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Best bronzers: Give yourself a warm, sun-kissed glow

Jade Vincent Philippa Pearne
14 Feb 2019
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Looking for a natural-looking, sunny glow? Here are the best bronzers to give warmth and definition

Whether we’re in the deep depths of winter or high summer, a bronzer is everyone’s best friend, providing an instant hit of warmth to the face. Not only can this makeup essential add a healthy glow to your face, but you can use it to contour your face to fake those high cheekbones you’ve long hankered for. Available in powder, liquid or cream formulations, choosing your ideal bronzer can be confusing. Fear not, help is at hand. We’ve rounded up the best on the market so you can more easily pick the best bronzer for you.

How to buy the best bronzer for you

What different types of bronzer are there?

Bronzers are usually available in three textures: powder, liquid and cream. A powder bronzer is probably the most popular and easiest to apply when you’re on the go. A quick swirl of a makeup brush from palette to face is all that’s required to achieve your desired look in seconds. It’s buildable to a point, too. A liquid bronzer can either be applied all over the face or to specific areas; and a cream bronzer is likely to require a little more precision to apply, using your fingers to place it exactly where you need it. The latter two suit those after a glowy finish, rather than matte, but are less practical to apply once you’re out and about.

How do you know which shade to go for?

Most bronzers are available in a variety of shades, but think about your natural skin tone and the look you want to achieve. For a subtle glow, opt for a light to medium shade. Those who want an extra sun-kissed finish, or wish to use the product to contour, would be better off with a darker shade. Some powder bronzers come with a matching blusher in the same compact, so you can be safe that the two shades nicely complement one another.

How much should I spend?

Are you a bronzer or a blush girl? If money is tight, then spend a little more on the item that you’ll use most. If you see bronzer as one of the ‘main events’ in your makeup regime then we’d recommend splurging on a quality product with a denser pigment that will last you longer. Nevertheless, it’s unlikely that you’d need to go over £40.

READ NEXT: We pick the best BB creams for natural-looking coverage from £7

The best bronzer you can buy

1. Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder: Best bronzer for a matte finish

Price: £25.50 | Buy now from Boots


When it comes to sculpting, deeply bronzing and creating a shine-free finish, this little box with a mirror in the lid and handy mini-brush has it all. It comes in one colour, a deep brown with quite a strong pigment, so if you’re wanting only a subtle glow then you may want to look elsewhere. Or, you could just use it sparingly.

Hoola is amazing for getting that instant hit of sun-kissed colour, perfect for those days when you look a little pasty and are in need of a quick wash of colour. Whilst more sheer bronzing powders can be swished lightly all over the face, this one requires precision. It’s fab for contouring: simply apply it under the apples of your cheeks, a little on your forehead, nose and bridge of the chin to create plenty of structure. Go easy, though: too much product could see your face looking a little ‘muddy’.

2. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer: Best bronzer for a natural glow

Price: £45 | Buy now from Space NK


Want to add a bronzed radiance to your complexion? The Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder will give your skin a naturally sun-kissed look. This marbled-effect bronzer uses shimmer pigments to add a luminescent glow to the skin, while the bronzing powders subtly warm up your face and enhance your tan.

With a lightweight and buildable texture, the bronzer applies evenly on the skin without clogging up pores, it’s available in four shades - which pair perfectly with pale and dark skin tones - and comes packaged in a rose-gold shell complete with a compact mirror. For best results, simply swirl the brush in the pan and apply along the cheekbones, bridge of the nose and forehead for an instant tan.

Buy now from Space NK


3. Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel: Best cream bronzer

Price: £40 | Buy now from Boots


This pot of creamy bronzer will lure you by its smell alone. It has a subtle yet beautiful floral scent that will make you want to apply it immediately. Initially, you may think it best to use fingers, but it’s easier (and the results are more natural) applied using a stubby Kabuki brush. Unfortunately, a brush isn’t included for the rather premium price tag – but what it lacks in tools it makes up for in size: the pot size is pretty generous.

On the skin this bronzer feels velvety and will leave your skin with a super-subtle glow, meaning you can either wear it alone or on top of your foundation. It’s perfect for taking on your hols, because it doesn’t leave you looking caked and if you build it up enough then it can even be used to contour. An all-round top-class bronzer.

Buy now from Boots


4. Daniel Sandler Watercolour Liquid Blush in Golden Glow: Best liquid bronzer

Price: £16.50 | Buy now from Look Fantastic


Described as a blusher, this bronzed shade has a terracotta tinge so will work perfectly as blusher-bronzer in one if applied to the apples of the cheeks. Daniel Sandler’s Watercolours are super-easy to apply with fingers, leaving a fresh and natural look. The bronzer shade leaves a subtle hint of warmth on the face, making it perfect for those wanting a sheer bronzed finish. The bottle is lightweight and easy to carry around, and you can apply as much or as little of the product as you like without fear of clown-face. Don’t expect any bells or whistles – there’s no mirror, no brush, no fancy packaging. This is simple a decent formula created by a top makeup artist who knows exactly what the consumer wants from their liquid bronzer.

Buy now from Look Fantastic


5. Rimmel London Natural Bronzer, Sunshimmer: Best budget bronzer

Price: £5.99 | Buy now from Boots


If you’re looking for a powder bronzer that provides long-lasting coverage, ease of use, and all for an affordable price, then this Rimmel bronzer is just the ticket. It instantly warms up the skin without fuss, and will sit budge-free for the best part of the day. Again, there’s no brush or mirror as part of the pallete, but at this price it feels churlish to complain. Available in three shades, a couple of which are quite orangey, this creates a velvety finish that does a great job of mattifying any shiny areas. Warning: the lid can get a bit slack after lots of use, so beware of throwing it loose into your handbag.

Buy now from Boots


6. Kiko Sculpting Touch Creamy Stick Contour: Best stick bronzer

Price: £6.90 | Buy now from Kiko


Available for just under £10, this bronzing stick is a must-have. Not only does it leave a beautifully bronzed hue on the cheeks, down the nose, on the chin and centre of the forehead – the areas that makeup artists tell us to apply bronzer – but it doubles up as a brilliant contouring product too, enhancing bone structure for those who need it.

The cream itself is super-soft, probably thanks to the African walnut oil in the formula, so applying it either directly from the stick or using a brush or finger is simple. Its stick form means it’s handy for quick touch-ups on-the-go – just as well because, unfortunately, this one won’t last all day. Nevertheless, for those with oily skin this will become a must-have because of its matte finish – unusual for cream-stick products that are usually loaded with shimmer.

Buy now from Kiko

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