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Bronzer for Pale Skin

Updated on February 24, 2013

Yes, Bronzer for Pale Skin Can Actually Work

Have you given up on finding a good bronzer for pale skin?

If you're fair-skinned like I am you might not have even thought of using a bronzer. Last year my sister-in-law showed me how to use bronzer without looking orange or fakey.

Check out Amazon's Best Bronzer for Fair Skin

Since then I've researched the best bronzers for pale skin, how to wear them, and what brushes to use. Thanks to this research I know enough to be able to keep my face looking natural. I love looking lightly tanned without risking any sun damage.

Photo credit: idhren on Flickr

Orange - Not the skin tone I want
Orange - Not the skin tone I want

Fair Skin and Bronzer? Yes!

How I learned to apply bronzer on my pale skin

I avoided bronzers for thirty years. Like many fair-skinned women I was afraid of that awful orange 'overcooked' look.

I don't care what the cast of Jersey Shores does, that's not a look I'm going for. All I really want is a light hint of color -- just enough so it looks like I leave the house occasionally.

Even before we knew about skin cancer, my fair skin had a hard time tanning in the summer. I'd burn, fade to a tan for a couple weeks, and then be back to my normal pale.

Last year my sister-in-law took me in hand and showed me how to use bronzer for my pale skin.

We were in Mexico on vacation. I'd gotten my usual temporary burn/tan and was complaining about my foundation making my face look too light compared to my neck and chest. I was sporting the white-faced 'bald eagle' look.

We went shopping for a darker foundation, and she convinced me to try a bronzer instead. My sister-in-law wiped off the mess I made and showed me how to do it right. The bronzer was perfect; my face had a light glow without the orange color or streaks I so feared.

I've added bronzer to my repertoire now, and you can too. Read on -- I'll show you bronzers are best for pale skin and give a detailed guide to applying them.

Photo credit jgoge123 on Flickr/

Do you use bronzers?

Do you use a bronzer on your face?

Powder Bronzer for Pale Skin - Easy to use. Builds and contours.

Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder, Moisturizing and Long Lasting, # 01, 0.35 Ounce
Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder, Moisturizing and Long Lasting, # 01, 0.35 Ounce

Guerlain gets top reviews in nearly every beauty site. This moisturizing powder has the best texture I've ever tried. No lines, no marks. I use 00 in the winter and 01 in the summer for a light natural look.


Cream Bronzer for Fair Skin - More moisture. Great for dry skin or winter season

Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Sheerest Cream Bronzer - #1020-1 Miami Glow Light
Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Sheerest Cream Bronzer - #1020-1 Miami Glow Light

This gets great reviews for pale skin. Apply just a bit and blend well for a healthy glow that isn't heavy or oily.


Gel Bronzer for Pale Skin - Lightweight and absorbs quickly into skin

Bonne Bell, Gel Bronze, Golden Tan, Face Gel, 1.1 Fl Ounce (Pack of 2)
Bonne Bell, Gel Bronze, Golden Tan, Face Gel, 1.1 Fl Ounce (Pack of 2)

Even fair-skinned women can wear this long-wearing gel -- no orange! A little goes a very long way with this gel. Blend it well. If you're not used to blending bronzer adding a drop of moisturizer will help you learn. Great value for a low price -- perfect!


How to Apply Bronzer - We'll keep the look natural and healthy

  1. Choose your bronzer wisely! Read my reviews below for the best bronzers for pale skin. You'll want a bronzer that applies easily, blends really well, and doesn't have even a hint of orange. You want a bronzer with a yellow or peach base, like the ones recommended here.
  2. Get a soft-bristled brush -- a kabuki brush or stippling brush is best for powder. If you use a cream bronzer get a good quality foundation brush. Don't chince on this step! Streaky bronzer is usually the result of poor tools and bad blending.
  3. Start with HALF the amount of bronzer you think you'll need. It's much easier to add more than to remove from too much.
  4. Apply in the 'reverse 3 and 3' pattern. Lightly apply the bronzer along your upper hairline, down over the temple, along your cheekbone, and back to down your jawline.
  5. Without putting your brush back in the bronzer, lightly sweep it across your nose and chin for just a hint of warmth.
  6. Go take a look in sunlight. When you're first learning it's hard to judge from the light in your bathroom. Use natural light to be sure you're happy with the result.
  7. Now, decide how you want to finish the look. If you think it looks flat, add a bare hint of blush on the cheeks to brighten you up. As an alternative, you could brush just a touch of shimmer over it all.

How to Apply Bronzer

This tutorial shows exactly how to use bronzer without ending up looking overcooked. The model ends up with a very natural look. I particularly like that the instructor explains when and how to use blush with bronzer. Once you watch you'll understand it's really not a "blush vs bronzer" either-or decision.

Best Bronzer Brush

Choose the one that's right for you

What's the best bronzer brush for your? That depends on your needs.

Bronzer Type

  • If you use a cream bronzer you'll want to use a foundation-style brush. A flat foundation brush will help avoid the streaking or caking you'd get when applying with sponges and fingers.
  • Powdered bronzer needs to sweep on lightly. Look for a brush with softer bristles and a rounded top to avoid streaking.
Your Preferred Look

  • Light touches of tan - think smaller stippling or kabuki brush.
  • Full coverage - A larger 'body' brush will dust larger areas well. These are particularly suited for swirling across shoulders and decolletage.
Where You'll Be

  • If you travel a lot (or touch up your makeup midday) the length of the brush is a consideration.
  • I prefer short kabuki brushes no matter where I am. But some women prefer a longer handle. If so they'd want to consider a twist-up brush when traveling.

Best Bronzer Brush for All-Over Glow - Bronzing more than your face? Use these.

Smashbox Face and Body Brush, No.19
Smashbox Face and Body Brush, No.19

This brush gets top reviews in Amazon and Makeupalley. Reviewers love the feel and durability of the brush -- it's a winner.


A great alternative for travelers. Short handle and easy to store when on the go.


Best Bronzer Brush for Subtle Bronzing - Light contouring for your face

EcoTools Domed Bronzer Brush, Made with Recycled and Sustainable Materials, Cruelty Free Synthetic Taklon Bristles, Aluminum Ferrule, Recycled Packaging
EcoTools Domed Bronzer Brush, Made with Recycled and Sustainable Materials, Cruelty Free Synthetic Taklon Bristles, Aluminum Ferrule, Recycled Packaging

This reasonably priced bronzer brush gets top reviews. It's synthetic bristles are soft and wear forever. Its handle is short enough for travel yet long enough to be easy to use at home. My number one choice!


What do you think? - Please let me know

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    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      Thanks for the useful info! :)

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Sounds like good advice. Maybe I can do bronzer.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      Great information....I'll have to try again.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      I like the wide selection of Bronzer for Pale Skin

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Nicely done lens. Thanks for sharing this great info for people with pale skin.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      Very useful info for the fish-belly pale among us, and very well presented - thank you! :)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I also have light skin. This looks good for the summer.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      I'm really pale also,. I've never tried a bronzer and I think it sounds like a good idea.thanks for the tips.

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 5 years ago

      I have pale skin and like using bronzers. Very useful lens.