Welcome to the Bronze Age
If you do one beauty-related thing this summer, it should be to embrace to embrace the bronzer.
Bronzers don’t tend to be part of our natural arsenal of make-up in the same way that blushers and foundations are. They’re often seen as the preserve of people who like to use fake tan (lots of) and we’ve seen the how bronzer, if not used correctly or if heavily applied, can look dreadful. But applied skillfully, it gives a sun-kissed healthy glow – which, let’s face it, is not going to be naturally achieved if the Irish summer continues to be as miserable as it has been. But just as importantly, bronzer can be used to shade and give contours, creating cheekbones where none had been previously.
The first thing is to ditch the dark matte bronzers. This season is all about a healthy, natural complexion and the general advice for a bronzer virgin is to only go two shades darker then her natural colour. Celebrity make-up artist Pat McGrath says: You want a bronzer that's not too dark or too strong. "If you're going to the makeup counter, they'll help you choose the right shade."
"When applying your bronzer, be sure to sweep the brush over your forehead, chin and nose - all the areas the sun would naturally catch," advises Avon make-up artist Liz Pugh.
"For summertime nights out also brush along your shoulders and collarbone, this will provide the ultimate sun-kissed look."
A bronzer blush is a good investment if you’re a make-up junkie but a regular blusher brush will also suffice.
The trick to a believable 'tan' is to find a bronzer with just the right mix of red and browns - more like the colours you might find in your natural tan rather than anything too ‘Tallafornia’-esque orange.
Fake the sporty glow you would get after a day on the beach with an extra flush to your cheeks using blusher.
And remember: blend, blend, blend into your neckline and if you’re wearing you’re hair up, apply bronzer to the back of your neck.
In order to slim your face, dip your brush in the bronzer and create the ‘E’ ‘3’ shape on your face. Start at the temple and curve the brush around and under your cheekbone and then back around and under your jaw. This creates the letter ‘E’ on your left side and number ‘3’ on your right. Remember to blend any harsh lines.
In keeping with this season’s trend for metallics, A bronze eyeshadow is a make-up bag must-have. One light stroke of an antique, molten shade and you can look elegantly polished in seconds.
Up the intensity for an evening of summer cocktails with a deeper, rusty copper shade and lashings of mascara.
If one shade isn't enough, try layering neutral bronze, taupe and sand dune shades. An unexpected vibrant flash of colour like sky blue or citrus yellow will also make your eyes smoulder against a tan.
Dick Page, artistic director for Shiseido, says: "Blend a shimmering pale gold on the entire upper lid up to the brow line and a bronze copper just across the lid.
"Define the inner corners with a surprise pop of aquamarine blue colour."
There's one bronze beauty look that's never going to catch on and that's the two-tone dark face/pale limbs effect. If you are going down the bronzer route, you need to pay attention to your body as well.
For an all-over glow, try an instant bronzing lotion to look luminous in 20 minutes flat. Self-tan products today are intelligent enough to be rain and sweat resistant but wash off in the shower.
"A self-tan can illuminate your skin helping you not look as tired and washed out," explains Athena Skouvakis, Piz Buin make-up artist.
"It's important not to make the skin appear too dark - a natural shade is key to pulling off that sun-kissed radiant look. From my experience, you should only ever aim to go two shades darker than your current natural skin tone."
A bronzer can also be used to enhance cleavage. Use a shimmery sort here to enhance your assets.
Once you're basking in your own bronzed glory, emphasise the look further with some magic metallic enhancers.
"A bronzed body is seen as a priceless accessory all year round," says make-up artist Daniel Sandler.
"Try a body shimmer to add a glamorous finishing touch and warm, golden highlights to your skin whether you have a natural or faux tan."
Make the most of the fact you can flash your pins before they're back in thick opaque tights. Create supermodel-long legs using a contouring bronzing technique.
Sandler suggests: "Apply down the centre of the backs of legs, concentrating in a straight line from backs of thighs to ankles. Gently blend edges