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Best bronzer brush 2023: Super soft and fluffy brushes from £7

Achieve a fuss-free, evenly bronzed look with our pick of the best bronzer brushes

Bronzer is a brilliant way to get your face looking sunkissed when you haven’t got a tan, but you need to have the best bronzer brush for the job. Using the wrong makeup brush to apply bronzer can lead to blotchiness, uneven coverage, or applying too much product at once. Luckily for you, we’ve tested a range of bronzer brushes and rounded up the best ones below.

Depending on how confident you are with applying bronzer, you may want to opt for a standard fluffy brush, similar to the one you might use to apply blusher. Other brushes have been designed and angled to work with the contours of your face to make applying bronzer a doddle. Or, if you want to reapply your makeup on the go, there are compact retractable options that can be chucked into a handbag without being damaged. Not sure which style is best for you? Read our guide to choosing the best bronzer brush.

Best bronzer brush: At a glance

How to choose the best bronzer brush for you

Bristle type

There are two types of makeup brush bristles: natural ones made from animal furs, and synthetic. In days gone by, natural brushes were the best option as they tended to be softer and longer-lasting than their synthetic counterparts. However, just like human hair, natural brushes have cuticles that pick up and absorb different products, making them difficult to clean. They’re also more expensive and prone to breakage and shedding. Natural animal fur brushes are not vegan-friendly and may cause allergic reactions.

Now that synthetic brushes are better than ever, natural brushes are becoming harder to come by. While synthetic brushes used to be much stiffer than natural ones, new fibres such as Taklon are more hair-like, softer than ever and still have the easy-clean benefits of synthetic fibres. That’s why the brushes we’ve scouted out are all synthetic; not only are they all suitable for vegans and those with allergies, but they’re also just better in the long term as they don’t shed as quickly and are more affordable. Luckily, there are some excellent synthetic brushes on the market that will last you years with the correct care.

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Brush shape

Bronzer brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but there are two main types: fluffy round brushes and angled brushes. Soft, fluffy round brushes with long bristles are the most common of the lot, and they allow you to precisely apply bronzer onto the spots of your face that would normally catch the sun while effortlessly diffusing the product out to the surrounding areas.

Angled brushes are also great for bronzer, especially ones that hug the contours of your face. These offer a little extra control for people who want to be more precise with their bronzer application but are still fluffy enough to give a soft blend.

How to care for makeup brushes

Depending on brush quality and how you care for them, makeup brushes can last anywhere between a year and a decade. How, in that case, do you know if it’s time to invest in some new brushes? Essentially, if bristles are falling out, the brush is misshapen, if it smells or is causing breakouts even after it’s been washed, that’s a surefire sign that it’s time to buy a new brush. That is if you want to get the best finish on your makeup.

Before that point, you’ll want to prolong the life of your makeup brushes for as long as possible by giving them the best care. Thankfully, this isn’t rocket science; most experts recommend washing your makeup brushes every week using a specialist brush cleaner to keep them clean and free from bacteria and dirt. If you don’t have a dedicated cleaner, water and a gentle shampoo will do the trick.

Each time you wash your brushes, leave them hanging upside down to dry if possible so that water doesn’t get trapped in the handle and go musty. If you can’t hang them, leave them laying flat in a warm place such as an airing cupboard or on a sunny windowsill until they’re bone dry. To protect your brushes from getting warped, bent or broken, it’s best to store them bristle-up in an upright container such as a pen pot.

How much should you spend?

Not too much! While there are brushes on the market for over £50, it’s not worth paying any more than £30 for a single brush as the difference in quality will not be that noticeable, especially if it’s synthetic.

It goes without saying that a budget brush will be perfectly fine for those who don’t want the most flawless makeup or who won’t be using the brush every day. However, if you really want to make applying makeup feel like a treat every day, then investing in a quality brush can be a great way to step up your routine.

How we test bronzer brushes

A good bronzer brush will have many of the same qualities as the best makeup brushes in general, which means our testing process is very similar to the one we use for every makeup brush. When testing bronzer brushes, we look out for bristle quality – the softer the better – and feel how comfortable the brush is to hold, as well as testing how well the fixings are mounted onto the brush handles.

Of course, the main facet of testing a bronzer brush is testing them out with different types of bronzer. From cream, to powder, to liquid bronzers, we’ve tested every brush on this roundup and figured out the best brush for each. That means the bronzer will be evenly blended, applied well, with minimal product wasted on the brush.

The final thing we’ll test is the brushes’ durability. The biggest downfall of any makeup brush will be its tendency to shed brush bristles. This is an inevitable process that will happen over a few years of use, but some cheaper makeup brushes start shedding after the first wash. To ensure the brushes we recommend are built to last, we always clean the brushes multiple times using a mild liquid soap to test if any bristles are shed.

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The best bronzer brushes to buy in 2023

1. Illamasqua Bronzer Brush: Best all-round bronzer brush

Price when reviewed: £28 | Check price at MyBag

Specially designed for bronzer, this brush from Illamasqua is the perfect shape to distribute and blend bronzer over your cheeks evenly. Its synthetic fibre brush hairs are ultra-fine and packed together to form the ideal brush density, which feels super soft on the skin.

Shape-wise, the brush has a long, rounded head that tapers down towards the sides to give precision and control. It is on the larger side of the brushes in this roundup, but that means your application can be done in no time. To add to the luxury feeling of this brush, its handle is a weighty metal material that feels sturdy in the hand.

Key features – Cruelty-free: Yes; Vegan-friendly: Yes; Material: Synthetic

Check price at MyBag

2. No7 Bronzer Brush: Best for travel

Price when reviewed: £16 | Check price at Boots

When you’re on the go, it can be a pain having to squeeze full-size makeup brushes into a makeup bag, squashing the bristles in the process. To avoid this unnecessary damage to your brushes, the best thing to invest in is a dedicated travel bronzer brush.

This one from No7 is retractable, which means it uses a twist-down mechanism to bring the bristles down into the handle to protect them from damage. With the lid on, it will barely take up any space in your makeup bag. It’s a great bronzer brush, too, as it’s super soft and dense, and the fluffy synthetic hair doesn’t shed.

Key features – Cruelty-free: Yes; Vegan-friendly: Yes; Material: Synthetic

Check price at Boots

3. Spectrum Angled Cheek A05: Best bronzer brush for controlled application

Price when reviewed: £9 | Check price at Sephora

Applying bronzer over the high points of your face gives you the most natural sun-kissed glow and the angled tip of this colourful makeup brush helps you to apply makeup here to achieve this look. Its densely packed bristles won’t drop bronzer where you don’t want it but are soft enough to achieve an even blend – no risk of harsh lines here. Better still, it’s versatile enough to blend out other powder products like blush and highlighter or for use with more precise setting powders.

In terms of value for money, the brush is reasonably priced considering its quality. In testing, we washed it multiple times and it was easy to clean due to the synthetic fibres. Better still, the brush didn’t lose any of its colourful bristles in the process.

The pink and blue colour scheme might not be to everyone’s taste but thankfully, the brush is also available in a white gradient colour. If you need to invest in a set of brushes, it’s also available in a 10-piece “essentials” set, which includes all the brushes you need to apply a flawless face of makeup or to build the foundations of a more extensive collection.

Key features – Cruelty-free: Yes; Vegan-friendly: Yes; Material: Synthetic taklon

4. EcoTools Full Powder Makeup Brush: Best budget bronzer brush

Price when reviewed: £8 | Check price at Amazon

For those of us hoping to save some pennies, this powder brush from EcoTools is a great option. It has super soft bristles that effortlessly pick up powder products and smoothly apply them to your face without patchiness. It also has a renewable bamboo handle, and the aluminium join is recycled.

The long bristles on this brush work well with every kind of powder, including loose-setting powder, bronzer and blusher, so it can be used for all three if you’ve only got the budget to buy one brush. Just make sure that you clean the excess product off the brush each time you use it to ensure you don’t cross-contaminate and stain your powders in the long run.

Key features – Cruelty-free: Yes; Vegan-friendly: Yes; Material: Synthetic

5. Real Techniques Expert Face Brush: Best brush for liquid bronzer

Price when reviewed: £6.02 | Check price at Look Fantastic

Liquid bronzers are less common than powder bronzers, which can make finding a dedicated brush for blending them difficult. If you use a fluffy brush to blend liquid products, you may end up with streaks at best or a clogged-up brush at worst.

When blending liquid makeup, it’s best to use a densely packed brush with short bristles and a flatter top, as this won’t soak up as much product and will allow you to buff and stipple the product into the skin for a flawless finish. We recommend using the Expert Face Brush from Real Techniques, as it’s specifically designed to help you achieve a great base. While it’s densely packed, the brush fibres are comfortable on the skin, making it easy to blend to your heart’s content.

Key features – Cruelty-free: Yes; Vegan-friendly: Yes; Material: Synthetic

Check price at Look Fantastic

6. Fenty Beauty Cheek-Hugging Bronzer Brush: Best precise bronzer brush

Price when reviewed: £29 | Check price at Fenty Beauty

If you struggle to get an even application of bronzer in the perfect spot on your cheek, then this cheek-hugging brush from Fenty Beauty is well worth the investment. It’s got soft bristles, picks up the perfect amount of product and glides effortlessly across your cheeks to give the perfect bronze look. Despite its name, the asymmetrical cut also works around the contours of your temples and jawline.

Key features – Cruelty free: Yes; Vegan friendly: Yes; Material: Synthetic

Check price at Fenty Beauty

7. EDY London Tapered Face Brush 10: Best bronzer brush in a set

Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at Cult Beauty

This brush from EDY has all the qualities you need in a bronzer brush; it’s soft, fluffy, easy to clean and has a great rounded shape to perfectly apply and blend bronzer on your face. It’s a little smaller than other bronzer brushes on the market, but it’s large enough to apply bronzer without taking ages.

If you’re looking to replace all of your brushes, often it can be better value to buy a full set of brushes. Luckily, EDY sells a whole range of brush sets, including the 505 Essential set, which happens to have this bronzer brush included. For a bargain price, you’ll get six brushes and an eyebrow spoolie, including everything you need to get flawless makeup every day.

Key features – Cruelty-free: Yes; Vegan-friendly: Yes; Material: Synthetic

Check price at Cult Beauty

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