The fact that Jennifer Lopez ascribes to the gospel of La Mer for her perfectly smooth, radiant skin is fairly common knowledge, although her signature bronzed glow has little to do with the miracle cream. Chalk that up to the self-described “King of Bling” makeup artist Scott Barnes, who has been tending to the singer-turned-actress’ honey-gold complexion since Jenny from the Block became J. Lo. I caught up on an interview article with Barnes on the set of Lopez’s new flick, The Back-Up Plan (a romantic comedy about a woman who chooses artificial insemination after tiring of the search for Mr. Right—very new millennium), to talk bronzer for summer and beyond.

What’s your advice for steering clear of that unfortunate orange aftereffect that some bronzers can leave behind?

My tip is don’t go too dark. I’ve crossed the line myself but it’s all about knowing when to say I’ve gone too far. People have called me “a man to glow with” because my whole thing is that bronzer should radiate, and to get that result the key is moisture.

So would you recommend cream-based bronzers over powder then?

Liquid bronzers, like my Body Bling, work well to this end, and I just repackaged my cult favorite in a squeeze tube that should be out by the end of the month.

What about application techniques? Is there one right way to apply product for the perfect sun-kissed glow?

In general, I try to abide by a less-is-more mentality: You can always layer more on but it’s harder to take it off. It’s really all in the approach, though. I always see women applying powders and bronzers starting next to their nose. But the trick is to work from the outside of the face inward, rather than the other way around. This creates a halo effect and leaves a diamond shape of light in the center so your face appears a little more open. This will hide double chins and give you a visible bone structure so you don’t wind up looking old. Also, use a bronzing brush to blend allover rather than applying product directly to problem areas like crow’s feet and laugh lines. And don’t forget to do your neck and décolletage.

Do you believe that well-applied bronzer can substitute for an actual tan?

Yes! I’m a firm believer in faking it till you make it. I lost my 30-year-old brother to melanoma so I don’t go into the sun anymore and prefer to make products that simulate a natural tan without the health risks from a day spent in the sun.

You must have a good sun care regimen then. Can you share?

Coppertone Sport is actually my favorite sun protection product and it’s at the drugstore—so it’s cheap! The aerosol spray-on version is great because it actually gives you a gorgeous shine. Plus, you can put it on top of your bronzer and it actually seals it!

What about off-season bronzing? Any tips for keeping your complexion warm in the wintertime?

While terracotta bronzing colors are better in the summer because you’re actually spending time in the sun so their reddish brown hues are believable, golden yellow bronzers are better in wintertime, as they tend to be a better complement to sallow, sun-deprived skin. If you’re fair-skinned, pressed powders designed for ethnic skin are the business for winter, like those in Iman’s cosmetics range. They tend to have a lot of gold in them but because they’re all matte finish, you don’t wind up too sparkly.

Just in time for that summer sun-kissed glow!