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What is Face Bronzer?

Micki Elizabeth
Micki Elizabeth

Face bronzer is a temporary, washable cosmetic usually applied directly onto the face. It is commonly sold as a powder, mousse or spray, though the product is often sold in various other forms as well. Bronzers are typically applied via a powder brush or makeup sponge or sprayed directly onto skin. One can apply a face bronzer to areas of the face that would naturally be touched by sun such as the cheeks, the bridge of the nose, and the forehead. By doing so, one may be able to achieve a “sun-kissed” look without the need for sun tanning in potentially harmful ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays, which can burn and damage the skin.

Over recent decades, a growing number of medical studies have shown how potentially damaging sunbathing can be to the skin, yet statistics suggest that many people prefer a tanned look to pale skin. This may be because some people believe that tanned skin gives a stronger impression of health. Beauty companies have, therefore, manufactured products for years that aim to give customers a tan look in just minutes. With these products, sun exposure is no longer necessary to add color to the face that suggests one has spent time outdoors.

Bronzers come in many forms, including powder.
Bronzers come in many forms, including powder.

Though they strive to attain the same affect, there is a difference between face bronzers and sunless tanning products. Sunless tanning generally refers to lotions, foams and sprays that are often applied all over the body. These products are meant to penetrate the upper layers of the skin so that a fake tan lasts several days.

Face bronzer, on the other hand, is not meant to tint the skin. It works much like a concealer, powder or blush in that it adds color on the surface only. At the end of the day, one can feasibly remove face bronzer during her usual makeup removal routine. One may, however, also use face bronzer wherever she wishes; the product is commonly added to the neck and chest when these parts are exposed.

Medical studies in recent years have suggested how damaging sunbathing is to skin.
Medical studies in recent years have suggested how damaging sunbathing is to skin.

There is a vast variety of types and brands of face bronzer. One may easily find bronzer next to the blush at most stores that sell makeup. This type of bronzer generally comes in a pressed or loose powder and is swept onto the face with a powder brush. Many beauty experts suggest using a large brush rather than the typically small, coarse brushes supplied with the product.

While powder is recommended for those with oily skin, a liquid-based face bronzer may work better for people with dry skin. Bronzer is, therefore, also sold as a gel or mousse. This type of bronzer is usually applied one small dab at a time by finger, then evened out with a sponge.

New versions of face bronzer hit the shelves of stores as well as online retailers all the time. Recently, spray-on temporary bronzer seems to be growing in popularity. When looking for the right bronzer, one should look for a color that is only two or three shades darker than her natural skin color. Using a bronzer that is too dark may result in an unnatural appearance.

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Discussion Comments


I have olive skin and I have the hardest time finding the right face bronzer. Bronzers either look too dark on me (like a contour powder) or they don't show up at all. I just want a glowy, bronze look during winter.

I think I need to learn about how to apply bronzer to my face as well. The brushes that come with face bronzers don't work. I don't know why they even include them. I'm going to invest in a proper face brush to use for bronzer.


@SarahGen-- You may be able to use them interchangeably if they are the same tone but a face bronzer and a blush are not the same. The ingredients of both may be the same or similar, but the colors and tones differ.

Blush comes in a great variety of colors and tones like pink, tangerine, red and brown. Bronzer on the other hand are usually in tones of tan or brown, because it is meant to give the face a slightly tanned look.

So a tan, compact powder blush could be used as a bronzer if it suits your natural skin color. But it's better to get a bronzer because many bronzers also have shimmers and pigments that reflect light to give skin a sun-kissed look. You will be missing out on this if you use a blush and it may not look right.


What is the difference between a bronzer for face and a blush? Can I use them interchangeably?

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    • Bronzers come in many forms, including powder.
      By: anakondasp
      Bronzers come in many forms, including powder.
    • Medical studies in recent years have suggested how damaging sunbathing is to skin.
      By: vsegda22
      Medical studies in recent years have suggested how damaging sunbathing is to skin.