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20 Best Bronzers For A Natural Look

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So many of us are unwavering in our opinion that we simply look better with a bit of a tan – but, as we all know, a real suntan is so 2014. The answer lies in a decent bronzer – and today, we’re spoilt for choice.

‘Whether it’s a matte, cream or illuminating bronzer that brings you joy, a good formula should spark your natural warmth and add a little “zing” to your face and skin anytime of the year,’ says Bobbi Brown artist, Amalie Russell. ‘Making sure you get the right bronzer for your skin tone is so important: the wrong one can either make you look orange, ashy or like there’s no make-up on you. It’s all about getting the balance right here.’

But with so many bronzers on the shelves, how do you know which one to choose? Select the wrong shade, and you might end up more terracotta than tanned. And when you’re trying to keep things natural, the wrong glitter ratio is sure to hamper your efforts.

Russell considers a cream bronzer the most modern option, as they give a natural, skin-like finish. ‘Feathering one on your forehead, cheeks, and the bridge of your nose with a blending brush will give a soft veil of healthy, skin-like glow.

‘While liquids, creams and oils (yes really) are the best choice for skin glossing, a good old powder will always win in the longevity stakes. Today’s best ones are much more luminous than that tangerine compact you used in the 00’s, and many come with dual tones to allow for some sneaky contouring, too.

From the latest bronzing liquids for a translucent tan to the stick you can apply with your fingers, these are the very best bronzers to try this spring.

The 20 Best Bronzers To Shop Now


Best sheer bronzer

Sheer Bronze

For those who constantly live in fear of looking tangoed post-bronzer application, this liquid glow in a bottle is the low-key answer to your prayers. The sheer formula means it’s nigh on impossible to overdo it, with the added bonus that it blends in effortlessly with both fingers and a brush.


Best stick bronzer

Dewy Stix Bronzing Balm

You might still be haunted by those Facebook memories of your Noughties approach to bronzer (more wasn’t really more, was it), but today there’s a bronzer for even the most tan-phobic. This balmy stick bronzer from Ciaté London is a great entry-level option for anyone testing the bronzing water: the sheer formula lets your natural skin shine through, while the stick format is easily controllable. The longevity is no match for a powder, but touch-ups are easy.


Best balm bronzer

Miracle Balm All-Over Glow – £34

Jones Road

If you’re looking to fake a glow without anyone realising you’ve got it out of a pot, pay attention to Bobbi Brown’s latest venture, Jones Road.The star of the super-natural collection is the jojoba-seed based Miracle Balm, which is essentially a great big pot of pigmented salve that makes skin seriously shine. There’s a whole host of shades to choose from, but we love using the bronzy ones to add gleaming colour to cheekbones. Wear it simply over SPF, or dab with fingers over a cream foundation to really dial up the dew. Ok one more: try it over eyelids for a gloss that doesn’t crease, too.


Best bronzing drops

Super Gloss Serum

This criminally underrated member of the Tan-Luxe family is one for anyone that wants all-over radiance, rather than strategic contouring. It might look scarily metallic in the bottle, but this oil-textured bronzer sheers out on application to make skin look literally moist (sorry). A little goes a long way, so limit yourself to a couple of drops, and blend it with a loose blush (like this one) and a light hand to avoid streaking. It works on top of foundation, on bare skin, and can even be blended into a moisturiser.


Best value bronzer

Putty Bronzer

Cheaper bronzers can be risky: affordable powders have a tendency to turn chalky, while creams can smear and slide on the skin. Trust E.l.f to strike the perfect balance: this ‘putty’ (read: a dry, dense cream) bronzer is cool-toned, amply pigmented, and sticks around from morning to night – even in the midst of a heatwave. What’s more, there a shade to suit everyone: Feelin’ Shady in particular is completely orange-free, so looks great on very pale skin.


Best bronzer palette

Modern Bronzer

Jamie Genevieve knows exactly what we want in a bronzer. Her perfectly considered palettes contain two tonal shades – so you can contour your cheeks or simply deepen your glow in summer – and have the most buttery, almost-cream like texture that means you get the longevity of a powder without the one-dimensional finish. Genius. There’s an ever-so-subtle shot of shimmer, but it delivers more radiance than all-out glitter.


Best bronzer for dry skin

Bionic Bronzer

Milk Makeup’s latest drop sits in the make-up/skincare section of the beauty venn diagram. The shea butter and jojoba seed base works to smooth and hydrate dry skin, while the shimmer-free pigment lends a translucent wash of colour that looks flattering on absolutely everyone. Dab it on with fingers (or a very loosely packed brush) and remember to shake the bottle gently first.


Best cream bronzer

Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer

Charlotte Tilbury


Both of Charlotte Tilbury’s bronzers are brilliant: the best one for you will simply come down to the texture you prefer. Those with drier skin, and who like the dewier look a cream offers, should snap up the make-up icon’s latest launch. This super-sized compact contains a dense, balmy cream that settles on skin with just a touch of shine.


Best bronzer for pale skin

Forever Natural Bronze

Dior’s luxe bronzer cleverly combines complementary tones of tan to ensure your look is as natural as can be. The 95% mineral-origin pigments make it ideal for sensitive skin and easily clogged pores. (Hint: if you find most bronzers too dark for you, shade 01 will not disappoint.)


Best liquid bronzer

Solar Paint

It’s safe to say that Glossier received quite a bit of demand from their fanbase when it came to launching a bronzer, so they had to get it right. Thankfully, they did with Solar Paint, a cream bronzer with a unique finish. Wanting to create something different to your run-of-the-mill bronzer, the brand has used light-reflecting pearls to give your skin an almost-iridescent sheen, complete with a doe-foot wand for precise application (our advice: it’s pigment packed so you’ll want to tread lightly).


Best bronzer for darker skin

Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer

People rave about Rihanna’s Mocha Mami bronzer shade in particular, thanks to the way the red-brown undertones pop on darker skin. It’s warm, easy to blend, and stays put from morning to night (no matter how late you stay out.) If you find most bronzers veer too grey for you, this is guaranteed to become your One.


Best hydrating bronzer

Cream Bronzer

Cream bronzers can be tricky to get right: most are so light, they slip and slide over your foundation (and migrate onto your collar). Refy’s is perfect: it’s soft enough to blend seamlessly and remain glowy, but has enough staying power to settle exactly where you place it. For those who want a softer, candlelit glow, it can’t be beaten.


Best powder bronzer

Airbrush Bronzer

Charlotte Tilbury


This formula is so finely milled that it basically melts into the skin, leaving not a trace of chalkiness or tide marks. It’s infused with hyaluronic acid, which helps to give it that seamless finish. For us, it was love at first sweep.


Best bronzer for cool shades

Cream Bronzer

Anastasia Beverly Hills


Struggle to find the right balance between too-orange and too-ashy bronzers? These cream formulas make for a seamlessly blended sun-kissed look, and come in seven different shades tailored to different undertones – a thoughtful move.


Best bronzer for contouring

Matte Bronzing Brick

Victoria Beckham Beauty

It might be housed in an exquisitely chic (and refillable) tortoiseshell case, but you’re really here for what’s on the inside. VB’s bronzer is perfectly matte, but so finely milled it creates a kind of soft-focus, airbrushed effect on skin. Use the darker shade to lightly contour your cheekbones.


Best classic bronzer

Terracotta Bronzer

Something would be wrong if we didn’t mention Guerlain here: the brand is famed for creating some of the best bronzers on the planet. Stick with this, the OG: Terracotta is, as the name absolutely doesn’t suggest, a brilliantly natural-looking powder bronzer that diffuses imperfections and creates killer contours. It’s 96% natural and smells like posh suncream, too.


Best shimmering bronzer

Ambient Lighting Bronzer

Hourglass knows exactly how to get shimmer just right. These dual-tone baked bronzers are shot through with the lightest touch of light-reflecting pigments, and light up cheeks without leaving behind flecks of glitter. Bridal make-up artists always have these to hand and, with one use, you’ll see why.


Best luxury bronzer

Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer

Gucci Westman’s bronzer is the most buttery powder we’ve ever come across: in fact, we’d say it actually works more like a cream. The finish is sparkle-free but satisfyingly luminous, with nourishing plant oils to keep dry skin types happy. You’ll be hard-pressed to get a supersized brush into the palette, but it’s ideal for more strategic swiping and contour-carving.


Best bronzer compact

Bronze Goddess Bronzing Powder

Estée Lauder


This classic bronzer achieves that genius balance of being matte but somehow adding instant glow too. It blends beautifully, and comes in four shades. The full-size mirror allows you to actually see what you’re doing, too.


Best multi-use bronzer

Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream-Gel Bronzer

No bronzer works harder than this creamy, radiant wonder. Swirl it all-over to warm up your face pre-foundation, apply it with a smaller brush to contour your cheekbones, or dust it on top of your base to set and enhance. If that’s not enough to have you sold, the gigantic double-C topped jar will look great on your dresser.

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