The best bronzing tips for pale skin

The best bronzing tips for pale skin

Having pale or fair skin is by no means a bad thing, just look at Emma Stone, Cate Blanchett and Scarlett Johansson – all stunning! But it can make it a little difficult when it comes to choosing some make-up products, particularly bronzer.

bh member Seashells recently told us, “As someone who is pale, I’m definitely a blush girl. Bronzer scares me!”

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We hear you girlfriend, just one look at that dark bronze powder can send pale legs running into the mountains. But fair-skinned beauties needn’t be fearful of using bronzer. Even the lightest of skin tones can wear it, you just need to know a few things…

#1 Which shades of bronzer suit pale skin

Choosing the right shade of bronzer for your fair skin is probably the most important and often difficult part of the process. Even though others may have raved about a certain bronzer, if it doesn’t suit your complexion, it may not give you the best result.

Makeup artist Hayley Dutton says, “When I’m selecting a bronzer for fairer skin I always look for [one that’s only] one to two shades darker than the actual skin tone.” As for the colour, “Softer toned bronzers that have an element of pink, peach or coral to them are more flattering for fair skin.”

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“I also look for products that include a few different tones such as a mosaic or baked style bronzer. These [types of bronzers] offer a really nice soft dimension through multi-colours, like a warm pink, golden bronze and a highlighting soft white. The combination of these colours also helps to soften the application.”

bh recommends:The Body Shop Baked-To-Last Bronzer in Warm Glow,  Chi Chi Highlighting & Contouring PaletteAlmay Smart Shade BronzerNude By Nature Mineral BronzerM.A.C Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Powder in Medium Dark (technically not a bronzer, but can totally be used as one on fair skin, just choose the shade that works best for you).

#2 Consider the finish

The finish of your bronzer can also affect how it appears on your skin. Both matte and shimmer bronzers can be worn on a pale complexion, but are recommended for different purposes.

If you’re after a subtle, bronze all-over glow, Liz Jones, make-up artist and founder of, says to opt for a shimmer finish as it “makes the product blend better into the skin and is more forgiving with a less-than-perfect application”.

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Hayley agrees, saying a shimmer finish “will give the illusion of a much more natural glow and bronze to the skin”.

But when it comes to contouring a fair-skinned face, Hayley finds matte bronzers are a great option, “given the shade of matte bronzer is light enough”.

She also adds, “If you have quite oily skin, a matte bronzer also gives you the option of bronzing up without looking like a complete oil slick.”

#3 Test some textures

Bronzers come in all different forms. Loose powder, liquid, cream or pressed, so you may need to play around to find out which one works best for you.

“When you have fair skin it’s more important to find a bronzer that is fine in texture so it can be layered as lightly or as heavily [as you] want it to be,” says Liz.

With powders, this can often be described as ‘finely milled’ and most mineral powders also have a lightweight and buildable texture.

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If you prefer to use cream or liquid formulas, Hayley suggests those with fair skin apply it underneath their foundation. “If you apply a cream on the skin before your foundation it assists in giving the illusion of a glowing warmth from within,” she says. “Try adding cream bronzer just to the high points of the cheekbones for a soft fresh glow.

#4 Pay attention to where you put it

When you have pale skin, your bronzer application needs to be a bit more precise as the contrast between your skin tone and the product makes it harder to hide any mistakes.

Liz says to focus your application “down the lines of the cheekbones, line of the chin, temple and forehead area”, which are the areas where the sun would naturally hit.

Hayley recommends using a small to medium brush when applying bronzer, rather than a big fluffy brush which will just spread the bronzer all over your face.

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“Make sure when you get your product onto your brush you give it a good tap, to let any excess product fall,” she adds. “Too much product on the brush will create too much product on the face and blending this out to a natural finish can get tricky.”

#5 Pair your bronzer with complimentary makeup

Bronzer can appear harsher against fair skin if it’s applied on its lonesome. If you pair it with other make-up that warms the complexion, you’ll find your entire look comes together more naturally.

“Cream illuminators and blushes are another really great way to add warmth and dimension to the face,” says Hayley, “They can be used either under or on top of foundation, applying to the apples of the cheeks and blending up onto the high points of the cheekbones helps to create a nice flush to the cheeks.”

It’s a common misconception that you have to choose either blush or bronzer, but if you use bronzer to contour your cheekbones and then blush to add colour, they can be magical together.

Choosing a lipstick with pink and coral pigments will also compliment bronzer on fair skin, and Liz recommends to fill in and strengthen the brows to “stop [your] features from looking washed out”.

bh recommends: Eye of Horus Brow DefineRimmel London Kate Moss Sculpting & Highlighting Kit, Essence Longlasting Lipstick in Natural Beauty, Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, $44,

Do you have pale skin? What’s your best tip for pulling off bronzer on a fair complexion?

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