Golden Hour: Consider This Your Guide to Faking a Sun-Kissed Glow
Glowing, healthy skin is what everyone wants come summertime. And thanks to a new wave of bronzers and illuminators, you can instantly recapture the warmth and dewiness you used to get from a day spent sprinting through the sprinklers. We found a flattering formula for every skin tone under the sun.
Products to Help You Glow
Smooth Your Skin
This is key to a more radiant look. Exfoliate two to three times a week to slough off dead cells and help makeup go on evenly: You can use a damp washcloth with your cleanser or a light scrub. For a deeper sweep, consider a dermaplane treatment, which will remove flakiness, fuzz, and dullness, says Birmingham, Alabama, dermatologist Corey L. Hartman. Then moisturize daily, says Dr. Hartman, who suggests applying Vichy Minéral 89 Skin Fortifying Daily Booster (from $20, walgreens.com) onto still-damp skin, followed by sunscreen. Everyone should wear SPF 30 to 50 daily—even those with darker skin tones, which have inherent SPF of only 3 to 8. Dr. Hartman's go-to choice is fast-absorbing Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ ($55, isdin.com). For a wallet-friendly option, try Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($9, walgreens.com).
Tap the Right Tools
To warm up your skin tone, a thick brush is essential. "Choose one that's big enough to hug the contours of your face and help you blend," says New York City makeup artist Nam Vo. Dense bristles are also best for picking up pigments from any bronzer or illuminator, and they're especially handy for creams and oils that just get absorbed by a fluffier brush. "To soften the edges of your face and lift away excess product, dab a damp beauty sponge all over when you're finished—it'll also press the pigments in, which extends wear time," says Chicago makeup artist Jenny Patinkin.
Choose a Good Formula
Your ideal bronzer or illuminator will be simpatico with your skin type—and tone. A powder makes sense if you're oily; go for something creamy if you're dry. If you're overwhelmed by all the color options (rule of thumb: Go one shade darker than your natural tone), simply enhance your complexion with a subtle gold (which is flattering on skin with warm undertones) or peach (perfect for cool types)—these shades suit everyone, Patinkin says.
Apply and Go
Start on the upper half of your face, where you naturally get some sun; then define your cheeks and jawline. Vo suggests sweeping a brush in the shape of a "3" on both sides of your face, so you hit the top of the forehead, highs of the cheekbone, and jaw. Buff it onto your ears and a few inches down your neck, too. Then press a single-ply tissue onto your skin to dial down any shine or too much sparkle. Oily types can benefit from patting it all over, but those with normal to dry skin can zero in on the forehead, chin, and creases of the nose.
Try a Tint
Sheer, single-shade tints subtly enhance any skin tone; smooth them over your face for a wash of color that creates a lit-from-within effect—no precision necessary—or put a drop or two into your moisturizer for a more subtle approach.