How To Stop Your Bronzer From Looking Patchy

Two girls with bronzer partly applied

Bronzer is an absolute MUST in my makeup bag these days. Like most, I just can’t get enough of that all year round sun-kissed glow.

However, sometimes disaster strikes and your left with muddy looking cheeks that make you wonder ‘is it even worth the effort at all?!’

Good news, there are a few simple steps you can follow to ensure your bronzer looks flawless every time – hooray!

Here’s all you need to know about how to stop your bronzer from looking patchy!


Sometimes a patchy bronzer may be down to not prepping your face with skincare properly. Bronzer can sometimes stick to skin concerns such as dry areas; this can then turn your application into a muddy appearance.

Slather on the moisturiser and keep your skin hydrated, this will likely make not only your bronzer sit nicer on your skin, but your entire makeup application too.

Choose the correct bronzer shade

Choosing a bronzer that is too dark for your skin tone can often be the culprit for a patchy bronzer application.

Using a bronzer that is too dark or too warm/cool for your skin tone is a massive no-no.

But just how DO you find the right bronzer for your skin? A good rule is to choose a bronzer that is a similar colour to your natural tan colour. If your tan tends to be more on the pinkish side, choose a bronzer with a blushed undertone. If your natural tan is on the warmer, olive side them opt for a bronzer that is more olive – simple!

This also goes for the deepness of the bronzer shade. Those with paler skin need to steer clear of bronzers that are far too dark and warm and vice versa – you want the bronzer to blend into your tone and a shade that is too dark (or light) will not do this and instead will start to turn patchy on your skin.

It’s recommended to choose a bronzer colour that is two shades darker than your skin tone.

Don’t mix powder and liquid formulas

Set your foundation before putting on powder bronzer. If you apply a bronzer on top of your liquid or cream formula foundation it will stick to the foundation and turn patchy. Use a setting powder on your face before applying powder bronzer. This step will also ensure your bronzer lasts longer on the skin, win-win!

However, if you’re using a cream bronzer it’s always best to buff this in before you procced with adding any powder to your skin. The creamy formula can mix with the powder and again become patchy.

Don’t over do it

When applying bronzer it’s important to start with less and built the product up. You can easily add product, but it will be hard to take away once it’s been applied. With this in mind start by buffing on a small amount of bronzer and slowly building up to your desired colour. Going in with too much product straight away can create that dreaded muddy look that we’re all trying to avoid.

Luckily, the more you use your bronzer the easier it will be to work out the correct amount of product you need to use which will limit the catastrophic moments when you find your bronzer looking too heavy!

Use the correct brush for your product

The correct brush to use is heavily dependant on the type of bronzer you’re using. It may be time to retire that old brush you stole from your mum’s makeup bag back in 2010 and invest in a brush that won’t leave you with a patchy application

Powder bronzers require a large, fluffy makeup brush to deposit bronzer on to the skin. This will allow you to lightly dust your face without holding too much product on the bristles.

If you’re looking for a more carved bronzer application, then using and angled face sculpting brush with fluffy bristles. This will allow for more precision when applying for those who prefer a accurate bronzed look. You can also get mini angles brushed which are great for nose and eye contouring.

Cream bronzers need a different kind of brush entirely. If you’ve been using the same one for both your cream and powder bronzer, then this is likely the cause looking patchy. Cream bronzers work best with a kabuki brush with a flat top and much denser bristles.

Top bronzers

Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer

Looking for defined, bronze cheeks that give you a subtle sun-kissed glow? Then the Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer will fulfil all your needs. It’s so lightweight on your skin it almost feels as though there’s nothing there, perfect for those who prefer a natural makeup look.

Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer

This creamy bronzer from Milk Makeup is easily bendable into the skin and extremely simple to use. Swipe the product onto your face and buff in with a kabuki brush. Voila – perfect, patch free cream bronzer every time.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Bronzer

If you’re in the market for a new matte bronzing powder that creates an airbrushed sun-kissed glow then this offering from Charlotte Tilbury may be the perfect fit.

It has a silk like texture that beautifully glides onto the skin to warm up the face in one swoosh with very little chance of ever facing a patchy bronzer disaster again.

Benefit Hoola Bronzer

It’s an oldie, but a goldy! The benefit Hoola bronzer is a makeup bag must have for me. I’ve re-purchased this product time and time again and will continue to until the end of time (or at least until Benefit pull the plug on it’s production). The shade works perfectly for my skin and blends in perfectly on top of foundation or even just on bare skin.

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