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How Glow Can You Go?

Given how pale my skin is (see below author photo), I’ve always shied away from using bronzers or highlighters on my face. My number-one fear? Looking more radioactive than radiant. But this spring I’m taking the plunge, armed with products that work for, not against, my naturally fair skin. To help me get the glowy look just right, I turned to Nathaniel Yordan, our in-house makeup artist extraordinaire. He walked me through the three levels of glow—and let’s just say the results cured me of my bronzer phobia for good.

Three-Day Weekend

Level 1: Base Tan

This is the kind of lightly sun-kissed look that will inspire a double take—or at least start a rumor that you’re drinking more water. Nathaniel started by applying an eye cream: dr. brandt® Glow Revitalizing Retinol Eye Cream from the dr. brandt® Exclusive Camera-Ready Kit to subtly illuminate the eye area, followed by Chella’s Highlighter Pencil in Ivory Lace below my eyes and on my cheekbones. He then dusted my cheeks with W3LL PEOPLE Luminist Mineral Glow in Pink and Gold. The semi-sheer powder has a slight shimmer—you can treat it like a summery alternative to your standard matte blush. He topped that off with Benefit Watt’s Up!, applying the champagne highlighter stick to my eyelids with a small brush. A dab of stila lip glaze in fruit punch, and voila: dewy skin and bright eyes, with a rise-and-shine rosy lip. As a crucial last step, he dusted the Mineral Glow on my neck and chest too. “A woman's face ends at the décolleté,” he explained. Noted.

Bronze Idol

Level 3: Bronze Idol

Starting with a clean face, Nathaniel began by mixing a face shimmer into my foundation—Manna Kadar Cosmetics sheer glo shimmer lotion in Movie Star—and the pearly formula instantly gave my skin a warm, slightly sparkly tone. He followed with a liberal dusting of W3LL People Hedonist Luminous Mineral Bronzer in Light. For me, this was a huge eye-opener: I had thought I should avoid bronzer at all costs, what with my pale-as-the-moon complexion. But the right shade won’t make you look weird—just like a tanner, healthier version of yourself. He followed with the theBalm® cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer (get it—“lou-man-izer”?), brushing the honey-hued powder on my eyelids to brighten them even more. Lastly, he repeated his strokes with the Chella pencil, and added a lighter, more shimmery gloss to my lips: stila lip glaze in passionfruit.

No Golds Barred

Level 3: No Golds Barred

The secret behind this stunner of a look? More, more, more. To my surprise, it’s hard to go overboard with the right shade of bronzer, and Nathaniel went to town with the W3LL PEOPLE version, applying a second and third coat. Instead of emerging like I’d been caught downwind of a dust storm, I looked naturally—could it be?!—tan. To complete the look, he applied a deep, matte blush to the hollows of my cheeks (to make my cheekbones pop) and, to intensify the highlighting effect even more, he grabbed the Mary-Lou Manizer once again. With a makeup brush, he applied it to the “high points” of my face—like the bridge of my nose, my cupid’s bow, and my chin. At this point, I was ready for my close-up. Since the shoot, I'm pleased to report that I’m now a bronzer addict—my portable sunshine will be by my side all season long.

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