The best bronzers for pale skin
Say goodbye to the days of muddy, orange skin
By Kate Niven
Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / May 13 2019
If you have pale skin, you’ll be all too aware of the issues associated with finding a bronzer you can add to your makeup bag that matches your skin tone: many shades lean too orange, they leave you looking muddy, or are simply too dark for your fair complexion. Often, even the lightest shade a brand has on offer isn’t a viable option for us pale-skinned girls.
But alas, bronzers (like many beauty products) have come a long way. Not only are more brands launching wider shade ranges, but some are also now releasing ones specifically formulated for pale skin tones, which is good news for your year-round glow goals.
To help you meet your best bronzer match, and also find out exactly what to avoid when choosing a bronzer for fair skin, we spoke to two top Australian makeup artists, Elsa Morgan and Nicola Burford.
First things first, colour. If you're after that stunning sun-kissed glow, Morgan suggests opting for a bronzer that’s only a couple shades warmer than your natural skin tone. Additionally, while they may appear dull, she recommends choosing taupe-coloured bronzers to avoid looking orange or muddy. Burford also recommends steering clear of bronzers with “a silvery shimmer, as this can look grey and muddy if over-applied”.
Burford adds that the biggest mistake pale-skinned girls make is overdoing their bronzer application. “When you [over-apply], the face becomes darker than your body or way too shimmery, which can make you look deep-fried rather than sun-kissed!” So, go slowly and with a light touch!
Now you know what not to do and the shades you should avoid, read on to discover the best bronzers for pale skin.
MAC Bronzing Powder in Golden
MAC Bronzing Powder in Golden has been formulated with a ruddy (not orange) undertone, making it look incredibly natural on pale skin tones. Like all of MAC’s powder products, this powder bronzer can be applied lightly for a subtle healthy glow or layered to create a more intense golden glow. Side note: If you choose to layer this bronzer, you don’t need to worry about going OTT as the powder contains anti-caking ingredients that help ensure a smooth, even application.
Benefit Hoola Lite Bronzer
After the success of the OG formula Benefit Hoola Bronzer, the brand has released a lighter, pale skin-friendly version of the classic. While it still touts all the benefits of the much-loved original Hoola Matte Bronzer, the soft-matte finish of this natural-looking powder has been specifically formulated for those with fair skin, which ensures your porcelain complexion will be left looking inherently healthy, without your bronzer appearing too obvious.
Sisley Phyto-Touche Illusion D’eté
While at first glance this bronzer might seem too orange for pale skin, the gel-powder has been formulated with an innovative soft-focus, smoothing complex that creates a subtle, luminous finish that will leave fair skin looking naturally sunlit.
CHANEL Soleil Tan De Chanel
If you prefer cream bronzers to powders (they're especially great for dry skin types), you’ll love CHANEL Soleil Tan De Chanel. This velvety cream-gel applies sheer and blends seamlessly into the skin for a super natural, ‘just got back from the south of France’ look. And while you may have overlooked this cult product in the past due to its price, you’re bound to get your money’s worth as the 30g jar will last you for ages.
Napoleon Perdis Total Bae Fake It! Bronzing Powder Veil
If you’re after a bronzer that will leave you looking bronzed and glowing in equal measure, reach for Napoleon Perdis Total Bae Fake It! Bronzing Powder Veil. The multi-toned powder blends together to create a natural-looking bronze sheen on the skin rather than an obvious wash of colour, and the light-reflecting particles add a gorgeous wash of luminosity.
Clarins Bronzing Duo Compact in 01 Light
Besides coming in a super light shade, the best thing about this bronzer is how the two matte shades can be used on their own or blended together, meaning the powder will suit your skin’s tone when you have tanned skin, pale skin, or somewhere in between.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Omega Bronze Coconut Perfect Tan in Tantastic
Maybelline New York Master Bronze Highlighting Kit
Variety is the spice is life, which is why we love this bronzing and highlighting quad from Maybelline New York. One of our favourite drugstore bronzers, not only can all four shades be worn separately (those with pale skin will have the most luck with the first three) or blended together, the gel-based formula is weightless and blendable, allowing you to easily control your look.
Prefer blushes to bronzers? Then here’s the right blush for your skin tone.
What’s your Holy Grail bronzer for pale skin? Let us know in the comments below.
Main image credit: Sevak Babakhani
Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer is a cult favourite among medium skin tones and dark skin tones, and thanks to the lighter Milk Chocolate iteration, fair skin can now enjoy that gorgeous looks-like-the-real-deal bronzed glow. The silky texture blends like a dream and the natural matte finish and soft hue are just the thing for fair skin.
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow
The Charlotte Tilbury Bronze & Glow palette is considered a highlighting and contouring palette, but thanks to the shimmery pearl pigments in the darker shade, we think it makes a great bronzer for pale skin tones wanting a soft bronzed glow. Start off with a light application and build coverage if you want more colour payoff.
Kate started working for BEAUTYcrew in early 2016, first as a contributor, and was then named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine, and she now works in PR.