Bronzer. It’s something that’s been both a secret weapon and a secret struggle of mine. As someone who wears sunscreen daily, without fail, I’ve happily sought that sun kissed glow through cosmetic means, and that’s meant a bit of trial and error as part of my product perusal.
When I am searching for the perfect bronzer, this is my goal: to have someone stop and ask “wow, have you been on vacation? You’ve got such a great tan!” Quite literally, I’m looking for tan in a pan. And that can look different for you than it does for me.
Before you can find the right bronzer for you, you need to understand and identify your skintone and undertones. Bronzers generally come in varying shades of beige or browns, with warm, cool or neutral undertones and occasionally with a hint (or a lot) of light reflecting pigments to really amp up the glow factor. Someone with a deeper, tan skintone will suit a deeper, warmer toned bronzer to enhance their complexion. Someone with a lighter or more fair skintone will suit a lighter, more golden bronzer with pink or rosey undertones. And for someone like me with a medium, olive skintone, a neutral brown bronzer is what I look for to give me that sunkissed look without the sun damage.
Understanding my skintone, and finding bronzers that made me look less orange and more ooh la la took a lot of product trial and error. And I’m sorry to say, you’ll probably have to do the same, but never fear! I’ve tried products that run the gamut in price and even color and now I’m here to share my findings.
Cheap and cheerful
NYC New York Color Smooth Skin Bronzing Powder
In a pinch, I’ve found that this bronzer will always do the trick, and it suits a multitude of skintones. How or why I’m honestly not sure. I don’t find it gives the deepest tan effect by any means but it does work to provide contouring and a gentle glow that’s flattering and healthy. And considering you can still get this for less than $5.00 from your nearest drug store (depending on your location and currency) it’s a steal of a deal.
Does it on the daily
NYX Matte Bronzer
My Shade: Deep
Just a little higher up on the economic food chain, and still accessible in your local drugstore is the NYX Matte bronzer. The great thing about a matte bronzer is how it can transcend from an every day to an evening look, and shimmer can be added by pairing with a good highlighter to increase the wearability of your product. This bronzer also comes in a range of shades to suit a large amount of skintones. NYX also has fantastic stores depending on your location, which is a great place to not only try out a variety of shades to find your perfect match, but to get advice from an expert in the process as well.
This is another surprising bronzer in that it does seem to cover a wide range of skintones in one little compact. Part of its talent rests in its multi-tonal composition, complete with built in bronzer/highlighter combo that is in a truly universally flattering shade. Depending on the look you want to achieve you can sweep the full pan of colors or focus on a section to achieve a lighter or deeper tan, and then top it all off with a little shimmer.
My shade: I$land ting
I’ll be the first to admit that I am definitely drawn in by pretty, shiny things, and that’s exactly what Rihanna delivered with her Fenty Sun Stalk’r bronzer. But just like Rihanna this bronzer is more than what we see on the outside, while we acknowledge that that outside is awesome. This silky bronzer comes in a variety of shades that work perfectly with every shade of Fenty foundation, ensuring that there truly is a match for everyone. I went neutral brown with I$land Ting and was impressed at the natural, sun kissed glow that it came with. Head over to your nearest Sephora to see which Fenty is a match for you.
Big and Beautiful
Marc Jacobs O!mega Bronze Perfect Tan
My Shade: Tantalize
One of my favorite foundations of late is the Marc Jacobs Shameless Youthful Look foundation. It stands to reason that products from the same line work well together so I gave their latest shade of their buxom O!Mega Bronzer and it really was a match made in heaven. The product swept on easily and I found myself rockin’ a tan that belied my many days inside staring at my laptop. Though the price tag clocks a bit on the high side, the amount of product you get and the little you require with every use does help balance things out a bit.
The Holy Grail
NARS Bronzing Powder
My shade: Casino
Disclaimer: this is my personal holy grail bronzer but yours will likely be different. At the top of the article I said the goal of finding your perfect bronzer was to have someone ask you if you’ve been on vacation. It never fails; whenever I wear NARS Bronzing powder in Casino, someone asks me if I’ve just come back from a beach trip. The perfect balance of deep, neutral brown with that subtle gold shimmer that NARS has perfected just epitomizes what I seek in a bronzer: tan in a pan. I may stray to try others but eventually I always go back – it’s just that good.
The bronzers I’ve selected above either have a range of shades for every skintone or somehow manage to suit many different tones in one. Give them a try and share your results with us on social media at @wearaddicted or @thenadiae today!