Smoldering Poolside Party Makeup (Powder Bronzing and 2 Lip Options!)

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I RARELY do any fake-tanning or bronzing. Well, I got a request to do “poolside makeup” and it seemed like the perfect occasion to get really bronze (for me).

The makeup is actually really simple, and I’m using powder products, but if you can just replace everything I used with cream versions if you have dryer skin.

(If you are already very tan, go straight to Step 2.)

Main products:

  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Dark: I love MSFs for bronzing because they look SO natural. Pick any bronzer that isn’t shimmery, and that has a hint more copper/red than your natural skin tone because a real tan is slightly red-toned, not taupe or grey. 
  • MAC Tan pigment (lid shade)
  • Sephora Moonbeam Prisma Chrome Shadow for highlighting (TheBalm Mary Luminizer or any other shimmery champagne gold would be perfect)
  • Black kajal or liner

Step 1: The important thing to looking nice and bronzed is not to use your bronzer as a contouring powder. Use a very soft and fluffy brush (I used Sigma’s F35) to apply this ALL over your face lightly. Then go back over along the peaks of your cheekbones, across your nose bridge, on top of your forehead, and chin with more product so there’s a bit more color there.

This stops your face from looking too flat and mono-chromatic. 

Step 2: I used my finger to apply a light wash of a bronze-tan shimmer (MAC Tan) all over the lids. The slightly peachy tone works well with the overall sun-tanned tones of the skin.

Step 3: To add some definition back, I picked up a bit more MSF Natural in Medium Dark with a shadow brush and then ran that along the outer halves of my eye sockets.

Step 4: For a dewy, golden sheen, I ran a pale golden shimmer along my brow bones and slightly above my cheek bones. (This is the trick because the surface just above the peaks of your cheekbones will catch the light and lift your facial contours better than applying it right on the peaks.)

Step 5: For smoldering, defined eyes, run a soft black kajal or pencil along the waterline. I like kajals because they are softer and smudgier. Instead of worrying and touching up, and trying to keep your makeup absolutely pristine in the sweltering heat, I’d much rather go with products that look better and sexier the more smudgy they get. 

Step 6: Use any small brush to smudge out the kajal along the lower lash line, reapply the kajal, and then re-smudge again, until you get a really smoky effect there. (You can keep going here until you pack on and smoke out 3-4 layers. The more you do it, the more “Rock Star”-esque it’ll look!)

Step 7: As a finishing step, pull the liner up past the outer corners of your eyes following the angle of your lower lash line. Then smoke back in towards your upper lash line. This gives that cat-eye effect, and works even if you have a mono-lid.


Note: I skipped mascara for this look. If you have dark lashes, I really recommend just curling them and applying clear mascara. (Especially if your mascara has a tendency to smudge against your lower lids when it gets hot and sweaty.) The dark, smudgy liner is supposed to do the defining for you already.

If you have light lashes or can’t IMAGINE not wearing black/dark mascara, make sure you curl them extremely well and use waterproof formulas that are able to hold the curl, or be prepared for panda eyes and cross your fingers that they will just meld right into the smudgy kajal you applied earlier!

Cheeks and Lips:

I skipped blusher altogether.

For the lips, there are multiple options.

  • Beige-nude: I used MAC Blankety for a soft nude lip because it isn’t too pale against the bronzed skin. This is one way of enhancing a tan without going to Snooki-ville. And if you’re going to use a nude, keep it creamy or glossy, NOT matte. You don’t want to look like a tanned corpse.
  • Electric pink: This is one for the drama-queens who want to draw all the eyes. Who says only pale lipsticks bring out a tan? A really bright and blue-based lipstick can give the same effect because of the level of contrast against warm, bronzed skin. I just reined it in by going for a matte texture. Try Barry M 52 Shocking Pink Lip Paint. 

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