Bronzer and The Number 3?


I have worked as a freelance makeup artist for most of my life and the variety of advice coming from the cosmetic counters, doctors and the guy next door runs the gamut. When I was little my older cousin said to make sure you put the mascara on the top of the eye lashes because guys are generally taller than girls so you want to make sure you can see it from all angles. Good advice I guess. Then there was the advice that told me to put lipstick over the edges of my lips to make them look bigger. Yuck! That was my third grade teacher who inevitably had clumps of lipstick in the corners of her mouth – I hated when she got close to me to tell me something in private. In any case, as usual, if something works for me it may not work for you. Electric blue eyelids were all the rage in the 50’s but would I wear that to the office….okay I guess it depends on the office. Here at NBC no-one would notice but to a corporate office it might look a little garish. My point is, that some advice about makeup and beauty is just plain illogical. Having said that I love the way women experiment and play with what they consider beautiful. That’s another article.

In the meantime focusing on the advice of where to place bronzer is up for discussion in my opinion. My step-daughter brought this to my attention after she said that she heard and read in several places, like an online video tutorial, that bronzer is to be put on in the shape of a three on both sides of the face where the sun might naturally hit. Does this mean they are suggesting that the sun hits on both sides of the face in the shape of a three? Both sides of the face? I’m not sure I’ve seen the sun hit the sides of the face without hitting the front as well. Perhaps this was written on a planet with two suns. Then I’d have no problem with this concept.

In the meantime this tutorial and apparently others are teaching that the side of the forehead running down past the ear to the cheek and then running down the jaw-line to the chin is the correct placement. When I go out in the sun, it usually hits me square in the middle of my face especially, the top expanse of my forehead, top of my cheeks, the length of  my nose, tops of the ears (if I have my hair back) and occasionally when I’m feeling like Jay Leno, the front part of my chin. If I were to turn showing my profile I guess that makes a number three but it jumps like a flea from the forehead, to the nose, to the chin. I don’t think that’s the “three” they’re talking about.

I’ve never been very good with numbers so I’m going to put that whole concept away for a bit. Instead what is the goal of using a bronzer ? It suggests suntan, natural health, a golden glow, radiance and warmth. Taken a bit further it even suggests that you have enough leisure time to spend in the sun, therefore you must be affluent and powerful.  If these are the words that might describe what we are trying to accomplish wouldn’t we want it to be more of a sun-kissed look, a glow the sun actually might do naturally? Yes, I think is the answer.

To achieve this I would be inclined to use the bronze color almost like a thin veil not going all over but in the front of the face especially the top length of the forehead (most of the time I only do one side then you are creating your personal highlight, as if the sun really is shining on just one side. This is subtle, a barely visible effect) going under the cheek-bones brushing upward from the hollow of the cheeks and across the nose vertically. I would use very little on the chin if at all. Instead of the pattern looking like a number three it might look slightly more like an equal sign. However, please let’s not restrict ourselves to paint by numbers (or signs).  Look at what you are doing rather than tryng to remember some silly rule about makeup application and then blend, blend, blend!

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