As many of us had plans to be jet-setting this summer but were met with indoor destinations instead, I've sought the bronzing miracles to give the appearance that we've spent time in warmer climes, even when it's just the local park. The best bronzers give you a healthy and radiant glow, even when you've not had the chance to get more vitamin D. A few swipes with a brush here or a couple of dabs of gel there, and you'll look like you've been on the Costa del Sol, even if it's more like Costa del London Fields.
To master a luminescent complexion and successfully craft your summer skin, it's worth noting what to look for in a bronzer and the tools you'll want to be equipped with. A general recommendation is to avoid bronzers that are too orange or too grey, which, on any skin tone, will either over-exaggerate or flatten the complexion, drawing away from the desired look.
On fairer skin tones, reach for a shade that is one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone but has a mix of tan and rose undertones to enhance your complexion and always apply it with a light hand.
For light to medium skin tones, you want to focus on bronzers that are quite neutral with slight gold undertones. This will create a warm, golden glow without going too orange.
Coppers, golds, reds and terracottas are the sort of warmer shades and undertones that work perfectly for tan and olive skin tones. Avoid straying from your natural skin tone, though, and focus on the warmer shades, as anything cool will instantly flatten your complexion and appear dull on the skin.
For dark to deep-dark skin tones, stick to your natural skin tone. You are enhancing and defining, not sculpting as a contour would do. Instead, focus on the pigment and undertone, look out for gold, terracotta, and red, as they will add further warmth to the skin, and for a shimmer. Also, try playing with metallics to create a natural radiance.
Once you've got the correct colour, it goes without saying that applying bronzer correctly is a must, but it's easy if you get the tools right. Makeup artist and founder of Artist Couture Angel Merino advises, “The best brush for both powder and cream bronzer is an angled brush that can carve out a subtle definition. I really love using the BareMinerals Seamless Shaping & Finish Brush. It’s the perfect dome shape to blend out products, and the tip is tapered to achieve definition at the same time.”
With the colour, tools and technique down, discover the best bronzers to achieve your dewy, destination skin.
Complementing and enhancing upon her iconic, best-selling finishing powder, Charlotte Tilbury has created a bronzing haven with the airbrush bronzer. A finely milled powder that is packed together and infused with hyaluronic acid, it softly dusts the skin whilst creating a silky and natural-looking matte finish. Sharpening, defining and enhancing, this bronzer is a sun-inducing veil you will need over the coming months.
An iconic adaption that never fails to impress year on year. If there is one thing Chanel is infamous for outside of its LBD and Flap bag, it's its highly coveted summer collection, specifically its Les Beiges bronzers. This is a lightweight cream-gel face bronzer that when melted into the skin leaves a velvet-matte finish to naturally enhance a sun-kissed complexion. Apply it with a foundation brush; carve out your cheekbones, décolletage and collarbones; and let the sun seek you all summer long.
Nars's latest Bronze On Collection is a reinvention of its classic Laguna. Masterful in pigment and undertones, the bronzing powders diffuse effortlessly on the skin when picked up by a spectrum of light, creating an undeniable and beautiful gleam.
Focusing on enhancing the complexion, Becca’s Sunlit bronzers radiate a natural warmth as opposed to overly exposed orange undertones or flat and grey finishes. Using the fine flecks of shimmer within the formula to create the bronzed finish, you will be left with a sun-drenched glow that is complemented with an irresistible silky texture.
No bronzer list would be complete without touching upon a classic. Estée Lauder's Bronze Goddess is an integral part of the brand's Bronze Goddess collection that resurfaces every year and rightly so! The buttery-soft powder sweeps across the skin, creating a sultry and seductive finish. With a unique oil-control complex, it keeps shine at bay and allows for a healthy dew to shine through.
Take this as your layering product. Once you have applied your bronzer and crafted the perfect definition, apply the Glow Powder to the high of the bronzer to create the perfect dewy, golden glow. Merino advises “using the mineralised Skin Finish Powder from MAC and then applying the glow powder shade Conceited on top. It looks as though I have just got back from a tropical vacation.”
Ticking many boxes this summer, the Face Anti-Age imparts a fuss-free natural glow, protects the complexion and has anti-ageing benefits. It's cosmetics and skincare in one. Formulated with raspberry seed oil, aloe vera and vitamin E to bronze, fortify and enhance the complexion, it is also enriched with a tri-collagen booster to keep the skin supple, hydrated and charged whilst supporting elasticity.
Fenty has done it again with an easy, buildable and lightweight cream bronzer that is water-resistant but sun-absorbing. Kissing the skin with a silky-smooth texture, the cream bronzer is the ideal summer combination you will need if you want to perfect and sculpt your cheekbones, jawline and collarbones.
This compact yet dual-toned bronzer captures the bronzed look through the golden minerals that are interwoven within the product. Inspired by the effect the sun has on the skin, it uses this imagery to mimic the captured light on the complexion. The skin will appear naturally tanned and radiant.
This bronzer emits an undeniable nourishing glow that naturally and beautifully bronzes the skin for a decadent finish. Biomimicry technology as well as an anti-pollution skin shield protect against environmental aggressors, leaving a vibrant yet natural finish.
This bronzer adapts and amplifies the skin, creating a wash of colour and the illusion of no makeup. Formulated with broad-spectrum SPF 15 and vitamin C, the formula will diffuse radiance on your complexion for a youthful and vibrant finish.
This irresistible cream-to-powder formula blends effortlessly on the skin and immediately creates a sultry yet sophisticated glow that can be either dramatic or subtle depending on your mood. Sweat- and water-resistant, it stands the test of time against the elongated summer hours, promising to leave a rich yet healthy hue across the skin.
The Bronzing Veil is perfect for enhancing the skin without leaving a touch of orange, grey or shimmer on the skin. Perfectly neutral, lightweight and matte, it carves out an ambient glow.
Imagine the playful and decadent ambiance that light gives off? Hourglass has housed it in a compact and formulated it as Ambient Lighting Powder. Taking inspiration from the beauty of light, the powder captures, diffuses and softens surrounding light whilst pushing out harsh beams and leaving a visible fusion of a sun-kissed glow.
Both a gel and a powder, the Real Bronze is an innovation in formula and technology. It's sheer at the offset but built up to leave a beautiful and natural glow that skims over wrinkles and imperfections. In support of the brand’s commitment, this bronzer is a collaboration with the Asian Elephant Family, and proceeds go to protect the elephants and their habitats.
Have you ever applied a bronzer across your body only to find it leaves your skin feeling oily or sticky? Enter the Bronzing Body Stick. As soon as it glides on the skin, it blurs imperfections and creates an instant yet natural-looking glow. Transfer-resistant as to not leave any stains on your summer attire, the creamy bronzer feels nourishing, hydrated and natural with no streaks.
Legendary among bronzer fans, Terracotta was the first bronzing powder but has now advanced to eight unique and beautiful shades, perfectly reinvented with a golden, copper shimmer. Introduce your complexion to a powder that has helped to craft the bronzing category over the years. Restoring a natural glow and rejuvenating a healthy complexion, this bronzer is not only foolproof but also carries a light fragrance of gardenia, ylang-ylang and jasmine, immediately connoting the notes of summer.
Tom Ford is famous for his luxurious and rich collections, and his summer collection doesn’t let down. It's infused with plant-derived butters that nourish and soften the skin as well as cocoa seed to hydrate and enhance a natural glow.
Adaptive Sheer Serum gives a natural shimmer whilst combatting fine lines and wrinkles and injecting life back into your skin. The sheer coverage helps to perfect imperfections whilst the formula melts softly and smoothly on your skin. Whether used as a bronzer or a day cream, reveal a natural bronzing tint.