Help! My Bronzer/Contour Is Too Orange

One of those things that are surprisingly difficult to get right – you’d think I knew the colour of my face by now (yes, I’m one of those people who check themselves out in every reflective surface available). We know that warm shades are okay for bronzer and we should choose cooler tones for contour, but sometimes we buy the wrong colour by mistake. It just happens. It’s a tough game – one shade that supposedly works for someone who happens to be a MAC NC40 may not look good on another NC40. Instead of tossing your hard-earned money, here’s what you can do to make that orange work for you.

  • Use it as an eyeshadow.

That warm burnt orange look with coppery/gold tones is all the rage right now. I can see why – it’s stunning on all sorts of skin tones and it’s one of the more failproof eyeshadow colour spectrums out there. Personally, I’ve been a little obsessed with it myself – VERY excited to do a look/tutorial based on the Makeup Revolution Chocolate Orange palette (yes I know fall is long gone, I’m late as usual). Funny story – I got a bronzer a while back as part of a contour kit that didn’t blend well on my face and the colour was much too red/orange for me. One day, I decided to use it as an all-over-the-lid shadow and haven’t looked back since. Now I just have a really big pan of eyeshadow that happens to be the exact warm brown matte shade I needed. Great as a transition shade, a crease defining shade, or apply liberally all over the lid and smoke it out for soft definition.

  • Use it as a blush.

Sometimes the “normal” blushes out there just don’t cut it. Doesn’t matter which shade of pink you try in the plethora of pinks out there, it just doesn’t quite work with the aesthetic of your face. You’re not the only one – I felt this way for a very long time until I discovered these bad boys (here’s the irony: they have a bronzer built in right next to them for maximum brush swirling ease/satisfaction). Particularly if you’re a warm-leaning gal, using bronzer as blush can do wonders for you. Don’t worry you’re on the paler side, just be light handed with it or diffuse it with some powder.

  • Use it as a topper for any creamy lipsticks you own in similar shades.

Once you’ve applied your lipstick, hold a tissue over your lips and gently dust some of said bronzer/contour powder over your lips. Carefully peel the tissue away and voila! Matte lips that won’t smear across your face at the slightest turn of the head. Dust away any extra bronzer that may have made its way beyond your lipstick lines if necessary. Just make sure the lip shade and bronzer are, you know… a similar shade. Brown lippie hues are really in right now.

  • Use it to practise body contouring.

This is SO much fun. If you aren’t quite sure what I mean by body contouring, here you go. Because who said contouring was only for the face and eyes? Brush some bronzer over the tops of your collarbones and along the outlines of your décolletage, and voila! Instant definition. Just FYI, I don’t do this on a daily basis and I don’t believe in faking features you don’t have but hey, if you can play with makeup on your face, why not play with it on your body? If you wear this out in public, just make sure it isn’t on a rainy day.

Go on, give that too-orange bronzer/contour powder some love. I’d love to hear how these tips worked out for you if you tried them, as well as any makeup buying mishap stories you fancy sharing! You go girl.

– J


J’s Bronzer and Contour Picks:

Kevyn Aucoin’s Sculpting Powder. A hot favourite amongst makeup artists, his approach to beauty was all about enhancing and showing off the woman’s unique features, and I highly recommend having a little read of his biographies.
Tom Ford’s Shade and Illuminate. This one has been on my wishlist for god knows how long now. I love how basic the approach is, one shade to contour and one to highlight. That contour shade is just perfection – anything but orange. Hello cheekbones!
NYX High Definition Blush in Taupe. That’s right, it’s a blush. Hear me out though – the Taupe shade is PERFECT for a subtle contour. It’s an ashy brown shade, matte and easy to blend. I’ve been using this as a contour powder and it gives me that subtle shadow that doesn’t look like makeup at all. Trust me, it’s a good ‘un.
Benefit’s Hoola Lite Bronzer. We all know and love the original Hoola bronzer but don’t be fooled by the malty colour of this one. it packs a punch, especially for paler skin tones out there. I can see this working well as both a bronzer AND a contour.
Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze and Glow. Again, simplicity at its finest and it has earned its staple status. Just look at the perfection of that sculpt colour, ugh.

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10 Comments on “Help! My Bronzer/Contour Is Too Orange”

  1. Ohhh I cannot wait to see your post on the chocolate orange palette. I get a bit nervous with the orangey shades, being so pale! I love using my bronzer on my eyelids for a real natural, fresh faced make up. Its my go to when Im feeling I need a little more than a no make up day. Fab post as ever xx

    1. Oh don’t fear the orangey tones! I feel like everything always looks so stark when we first try it, it definitely gets more wearable with time. Thanks for stopping by my lovely xx

  2. I have been using bronzer on my eyes for years now. I think it’s makes a great base colour on the crease or when I wear red lipstick, I apply loads all around my eye area. I didn’t particularly love the Tom Ford contour set as much as I thought I would. I’m currently loving the YSL one. The colour looked strange but somehow works perfect on my skin. xx

  3. I actually got a bronzer a while ago that was perfect for the summer but as my tan started to fade, it began looking super streaky and orange – using it as eyeshadow was my go to solution! However, I will be trying the lipstick trick for sure as I’d never thought of that before. Amazing post as always! xox

Comments and stories welcome!