These Bronzers Leave You Looking Sun-Kissed, Not Streaky

The most believable glow

Updated 05/03/18
best bronzer: woman with tanned cheeks

Bronzer may have taken a backseat to contouring and strobing in recent years, but that tawny, entirely sun-kissed glow is well and truly back. Don’t believe us? Just look at the spring 2018 runways for proof, where bronzer was swathed under cheekbones at Altuzarra, worn in a dusty taupe shade at Joseph and teamed with an allover glow at Emilia Wickstead.

But you don’t need the catwalk to convince you of the perks of a good bronzer. Just sweep your perfect shade over tired skin and you’ll see that a little fatigue is no match for a bronzing powder’s glow-boosting clout. Almost every makeup brand claims to offer the best bronzer, so how do you narrow it down? Rank & Style has found the internet's 10 favourite formulas, each of which imparts a touch of tan that’s entirely natural-looking.

10. Marc Jacobs

best bronzer: Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronze Perfect Tan in Tantric
Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronze Perfect Tan in Tantric $35

A completely matte bronzer, there’s no garish streaks of shimmer throughout this formula, which are often the biggest giveaway of a faux tan.

9. Benefit Cosmetics

best bronzer: Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzing Powder
Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzing Powder $26

A cult classic, Benefit’s Hoola is milled so super fine that you can swish it all over the face without the fear of muddy-looking patches.

8. Tarte

best bronzer: Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer
Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer $25

With a really subtle gold shimmer, Tarte’s bronzer is best applied in circular motions with a giant fluffy brush.

7. Nars

best bronzer: NARS Bronzing Powders
Nars Bronzing Powders $30

So sheer, Nars’s bronzers are some of the most universally flattering.

6. Urban Decay

best bronzer: Urban Decay Beached Bronzer
Urban Decay Beached Bronzer $23

It may be a powder, but there’s a kind of creamy texture to Urban Decay’s bronzer that makes it meld into the skin for an undetectable finish.

5. Laura Mercier

best bronzer: Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder
Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder $29

A bronzer can be both matte and radiant. Laura Mercier proves it with this shimmer-free powder, which imparts subtle, light-reflecting pigments to prevent your tan from looking flat. Available in five shades—with the lightest doubling as a warm highlighter—it appears to seamlessly melt into your skin for a hyper-real finish that works year-round.

4. RMS Beauty

best bronzer: RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer
RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer $26

Don’t judge this natural bronzer by its dinky pot—it’s small but undeniably mighty, veiling skin in a true golden hue with just a few precise dabs high on cheekbones. It’s a shimmer-free cream, but the balmy texture and a thwack of Buriti oil lend a dewy finish. In other words, you end up with the same kind of glow you’d get from an afternoon on the beach.

3. Lancôme

best bronzer: Lancôme Star Bronzer Long Lasting Bronzing Powder
Lancôme Star Bronzer Long Lasting Bronzing Powder $36

One of our biggest summer bugbears is makeup that vanishes by midday, so it’s no surprise that a lasting bronzer made it into this top five. But alas, it’s now sold out—so try the brand’s super-similar bronzer instead.

2. Too Faced

best bronzer: Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte bronzer
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer $25

Matte? Tick. Velvety? Tick. Chocolate-scented? Tick, tick, tick. In true Too Faced style, Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer fuses whimsy touches with downright brilliant makeup. Promising “all the tan without the twinkle,” it warms complexions with a tone that’s deep and rich. Sweep it high on cheekbones for a dusty retro tan that fits the season’s ’70s vibe.

1. Bobbi Brown

best bronzer: Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder
Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder $30

Coming up trumps is a bronzer from the brand synonymous with glowy complexions, and we think the impressive shade range might have something to do with its success. Where most bronzing powders boast a lineup of one to three shades, Bobbi Brown has eight, ranging from the soft, sandy hue of Elvis Duran to the golden-brown tone of Deep.

Get ready for some seriously glowy-cheeked action.

Opening Image: Mango

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