Get This Epic Bronzed Goddess Look Without the Sun or Self-Tanner

Makeup for when you want to glow but you're afraid to burn.

Thanks to my Southeast Asian roots, I tan easily—but I don’t like to tan. Sure, growing up with relatives who would give me a firm talking-to if I allowed myself to get a few shades darker from being out in the sun definitely played a role, but these days the main reason I don’t like to watch my skin change color is because of skin cancer and premature aging. I want to grow up to be the cutest, healthiest, smoothest-skinned old person ever, OK?

As you might expect, I make it a point to slather on sunscreen as much as possible so I stay the same shade of medium beige all year round, but summer has me feeling particularly envious of people who are naturally tan. In an effort to deal with my seasonal tan envy, I’ve put together this bronzed-goddess look that you can try if you want to look sun-kissed without the sun damage.


Since this is a summery look, you’ll want to go lighter on your foundation or try a tinted moisturizer instead. Because my combination skin eats up tinted moisturizer, I opted for a matte foundation concentrated only on the center of my face. Here, I’m wearing Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Foundation blended out with a damp beauty sponge. I also went ahead and applied concealer and did my eyebrows.


Start by priming your lids so your eye makeup stays in place all day. I am currently loving Hard Candy Eye Shadow Primer, which Wendy introduced me to.

Next, grab a fluffy brush and sweep a bronze shadow in the area above your crease and just below your brow bone. Unattainable, the shadow I used, is from the LORAC Unzipped Palette, as are all the other eye shadows in this tutorial.

With a flat brush, pat gold shadow (Undiscovered) on your mobile lid. Then, to add some definition to your eye area, apply dark brown shadow (Unbridled) to your outer V with a crease brush, and drag the shadow inward. Blend over the outer V with a fluffy brush.

Next, apply a copper shade (Unbelievable) inside the outer V up to the center of your mobile lid.

Using the same dark brown shadow, line your lower lash line. Go over the line with a clean eyeliner or crease brush to soften it up if it’s too dark.

To brighten up your eye area, add shimmery white shadow (Undercover) to your tear duct and brow bone. Finish off by lining your top lash line with dark brown eyeliner and adding a coat of mascara.


Now the fun part: BRONZER!

Apply bronzer to the top of your cheekbones, making sure the color lightens up as you get to the center of your face. I used Topshop Beauty Bronzer in Salute since it’s light enough to look natural while still being easy to layer.

Then, use a warm peach or coral pink blush on just the apples of your cheeks for a pop of color. I used Cargo Blush in The Big Easy since it’s a really soft, peachy-pink shade. Blend over the blush and bronzer with a clean brush so everything looks nice and soft.

Think you’re done with all the bronzing? Nope! Use that same bronzer to lightly warm up the edges of your hairline and jawline, and do a light dusting on your neck and décolletage as well. If you have really big cheeks like me, you can also put bronzer below your cheekbones, down the side of your face for a subtle slimming effect.

For added radiance and contrast, apply highlighter on the center of your forehead, the highest part of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and your cupid’s bow. I am using Cle de Peau Beaute Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink (pricey, I know, but it makes me feel like a fairy princess).


Complete your look by choosing a neutral light brown or pinky brown lip color to complement—not compete with—the rest of your makeup. I layered MAC Lipstick in Cherish, a light brown with the tiniest hint of pink on top of MAC Lipstick in Modesty, a luminous, pale pink.

The Final Look

  • What look are you dying to try for summer?
  • Does anyone else here NOT like to be tan?
  • What do you look for in a bronzer?