The best bronzer for fair skin to get a natural-looking glow

Our beauty editor hunts down the best bronzers for fair skin, for a vacation glow minus the orange tones

A selection of the best bronzer for fair skin from e.l.f, Charlotte Tilbury and Merit
(Image credit: Future)

Finding the best bronzer for fair skin is not a straightforward task. 

The aim of the best bronzers is to make your skin look sunkissed, but if you have a pale complexion this raises some problems. Firstly, it’s likely that your skin doesn’t tan naturally, and even if it does pale skin is still happiest in the shade. There's not much kissing going on between your face and the sun, so you don’t have a golden version of yourself to refer back to and replicate with makeup. Team this with the fact that old-school bronzers left pale skin orange and muddy, and we wouldn’t judge you for giving the category a wide birth. 

The good news is that the latest bronzer generation is not only softer in texture and finish but available in lighter shades too. “A good bronzer will light up the face in a natural way,” advises pro makeup artist Kelly Cornwell.“Make sure it’s only one or two shades darker than your skin tone. Match your best foundation to the shade on your skin, then use the bronzer to add a little warmth. Always check the shade of your bronzer on the neck. If you can see a very dark stripe, then it’s not for you.” 

The best bronzer for fair skin according to a beauty editor

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

How to choose the best bronzer for fair skin

Wondering how ace picking a bronzer for pale skin? Every product in this list fit the following criteria:

  • Blending well: When you have pale skin, you need to be able to really work the product into the skin to buff away any tell-tale joins or marks. Stubborn, clingy formulas aren’t going to work for you. 
  • Natural colour: The best bronzers for fair skin will have been created with those complexions in mind so that they won’t have any muddy or orange hues to them. 
  • Easy to apply. Blendability is key when aiming for a subtle look. You’ll find the best powder bronzers, the best stick bronzers, and the best cream bronzers on this list. Whatever the formula, we made sure these were easy to apply for even the freshest bronzer newbies. 

How we tested the best bronzer for fair skin

some of the best bronzer for fair skin ready for testing

A selection of the bronzers we tested for this guide 

(Image credit: Jess Beech)

To test the best bronzers for fair skin, our pale-complexioned Beauty Editor eased off her best fake tan for the face for long enough to see if these formulas could do the heavy lifting instead. She judged each bronzer on the texture of the formula, how easy they were to apply, how natural the finish looked on the skin, and, of course, whether the shade was convincing on a fair skin tone. 

Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.