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Makeup

Loved by JLo and Little Mix, liquid bronzers and bronzing drops are your easiest route to a natural sun kissed glow

August 6th 2021 / 0 comment

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Image Instagram: @misscassielomas & @jlo

For a fresh, skin-like finish that's simple to apply, liquid bronzers should be on your beauty shopping list

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Liquid bronzers are having a real moment right now; ever since Glossier launched its liquid bronzer Solar Paint, £17, last month, we’ve cast aside our powder bronzers in favour of easily blendable liquid formulas that look ultra-natural and bronzing drops that you dab straight onto your face. "With natural dewy skin and soft glam bang on trend at the moment, liquid bronzers are one of the best products to help achieve the look," says makeup artist Joy Adenuga. "The finish is more realistic on the skin compared to powders."

Liquid bronzers are favoured by JLo too, who this week took to Instagram to share her sculpting and contouring routine using just liquid bronzer. She uses all four of the liquid bronzers from her JLo Beauty collection (AKA Daily Complexion Boosters, $39) for a subtly sculpted look.

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Little Mix bandmates Perrie Edwards and Leighanne Pinnock are also fans of a liquid bronzer, wearing Iconic London's Sheer Bronze, £15.20, to the Brits this year, for a natural golden look.

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It’s the natural look you can achieve with liquid bronzers and bronzing drops that makes them appeal to makeup artist Lisa Caldognetto. “I love them because they’re so much more like skin texture on the skin,” she said. “They sit on the skin like a veil and blend so easily so if you’re not confident with makeup it’s simple.”

If you prefer a more targeted glow, liquid bronzers might just be for you. “You can be more specific with the placement of a liquid bronzer so it’s an ideal product to apply on smaller areas such as the temples or cheekbones,” says Justine Jenkins, ethical make-up artist and author of Sustainable Beauty Practical Advice and Projects for an Eco-Conscious Beauty Routine, which is out in November this year.

How to apply liquid bronzers

"Use your fingers to dot liquid bronzer on the high points of your face, cheek bones, temples, the tip of the nose, chin and just under the jaw - areas that don’t see much sun," says makeup artist Ruby Hammer. "Blend with your fingers or a soft fluffy brush and use thin layers to add or build more colour."

Fellow makeup artist Hannah Martin follows a different approach for applying liquid bronzer; she applies it to the back of her hand then uses a foundation brush to gently sweep it where she wants warmth “The key is to have a really light hand because too much pressure blends it away,” she says.

Who can use a liquid bronzer?

Liquid bronzers work best with normal and dry skin types, as long as you moisturise dry skin before applying, says Justine. “Anyone with open pores, blemishes or oily skin should consider their liquid bronzer carefully. Make sure you choose a product without heavy shimmer or sparkle as it can highlight uneven skin tone.”

Liquid bronzer is great for more mature skins as well as bronzer novices, adds Ruby Hammer. "It is also great in humid conditions as a powder product may end up streaking or look patchy."

The best liquid bronzers and bronzing drops

The instant classic: Glossier Solar Paint, £17

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Available in four shades, this vegan formula blends in seamlessly and is comfortable and lightweight to wear. The sponge-tipped wand and thicker texture (a little thicker than the brand’s Cloud Paint blush) takes the spills out of applying a liquid bronzer. The satin finish and lack of shimmer make it really easy to achieve a natural skin-like effect, without the muddiness that can come from a powder bronzer. If you want to warm up your whole face you can dot it lightly straight over moisturiser.

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MORE GLOSS: What did we think of Glossier's first every bronzer?

The luxe bronzing drops: Dolce & Gabbana Solar Glow, £38

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Not only does this look fancy on your dressing table, it gives the most gorgeous bronze wash that still lets your own skin and freckles shine through, making it look ultra-natural and youthful. It comes out of the dropper the colour of balsamic vinegar but easily blends into you skin with a few taps. It’s extremely lightweight, almost as light as water but it doesn’t drip and doesn't transfer onto white tops. Solar Glow can be used directly onto the skin as bronzer or added to your moisturiser or foundation if you prefer an all-over glow.

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Skincare meets bronzer: Pai The Impossible Glow Hyaluronic Acid and Sea Kelp Bronzing Drops, £19

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Skincare brand Pai made its first foray into makeup with these bronzing drops earlier this year, as you’d expect from a brand famed for its skin-loving formulas, these aren’t your run of the mill glow-giving drops. As well as imparting a just-off-the-beach luminosity, they also include hydrating hero ingredients hyaluronic acid and sea kelp to nourish your skin as well as vitamin C rich lemon water for an extra hit of radiance. Like the D&G drops, you can apply these directly onto the skin for a fresh-face beauty look or mix with moisturiser for a subtle full face glow.

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The no-makeup liquid bronzer: Versed Moodlighting Glow Drops, £14.99

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If you’re after a no-makeup look this summer, these drops are your go-to. They feel like a serum (similar consistency to Glossier’s Skin Tint) and are infused with peptides. They give a soft-focus glow wherever you apply them. They do have more of a shimmer than other bronzing drops in this edit, but it’s still subtle. Apply two or three drops onto dry skin and you’re good to go. All of Versed’s products are vegan and cruelty-free and it always uses unretouched skin in campaign imagery.

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The celeb-approved one: Iconic London Sheer Bronze, £15.30

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Iconic London is best known for its luminosity giving highlighters, but the brand’s Sheer Bronze liquid bronzer, which launched in May of this year, is worth a try too. Makeup artist Hannah Martin loves it “It’s nice and lightweight and deliciously sheer,” she says “It’s like someone read my mind when they created it. I’m obsessed.” It’s available in six shades and is blendable; depending on how much you dab on, it can give a soft wash of bronze or a deep bronze normally only achieved with two weeks on holiday. Little Mix’s Leighanne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards wore it to the Brits, while Paris Hilton wore it during Oscars week for a dewy glow.

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The MUA-approved one: Kili Golden Skin Glow Liquid Bronzer, £24

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This is Justine Jenkins’ liquid bronzer of choice. "It not only ticks all the sustainable boxes, but the formulation works for everybody,” she says. It has a slightly pearly texture and includes skin-loving ingredients such as coconut oil, rosehip seed oil and shea butter. Dab it onto your skin and blend in for a healthy glow.

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The cult bronzing drops: Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Antipollution Drops, £30

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Ruby Hammer's liquid bronzer of choice, this is more than just a universally flattering bronzer; these high-performing drops protect the skin’s barrier too, shielding it from pollution with vitamins F and D. Add them to your serum or oil for a lit from within, summery glow. If you’re not too precious about saving them apply to your collar bones and arms and legs too for a subtle hint of sheen all over.

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The Scandi bronzing drops: Lumene Invisible Illumination [Kaunis] Liquid Bronzer, £22.50

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We first came across Nordic brand Lumene when we tried (and fell in love with) the Liquid Blush, £22.50, and we’re happy to report the liquid bronzer is just as lovely. It’s infused with pure Arctic spring water for hydration and pearlescent pigments for an illuminating bronzer that gives a radiant complexion. Tap it on the points of your face the sun normally hits for a natural look.

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The natural one: The Body Shop Drops of Sun Bronzing Drops, £12

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We’ve lost count of how many Body Shop powder bronzers we’ve hit pan on so we had high hopes for these. They’re another multi-tasker, able to be applied in with moisturiser or directly onto skin for a subtle glow. They look quite dark when they come out (sort of the colour of treacle) but easily blend in for a matte, shimmer-free shine.

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MORE GLOSS: The best highlighters of all time, as voted by GTG readers

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