Soooo pro tip: You should never heavily apply, and then reapply super glittery, super muddy bronzer to fake a ~natural~ glow before a v important event. Like, as in your high school prom. Like, where you’re going to get your photo taken a million times. Because subsequently, your family will *routinely* break out the album ages later only to compare you to Snooki circa the late aughts. Me, g’damnit, it’s me, and it was hot then, k?!
But from that small (fine, huge) makeup fail, I have LEARNED and have since vowed never to repeat my past of extreme bronzer. So in honor of my new and improved makeup skills—and the equally new and improved bronzer formulas—I bring you the 19 best cream bronzers for every skin tone.
How do I choose the best bronzer for my skin tone?
Gone are the bronzers of yesteryear that looked orange on those with light skin and appeared ashy (that is if they showed up in the first place) on dark skin. Thanks to modern, improved formulations, and some incredible companies, there are now shades of bronzer for everyone that blend seamlessly into the skin, giving you a v natural finish. (S/O to some leading Black-owned beauty brands! 🙌)
It’s important to keep in mind that “you’re looking to add warmth with bronzer, not color,” Hung Vanngo, celebrity makeup artist, has told Cosmo. That said, the key to finding the perfect bronzer is to purchase one that complements your skin tone. If you choose the wrong shade, you can end up adding too much color, which creates that obvious look we’re trying to avoid. And if you go too dark, it can end up looking muddy and streaky. As a rule of thumb, stick to a bronzer only two to three shades darker than your skin tone. Oh, and it’s just as important to know how to apply and use bronzer correctly in the first place, so check out our guide, we gotchu.
P.S. Warmth and definition can be added regardless of how deep your skin tone is. In fact, bronzers (when combined with highlighters) are a great way to enhance and re-define your features, especially after applying foundations and concealers.
Tips on finding the best bronzer for your skin tone:
- Deep skin tones: A bronzer with a golden or red undertone will suit your skin most. The addition of shimmer will complement deep skin and give a glow.
- Medium skin tones: Golden and coppery bronzers, or those with yellow undertones, will add warmth and glow to tan and medium-toned faces. Again, shimmer is definitely a go.
- Fair skin tones: Go for cool-toned bronzers and contours. However, because a lot of these shades can end up looking cakey or orange against fair skin, start with a light hand. Add some shimmery blush for extra warmth.
Aaaand if you really want to pull off a convincing faux glow, may I suggest a cream bronzer? A cream formulation blends into your skin, rather than sitting on top of it like a powder, so it’ll look natural AF. Basically, you can keep faking it until, well, you stop faking it. Here are 19 of the best cream bronzers, but first, a sneak peek of what’s ahead:
The best cream bronzers of 2022:
Now continue on for the fun part: The best cream bronzers that are sure to become staples in your makeup routine.
Best Cream Bronzer Shade Range
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer
Starting this list off strong is a cream bronzer that will suit most skin tones (yes, really). That means those with light skin tones and those with deep skin tones will find a shade that complements them in this collection. Not to mention, it’s a beauty fan favorite, and it’s no surprise that we have Rihanna to thank.
Best cream bronzer & luminizer
RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer
If you’re looking for a sheer, luminizing cream bronzer, the Buriti Bronzer by RMS is for you. The hydrating formula of buriti oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter leaves the most glowing sheen. If you’re looking for a decent color deposit, this bronzer is best for those with fair to medium skin tones; however, it was made for those with deep skin to use as a luminizer.
Best Cream Bronzer & Highlighter Duo
Kosas Color & Light: Crème Cream Blush & Highlighter Duo
Technically this cream duo is a blush and highlighter. Howeverrrr, the shades Tropic Equinox, Topic Equinox High Intensity, and Velvet Melon work as bronzers, and beautiful ones at that. Thanks to the apricot, rosehip, and jojoba seed oils, the product is incredibly blendable, and your skin will look dewy as hell.
Best Drugstore Cream Bronzer
e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer
If you’ve ever looked for a cream bronzer before, chances are you’ve heard of the e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer. It’s a cult favorite in the beauty community, and for good reason. Not only is the giant tub of product only $6, but it’s a highly pigmented cream-to-powder bronzer that leaves you with the most natural of glows.
Best Cream Bronzer Set for Deep Skin
Melt Cosmetics The Deep Cream Bronzer and Contour Sculpt Stack
The best part about contour kits is the incredible shade range you’re given. Not only will it benefit you year-round, but this one, in particular, can be used to highlight, conceal, and add warmth to your face. The product was specially made for the darkest and deepest skin tones and sculpts without muting your features.
Best Buzzy Cream Bronzer
Undone Beauty Water Bronzer
If you’ve inhabited the TikTok beauty sphere—and have shamelessly splurged on any or all of the best TikTok beauty products—you’ve most likely heard of this bronzer. The water formula makes it incredibly natural-looking because it easily blends into the skin. If you’re going for a minimalist makeup look or want something quick to swipe on before you head out the door, this here is your bb.
Best Long-Lasting Cream Bronzer
Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer
If you’re looking for a cream bronzer with a great color deposit that also stays on all damn day, pop this one in your cart. Because there is no shimmer, it doubles as a contour. So not only will your face look warm and glowy, but you’ll be sculpted ASF. Bonus: There is an incredible shade range.
Best Cream Bronzer Stick
Milk Makeup Matte Cream Bronzer
When I’m running late to an event, I immediately reach for my tried-and-true products that are super quick and easy to apply. Enter: The Milk Makeup Matte Cream Bronzer. The matte formula doubles as a contour, so it’s a one-and-done type of deal. The formula comes in two colors, a deep, and a light bronze, making it an awesome choice for a lot of skin tones.
Best & Most Natural Cream Bronzer
Tower 28 Beauty Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
My newest and arguably most-loved find is this bronzer by Tower 28. Not only is the product super quick and easy to apply, but it literally gives the most natural of glows. The color deposit is very light and sheer, and it melts into the skin, so it looks like your skin…but ten times better. Choose from five shades, from light bronze to deep bronze. Those with darker skin tones can use it as a luminizer. Bonus: This product is specially formulated for those with sensitive skin.
Best Cream Bronzer for Deep Skin
Danessa Myricks Beauty Power Bronzer Cream Bronzer
If you’re unfamiliar with Danessa Myricks Beauty, you should def get to know it. The brand was founded by makeup artist Danessa Myricks, with the purpose of creating a brand that is totally inclusive. Although the shade range is vast, if you have deeper skin, the darkest shade in the collection is an excellent bronzer and contour. It will add the perfect amount of definition to the face.
Best Cream Bronzer for Tan Skin
Tarte Sea Breezy Cream Bronzer
In the summertime when my skin is tanner, this bronzer is the one I constantly reach for. If you have medium to tan skin with warm undertones, this bronzer will blend seamlessly into your skin. Plus, when I’m trying to look a little extra glowy, I layer the product, considering it’s extremely buildable.
Best Cream Bronzer for Light Skin
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream
Ahhh, yes, no best cream bronzer list would be complete without the cult-favorite Chanel Les Beiges. For a long time, the product was limited to one shade that primarily only worked on those with lighter skin. However, the brand recently released a darker shade that’s great for those with medium skin tones. If you have fair to medium skin, I can attest, it is ahhhmazing. And yes, it’s hella $$$, but I’ve had mine for such a long time, so it’s def worth the splurge.
Best Dewy Cream Bronzer
Refy Cream Bronzer
I legit cannot say enough about this cream bronzer. The warm undertones give you the dewiest and most natural-looking glow EVER. Although the shade range may be too dark for those with fair skin, I find that it is incredible in the summer months for those with light skin, or on those with tan to medium skin. Pair it with a cream blush, and your skin will legit be glowing.
Best Cream Bronzer with Cool Undertones
Huda Beauty Tantour Contour & Bronzer Cream
With a very inclusive shade range, this cream bronzer works great for people with fair skin and for those with deep skin. The best part about this bronzer is the fact that all the shades have a cool undertone. This means that it essentially doubles as a contour, and will give your cheeks that sculpted yet warm glow. If you need a refresh on how to contour, we’ve got a guide.
Best Multi-Use Cream Bronzer
W3LL People Bio Bronzer Stick
Want a product that can legit do it all? The W3LL People Bio Bronzer Stick is the one for you. Use it anywhere from your lips to your cheeks, or even your eyes, to add a warm glow and highlight wherever you please. Jojoba, sunflower, and green tea oils make it superrrr hydrating.
Best Sculpting Cream Bronzer
Em Cosmetics So Soft Multi Faceplay Bronze + Sculpt
OG makeup guru Michelle Phan released an incredible cream bronzer that is amazingly blendable and buildable. The hero of this bronzer is squalane, a moisturizing ingredient that gives you the most hydrated and glowy skin ever. (If you can’t tell, I’m a stan.) Pair this bronzer with a fun and bright lip stain, and you’ve got yourself a fun spring and summer look.
Best lightweight cream bronzer
Saie Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer
The best kinds of beauty products are the ones that make you forget you’re wearing makeup in the first place. The Saie Sun Melt is exactly that. Upon application, it will legit melt into your skin, what you’ll be left with is a velvety finish that looks and feels like your skin. Drops mic, adds to cart.
Best Cream Bronzer for the Face & Body
Colourpop SOL Face & Body Bronzing Balm
Let’s be real: That beautiful bronze glow shouldn’t be limited to only the face. For only $15, you can get this cream bronzer that works on both the face and body. The best part? It won’t feel sticky! From personal experience, I find that it works best to warm up my light to medium cheeks and chest area. It leaves me with such a beautiful and radiating glow that looks like I just got home from a vacay.
Best Cream Bronzer & Contour
UOMA Beauty Double Take Contour Stick
Contour, highlight, and bronze your face in a breeeeze with the UOMA Beauty Double Take Contour Stick. The formula is extremely buildable and blendable, considering the cream consistency melts into your skin. The shade range is great for those with fair to dark brown skin. P.S. If you have olive skin, and can never find a bronzer that suits you, the shade Honey Honey is what you’ve been missing.
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