I have been the victim of muddy looking bronzer and contour many times (#firstworldproblems). In fact, up until recently, I kept having issues with uneven bronzer. After trying out various types of powders, creams, tools and methods, I think I finally have it down. Let’s go through the main culprits:
1. Dry patches
If you have dry skin or patches, powders will either cling to those patches, or more often, not properly adhere to dry skin.
Fix: Exfoliate and hydrate. Make sure you are using a gentle exfoliator (I love this one) and you abundantly apply moisturizer before your foundation. You should also consider using a hydrating primer such a this one.
2. Sticky foundation
Most types of foundations need to either be set with powder, or allowed to dry. If your foundation or BB/CC cream is still sticky to the touch and you apply a bronzer or contour, it will most likely apply unevenly.
Fix: You guessed it, make sure to set your foundation with a little powder before going in with your bronzer/contour. Use a light hand with your setting powder since you are going to go over it with some more powder and can get cake face.
3. Peach fuzz
I hate to say it guys, but its the truth. If you are like me and have some peach fuzz on your cheek area, it can cause make up in general to apply unevenly.
Fix: obvious fix here is to nix the peach fuzz. You could shave (gasp!) or wax. And before I get hate mail about shaving your face, do a quick youtube search and you’ll see some top beauty youtubers shaving their face.
If you aren’t ready to part with your peach fuzz, when applying your foundation make sure to brush from the center of your face and down (I talked about this here) to tame the little fuzzies.
4. Too much or too little product
If you are feeling confident that the issue is not any of the above, it could be that you are applying too much or too little powder.
Fix: start with very little product and build up. If you start with too much powder, its very hard to blend away. Lightly tap your brush into the contour/bronzer and then tap away any excess. Hold your brush away from the head (this will prevent you from pressing too hard on your skin) and lightly start blending beginning at your temple. Once your brush has little to no product left start blending down. Repeat until you get the desired effect.
5. Wrong Color
Last, but no least, your bronzer/contour could be looking muddy because you are using the wrong shade. Now this can lead to all kinds of problems. A few years ago I was using a bronzer that was too light for me, so I ended up applying a lot of product to get the color I wanted. This led to the problem discussed above, I was using too much product.
Fix: pick a shade 2-3 shades darker than your foundation. Note: if you already have a contour and its more than 2-3 shades darker than your skin tone and really don’t want to invest in another shade, you can still pull it off. Swirl your brush in a little translucent powder first and use an even lighter hand.
My preferred method
I’ve used many different types of contour and bronzing powders and have used several different brushes to apply them. But recently, I tried something else. I used my beauty blender to apply the powder. The result? a more even and natural look. In fact, I liked the application so much that I started using my beauty blender to apply my foundation, setting powder, contour, blush and highlight. All with the same beauty blender!
After applying my foundation with a damp beauty blender, I use different sides of it to apply all the other products. I simply tap the beauty blender to the contour (then I usually dab it on the back of my hand to make sure I am not taking too much product) and then start to dab from my temple down.
If you are skeptical, just try this at the end of the day, before you are going to take off your make up. That way if it doesn’t look the way you wanted you will just wash it off.