The best bronzers for a believable, sun-kissed glow - whatever the weather

Our beauty team's pick of the best bronzers in every texture, for every skin tone

Collage of three of the best bronzers by Chanel, Hourglass and Milk makeup
(Image credit: Future/brands)

The best bronzers will instantly perk up tired complexions, imparting a sun-kissed glow that’s flattering at any time of the year. As well as adding warmth, a good bronzer can be used to sculpt, shade, and contour for a more defined look. 

As with the best blushers, bronzing products come in a wide variety of finishes and textures that can make finding ‘the one’ a tricky task. From cream to powder and matte to shimmer – there are so many available on the market that all deliver a slightly different look.  

To help you find your perfect product, we’ve tested a huge range of top-rated bronzers to bring you our edit of the very best in the business. Whether you want to bring a bit of health back to a post-winter pallor or top up your year-round glow, our pick of bronzers will not disappoint. 

How we tested the best bronzers

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.

Selection of the best bronzers we tested for this guide

A Selection of the best bronzers we tested for this guide

(Image credit: Emma Stoddart)

To whittle down our edit of the best bronzers, we tried lots of different products, varying in price point. From liquids and powders to the best cream bronzers – we made sure every single texture was covered to bring you a wide selection of the best formulas. As well as texture, we included several different finishes (matte, shimmer, and glow) in our testing to cater to every need. To be featured in our edit below, the bronzer had to tick these boxes: 

  • Usability: blendable texture that plays well with other base products, such as the best foundation
  • Tone: available in flattering shades for a range of skin tones, to add warmth without looking unnatural. 
  • Finish: a sun-kissed finish that’s not too flat or too shimmery and achieves the product's promised look.  

The best bronzers, tested by our beauty team

nars bronzing powder

(Image credit: Nars)

1. NARS Bronzing Powder

Best overall bronzer

Specifications

RRP: $38/£31
Shades: 4
Formula: Powder

Reasons to buy

+
Wide range of shades 
+
Easy to blend
+
Finely milled 

Reasons to avoid

-
None, we love this

If you haven’t yet tried NARS Bronzing Powder, rectify that pronto. This award-winning formula is a makeup staple that’s adored by beauty editors and makeup artists alike. Totally foolproof, the finely milled powder blends in effortlessly for a subtle, sun-kissed glow. We recommend using one of the best makeup brushes to swirl it onto cheekbones, temples, and the jawline.  

We love that this is offered in four shades, from the best bronzer for fair skin to deeper tones. Note that a little goes a long way so start off by picking up a little of the powder before adding more – if so desired. As for the finish, this bronzer is matte and gave us that sun-baked warmth you’d expect after a week in St Tropez. While it is shimmer-free, it does have a subtle light-scattering quality that left out skin with a soft golden hour sheen. We’re obsessed. 

Chanel LES BEIGES BRONZING CREAM

(Image credit: Chanel)

2. Chanel Les Beiges Bronzing Cream

Best cream bronzer

Specifications

RRP: $50/£43
Shades: 3
Formula: Cream

Reasons to buy

+
Luxury, hydrating formula 
+
Easy to blend
+
Natural finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

If you’re in the market for a luxurious cream formula, this is your guy.  While it’s more expensive than others, we really do believe it’s worth it. The buttery, balmy texture melts into the skin to impart a natural bronze glow that’s super believable. It’s also a great pick for anyone keen to learn how to contour, as the blendable formula can easily sculpt and enhance your facial features without looking too much.

For the best results, we love to use this bronzer under our go-to foundation - a technique called 'underpainting'. It gives subtle definition and a soft glow that shines through. Our advice? Use a densely bristled brush to glide the cream along (not under) cheekbones, temples, and jawline before lightly buffing it in. Now available in three shades, there’s a perfect match for every skin tone. 

Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer

(Image credit: Charlotte Tilbury)

3. Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer

Best bronzer for a natural look

Specifications

RRP: $58/£44
Shades: 4
Formula: Powder

Reasons to buy

+
Contains hyaluronic acid
+
Good shade range
+
Easy to blend

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

This bronzer may look like a powder but don’t be fooled, it’s actually a cream. And not just any old cream – this particular cream bronzer boasts skincare benefits with its hydrating formula that contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin D3. Seriously impressed, we love how this smooth, moisture-packed formula looks and feels on the skin. 

We found it ultra-blendable, and could easily build it up from a subtle glow to a beachy bronze. If it’s the latter that you’re after, use a big fluffy brush to apply it in a ‘3’ shape – along temples, cheekbones, and jawline. Or, for a pulled-together post-holiday glow, blend this along your eyelids too, before applying your best mascara. That smooth, perfectly meldable texture means this bronzer sits as nicely on the lids as it does on the cheeks.

Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder

(Image credit: Benefit)

4. Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder

Best bronzer for a matte finish

Specifications

RRP: $30/£27.50
Shades: 4
Formula: Powder

Reasons to buy

+
Completely matte formula 
+
Easy to blend
+
Pigmented 

Reasons to avoid

-
Brush no longer included

Originally only available in one shade, Benefit's iconic Hoola bronzer now comes in four colors to suit every skin tone. It's soft, finely milled, and very easy to blend. Just sweep it across the high points of the face (where the sun would naturally hit) for a natural makeup look, or use it under the cheekbones for a seamless contouring effect. 

Cult for a reason, this bronzer's pure matte pigment is grown-up and flattering, adding lots of warmth without any shimmer or sparkle. And with the right brush (we’d recommend a slim, angled bristled brush), it’s the perfect product to chisel in those cheekbones. As for shades, all four are natural-looking with olive tones that don’t veer on orange. It's a great everyday bronzer with a finish that's as pretty in colder weather as it is on sunny days.

Best bronzer from Jones Road

(Image credit: Jones Road)

5. Jones Road The Bronzer

Best long-wearing bronzer

Specifications

RRP: $44/£32
Shades: 7
Formula: Powder

Reasons to buy

+
Long-lasting color
+
Highly pigmented
+
Impressive shade range

Reasons to avoid

-
None, we love this

Two years in the making, The Bronzer from Bobbi Brown’s brand Jones Road is a makeup must-try. With a featherweight feel and a luxurious texture, this velvety powder gives skin a soft, wash of color that’s beautiful all year round. “This is not like most bronzers,” explains Iconic makeup artist and brand founder, Bobbi Brown, “It works as a face powder and bronzer combined thanks to how it's blended.”  

As well as adding warmth to the skin, the powder can be used “for color correction if your skin is looking sallow – it’s minimal, quick, and easy to use,” adds Brown. So pop aside your best setting powder, and reach for this multi-tasker instead. We really enjoyed the soft texture and love the wide shade selection. Our favorite is Dusty Rose – a tawny bronze-pink that gave our skin a natural-looking rosy glow.   

 

ICONIC London Sheer Bronze

(Image credit: Iconic London)

6. ICONIC London Sheer Bronze

Best bronzer for dry skin

Specifications

RRP: $25/£18
Shades: 6
Formula: Liquid

Reasons to buy

+
Hydrating
+
Easy to blend
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Very sheer

If you specifically seek out skincare for dry skin, then this may be the bronzer for you. Unlike certain powder formulas, this liquid bronzer hydrates skin and delivers warmth without clinging to dry patches. Incredibly lightweight, it also goes on super sheer – meaning it’s really easy to build and very hard to overdo. That also means that if you like a whacking great dose of bronze in one go, this won't be the product for you. But we reckon it's safe to assume most of us are looking for natural rather than statement effects from our bronzer.

Obviously, even the best bronzer alone can't be relied upon to hydrate parched winter skin (you'll need your best face moisturizer for that) but this will certainly help things along. It can be blended in with fingertips or a brush, and we found that the formula plays well with other liquid and cream products, like the best cream blush, so you can layer up your hydrating makeup for a beautiful, dewy look.

Best bronzer from Milk Makeup

(Image credit: Milk Makeup)

7. Milk Makeup Sculpt Stick

Best stick bronzer

Specifications

RRP: $24/£23.75
Shades: 4
Formula: Cream

Reasons to buy

+
Travel friendly 
+
Handy stick applicator
+
Four versatile shades

Reasons to avoid

-
Small, considering the price

A handbag hero, this sculpting stick from Milk Makeup is just the ticket for on-the-go touch-ups. Available in four cool tones to suit everyone, there’s Toasted (for fair to light skin tones), Stoked (for medium and medium tan skin tones), Simmer (for tan to deep skin tones) and finally, Sizzle (for very deep skin tones). We tried Toasted and love the soft, golden tan and hydrated finish that it delivers.  

To use, simply swipe your chosen shade across the hallows of your cheeks and down the sides of your nose before blending in with fingertips (or a brush, if there’s one in your makeup kit). The results? A natural sculpted effect that’s not at all powdery or cakey. Oh, and while it’s very dinky in size – according to the brand, you get 1000+ swipes per stick! We’ll be packing this on our next trip. 

guerlain terracotta bronzing powder

(Image credit: Guerlain)

8. Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder

Best bronzer for mature skin

Specifications

RRP: $56/£39
Shades: 6
Formula: Powder

Reasons to buy

+
Hydrating formula
+
Naturally-derived pigments
+
Buildable formula

Reasons to avoid

-
Scented

 If, in the past, you’ve found that powder bronzer products can be drying – turn your attention to this argan oil-rich formula from Guerlain. Moisturizing and lightweight, this gorgeous compact (in a chic tortoiseshell case) houses the perfect bronzer for dry skin types or anyone who's after a hit of moisture. 

Once you've applied one of the best foundations for dry skin, swirl a fluffy brush into the powder and apply it to the high points of the face. Its silky and refined texture blends easily, diffuses nicely, and warms up the skin beautifully. Our only gripe is that it’s scented (albeit with a very nice scent) however it may irritate very sensitive or reactive skin types. 

Hourglass ambient lighting bronzer

(Image credit: Hourglass)

9. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer

Best bronzer for glowing skin

Specifications

RRP: $52/£49
Shades: 4
Formula: Powder

Reasons to buy

+
Slight shimmer
+
Hydrating
+
Easy to blend

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

This is one of those products that looks so glamorous in the compact, you almost don't want to use it – but dig in you must, because it looks even better on the skin. Combining the powers of your best highlighter with the benefits of a brilliant bronzer – the mixture of shades means you can bronze and brighten skin at the same time. Clever, huh? 

We tried the shade Diffused Bronze Light (pictured above), which is a cool tan with warm, yellow undertones that is especially flattering for olive and medium skin tones. To use, swirl a fluffy brush around the pan to pick up both shades before sweeping it along the cheekbones and over the center of the nose. Our complexion was left with a radiant, luminous glow that had friends asking, “where have you been?”

Perricone MD No Makeup Bronzer

(Image credit: Perricone MD)

10. Perricone MD No Makeup Bronzer

Best bronzer for easy blending

Specifications

RRP: $35/£29
Shades: 1
Formula: Liquid

Reasons to buy

+
Buildable color
+
Easy to blend
+
Hydrating liquid

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited shades

Bronzing skin with a liquid doesn't have to be nerve-racking (streaks, agh) as proven by this ultra-blendable tanning tint by Perricone MD. Water-light, it can be mixed into your best skincare products, applied neat for all-over warmth and a dewy makeup look, or placed strategically under the cheekbones and along the jawline for definition.

We love how versatile this product is, and tested it over makeup as well as om its own on almost barefaced days. We recommend pumping it onto your hand first, so you can go bit by bit and control how much you are applying. It's also great for adding extra dewiness and glow to up an already-tanned face, so if you're skin is lacking in warmth, learn how to fake tan like a pro, then top up with this as needed.

How to choose the best bronzers for you

How do you go about picking the best bronzer? It comes down to a few factors: 

  • Texture: Should you use a cream, powder, or liquid? bareMinerals International Makeup Artist Sarah-Jane Froom has broken it down. "As a general rule, powder bronzers can work really well on oilier skin types while normal and dry skin might be better suited to cream bronzers or a liquid."
  • Skin tone: If your skin is fair, opt for cool-toned hues, while golden-based bronzers are a beautiful match for olive and dark skin tones. If you want to bronze your whole body with an olive undertone, our Coco & Eve tan review has the solution you seek.
  • Base: "You must also think about the base you are using, noting that your bronzer should work in harmony with your foundation, BB, or CC cream," says Froome. "If you're wearing a cream or liquid bronzer, it will melt beautifully into light, silky bases of the same texture, while bronzing powders will sit particularly well with a higher-pigment matte or the best powder foundations."
  • Finish: A little sheen and light-reflecting pigment can be flattering, but glitter will make dehydrated skin or lines like crow's feet more obvious. If you want to contour, pick a bronzer that's entirely matte as the shadows you're attempting to mimic shouldn't sparkle.
Emma North

Emma North is a Beauty Writer who works for digital titles including woman&home, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own, Chat and GoodtoKnow. Emma’s career in beauty journalism began with internships at publications including Vogue, Elle, The Telegraph and Glamour. She was then taken under the wing of Funmi Fetto, Contributing Beauty Editor at Vogue where Emma assisted with Funmi’s debut beauty book, Palette.