Bronzer is a tricky thing to get right. It can be too orange, too dark, too glittery… I often find myself in a Goldilocks situation when I try out a new bronzer – is it too warm, not warm enough or just right? For ages, when I first got into makeup, I was afraid of bronzer – thinking it was a product reserved for girls with deeper skin tones but nowadays I can’t live without it.
In the early days, my collection had two, maybe three products to choose from but since then, it’s continued to grow. Now I have a bunch of beauties to choose from each morning when I feel like adding some much-needed definition to my cheekbones and forehead. So I thought it was about time I gave you all a grand tour of the collection. For now, I’ve kept it to my stand-alone bronzers rather than overwhelming it with including bronzers hidden away in kits because honestly, I always forget to reach for them.
I’d always heard amazing things about Too Faced bronzers but never got around to seeing what all the fuss was about. Until recently. My love affair with this one started from the very first application. The Milk Chocolate shade, designed for fairer skin tones, is the perfect shade for me – it adds warmth without looking orange and always looks natural. Plus it smells of chocolate (little known fact: it also tastes of chocolate) – how good can it get? The hype is definitely real with the Too Faced formula. If you want to splurge on a failsafe formula, the Too Faced range is well worth checking out as it would seem that there’s a shade in the collection for any skin tone.
Hoola is another incredibly hyped up bronzer in the makeup world but for me, it hasn’t been quite as much of a hit. On my pale skin, it always seems to apply a little too intensely, no matter how careful I am to use a light hand. It’s a deeper shade than I normally reach for so I tend to reserve this one for days when I need a hell of a lot of bronze to make me look myself. The formula, however, is lovely so it’s definitely not a write-off if you’ve got a slightly deeper skintone than I do. And as cute as the packaging is, the box makes it a little too bulky for my liking.
I couldn’t resist picking up a mini size of the Hourglass bronzer in my latest Sephora haul. Whenever I swatched it in store, the amount of glitter in the pan always turned me off but once blended into the skin, it simply provides luminosity – never looking over the top or out of place. Luminous Bronzer Light is fairly warm, so I need to be careful when applying but it is definitely beautiful on the skin. It’s an incredibly pricey option, though, and in my opinion, not quite worth the price tag.
Now this one looks a little different to the others in the collection – it’s pink in the pan. And although at first, I was very sceptical about how this would perform as a bronzer, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. With a light hand, this doesn’t apply anywhere near as pink on the cheeks as it looks in the pan. Instead, it adds some warmth and definition with zero chance of it going too orange or over-the-top. It’s definitely not for everyone but on no-makeup makeup days, this is my go-to. This would also be a good one for those who are just starting out and are still feeling a little unsure about the whole bronzing thing.
My OG favourite is still going strong – you can tell by the appearance of the pan that I just can’t get enough of this one. This was one of the first bronzers I found that truly worked for me. The colour is such a beautiful honey shade, with zero orange, so it works beautifully on my skin. It’s quite a light shade so it’s quite subtle to begin with but it’s easily buildable if you want a little more bronziness. I reach for this one a lot in Winter when I’m at my absolute palest.
This drugstore option had it’s time in the limelight in 2016, with a couple of people raving about it, including me. Since picking it up in the US it’s been, hands down, my top pick if you’re looking for a budget option. When swatched, it has a hint of luminosity that comes across onto the skin while still remaining totally natural. The colour is similar to The Body Shop’s Honey Bronzer – subtle and bronzy with no orange tones to speak of. It also smells of coconut – not particularly my kind of thing but I know some people love it.
Maybelline NY Bricks Bronzer in 01 Blondes*
A newbie to the Maybelline stands that should be launching soon. I’ve only had a chance to wear this one a couple of times but so far, I’ve found it a little too deep for me. The Blondes shade is actually quite a bit darker and warmer than what I normally go for, as you can tell from the swatches. The formula is incredibly pigmented so you only need a light hand to make this work.
Another drugstore option that I’ve been loving since I picked it up. The shade of this one is quite different to the others and although I do love it, this one does have a tendency to go a little bit orange if I get too enthusiastic with the application. On most days, though, this isn’t a problem. This no-fuss matte formula is great for when my complexion really needs some warming up.
My collection has definitely grown a lot over the last couple of years. But for now, I’m very happy with my choices. Most days, you’ll find me reaching for the Too Faced, The Body Shop or Physicians Formula options but they all have their purposes and their moments in the spotlight.
What’s your favourite bronzer of all time?
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*some products in this post have been provided for editorial consideration, honesty as always!
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