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Win with bronzer

Want to recreate that almost-forgotten holiday glow? Then, it's time to make friends with bronzer. To some (and I include my younger self in this category), it is the stuff of nightmares, the beauty tool of reality TV wannabes and paparazzi-pleasing Z-listers. But I was wrong. Bronzer is the quickest, and easiest, way of giving your complexion essential colour and dimension.

Less really is more, so go easy. No matter how pale, wan or hungover you feel, a heavy hand with the bronzing brush is never a good look. Instead think subtle contouring and in a colour that might appear on your face if you'd spend a few days on the beach.

We're aiming for a natural glow here, so stay well away from orange. Pale-faced girls should avoid terracotta tones, in favour of taupe, while sallow skins can appreciate a richer hue. Personally, I'm not in favour of anything with more than a hint of sparkle, even if it is a big night out.

Apply with a medium-sized brush (if it's too large, you won't be able to control the product; it should be bigger than a blusher brush though) to give a hint of warmth all over your face, not just your cheeks. Tap the brush lightly on a tissue to get rid of any excess colour and then gently swirl it over your forehead, chin and nose. Afterwards blend, blend, blend and follow up with a brighter-coloured blush over the apples of your cheeks.

Clinique's Almost Bronzer, €28 Cute packaging masks an impressive product that is perfect for working the sunkissed look. It's dual-toned with one shade slightly lighter than the other. Both colours contain gold flecks. This is a restrained offering though, so it's subtle, rather than glittery. I think you get better results when you use your own brush, however. Also contains SPF 15 which is a bonus, rather than a licence to skip all-over protection.

Bourjois Delice De Poudre Bronzing Powder, €9.99 Great matte shade that's neither too light, nor too dark, this quality bronzer works really well for contouring. Good price point too.

Korres Monoi Oil Bronzing Powder, €7.95 (sephora.com, korres.com) Packed with Monoi oil, a non-comedogenic Tahitian oil that leaves skin feeling moisturised, as well as vitamin E, this is a gorgeous bronzer that blends really well and gives a natural-looking glow, with the slightest hint of shimmer. A winner.

Body Shop's Honey Bronze Bronzing Power, €20.50 This honey-enriched powder comes in four shades but, as a paleface, I found Fair Matte most flattering. It has a silky soft texture and feels very light on application.

Nars Orgasm, Albatross, Laguna Blush/Bronze Trio, €55, Brown Thomas Yes, it's expensive but you're getting plenty of bang for your buck with three separate colours. Give the apples of your cheeks a colourful tint with the shimmery peachy Orgasm, use Albatross to highlight and Laguna for contour. The only drawback is that the colours aren't treated equally; poor Albatross is quite thin and it can be a little difficult to separate it from its compact companions.

MAC Mineralize Bronzing Powder, €23 Who could resist a bronze called 'Give Me Sun!'?! A light peachy shade that transforms all skin tones from washed out to sunkissed. Particularly good for those with oily complexions.

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