The best bronzers for skin that looks naturally sun-kissed
Never look muddy or orangey again
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / October 11 2018
Want to look like you just got back from a tropical island? Keen to sculpt more definition into your face so your cheekbones are front and centre? Or simply want your complexion to look all healthy and radiant? Well, bronzer has your back.
But getting the right shade and formula that’s all glow and not muddy is where things get tricky. How you apply it changes its magic powers, too. Hint: Below the bone sculpts, on the high points sun-kisses your complexion.
Skin tone and skin type come into it a lot as well. It’s very easy to end up with a shade that’s too warm (which will look orangey) or too cool (that just looks dirty), or a formula that pools on dry patches or leaves you a shiny mess. What you need is a really great bronzer that’s nailed its colour choices and has a foolproof formula so you can’t go wrong. And we have found just the thing for you. Actually, a whopping 10 of them.
We asked our Beauty Crew team and SUPERcrew members to share their best bronzer reviews. Meet the best bronzer in Australia, and the nine others that are very, very close runner-ups.
#10 / NYX Professional Makeup Matte Bronzer
The best drugstore bronzer for a variety of skin tones (there are five shades so there’s something for light skin tones, for medium skin and for dark skin tones), this NYX bronzer is for the matte lovers. With a rich colour payoff and bronze shades that are on the warmer side of the spectrum (ideal for tired, sallow skin), it delivers a healthy-looking radiance that brightens up the face.
The review: “This is a little pot of wonder for my skin. This bronzer gives my skin a nice soft glow. The formula is soft and glides over my skin for an instant sun-kissed glow. It is not cakey or orangey on my skin. I can use this bronzer for contouring and I always make sure I apply lightly first and build up if needed. This bronzer is low priced and gives my skin a soft summery glow. Since it is matte, I don't have to worry about any shimmer, instead my skin has a healthy sunkissed tan to it.” Sarrah, SUPERcrew member
#9 / Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer
This one’s an oil-free powder and it contains an oil-control complex, so it’s good for oily skin types and sweaty summer days. The golden bronze colour has a natural-looking finish and it comes in four shades to suit each skin tone.
The review: “I have been using Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess for years now ( it takes years to use it up). I like the elegant packaging, I like the fact that the brush is included and the brush actually does a good job applying the product. I like the shade of the bronzer. It is not a contouring product though, it is a typical bronzer to warm up the complexion. It is very long-lasting.” Anita, SUPERcrew member
#8 / Clinique True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer
Beautifully lightweight with a radiant (but not glittery) finish, the powder is really easy to build to your desired coverage. And once it’s on, it last well into the night.
The review: “My fave bronzer is the Clinique bronzer - it comes with it's own little brush and the colour and formula looks so natural and boosts my whole look. It's not flat matte but it doesn't have any seeable glitter either.” Vanessa, SUPERcrew member
#7 / MAC Matte Bronzer
That elusive golden glow is a cinch to create with the help of the light-reflecting pigments in this bronzer. It comes in four shades to really cater to every skin tone. Refined Golden is a soft golden shade with pearl pigments; Golden is a muted golden tan-beige with shimmer; Bronze is a true-bronze colour with shimmer; and Matte Bronze is a pretty universally-flattering shade of bronze. All of them are sheer with a buildable formula.
The review: “My favourite bronzer is MAC Bronzer in Refined Golden because it’s not orange nor is it muddy. It has tiny golden specs which give you a sunkissed glow. Also, it’s value for money, I’ve had mine for years and I use it every day.” Aneta, SUPERcrew member
#6 / Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow
Two shades of bronzer are definitely better than one, especially for year-round usage as your skin tone fluctuates from pale to tanned. While technically the lighter shade is a highlighter, its warm golden hue dish up plenty of sun-induced radiance when layered over the top of the bronzer - great for Asian skin tones who want a more subtle bronzer tone. There are two variants, one for light to medium skin tones and one for medium to dark skin. Both deliver a subtle, believable radiance.
The review: “As someone with pale skin, finding the perfect bronzer that delivers a warm glow without making me look like an Oompa Loompa is easier said than done. That’s why I haven’t looked back since discovering Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze and Glow a few years ago. The buildable powder leaves a subtle and natural-looking finish on the skin that makes me look like I’ve just come back from a week in Greece. Oh, and the golden highlighter is a dream to work with, too!” Kate Niven, Beauty Crew’s Writer
#6 / Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
We’ll begin with the obvious - it smells like chocolate and we are totally in to it. The 100 per cent real cocoa powder responsible for that delicious scent has another purpose: it’s packed with antioxidants to care for your skin - good for dry or mature skin types. Then there’s the three shades - Milk Chocolate (from the fairest to even medium skin tones), Chocolate (great for olive skin) and Dark Chocolate (for tan skin and dark complexions), to cover off all skin tones. These three are all matte, plus there's Chocolate Golden for the luminous lovers. We're also big fans of the way it delivers natural-looking warmth to your complexion for a good eight hours.
The review: “The perfect bronzer for fair skin. This bronzer is matte so it sits well on the skin, looking natural without a glow. It blends well and doesn't highlight imperfections or pores. Perfect colour! Lasts all day.” Rebecca, SUPERcrew member
#5 / Nude By Nature Touch Of Highlight Stick Bronze
Cream bronzers are surprisingly hard to come by. While powders are more commonplace, creme formulas nail that dewy radiance that sun-kissed skin dreams of, and they’re perfect for dry skin types who find powders turn patchy as the day goes by. This bronzing stick also makes an excellent cream eyeshadows. The Australian natives Kakadu Plum, quandong and desert lime in the formula load up the skin with antioxidants for an added bonus.
The review: “Every since I first tried a cream bronzer, I haven’t looked back. This one is literally as easy to apply as swiping over the cheekbones and blending with your fingers. Two seconds later, I’m left with a believable, creamy glow. I don’t pack a lot of makeup when I travel, but this bronzing stick always makes the cut.” Chelsea Tromans, Beauty Crew’s Contributing Editor
#4 / Maybelline New York Master Bronze Palette
Three bronzers in one and a highlighter makes this one incredible cheap bronzer buy. We love that the trio of shades can be layered for a customise bronzed colour. During summer when your natural tan can change daily, this option is a game-changer.
The review: “I use these four shades interchangeably depending on the time of the year, and sometimes even use the colours as eyeshadow or a neutral light smoky eye.” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
#3 / NARS Sun Wash Diffusing Bronzer in Laguna
Laguna is NARS’ cult shade for achieving a seriously stunning bronze glow. The original NARS Bronzer in Laguna has been a best-seller for over a decade, and is just the ticket for a glistening bronzed look. This Sun Wash iteration is the same shade, only it’s swapped out the golden shimmer finish for a soft-matte version that nails that skin-like sun-kissed effect. Mention goes to the new addition of soft blurring technology, which allows this number to diffuse imperfections. Ageing and acne-prone skin will especially like this perk.
The review: “I don’t like to go super-heavy on my bronzer, and NARS Sun Wash Diffusing Bronzer in Laguna is perfect for adding subtle warmth to me cheeks and contours. I’m also all for the matte finish – I prefer my shimmer and radiance to come from my highlighter.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Editor
#2 / Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder
This Guerlain bronzing powder is almost too pretty to even use. They’re continually bringing out limited edition versions with new patterned designs, but always with the same iconic formula. Every time there's a mix of lighter and dark bronze shades, along with a peachy blush hue. This is what makes the colour so natural-looking. The powder itself is finely milled, so it is heaven to blend. And just because you get what you pay for, it’s also scented with notes of bergamot, mandarin, gardenia and woody vanilla for that luxe attention to detail.
The review: “I recently got my hands on the limited edition Guerlain Terracotta Sahara Jewel Powder bronzer and the quality is just as I expected. Very fine powder, which blends out extremely well without looking patchy at all. I have tried it on few different foundations and it gave me the same finish. This bronzer last for 6 to 8 hours.” Helen, SUPERcrew member
#1 / Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzer
Not everyone wants a side of shimmer with their bronzer - actually, according to the overwhelming number of votes from our SUPERcrew for this bronzer, not a lot do. The matte finish means its equally as good for contouring as it is at giving your entire face a tanned look. It also comes in a Lite version, perfect for pale skin tones.
The reviews: “My go-to (and half the planet it seems) is the Hoola Bronzer from Benefit. It is a beautiful, matte (I hate with a passion anything ‘glittery’), wearable (for just about everyone) shade that gives a summertime glow all year round - not the ‘just been playing in mud’ look that some bronzers can leave you with, but a REAL, sunkissed touch of colour. It lasts all day, feels beautiful on the skin AND one compact will see you through an entire year. I also love that you can use this for so many purposes...dust on collarbones /décolletage and shoulders for a gorgeous hint of tan; try it as an eyeshadow to tie in a bronzey makeup look; and lip colour (just add a touch of balm over the top). And on top of all that, it smells divine and has the cutest little box packaging.” Jacqui, SUPERcrew member
“Benefit Hoola! It is a taupe matte bronzer that is perfect for creating warmth on the face or for contouring cheekbones with.” Jasmine, SUPERcrew member
If you prefer a bronzer-meets-illuminator hybrid, these glistening bronzers are for you.
Have you tried any of these top 10 bronzers? Do you have your own favourite to add? Share with us below.
Main image credit: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.