In the last year, I have gone completely mad for cream makeup formulations. Whether I’m sweeping a cream eyeshadow stick along my lash line or dabbing a cream blusher on the apples of my cheeks, I’ve realised they’re the quickest and most effective way to look ‘done up’ with very minimal effort. Plus, they’re super easy to blend with your fingers, and I am someone who generally prefers getting hands on with makeup over using an army of tools and brushes. Anyone else with me?
At this time of year, as I don't like to wear too much heavy makeup, I'm constantly reaching for a cream bronzer as it can give me a quick, reliable and natural glow. According to celebrity make-up artist Neil Young, this is all because creams are amazing at reflecting light away from the skin, giving you that amazing more natural-looking finish, whereas powders will absorb the light.
“Creams are also malleable and sit with the complexion rather than on top,” Young explains. “It’s perfect for creating a gorgeous glow without looking too made up."
How To Apply Cream Bronzer:
When it comes to application, Young says it depends on the finish you’re after. “Cream bronzers can add dimension to the face by using it like a powder bronzer on the temples, forehead and cheekbones or as a fine veil all over the face.”
If you’re looking to softly contour the face “you can apply [the bronzer] directly to bare skin and then add a touch of foundation and concealer around it as and where needed. If your face needs a little powder to maintain your makeup, dust with a little translucent powder at the end of your makeup routine.” According to Young, if you’re going to use tools to blend, make sure they’re synthetic-based so they don’t absorb the product.
For a super natural finish, world-renowned makeup artist Bobbi Brown says: “Smile and pat onto the apples of your cheeks using an upward motion, then use your fingertips to soften the edges”
With all that in mind, here are 13 glow-giving cream bronzers beauty editors really rate.
Shop the Best Cream Bronzers:
1. CHANEL Les Beiges Bronzing Cream
The bronzer, the myth, the legend. I’m pretty sure many of you are already well acquainted with CHANEL’s cult classic, and for good reason. Everything about this bronzer is decadent, from the packaging to the whipped cream-gel formula. I’d challenge anyone not to slightly hesitate when breaking into a new one. I find that you get the best finish when you apply an all over wash of colour with a large brush.
2. Saie Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer
"Warm in all of the right places, it seamlessly melts into my skin leaving a sun-kissed halo that adds dimension and warmth," says Harrods' deputy beauty editor Nateisha Scott. "A bronzer and contour all-in-one, it makes it in every make-up edit and beauty look."
3. NARS Bronzing Cream
A firm favourite in my make-up bag, this bronzer harnesses the benefits of Monoï de Tahiti (a cosmetic oil) which adds additional moisture onto the skin. This bronzer works best when buffed all over the face with a brush in circular motions, or applied slightly above the hollows of the cheeks to softly sculpt.
4. Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer
Milk's product is an easy-to-use stick that can be used to contour the face and as an allover bronzer. The coconut scented formula contains mango butter to help nourish the skin and apricot oil to give a hydrated yet matte finish. It blends perfectly with fingertips, a makeup sponge or a brush and I also love using it as a cream eyeshadow.
5. e.l.f Putty Bronzer
A brand that proves brilliant beauty products can be yours for a tenner or less. The formula is lightweight, non-greasy, and highly pigmented and turns from putty-to-powder once you’ve buffed it into the skin. Plus, it’s infused with Argan Oil and Vitamin E and comes in eight different shades.
6. Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer
With seven sheer, buildable shades designed for all skin types and tones, there’s something for everyone in Fenty’s cream bronzer line up. It makes light work of softly defining and sculpting the skin as well as achieving a natural fresh-faced bronzed glow. All hail Queen RiRi.
7. Rare Beauty Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer
"This has fast become a staple in my makeup routine," says freelance beauty journalist Vanese Maddix. "I wasn’t much of a bronzer person, however, a year ago I discovered that the right bronzer has the power to warm up the face for a sun-kissed glow. I love this cream formula from Rare as it glides effortlessly onto the skin and blends like a total dream. I’m all for a cream stick too, as it makes it easier to apply on the go directly on the skin and onto a brush. This is the perfect bronzer for those just starting to warm up to bronzers as well as the pros."
8. Tower 28 Beauty Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
It’s always good to have a variety of the same type of product so you can switch things up depending on the mood and occasion. If I’m going out-out, I’m reaching for Tower 28’s multidimensional and illuminating sheen that makes it a perfect bronze and highlight at the same time. Snatched cheekbones incoming.
9. Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer
Since I was sent this to try, I have been completely hooked. I apply it over my face and décolletage for an instant week-in-the-Mediterranean glow and the fact it contains hyaluronic acid means it feels nourishing and comfortable to wear. Plus, it’s available in four shades to suit all skin tones.
10. Makeup by Mario Soft Sculpt Transforming Skin Enhancer
From world-class make-up artist Mario Dedivanovic comes this bronzer. “It’s a three in one product that instantly warms, tints and evens out your skin,” he explains while applying the product in a Youtube tutorial. “It’s extremely sheer and buildable. I developed this so its very easy to build the product to the desired effect.” The end result? *Chefs kiss*
11. Merit Bronze Balm
12. Huda Beauty Tantour Contour & Bronzer
You know the one product in your makeup bag that you use every single day yet feel like it's been in there forever? For me, it’s this one. The highly pigmented cream-to-powder bronzer stays perfectly in place, from application to removal, and a little product on the brush goes a really long way. Winner.
13. Jones Road Miracle Balm
Me and Jones Road have a thing going on. The majority of my makeup bag currently features the brand. This is the perfect combination of moisture and tint, and can be used as a bronzer, blusher and highlighter depending on the shade you go for. “It can also be used literally anywhere,” says Brown. “Cheeks, eyes, lips, neck, legs and body.” So, in short, worth every penny.