We’re getting our glow on by adding these radiance-boosting bronzers to our make-up bags – brushes at the ready
From glossy balms to mattifying powders, a touch of bronzer can act as the perfect way to add an instant dose of warmth to our skin, giving us a subtle hint of mood-boosting colour that lasts long after the summer sun has set. Yup, we’re talking about the ultimate all-year round beauty investment here.
But make no mistake, the array of bronzing information available at our fingertips can be a little much, and with so many products out there all claiming to be ‘the best’ it can be hard to separate bronzing magic from myth. So, we took matters into our own hands and asked Enya Sullivan, a celebrity make-up artist who boasts Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice among her seriously impressive credentials (you’d be right to assume that she knows more than a thing or two about becoming a glowing goddess), to answer our burning bronzing questions. Whether you’re grappling with the basics or want to take your application skills to the next level, Enya has the ultimate tips and tricks to supercharge your technique.
Who can wear bronzer?
‘Anyone can wear a bronzer,’ says Enya. ‘It’s universally flattering, and there are so many options for every skin tone, texture and type. It’s simply untrue that you can’t get your glow on after a certain age, or that your skin tone is too dark or light.’
How can I choose the right shade?
Choosing a shade can be the hardest part, and Enya suggests going in store where possible. ‘I’d suggest physically seeing the product,’ says Enya. ‘Stand by some natural light and hold the compact by your face. It should only be one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone. This is the key to nailing the most realistic, sunkissed finish.’
How do I know what formula is right for me?
‘As a rule of thumb, most skin types can work with any formula,’ says Enya. ‘It all depends on what look you prefer. For those who like more subtle, natural make-up I’d suggest a creamy, gel-like formula that could be paired on its own with a moisturiser.’ Prefer to keep things more matte? ‘Then a powder is the way forward,’ says Enya.
How do I apply my bronzer?
Application can make or break your make-up look. Luckily, Enya has us covered. ‘When it comes to applying powders I always use a fluffy brush, being careful to tap any excess product onto my hand. Never overloading the brush ensures a lovely, natural blend. For cream-based products, a kabuki brush tightly packed with bristles can be a great option. It’s also important to ensure your brushes are cleaned properly. In terms of application, always use sweeping, circular motions and really take care to buff the bronzer into your complexion.’ Her ultimate reminder? ‘Remember less is more – it’s so much harder to remove product than it is to add.’
Where do I apply my bronzer?
‘The secret to the perfect bronze is applying the product where the sun would naturally hit,’ Enya explains. ‘I like to bronze the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, across the top of the forehead and over the chin.’ In need of more definition? ‘Apply a little under the jawline and across the eyelids to create a sculpted, more contoured finish.’
And next, the tried and tested bronzing heroes that we can confirm are worth the hype. From the new launches that are causing a buzz, to the cult products you’re already obsessed with, we’ve rounded up 13 of the best bronzing products that you need on your radar. Whether it’s a multitasking hero that doubles up as a lip tint, or the best option for darker skin tones, we’ve got all your bronzer bases covered.
Here are 13 of the best bronzing products at Boots
The best iconic bronzer
Try: Chanel Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream
• Size: 30g
• Two shades
When it comes to cream bronzers, it’s safe to say Chanel reigns supreme. A make-up artist-approved staple, this heavenly bronzing cream is gorgeously lightweight and easy to blend. We like to apply with a buffing brush to create a delicate, velvety finish that gives skin a natural, sunkissed glow. Our top tip? Extending the bronze to your décolletage. Simply mix with your moisturiser to give your complexion that elusive lit-from-within radiance – it even works on the most dry skin. Well worth the pennies, we promise.
The best cream bronzer
Try: Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer
• Size: 6.23g
• Seven shades
A cream bronzer that promises the look of ‘sun, sleep and plenty of water’? Sounds like glowy goodness to us. Boasting seven sheer, buildable shades with all skin tones and types in mind, this soft, creamy bronzer works to add beautiful depth and soft definition. It’s light as air and melts into skin with ease, making for a fresh-faced glow that’s as natural as it looks – we swear.
The best powder bronzer
Try: Benefit Hoola Glow Bronzer
• Size: 8g
• Limited edition
Thanks to their unrivalled ability to create a bronzed radiance, Benefit’s Hoola Bronzers have fast become our go-to when it comes to looking like we’ve just stepped off the beach. And lucky for us, the newest member of the Hoola family is already proving iconic thanks to the infusion of light-reflecting pearlescent pigments. Luminous and never overdone, it’s a limited edition launch so you might want to stock up. You’ve been warned.
The best bronzer stick
Try: Nudestix Nudies Bronze
• Size: 7g
• Five shades
Bronzing sticks, particularly balm bronzing sticks, can be an excellent choice for those who want some natural looking definition. A multitasking beauty hero, it’s ideal for creating a soft, matte cheek bronze, natural eye colour and creamy lip that’s beautifully subtle but effective. Pop in your handbag for a quick hit of colour on the go.
The best gel bronzer
Try: Iconic London Sheer Bronze
• Size: 12.5ml
• Six shades- Vegan
This gel-to-liquid formula blends and builds effortlessly, acting as the ultimate complexion enhancer. Apply on bare skin to provide a sheer veil of soft-focus colour, or layer over make-up for depth and warmth. It also gains bonus points as it’s formulated with an abundance of nourishing plant extracts. A make-up essential with skincare benefits? We’re obsessed.
The best bronzer for fair skin
Try: Maybelline City Bronzer in Light 100
• Size: 51g
• Four shades
Those with fairer skin tones can often find it harder to find a bronzer that won’t overwhelm their complexions. Enter the Maybelline City Bronzer, which is ideal for paler skin. Just a sweep will accentuate your natural radiance with no tell-tale streaks in sight. We also adore the infusion of whipped cocoa butter for a velvety matte finish.
The best bronzer for medium or mid-toned skin
Try: Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Bronze
• Size: 14g
• Four shades
Perfect for medium skin tones, this bargain bronzer in Sun Bronze is feather light and easy to blend, making it perfect for bronzing novices. With up to 10 hours’ wear, the powder formula also boasts an SPF15, providing an added layer of protection alongside your daily sunscreen.
The best bronzer for dark skin
Try: Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Deep
• Size: 8g
• Six shades
Bobbi Brown’s bronzer could be a great addition to your routine if you’re looking to find an option suited to a darker skin tone. Formulated with the perfect balance of red and brown tones (the colours that exist in a true tan), this lightweight, mica-free formula creates the most natural look that will add depth and radiance. Team with a bright, magenta blush for a lush make-up combination.
The best budget bronzer
Try: 17. Glow + Define Bronzer
• Size: 9g
• Three shades
If you’re yet to try a bronzer infused with sweet almond oil, then this option could be next on your must-try list. When combined with its pearly pigments, you’ll be left with a glow that leaves you looking beachy and beautiful. And, at just under £4, it’s friendly on the purse strings. Bonus.
For more bargain beauty buys check out our 17. make-up review – everything’s under £5!
The best premium bronzer
Try: Dior Forever Natural Bronze
• Size: 9g
• Eight shades
There’s a good reason why this is our ultimate premium pick. First, it contains 95% mineral-origin pigments and is infused with wild pansy flower which works to keep skin smooth and hydrated. Second, the texture is gorgeously soft and lightweight, blending seamlessly for a natural, long-wear finish. Add in the seriously Instagrammable quilted case and, if you ask us, you’ve got a bronzer that oozes luxury.
The best perfecting bronzer
Try: Huda Beauty GloWish Soft Radiance Bronzing Powder
• Size: 8g
• Five shades
Queen of beauty Huda Kattan does it again with this gleaming bronzing powder. Bursting with skin-perfecting ingredients like vitamin E, shea butter, red bell pepper extract and damascus rose oil, this beauty also contains clever blurring pigments to create that desired soft-focus effect. Simply swirl across cheeks for a luminous, lifted finish. Filter without the filter, anyone?
For more tips from Huda, check out our beauty Q&A.
The best bronzer for mature skin
Try: No7 Perfectly Bronzed Bronzing Pearls
• Size: 20g
• Dermatologically tested
Make no mistake, beauty is ageless, but if you’ve noticed that your skin’s become drier and duller due to a turn in moisture levels, this pick’s for you. Incorporating these bronzing pearls into your beauty routine acts as an instant pick-me-up thanks to its rich yet airy texture and hydrating formula – just a swirl is all you need to leave you with a healthy glow from morning until evening.
The best bronzer brush
Try: Fenty Beauty Cheek-Hugging Bronzer Brush 190
• Tapered bristles
This extra large, super plush bronzer brush is expertly chiselled to “hug” the curves of your face for a professional looking bronzing application – and if it’s good enough for Rihanna, it’s good enough for us. An expert tip? Pack on bronzing powder with one side, then flip it and blend it with the other. Flawless!