How to apply bronzer: AW 2010 make up trends

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Bronzer - get it right and you'll look like a gorgeous sun-kissed Aphrodite but get it wrong and you'll look like you've been tangoed. Even the likes of many celebrities (you know who we mean!) have ditched the ultra tangerine colouring for the more subtle shade of a healthy olive glow.

So how does this ‘less is more' movement feed in to late summer/AW 2010 make up trends? Catwalk aficionados reported that the trend is moving away from iridescent bronze, towards a more contoured matt look. This essentially means skillfully combining bronzer and blusher to enhance the face's natural shape to help the face look both younger and slimmer. It is not easy but with some practice, a big mirror and honest friends you should be able to replicate the look. Here's how:

Bronzer can be purchased in three different formats: pressed powder, loose powder and gel. The simplest to apply by a long way is the set powder. It is easy to over do it with the loose powder and it can be harder to achieve a good blend with the gel. If you are a make-up professional or feel very confident about your application techniques then by all means try the others - everyone else, stick to the pressed powder.

Choose a colour that is no darker than your natural skin tone after spending two weeks in the sun. Pale skin tones should opt for pale beige with a rosy gold undertone and more olivey skin tones can take a deeper tan colour with gold undertones. If in doubt, go peachier rather than brown, not only does it work with all skin tones, it is a visual anti-ager. Many companies are now selling a two-tone palette or one blusher and one bronzer in the same compact, which is ideal for creating the ultimate sunkissed look.

If the powder blocks out any freckles or other skin marks then it is too opaque - the best bronzers are more transparent, enhancing rather than changing the look of your skin. There is nothing wrong with a shimmery powder but to achieve the AW 2010 look then plump for a more matt texture.

For both the set and loose powders use a medium sized angled brush - the type you might use for normal blusher application. For gels you'll need to use your finger to apply the bronzer - applicator pads will leave too much of a tide mark.

Next you need to find a good sized mirror and some natural light. Most mistakes are made at this stage when the bronzer is applied with just a small glimpse in to a compact mirror under bad lighting. You need to apply a small amount of bronzer to the brush and then gently tap it on the side of your hand to knock off excess and reduce clumping.

Start to build up the bronzer on the areas of your face that naturally catch the sun - including cheekbones, the bridge of the nose and forehead etc. Avoid the hollows of your cheeks and around the eye sockets unless you are trying to achieve an unwashed look. Remember it is much easier to apply than take off and unless you want to start your entire make up routine again you should take time and care to build up a gentle coverage. For a true representation of the AW 2010 trend then you only really need to focus on the cheeks.

Bronzer can be applied at various stages of a make up routine. Use it sparingly on top of moisturiser for sheer, pretty glow. This is a particularly good look for low-key summer days when the skin is usually looking pretty great anyway.

Bronzer can also be applied to the neck and shoulders and to create a killer cleavage.

Unless you really go over the top on application, it is unlikely that you will use the entire contents of your bronzer in one season. Unlike eye products such as eye liner and mascara, as long as you regularly clean your brushes the bronzer will last for quite a long time - at least 12 months plus.

Good luck and do your best to leave the mahogany tans to the 80s - good fun but something we are not keen to relive anytime soon.

Submitted by Alexia Inge, Brand Director at Cult Beauty. Cult Beauty is an online beauty boutique and blog that casts its net globally to cherry-pick the best beauty, grooming and skin products. Backed by advice from an esteemed panel of beauty experts, Cult Beauty is the savviest, most authoritative beauty guide online.

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