Lightweight formula that is free from potentially unwanted ingredients such as parabens, mica, and phthalates. Shade options are available for fair skin to deep tones, with selections designed for your undertone. Has a matte finish and blends well.
A few customers noted that it wasn’t as pigmented as hoped.
Provides a warm, radiant glow without being shimmery. Very blendable and can double as a matte contouring powder for sculpting and defining. Formulated for all skin types. Vegan and cruelty-free.
Shades are fairly warm-toned, which doesn’t work for everyone.
Formula is moisturizing, unique considering the powder formula. Provides a natural, warm glow. Long-lasting and also great for contouring. Buildable color is flattering on most skin tones. Easy to use and a little goes a long way.
Some aren’t so fond of the bulky packaging.
The matte formula features clean ingredients and is cruelty-free. Mango and apricot extract nourishes and hydrates skin. Stick lets you put it on without needless smearing and excessive caking. Great to keep around for when you don't have much time.
The packaging is very fragile.
It's infused with glycerin and shea butter for all-day hydration and comes in four shades for various skin tones. It lasts all day and works well when applied after concealer. The texture is moist, but it doesn't feel greasy or sticky
Doesn't offer UV protection.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If you’re hoping to add a sunkissed glow to your makeup look, a face bronzer should be part of your beauty routine. Although a bronzed look is most often associated with summer, a bronzer can be used year-round to add warmth and dimension to your face.
If you’ve avoided bronzer because it calls to mind an orange, overly tanned appearance, rest assured that, when applied properly, it can elevate your beauty look by subtly and naturally adding definition to your cheekbones and jawline. A bronzer essentially works like lighting to give you an effortless radiance. And it’s a healthy alternative to tanning salons or baking in the sun.
When searching for the best face bronzer for you, consider that a good shade match will be one to two hues darker than your natural skin tone. For example, the best bronzer for fair skin is still on the fair side, just a bit darker than your foundation shade. Depending on your specific skin concerns, it’s also important to consider the ingredients. If you have acne-prone skin, you’ll want to pick a bronzer that’s noncomedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores.
Face bronzers come in various formulas, such as powder, cream and stick, and finishes including matte and shimmer, and your choice comes down to personal preference. We’ve looked at the very best bronzers in a variety of shades, price points, formulas and finishes. Our favorite is the Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder because it’s lightweight and gives a natural-looking glow with a matte finish. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, try the affordable NYX Professional Makeup Matte Bronzer, which provides warm radiance without adding shimmer.
Our top pick, this pressed powder bronzer gives a natural-looking glow with a matte finish. It’s a lightweight formula that’s free of parabens, mica and phthalates. There are four shades ranging from a light tan to deep golden brown, with selections designed for different skin undertones. It blends well to help create a natural appearance on the skin.
This high-quality matte powder delivers a healthy, natural glow and comes at an affordable price point. It provides warm radiance without being shimmery. It’s very blendable and therefore can double as a contouring product for sculpting and defining. This vegan and cruelty-free bronzer is formulated for all skin types.
This cult favorite has earned a dedicated following for its blendable, pigmented formula and beautiful selection of shades. The bronzer is surprisingly moisturizing considering it’s a powder product. The buildable color flatters most skin tones and provides a natural warm glow. A little goes a long way with this product.
This bronzer stick is easy to apply and blends effortlessly into skin, adding warmth with a natural, shimmer-free finish. It’s available in five shades from light to very deep bronze to flatter a wide variety of skin tones. The vegan and cruelty-free product offers hydration from mango and apricot extract and is formulated without parabens.
Fenty Beauty is known for its extensive and inclusive range of shades, and this bronzer comes in nine unique tones with a perfect match for every skin hue. It’s a long-wearing transfer-resistant powder that delivers an instant sun-kissed glow. The texture is super smooth and creamy yet lightweight, and it’s easy to blend to a soft matte finish.
This luxury pick is more of a splurge, but it’s beloved for its silky and comfortable feel. The formula includes a mix of plant-derived butter to nourish and soften skin while giving a luminous lit-from-within glow. It uses specialized pigments to adhere with excellent second-skin-like radiance. This bronzer is formulated without sulfates or parabens and is suitable for all skin types.
This silky powder can be dusted over the face and body, and it’s meant to mimic what your skin might look like after a long day at the beach. It applies smoothly, doesn’t streak and creates a radiant glow that lasts a long time.
Chanel’s luxe lightweight gel-cream bronzer glides effortlessly onto skin and delivers a velvety matte finish that enhances skin with a sun-kissed glow. The blendable product is long-wearing and warm-toned. This noncomedogenic formula is best applied using a foundation brush.
This powder has a pleasantly creamy feel thanks to nourishing ingredients like jojoba seed oil, which is a noncomedogenic hydrating oil. This supremely blendable powder is finely milled with pearl pigments for a luminous finish. It has a natural warmth that you can dial up in intensity for a stronger color.
Though this bronzer is on the pricier side, it comes in an oversize compact made even more cost-effective by being refillable. The pressed powder delivers natural color in four shades with a matte finish. It’s infused with hydrating hyaluronic acid and is designed to blur blemishes while adding a warm glow.
If a radiant finish is what you’re after, this pressed bronzer is an excellent choice. The powder is mixed by hand using an advanced technique to offer the perfect balance of pigments in a gorgeous pattern. The illuminating product sweeps softly onto skin and is easily blended. It’s a cruelty-free, fragrance-free product that contains no talc.
This luminous bronzer cream uses multicolored pearls and pigments to capture the effect of the way the sun warms the skin. It’s applied with a product wand, blends well and delivers a radiant finish. It’s infused with an emulsion of jojoba, aloe, baobab and watermelon to condition and nourish the skin.
This lightweight liquid bronzer creates a healthy-looking sun-kissed glow without shine, shimmer or caking. The sheer, blendable formula ensures seamless application. Plus, it’s formulated with SPF 15 sun protection as well as brightening and smoothing vitamin C and Chinese ginger plant extract.
All five beautiful shades of this illuminating bronzer add instant warmth with a subtle shimmer. The blendable and buildable formula is safe for sensitive skin, noncomedogenic, fragrance-free and silicone-free. It’s formulated with calming green tea, hydrating mango seed butter and castor seed oil.
This multitasking bronzing balm, available in five hues, can be applied to the face, lips and eyes for a beachy, sun-touched look. It has a rich color payoff and includes a convenient, removable blending brush for application on the go. The long-wearing, nondrying formula is free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates or fragrance.
For a bronzer that adds natural-looking definition without looking orange or cakey, opt for a product that is one to two shades darker than your skin tone. A shade that’s too deep compared to your skin tone will look unnatural. It’s helpful to think of the foundation shade you normally reach for and go up a shade from there.
Your skin’s undertone also plays a role. If you have a warmer undertone, a golden bronzer will be particularly flattering, while peachy, beige or soft brown hues are best suited for those with cooler undertones. People with neutral undertones can find their best match in natural brown-based shades without a yellow or pink tint.
Face bronzers come in different consistencies that include powder, cream or gel and liquid.
Powders are the most common formulations because they’re suitable for a variety of skin types and the simplest for beginners to use. People with oily or combination skin may benefit the most from an oil-absorbing powder that doesn’t add extra shine. Powders can be pressed or loose, and both are applied with a brush. For the most natural bronze glow, make sure you don’t overload the brush with product.
Gels or creams are great for people with normal skin, but they can be most beneficial to people with dry skin since they don’t dry out the skin. These bronzers come in a variety of containers, including compacts, pots and sticks. They can be applied with fingers or a damp makeup sponge, or, if you’re using a stick formula, you can apply it directly to your face. Remember to thoroughly blend all applications with a finger, brush or makeup sponge.
Liquids are also great for people with dry skin. These might seem tricky to apply, but they can look the most natural if applied properly. You can use your fingers or a stippling brush to apply the liquid bronzer directly to your bare face or after applying foundation. For an even more natural and subtle glow, you can mix a few drops of liquid bronzer in with your moisturizer for a tinted moisturizer look or in your foundation for a sun-kissed foundation look.
In addition to shade and formula, the finish is an important factor in picking the bronzer that’s best for you. Options include natural, matte, radiant and shimmer. If you’re going for more of a soft contour look, a natural or matte finish will best help you achieve this goal. If you want more of a glow, a radiant or shimmer finish will do the trick. In general, natural and matte finishes sit best on oily or combination skin, while radiant and shimmer finishes add illumination to dry or dull skin.
If you know your skin type (normal, dry, oily or combination), it will help you determine the type of bronzer that will suit you best.
Normal skin types can wear most types of bronzer well.
Dry skin types may benefit from the added moisture in cream, gel and liquid bronzers. While people with dry skin can wear a natural or matte finish, shimmer and radiant finishes are also flattering.
Oily or combination skin types benefit from powder formulas with a natural or matte finish since they won’t look greasy.
Moisture: Some bronzers include moisturizing ingredients to prevent dryness. Look for products with hyaluronic acid or plant seed butter such as cocoa seed butter or mango seed butter.
Water resistance: If you’re planning to wear makeup for a lengthy event (such as a performance or wedding) or someplace where you run the risk of sweating (such as an outdoor activity in a warm or humid climate), consider using a waterproof or water-resistant bronzer for added staying power.
Sun protection: Some bronzers are formulated with SPF, and wearing these is always a good idea when spending time outdoors. However, since bronzer doesn’t cover your whole face, make sure it isn’t your only form of sun protection. A facial bronzer with SPF should be added on top of a good sunscreen or tinted moisturizer or foundation that includes SPF.
Ingredients to avoid: There are certain ingredients in bronzers and other makeup that can potentially be harmful either to your skin or the environment, so you might prefer options that don’t include ingredients such as talc, sulfates, parabens and phthalates.
Since this product is intended to add a warm, sun-kissed glow, think of the parts of your face the sun would naturally hit as the ideal spots to apply some bronzer. No matter where you apply it, the key is to blend it in really well to avoid an unnatural look.
Applying it along the tops of your cheekbones emphasizes and defines these areas. It can also be applied to the forehead, chin and bridge of the nose, but go easy on these areas so the resulting look isn’t overpowering. You can also apply a little to your eyelids. You might want to apply a touch of product to your neck as well (though this isn’t a spot where the sun would naturally hit) in order to avoid the look of a bronzed face and unnaturally pale neck. Collarbones are another great spot, especially if you want to blend out the look to the rest of your body.
Some people apply bronzer in a 3 shape:
A. Like most cosmetics, bronzers can range from affordable to expensive. On the lower end of the price range are drugstore products (including our pick from NYX), which can cost less than $10. An average mid-range bronzer costs between $10 and $30, while luxury high-end products (such as our Tom Ford and Chanel picks) can set you back $50 to $70 or more. Still, it is possible to find a good-quality bronzer at every price point. One cost-saving trick, especially if you don’t use bronzer frequently, is to purchase a travel-size version, which can enable you to sample a costlier bronzer for a fraction of the price.
A. The main difference between bronzing and contouring is where the product is applied. You want to apply a bronzer to the areas of the face that would naturally get a bit of extra love from the sun. The overall look is meant to be warm and glowy. When applying a contouring product, you’re focusing on areas of your face with shadows, such as the hollows of cheeks, in order to create a more sculpted look. Contouring often complements highlighting to reflect light and add dimension.
A. Mature skin can often be drier than younger skin, so it’s important to look for a bronzer that won’t further dry out the skin. Pick a product that glides on easily and doesn’t collect in fine lines and wrinkles. It’s recommended that you pick subtler shades and products since overly dark products can emphasize texture or lines.
A. People with darker complexions can have a harder time finding a bronzer in their perfect shade because not all brands have the most inclusive shade ranges. Fortunately, there are many great brands that offer wide shade ranges and make deep bronzers for darker skin tones. On our list, the Fenty Beauty bronzer has the most extensive shade selection. When browsing online, look for brands that depict swatches on a wide variety of skin tones.
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