Contouring with Bronzer with PMM Associate Beauty Editor Marianne Meissner

Contouring with Bronzer with PMM Associate Beauty Editor Marianne Meissner

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As a makeup artist, contouring is a daily occurrence when I do my own makeup. It happens so naturally that I almost forget I’m doing it. Contouring on my clients, however, is another story. Some clients are so excited to have me contour their face and others are dead set against it because they fear it’s too much product and they won’t look natural. I understand that contouring is intimidating; there are hundreds of contour kits on the market, from cream to powder, and the options can seem daunting.

Cream contour is for the more experienced, makeup savvy woman who knows exactly how much product to place on her face and how to feather multiple shades together to achieve the perfect shading and contour. Powder contour is perfect for beginners but buying a contour kit can be very pricey and isn’t necessary unless you’re the perfect shade for the palette. If you’re very light or very dark, most powder contour kits won’t match your skin shade well and so many of the pans of makeup will go unused, which is a waste of money since most contour kits cost $45 and above.

In my opinion, the easiest way to practice contouring is using the products you already have, such as bronzers, and honing your blending skills. I use bronzer all the time when I’m in a time pinch and don’t have the time to cream contour my face. Of course, I mainly do this in the summer time because almost every bronzer, except a Matte one, will give you a very shiny glow on your cheeks and in the dead of winter, it looks not so natural.


This is me with no bronzer/contour. Totally pale!

The most important thing to remember when using bronzer is to layer and use a light hand. It’s always easier to add more product but removing it is difficult. I always use a matte bronzer, like NYX Matte Bronzer, to start and place it in the hollows of my cheeks, the tip and side of my nose, under my jaw bone and along the hairline of my forehead.

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Then I blend, blend, blend until there is no hard line above or below the bronzer. It needs to look seamless on the skin. Remember to bring the bronzer down your neck into your chest so that there is no random line in the middle of your neck, which will be a dead giveaway.


Once that looks good, I use a shimmer bronzer, such as theBalm Betty-Lou Manizer Bronzer, and place that just on the cheek bones and temples of my face to add depth and dimension. You should blend this into the matte bronzer already on your face. I also use very little of the bronzer on neck and chest to add some sparkle and make it look like I have a killer tan, when I really don’t!

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At this point, I touch up the blush on my cheeks to reapply any that came off during the blending process and touch up the middle section of my nose to make sure the bridge is still light and only the sides and tip are dark. You could set your makeup with any setting spray of your choice. Or if you want a little more glow, use a third bronzer, such as the Milani TanTastic Face & Body Baked Bronzer and brush that shimmer all over your chest and shoulders to really give you a beautiful glow.


Final result! Tan and Glowy!

Before and After:


I hope this helps you achieve that perfect summer tan without breaking the bank. Remember, you can use any bronzers you already have but make sure you really layer the product and blend each time you add something new.

If you find that you still look too orange, then try a bronzer that is a cooler shade instead of a warm shade. The matte bronzer I tend to use has a cool base and so the warmer shimmer bronzer blends perfectly and it helps eliminate that “oompa loompa” feeling.

Have fun and feel beautiful! Xoxo – Marianne

Bronzers I used in order:

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#1: NYX Matte Bronzer, $8.99

#2: theBalm Betty-Lou Manizer Bronzer Compact, $24

#3: Milani TanTastic Face & Body Baked Bronzer, $6.79

Click here to read Marianne’s Bronzer 101 beauty feature in the July 2015 issue of PLUS Model Magazine.

Click here to read more about Marianne Meissner.