Beauty Guru: Summer Guide to Buying Facial Bronzer

You weren't born with luscious caramel-colored skin, but you don't want to expose your skin to dangerous UV rays to get it. So what's a girl to do? Reach for a bronzer, of course, but keep in mind these summer beauty must-haves don't come in one-size-fits-all.

Choosing a Bronzer

Bronzers should give you a sun-kissed look, not make you look like a 1980s amateur body builder (sorry, Arnold). You should create the illusion of a tanned appearance, highlighting and sculpting your facial features. In case you missed the memo, bronzers come in a variety of bronzer formulations, including powder, liquid, cream and gel. Select a bronzer that suits your specific skin type.

Oily skin types need a powder bronzer that you can swirl over the skin after your regular makeup application. Fighting dry skin? Touch cream bronzer on to your face using your fingers. Glide along the natural curves of your face. Combination skin could wear all of the above or a cooling bronze gel. (That's splurge-worthy!)

Remember that matte bronzers look more natural but a shimmering product adds radiance.

Select the Right Shade

Bronzers, especially facial bronzers, should be only one shade darker than your skin tone. Going too dark, too quickly screams, "Look at my fake tan!" If you covet a darker "tan," just increase the bronzer application over a few weeks (like a natural tan).

Always flip the product over and read the description before buying it. Women with light-colored skin look sunny and sweet with peach, apricot or honey tones. For medium skin tones, select a rosy or golden-toned product. Lovely dark skin tones need cinnamon or copper bronzers.

Bronzing Like a Pro

Think a professional bronzing look is a no-brainer? Don't get too heavy handed with the bronzer. I like to swirl over the bronzing powder then tap the brush before I apply it to my skin. A good tap prevents smudges and uneven coloring. Apply this product with a big, soft brush. In this case, bigger is better.

I can't recommend enough that you apply bronzer under good lighting. Natural light is the best. Waiting to check your makeup application when you get in the car isn't a good idea.

Monica is a Yahoo! Shine Beauty Guru who has a ridiculous eyeshadow addiction and secret fondness for 70s soft rock. You can follow her at her blog, Vixen With a Pen.