The dos and don’ts of summer bronzers

Lynnette Peck / 01 August 2016 ( 08 March 2019 )

We interviewed make-up artist Daniel Sandler about the dos and don’ts of summer bronzers, and he revealed a very surprising tip…

Bronzers really are the perfect summer make-up as they give you a glow without venturing into the sun.

Daniel Sandler ( has been a top make-up artist for three decades and has his own range of products, so he really does know what he is talking about when it comes to bronzers.

Why is bronzer used in summer rather than blusher?

“Bronzer enhances the look of a tan, and gives you a depth of colour that makes you look as if you have been out in the sun for a few days – bronzer is the cheats’ guide to looking like you have been to St Tropez.

"Blusher is the product that gives you a healthy glow in pink or peach, so its effect is completely different to what a bronzer does.”

How does one apply bronzer?

“Depending on the formula, application will vary. 

"For a sheer-looking, natural affect, use pressed bronzing powder with a clean, soft brush (don’t use your blusher brush as you will get a mix of colours) and apply in light quick circular motions. 

"Dip the brush in the bronzer once and sweep lightly – then stand back from mirror or take a ‘selfie’. By assessing whether you should apply a little more or not helps you build up the colour slowly. 

"Make sure your face isn’t too moist or shiny (moisturiser or foundation under bronzer is not a good idea) as the moisture will grab too much product and you might get muddy marks. So wear a translucent powder first and then add the bronzer to get a light, smooth, matte canvas.”

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Where does one apply bronzer?

“Pop it where the sun hits the highest part of your features – sweep a little on the forehead, the bridge of the nose and the cheekbones.  

"Everybody has a different face shape – but aim for the cheekbone and keep blending so you don’t look like you have a brown blob on each cheek. 

"Make sure the brush movements are quite generous and blend throughout the cheek and towards the hairline – so you can’t see where the bronzer starts and finishes.”

Should we be using a gel bronzer or pressed powder bronzer?

“It is totally down to personal choice. 

"Gel bronzers are a liquid and are popular as some women like to use their fingers to apply product – the finish will be similar to a tinted moisturiser, they are easy to apply and you don’t need brushes. It will look sheer and works with your skin. 

"Pressed powder is good if you prefer using brushes and like building up colour here and there – you can also control the product better.”

Any other bronzer tips?

  • If you want a natural look then avoid glittery bronzers
  • Try a bronzing powder on the back of hand of your hand. If it makes your skin tone look ashy or grey, then walk away and try another one
  • With gel bronzers make sure it doesn’t look too red or orange on your skin – they can sometimes look like Marmite or soy sauce
  • Don’t wear bronzer if you are very pale and have pink-toned skin. Instead invest in a tinted moisturiser. I often use one on the mother-of-the-brides I do make-up for
  • If wearing a V-neck top then sweep some bronzer over the chest
  • The tip I think most people find most surprising is that if you have short hair or wear your hair up, then pop some bronzer on your ears, along with the back of the neck and hairline.

Daniel Sandler recommends:

Guerlain Terracotta – bronzing powder that comes in different shades depending on your skin colour

Boots No7 Perfectly Bronzed Dual Bronzer – two-colour bronzing powder

Daniel Sandler Instant Tan – a pressed bronzing powder


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.