Stick products like bronzer are a bit creamier in texture compared to liquid foundation, too.
TikTokers make this seem really effortless and perfect but videos don't usually show the look hours later. By the end of the day, the bronzer had become darker and my face and neck were two very different shades IRL. The solution is simply to use a lot less bronzer — I did go wild with it, after all. Can you use powder bronzer? Yes, but it's unlikely to give you the same radiance as a cream product and applying powder directly onto bare skin can end up being patchy. I think creams and liquids are much easier to control and blend out seamlessly.
Just like rainbow contouring, I'd definitely try this hack again, particularly in the winter when my skin is in need of a radiance boost or if I want to give my face a break from lots of foundation — in which case I'd pare back the amount of bronzer used. What I would say is that the key to a smooth, bronzed base is always a good moisturiser. I used the dewy U Beauty The Barrier Bioactive Treatment, £186, which beauty editors are going wild for as it nourishes dry skin fast, but there are purse-friendly skin-quenching options, too. Try Byoma Moisturising Rich Cream, £13.99, Versed Dew Point Moisturising Gel Cream, £13.50, and Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré Nourishing Moisturiser, £13.
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There are countless TikTok makeup hacks that you might want to avoid (applying foundation with a jade roller and using lube as makeup primer are just two of them). But all-over bronzer is up there with the ones that might just make a difference to your makeup routine — no matter how strange it looks at first. Happy contouring.
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