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Fact: Aside from the small and detailed brushes I rely on to precisely blend eye shadow, the only makeup brushes I own are bronzer brushes. That's because I generally prefer to use my beloved Sigma Beauty 3DHD Blender or my fingers to apply and blend the rest of my makeup. Except, of course, when it comes to bronzer. There's simply nothing aside from a soft and fluffy bronzer brush that applies a single swipe of uniform color under my cheekbones. I've tried using a variety of beauty sponges and compact applicators, but it's not even a close race. I don't quite understand it, but it's the honest truth, which is why I consider myself to be (weirdly) passionate about this one specific type of makeup brush.
You see, my bronzer brush has to be dense and soft with just the right amount of give in the bristles. Only then will it swipe on my beloved bronzer in a way that perfectly fakes a post-beach glow. As such, I was all too happy to do a little research and distinguish the great from the good from the bad.
Here are the best bronzer brushes on the market, according to word of mouth, the internet, and myself. So go forth and be bronze.
Best Budget: Real Techniques Sculpting Brush
If you're looking for something budget-friendly, look no further than this sculpting brush from Real Techniques, which is the classic drugstore makeup tool brand. Its dense bristles and angled head make it perfect for precise bronzer application (which comes in handy especially if you like to use traditional bronzing powder as contour, as I do).
Best for Powder Makeup: BareMinerals Full Flawless Face Brush
This BareMinerals brush was actually designed to be used in combination with the brand's Orginal Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Powder, though it also works wonderfully as a blush and bronzer brush. The soft bristles dust just the right amount of powder onto the skin, resulting in a perfectly natural-looking wash of color. Although it definitely sheds its bristles more than some of my other brushes do, it's still worth it to me for the allover glow it provides when paired with some of my favorite powder bronzers.
Best for Cream Makeup: E.l.f. Small Tapered Brush
This one's widely available at drugstores everywhere and has a small tapered head that can be used to apply liquid, cream, or powder bronzer. Since so many other bronzer brushes are only meant for powder exclusively, I like to pair this one with a cream formula.
Best Synthetic: Kat Von D Powder Contour Brush
Kat Von D is a fully vegan beauty brand, which extends to its brushes as well. The white-tipped synthetic fibers on this angled contour brush are super plush and flexible, which means they distribute pigment exceptionally well. It was designed to be used alongside her Shade + Light Contour Palette, which includes six refillable matte highlight and contour shades (the latter of which I use as a bronzer, too). It's the real deal.
Runner-Up, Best Splurge: Marc Jacobs The Bronze Bronzer Brush
Another high-end hero, this Marc Jacobs bronzer brush is perfectly tapered to get into the hollow of the cheeks, the curve of the jawline, and the depression of the temples. It was designed to be used alongside the brand's O!mega Bronzer.
Best Luxury: Tom Ford Bronzer Brush
This one is an option for anyone looking to purchase something luxurious and long-lasting. The chic white fibers are naturally sourced and super soft for seamless application of powder bronzer. It can be used to apply a thin, ghostly layer of bronzer or a bolder, more impactful layer. Sephora customers are obsessed.