How to Wear Bronzer: The Best Bronzers for You

by Kathleen Loxton

Looking to achieve a fresh-faced, healthy complexion with minimum fuss? Look no further…Get ready to embrace the bronzer, because we’re here to show you how to conquer this product…with just a simple stroke of a brush.

If your previous experience with a bronzer wasn’t particularly successful, (flashback to applications in the school toilets leaving you looking a little more Oompa Loompa than ‘ooh la la’), you’re forgiven for not rushing to replicate this look in a hurry.

Whilst the word ‘bronzer’, may catapult you back to your awkward, cringe-ridden teenage years, we’re here to convince the now more mature and sensible you, that – when applied correctly – a well-chosen bronzer is an incredibly effective product to have on standby in your make-up bag.


PHOTO CREDIT: Blog Lovin’ | Eva Tornado | Deseased (Tumblr).

What is Bronzer?

Essentially, a good bronzer should add a gentle touch of colour to your skin tone, resulting in a warm and natural looking complexion. And if you’re new to the concept, you may already be a little puzzled. Bronzer or blush? You’ll be forgiven for assuming that both products seem to achieve the same effect.

To set things straight, adding blush to your make-up routine helps to create a naturally flushed appearance in your cheeks, whereas incorporating bronzer can help you to both contour and add a touch of tan. Yes, you can use both bronzers and blush!


PHOTO CREDIT: WhoWhatWear | Aillea | Clarins US | Desnudatay (Tumblr).

Thanks to this nifty beauty product, your healthy glow no longer needs to rely on catching a bit of sun in June. Even in the looming winter months when your skin feels most washed out, a safely sun-kissed glow can be instantly achieved with an appropriate product.

How to Choose a Bronzer

Good bronzers aren’t difficult to come-by. But with the amount of options available to you on the make-up market it’s easy to feel daunted.

First and foremost, the colour of your product should always remain subtle – ideally no more than two shades darker than your natural skin tone. This is vital in ensuring that you keep things looking natural and ultimately avoid any muddy make-up mistakes.


PHOTO CREDIT: Beauty (dot) OneHowTo.

Different Types of Bronzer

Assuming that you’ve now ‘warmed’ up to the concept of bronzers, to begin your search it’s easiest to identify which type of bronzer might work best for you.


If you’re a bronzing beginner, try opting for powdered bronzers as these are the most simple to apply. Further still, finding a powdered product that contains different shades and undertones will help you avoid any one-dimensional, streaky lines, making application a lot less risky!


Liquid products are inarguably the most intimidating, yet are ideal for those who have more liquid based foundations and concealers. (Adding a liquid product on top of already applied powdered products can get a little dicey).

Liquid bronzers are also perfect for those summer months, when powdered products can feel drying and a little heavy. If you’re feeling confident, try mixing it in with your facial or body moisturiser to increase that summery glow.


A cream bronzer acts as a good in-between if you’re not feeling overly enthusiastic about either powdered or liquid products. They are incredibly easy to blend, contain very little shimmer and aren’t overly dense, leaving a nice summery sheen to your complexion.



How to Apply Bronzer

A badly applied bronzer more often than not results in some orange-faced disasters, (we need not remind you that the ‘Donald Trump’, is neither an effective or attractive look)! To help you avoid such a fate, check out our step-by-step guide below to help you nail the application process:

  • It is most effective to apply your product after you have completed your concealer and foundation routine, but before you apply your blusher.
  • Using a setting powder before you begin adding your product is also a handy option. The setting powder acts as a great base, accentuating the colour and helping to avoid any patchy or blotchy application.
  • Ensure that you have an appropriate brush. Find a brush that is wide and fluffy with a larger and rounded top. A specifically designed brush will have more bristles, making it ideal for perfecting your coverage. Be sure to avoid brushes that are particularly dense or small as this can result in your application looking uneven.
  • Sweep the brush gently through the product and tap off any excess product.
  • When applying bronzers, less is definitely more. Begin with a light and even application, then layer as necessary to build up the colour.
  • Aim to add your product to areas on your face that are curved and naturally catch the sunlight. This is commonly referred to as adding a number three or ‘E’ shape to both sides of your face. The areas you want to focus on are along the jawline, along the cheekbone, and along your hairline down the sides of your temples.
  • Similar to applying foundation, ensure that all of your product is blended and joined down into your neck to avoid any obvious colour contrast or lines.
  • You may also wish to add some product to the centre of your neck, or over your chest to help keep things looking natural and blended.
  • If you are unhappy with the amount of product you have applied, use a dry cotton wool disk to help blend or buff away any excess product.

PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest | VTeen.

How to Wear Bronzer in the Summer and Winter

If you’ve decided to commit to using a bronzer in your everyday make-up routine, be aware that you’ll need to match it up with your varying skin tone throughout the year. With this in mind, you may need to purchase two bronzers, particularly if you’re prone to tanning, as you don’t want to be left with a product that is paler than your current complexion.


PHOTO CREDIT: Harper’s Bazaar | SheerLuxe.

A shimmery bronzer works well in the summer months as the product will reflect the natural light nicely. For winter months, pick bronzers that are more matte to keep skin from looking too luminous.

Best Bronzer for Different Skin Types

When it comes to identifying the best face bronzer, considering your skin type is vital in achieving a look that is as successful as it is sun-kissed.


To choose the best bronzer for fair skin, go for bronzers with more peach or honey-coloured undertones. When it comes to pale skin tones, you also want to be particularly sure that your product is easy to blend. And don’t forget the ‘no darker than two-shade’ rule…or on your own head (or shall we say face) be it!


PHOTO CREDIT: Marie Claire | LedtheLife.


As with any application, less is always more. But for the olive skinned ladies among us who look great with any amount of tan, bronzers should almost be a breeze. The best bronzer for olive skin contains a more bronze or golden formula to enhance your natural complexion.


PHOTO CREDIT: Allure | Harper’s Bazaar.


To find the best bronzer for dark skin, choose bronzers that are sheer and contain tawny or copper tones. Alternatively, try a product that contains pink undertones and sweep it over your cheekbones to make them pop.


PHOTO CREDIT: HellYeahBlackModels (Tumblr) | DarkSkinnedBlackBeauty (Tumblr).


When trying to find the best bronzer for oily skin, matte options will work nicely. Also aim to avoid any product that contains excessive shimmer as this will add more shine to your complexion.

Sensitive / Dry

To find a bronzer for sensitive skin be sure to check out product labels and look for skin nourishing ingredients, such as aloe vera or shea butter. Cream bronzers might also work wonders for those searching for a product for dry skin, as it won’t be as drying as a powder alternative.

Our Top 20 Bronzers for all Budgets

  1. Nars, Blush Bronzing Duo – Hot Sand / Laguna – our favourite bronzer for pale skin and our choice of best bronzer for light skin.
  2. Guerlain, Terracotta 4 Seasons – a lovely bronzer for tan skin, with six different shade options.
  3. Charlotte Tilbury, Filmstar Bronze and Glow (Medium Dark) – another great option when looking for a bronzer for dark skin.

    PHOTO CREDIT: Notey.

  4. Urban Decay, Beached Bronzer – our choice for the best powder bronzer.
  5. Laura Mercier, Matte Radiance baked powder – our best matte powder bronzer.
  6. Chanel, Soleil Tan de Chanel – our best cream bronzer.
  7. NARS , Laguna Liquid Bronzer – our best liquid bronzer.
  8. Benefit Hoola Bronzer – our favourite natural-looking bronzer.

    PHOTO CREDIT: Birchbox.

  9. YSL, Sahariennes Bronzing Stones – our choice of best bronzer for oily skin.
  10. Becca, Bronzing Skin Perfector – alongside Clarins’ Bronzing duo, this is our choice of best bronzer for dry skin.
  11. Clarins, Bronzing Duo – our best bronzer for sensitive skin.
  12. No. 7 Perfectly Bronzed Dual Bronzer – our best drugstore bronzer.
  13. Rimmel, Natural Bronzer – the best cheap bronzer.
  14. Too Faced, Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer – for our favourite top-quality bronzer.

    PHOTO CREDIT: Too Faced.

  15. Urban Decay, Naked Flushed – a great bronzer highlighter duo.
  16. M.A.C. Bronzing powder – for all the MAC fanatics out there, this is a great mac matte bronzer.
  17. Make up Revolution, the one blush Stick – our choice for a cheap and cheerful travel-friendly product.
  18. Bobbi Brown – Shimmer Brick Compact (Bronze) – our favourite shimmer option.

    PHOTO CREDIT: AnythingBeautyBlog.

  19. The Body Shop, Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder – our best drugstore bronzer for contouring.
  20. NYX Matte Body Bronzer – our choice for best body bronzer.

PHOTO CREDIT: ToyasTales (Tumblr) | Elle | CareerGirlDaily | Pinterest.

Top Tips

Finally, to get the most out of your bronzers and complete your radiant sun goddess transformation, check out our ultimate top tips below:

  • Less is more – remember that products can be built up with light, layered applications.
  • Never go more than two shades darker than your natural skin tone.
  • Powdered bronzers, containing multiple shades, are great options for bronzing beginners.
  • Avoid layering liquids on top of powdered foundation.
  • Make sure to blend out any lines to keep your make-up looking natural.
  • Choose the correct brush type (wide and fluffy with a rounded top is most effective).
  • Ensure to match your product with your skin tone throughout the year.

Read more great articles on women’s beauty and make up here at – exclusively for women who are style conscious but not confident and looking for inspiration.

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