Bronzer. The word almost brings a shudder to me now. Such a great product potentially, so often mis-used to such dreadful effect.
Here's what a great bronzer can do: It can offer an exemplary pep to the complexion, when used right.
Here's what a bronzer can not do: Be a blusher. Be a contouring product. Be a setting powder.
Alas, something has become lost in translation along the way with these products being used for the latter. By it's nature (eh, and name), bronzer is supposed to be the item that adds a bronze or tan effect to the skin - thus mimicking the look of having caught a touch of sun. Think of when you go for a lovely summer walk and you catch a hint of a tint of tan on your forehead, nose and cheekbones...that's what bronzer can do when applied to those areas ('cos obviously you're wearing your factor 50 on said Summer walks, right?). But here's the thing; bronzer ONLY goes on those areas. And when it does, you look great. Amazing in fact - glowy and bright and energised and if you use a lighter toned peach based bronzer you are literally winning?in terms of complexion perfection.
So that is why it's not a blusher, or contour or setting powder. Shame as it may be, but this is one area where makeup products can't multi-task, each of those products fulfil quite specific duties on your face. Blush belongs on the cheeks alone and as it happens, a peachy-pink tone is what's best there. A contour product should be a few tones deeper than your foundation/skin shade with a more brown toned base and setting powder should be the colour of your skin - it should be an invisible layer to keep your foundation in place and mattify if needs be - to attempt this job with a bronze tinted powder will just make you look muddy.
In terms of technique, just lightly dust some of your bronzer over what are called the 'high points' of the face (nose, cheekbones, nose) and leave it at that. Adding a light pink cream blush to the apples of the cheeks afterwards is a pretty addition and I bet you anything, people will comment on how fresh you look.
So please, please ditch the dark brown powdery mask vibe. Bronzer should be light and lovely - check out the lighter shades from Rimmel, MAC and Bobbi Brown for tried and tested tones.
Trust me, I'm a makeup artist.