e.l.f.'s Putty Bronzer Creates Gorgeous Sun-Kissed Cheeks

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e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer

e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer in Sun Kissed open jar on fabric background

Khera Alexander

What We Like
  • Buildable color that blends into skin easily

  • Flexible shades

  • Lightweight texture

  • Accessible price point

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't work well with a beauty sponge

The e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer makes it easy to give your skin a warm, sculpted glow, all at an accessible price point. For anyone who’s considered using a cream bronzer but is unsure how, this putty-to-powder formula is an ideal starter product.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer

e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer in Sun Kissed open jar on fabric background

Khera Alexander

We put the e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

I never skip bronzer in my daily makeup routine—creating a sun-kissed, luminous look on my complexion is an absolute must-have for me. Though I mostly use powder formulas, the e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer is a cream product I’ve been curious about for a while—not just thanks to its super affordable price point, but because of how much I enjoy e.l.f. overall. While staying within drugstore prices, e.l.f. offers a plethora of quality items that can compete with some of my most beloved prestige products.

Described as putty-to-powder formula that creates a semi-matte finish, the e.l.f. Putty Bronzer had me curious about what it would look like on my skin. Keep reading for my honest thoughts below.

e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer

Best for: Most skin types

Uses: A bronzer that deposits lightweight, buildable pigment while adding dimension.

Hero ingredients: Argan oil, vitamin E

Byrdie Clean? Yes

Potential allergens: Tocopheryl acetate 

Price: $7 

Shade range: Eight shades 

About the brand: Creating some of the most high-performing beauty products while staying at a drugstore price point, e.l.f. Cosmetics believes in creative expression and originality. Cruelty-free and vegan, the brand creates innovative products that are accessible and affordable.

About My Skin: Sensitive, combination, and acne-prone

My skin has always been sensitive, and I’ve had acne since I was a teenager. As a result, I’ve kept my skincare routine streamlined and simple, and I usually gravitate towards powder formulas when it comes to makeup. For bronzer, I love wearing LYS Beauty's No Limits, Fenty Beauty's Sun Stalk’r, and products from MAC Cosmetics. 

Lately, I’ve been experimenting a lot more with cream blushes and bronzers, and some of my favorite cream products are from Nudestix, Rare Beauty, and Patrick Ta. My typical picks range in price but are definitely more expensive than a drugstore item, so I was excited to see how the $7 Putty Bronzer from e.l.f. Cosmetics would perform. For about a week, I wore the e.l.f. Putty Bronzer in place of the powder and cream bronzers I normally grab. I tried the shade Sun Kissed both with and without foundation to get a full sense of the finish.

How to Apply: Use your fingers or a brush

e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer in Sun Kissed on hand in sunligh

Khera Alexander

e.l.f. Cosmetics shares two different ways you can apply the Putty Bronzer, but both are easy. The brand suggests using either a brush or clean fingers to pat the bronzer onto your cheeks, forehead, and/or anywhere else you’d like your skin to have a bronzed look. 

Personally, I prefer to use brushes or my Beautyblender when applying cream products—I have a few dark spots on my cheeks and I find that using a tool helps with layering the product over my concealer or foundation without smudging it or wiping it off, which has happened when I’ve used my fingers in the past.  Sticking to my preferred application method, I’d dip my brush or Beautyblender into the e.l.f. Putty Bronzer jar and remove any excess product from the tool by patting it onto the back of my clean hand. Next, I’d gently pat the bronzer onto my cheeks and buff the product onto my forehead and temples, adding an extra layer if necessary. Ultimately, I found the brush was the easiest way to work with this cream-to-powder formula.

The Results: Sculpted cheeks and a warm glow

Byrdie writer Khera Alexander before and after applying the e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer

Khera Alexander/Design by Tiana Crispino

After trying a few of e.l.f.'s putty blushes, I had high hopes for this bronzer, and it truly didn’t disappoint. This product is truly impressive, especially when you consider the price point. At first, I questioned my choice of the Sun Kissed shade because when I received it in the mail, it looked like a deeper brown that I thought would be better for someone with a richer skin tone than mine. Though this isn’t my ideal shade match, e.l.f. made the Putty Bronzer to be sheer, easy to blend, and lightweight, so I was able to use the shade and create a bronzed look while staying fairly natural. The product lasted all day without looking patchy, even in extreme heat and direct sunlight.

In addition to the shade flexibility, I also liked the bronzer’s texture and formula. This product has a creamy texture that isn't thick at all—I’d liken it to a thin, gel-like feel—and e.l.f. classifies the formula as putty-to-powder, which is similar to cream-to-powder. I love these types of formulas because they create a lightweight, creamy finish that lays well on the skin, you have time to manipulate and blend the product, and a soft matte finish settles into the skin nicely without accentuating oiliness.

I think e.l.f. Cosmetics nailed it with the Putty Bronzer. I’d go a shade lighter in the future (especially in the winter), but I see myself using the product regularly moving forward.

The Value: Too good not to give a try

What’s beautiful about e.l.f. is that you can discover amazing new products and formulas without having to spend a ton of money, and the Putty Bronzer is the perfect example of this. For about $7, you get 0.35 oz. of product to experiment with, and the quality can probably compete with some of the most popular prestige cream bronzers. Considering the fact that a little goes a long way to bronze and sculpt the face, the Putty Bronzer could last for months, even with everyday use.

Similar Products: You've got options

LYS Beauty No Limits Cream Bronzer Stick: Easily sculpt and bronze your skin with LYS Beauty's No Limits Cream Bronzer Stick ($19). With its vegan formula and matte finish, this product blends easily and is great for anyone who prefers a stick format.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer: Available in 10 shades, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer ($35) is a weightless product that can add warmth and dimension to the skin without looking streaky or patchy. If you prefer something less expensive, stick with the Putty Bronzer.

Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer: Lightweight and sweat and water-resistant, the Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer ($34) from Fenty Beauty creates a sun-kissed, defined glow without looking thick or unnatural.

Final Verdict

The e.l.f. Putty Bronzer now has a permanent spot in my makeup bag. It’s lightweight, blends easily, and wears for hours without looking patchy. If you’ve ever considered a cream bronzer, this is an amazing and affordable product to use while getting acquainted with the formula and texture.


  • Product Name Putty Bronzer
  • Product Brand e.l.f. Cosmetics
  • Price $7.00
  • Weight 0.35 oz.
  • Full Ingredients List Phenyl Trimethicone, Silica, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Polyethylene, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Phenoxyethanol, Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin. May Contain: Red Iron Oxide (CI 77491), Yellow Iron Oxide (CI 77492), Black Iron Oxide (CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Red 33 Lake (CI 17200).

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