Why Does My Bronzer Look Gray?

Bronzers have become an essential part of a woman's beauty regimen. Their purpose is to give the complexion a healthy sunkissed glow. So why does yours look gray instead? We researched what causes this so you can have the beautiful sunkissed glow you want!

If you choose the wrong shade of bronzer then instead of a healthy sunkissed glow, you could end up looking gray or ashen. Applying the bronzer the wrong way can also contribute towards a "grayish" unhealthy look.

Fortunately, with proper preparation and application, this is not only 100% avoidable. Keep reading to learn the tricks to keep your complexion glowing.

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Why Does My Bronzer Look Gray?

Two factors can cause your bronzer to look ashy instead of vibrant. The first is choosing the correct shade, and the second is the application process.

What Color Should Your Bronzer Be?

When purchasing a bronzer, the first thing to consider is your skin tone. In choosing a color beauty professionals suggest following the rule of two. A bronzer should be no more than two shades darker than your natural skin tone. Apply a sample product directly to your skin before purchasing. If this is not possible, hold the bronzer compact next to your skin to make an accurate comparison.

Bronzers also have a variety of undertones. You will achieve a more natural look if you choose a bronzer with an undertone that compliments your skin's undertone. There are no universals, but the following is a good rule of thumb: 

If your complexion is fair and you tend to sunburn easily, peach or pink bronzers will work best. Olive or medium skin tones should consider a bronzer with warmer undertones, such as red, gold, or copper. Darker skin is probably the most difficult to match. Warmer undertones usually work best. Look for deep rich colors such as copper or chocolate.

Along with color and undertone, bronzers have different finishes, shimmery, matte, and satin. Matte and satin finishes are considered best for daily use. A shimmery finish works better if you want only highlights.

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Why Does My Bronzer Look Muddy?

The worst thing you can do is choose a bronzer too dark for your complexion. You may think it will give you the book of a darker, richer tan. It will not. What it will do is give your complexion a muddy unnatural appearance. Remember, bronzers are intended to enhance your complexion, not change it.

Where Do You Apply Bronzer on Your Face?

Once you have chosen the correct bronzer, you can now add it to your daily beauty regimen. Except for lip color, apply all makeup to your face before adding the bronzer. To apply your bronzer, it is preferable to use a large soft brush with a rounded top.  Avoid smaller brushes or those with stiff bristles. These brushes can cause an uneven or streaky application. Swirl the brush in the powder.

Be sure to tap off any excess powder before applying to your face. Ideally, you want a smooth application, one without flakes or clumping. A bronzer looks best when applied lightly to all facial areas where you naturally tan, cheeks, forehead, temples, nose, and chin. 

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The first place to apply the bronzer is the cheeks. Rotate the brush in a circular motion. The goal is to distribute the product evenly. Blend upward and outward on the cheekbones and keep blending. This will avoid an uneven or blotchy appearance.

Forehead and Temples

Once you have completed the cheeks, move on to the forehead and temples. First, apply to the forehead in a small circular motion from one temple to the other. Be sure the product is evenly distributed across the forehead. Continue with a light dusting on both temples, blending upward.


The nose is a tricky area, but it is essential because that is where you get the most sun. Avoid an unnatural look or band effect by using a delicate touch and plenty of blending. 


When adding bronzer to the chin, use the same small circular motion you used on the forehead, moving the brush across the entire length of the jawline. Again you sure the product is evenly distributed.


Finally, to complete a natural look, extend a light layer of bronzer to the neck, and thoroughly blend it in. This last step will provide continuity in skin tone. Nobody wants to have a perfectly bronzed face and a stark white neck.

Can You Use Bronzer All Over the Face? 

While it may be tempting, do not use bronzer all over your face. Not only is the product not intended for such coverage, but it can make your complexion appear orange or as if you have a bad fake tan. Instead, only apply the bronzer to the areas previously mentioned, cheeks, forehead, temples, nose, and chin.

How Do I Tone Down My Bronzer?

It is always best to apply your bronzer using a light hand. Adding more bronzer is preferable to removing unwanted products. However, if you were a bit heavy-handed and feel like you have added too much, don't worry. Additional blending will tone down the color and give you the look you want to achieve. Go over your face to remove the desired amount of the excess bronzer. Remove it with either a clean powder brush or a clean cotton pad.

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Do I Need a Bronzer If I'm Tan?

If the purpose of a bronzer is to give your complexion a healthy sunkissed glow, do you need a bronzer if you already have a tan? A bronzer can provide beautiful highlights to already tanned skin. Because your goal highlights, you will have to make a couple of adjustments.

First, avoid bronzers with a matte or satin finish. While these bronzers work well for everyday use, sun tanned skin is different and will benefit from a bronzer with a shimmery finish. 

Secondly, do not apply the bronzer to all the areas previously mentioned. Instead, use in moderation focusing only on the cheekbones, temples, and chin. This limited application will accentuate the tan you already have and leave your complexion with a well-balanced glow.

Now you know the basics of bronzers, don't be afraid to add them to your daily beauty regimen. They will add a healthy sunkissed glow to your complexion. If you follow the helpful hints and steps previously mentioned, they will do so without a hint of gray. So whether you want to put your best face forward every day or highlight a beautiful tan. Bronzers are the way to go.

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