By Deanna Pai. Photos: Getty Images, Courtesy of brand.
Jennifer Lopez has been our beauty #goals for as long as we can remember. C'mon, her first and arguably greatest fragrance was called Glow by JLo. In addition to dancing, singing, acting, and seemingly not aging, the woman is the epitome of glow, and she does it damn well. Although it's probably just great genes, her makeup artist Mary Phillips, plays a major role in helping Lopez achieve her iconic look. Phillips, who also counts Chrissy Teigen and Gwen Stefani as her clients, is a force to be reckoned with in the beauty world. So who better to give us an insider's list of the best bronzers than her? We asked her to share her top-five picks.
The Best All-Around Bronzer: Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder ($53)
One of the biggest bronzer mistakes is not taking your own skin tone into consideration when choosing a shade. There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all color of bronzer because yours should be two shades darker than your skin color. "The key is making it believable, like it was meant just for you and completely custom," Phillips explains. Guerlain's is her be-all-end-all because it comes in 10 different shades, which is unheard of when it comes to bronzer. "The color range is insane," Phillips says. "For those who like a really natural-looking finish and a luminous glow, this one’s for you." And, in case you needed any more convincing: It was a 2008 Best of Beauty Award winner.
Pro tip: Before you buff the bronzer onto your face, you need to buff your brush into the actual formula first. "I use a medium to small blush brush to buff into the product directly," says Phillips. "Then, dust off any excess before applying it to your face." With this formula, you can opt for the "three technique." If you're unfamiliar, it's when you brush bronzer from your temples, around to your cheekbones, and then along your jawline, creating the shape of the number three.
The Best Bronzer Money Can Buy: Serge Lutens Beauté Blusher in Brown ($170)
Although the price tag for this is enough to make you cringe, Phillips swears it's worth the money — as long as the color works for your skin tone. "The color isn’t necessarily universal, but if it does work for you, then this could be the end of your search," she explains. "It blends beautifully, gives a great glow, and doesn’t sit on the skin or look grainy. It looks so real." At least we know what we're spending our money on should we ever inherit a large amount of money from a distant relative.
Pro tip: A little bit of this bronzer goes a long way. If you apply too much, you risk having to dust away $20 worth of it. The trick is in your brush. Phillips suggests using a very soft, fluffy blush brush with long bristles (a.k.a. the opposite of a kabuki brush). We love the Kevyn Aucoin Blush Powder Brush.
"The denser the brush, the stronger the color will come out," she explains. "That can just make you look dirty instead of bronzed." Nobody has time for that.
The Best Shimmery Bronzer: Giorgio Armani Sun Fabric Sheer Bronzer ($56)
You're not alone if you thought a bronzer with shimmer in it was a no-go. With the right formula — like this one, which has super-fine specks to catch and diffuse light — a slight sparkle can impart a believable (and unbelievably elegant) glow. "This bronzer has a little bit of shimmer, but it’s not excessive," Phillips says. There's no orange in this whatsoever, meaning you'll never wander out looking like, well, Donald Trump." Plus, it's so sheer that it won't look muddy on your skin if you're naturally pale.
Pro tip: This formula is nearly translucent, which means you can wear it on a bare face. "If you put on primer, foundation, or moisturizer, just make sure your face is completely dry," Phillips warns. "It'll pick up the slightest variation of moisture and look patchy." She recommends using a basic blush brush for this, as it'll work best for picking up the product.
The Best Subtle Bronzer: Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ in 106 Medium Pink or 208 Medium Yellow ($60)
Some might call this a foundation or a CC cream...because it is. And that's exactly why Phillips, who uses it both as a foundation and a bronzer, is a fan. "It’s ideal for people who don’t want any kind of shimmer, sparkle, iridescence, or any of that, which can be hard to navigate in the world of bronzing," she explains. It imparts a seriously subtle glow, so consider this your best bet if you want to just enhance a natural tan in, say, the middle of July. Just make sure you extend your bronzer down. "Blend it under your chin and on your neck to marry the color from your face and neck, so you don’t have a floating tan head in your pictures," Phillips adds. That's one thing that's tough to filter out.
Pro tip: All hail the cushion compact, which is foolproof to use. Phillips uses her fingers to tap the liquid onto skin and blend it in. "It’s important to generate that heat whenever you're working with liquids," she explains. "That skin-to-skin contact is vital for that." This trick makes the formula easier to blend in for the most natural bronze yet. Another key: If you think you're done blending, go on and blend just a little more.
The Best No-Makeup Makeup Bronzer: Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer SPF 30 ($35)
"For those that really love a 'barely-there' makeup look or are sensitive to feeling like something’s on their face, then this bronzer is ideal," says Phillips. The formula blends seamlessly into skin, and she swears that the SPF in it gives it a sexy, reflective sheen. It also lends skin an overall warmth. You'll look less like you've been working on your bronzer game and more like you just got back from a trip to Tahiti.
Pro tip: All you need is two drops of this bronzer for your entire face. Anything more is overkill. "Apply a drop or two to the back of your hand, then dot it onto your face with your fingertip, and blend it out with a Beautyblender Original makeup sponge," says Phillips. Then, she likes to layer highlighter over it.
This story originally appeared on Allure.
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