Kate Middleton’s every fashion switch on Zoom makes global headlines. But what’s been on our beauty radar is her sunbathed-all-day shade of bronzer. As for what it can do for your complexion? Our edit of the best bronzers serves up a cloud of warm colour that floats up from the cheekbones for a luminous glow.
So What’s New For Summer 2021?
‘I really wanted it to behave on the skin like sun behaves on the skin,’ says Tilbury. ‘This bronzer doesn’t sit on top of the skin like a powder. The hyaluronic acid moisturises, amino acids make it silky and smoothing polymers create an airbrushed finish.’
No lie: this made for one of the most natural-looking beach flushes I’ve ever achieved with make-up. The shade range is impressive, too, catering for the most lilywhite complexions to the deepest skin tones, all housed in a retro-chic compact that’s refillable.
Additionally, Chanel has re-worked it’s classic Soleil de Tan just in time for summer when our obsession with bronzers reaches a crescendo.
Renamed Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream, it has removed potential allergy-triggers and replaced them with protective botanical alternatives including kalanchoe. It also imparts a more modern caramel and less rust colour.
What thankfully hasn’t changed from the original is the stand-out cream-gel finish. This perhaps feels a little more liquid on the skin but, when buffed in, gives you the same J-Lo bronze goddess vibes with a middle-of-the-road sheen.
Choosing The Right Shade For Your Skin Tone
Put simply, this is key if you want to avoid looking oddly radioactive.
‘Getting it wrong can either make you look orange, ashy or like you’re not wearing any make-up at all,’ explains Bobbi Brown Pro Artist Zara Findlay.
‘The easiest way to see if it is the perfect colour for you is to place the bronzer against your chest and see if it lifts and complements your skin tone.’
Best Bronzers For Pale Skin
You might think a bronzer on pale skin will look garish, but the key is to go no more than one or two shades darker than your natural complexion.
You should also choose a formula with a beige base. As fair skin lacks a yellow undertone, adding a golden bronzer is what creates that dreaded orange look.
Best Bronzers For Medium skin
Go warmer and aim for a bronzer that’s a little rosy. Be wary of formulas that have too much shimmer, though, as this can make you look washed out.
Best Bronzers For Dark Skin
For deep complexions, red or orange tones of bronzer will make your features pop.
Best Bronzer For Contouring
The ideal shimmering bronzer has light-reflective particles so finely milled that you don’t have to worry about getting the glitter ratio right.
Meet Telluride, a mauve highlighter for medium skin tones that makes up one half of the Bobbi Brown Summer Glow Collection Medium/Telluride Bronzing Powder Duo.
Use Telluride on the tops of cheeks and nose for skin that glows in all the right ways. Anywhere else can make you look sweaty. Then hit the sides of the forehead, underneath your cheekbones, the jawline, and just under the chin with the matte bronzer.
Finally, remember that using bronzer is like salting food: you can always add more, but it’s hard to take it away.
Keep reading for the Marie Claire edit of the best bronzer buys…
With 7 sheer shades designed to serve all skin tones, this cream bronzer scores extra points for naturally defining your features. The texture creates a buildable finish you’ll find addictive.
The original Laguna is a cult classic thanks to its almost invisible hint of golden shimmer. This summer, Nars is launching a matte version so you can cheat sunkissed skin or subtly contour your cheekbones.
Bronzer with shimmer can exaggerate the look of enlarged pores. Not only is this one perfectly matte, it contains blurring technology so you can airbrush the look of pores while adding instant sun-kissed warmth to medium and darker skin tones. Oh and if you’re worried about wrinkles, it also contains collagen, hyaluronic acid and peptides.
Estée Lauder's signature bronzer is available in four shades. Silky, natural and shine-free it's prefect for building a natural glow.
Perfect for those with very fair skin who normally steer clear of bronzer. The ‘tan’ you get is very soft thanks to golden minerals that catch the light rather than blanket skin in a muddy colour. The pale pink in the middle gives cheeks a pretty flush.
Beauty Pie’s Quantum Bronzer is smooth and easily blendable, blurring and formulated to give you a flawless, radiant matte second-skin finish. With protective biomimetic powders, microfine colourmelt technology so it's instantly and always streak-free.
Created by Jennifer Aniston’s long-time make-up artist Gucci Westman, this sits somewhere between a bronzer and tinted moisturiser. With a formula that’s both pearlescent and buttery (thanks to skincare ingredients like nourishing jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid), no wonder Jen’s a fan of its lit-from-within effect.
Brushes are also top of mind for Tilbury. If you've gone from 0 to 100 in one stroke, chances are you’ve not used The-Airbrush. This Kabuki-style brush buffs the colour into your skin for a finish that fools you into thinking you’ve applied fake tan instead of bronzer.
You want to know why Hoola is on this list? It really is one of the most popular bronzers on the market. There's no sparkle or shine to it and Toasted hits the sweetspot for dark skin tones.