Pro Tip: The Best Bronzers for All Skin Tones, According to Makeup Artists, Models, and Beauty Insiders

While bronzer has never abandoned its promise of a luster unencumbered by seasonal shifts, these real-world recommendations reveal a host of additional benefits, from mattifying effects to skin-nourishing ingredients. Nevertheless, a seamless glow is always the goal. “It doesn’t look like powder, there’s no texture left on the skin—yet you have this perfect color of a sun-kissed complexion,” says the makeup artist Violette,who founded her own brand of Parisian beauty staples in 2021 and later signed on as Guerlain’s creative director of makeup. With this lineup–including Violette’s classic Terracotta, new brands rooted in inclusivity, and some seriously chic packaging—there’s no shortage of radiance.   

Haus Labs by Lady Gaga Power Sculpt Velvet Bronzer

This formula from the recently revamped Haus Labs gets a skin-friendly boost from plant-derived squalane as well as fermented arnica oil—an anti-inflammatory ingredient long favored by founder Lady Gaga. “I especially love that it’s talc-free, non comedogenic, cruelty-free, and vegan,” says Rokael Lizama, noting the formulation’s seamless blendability.  He recommends “applying it first in the crease of the eye, then warming the sides of the forehead and the cheekbone area to create a monochromatic sun-kissed look.” 

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer

Designer Asia Hall, behind the fashion-tech brand Neon Cowboys, appreciates this formula’s sheer quality and broad shade range. “For our New York Fashion Week runway debut, our makeup lead Nick Lennon used the Fenty cream bronzer for all our models, which was quite impressive since we had a very diverse cast,” she says. The designer pairs her LED face jewelry with a bronzed flush to emphasize her high cheekbones.

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sun-Kissed Powder

A master of soft glam and avant-garde makeup looks alike, makeup artist Tyron Machhausen understands how to dial it up with little effort. This powder bronzer, adorned with tiny double Cs in a classic compact, is one of his secret weapons. “The texture is so silky,” says the Chanel artist, explaining that he applies it “where the sun would naturally hit: forehead, cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and the chin.” Praising the formula’s easy blendability, Machhausen leans into the oversize packaging, using a large Kabuki brush to quickly dust not just the face but the whole body. 

Merit Bronze Balm Sheer Sculpting Bronzer

Makeup artist Jenna Menard, who has created looks for Kerry Washington and Kate Winslet, understands the importance of shade-matching when it comes to bronzer. She prefers this cream formula from Merit for its “neutral base, which means no orange tones—just a natural, warm, believable glow.” The vegan bronzer delivers fatty acids to keep skin moisturized while steering clear of ingredients that trigger acne. But the best part, for Menard, is its buildability. The sheer formula allows you to “take your time getting to the right hint of warmth for your look,” she says. 

Westman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Cream Highlighter

For Rebecca Zhou, co-founder and CEO of the body-care brand Soft Services, this ultra-moisturizing formula—infused with hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, and caper extract—is an instant ticket to sun-kissed skin. It “goes on really nicely with a brush or with fingers when I’m on the go,” says Zhou, who pairs the shade Peau de Soleil with a flush of Peau de Pêche. Her secret: “Dab a bit on the bridge of your nose to give the effect of catching a bit too much sun.”

Dior Forever Natural Bronze Bronzing Powder

This formula, neatly packed in a chic quilted cushion case, is Dior beauty ambassador Sabrina Bedrani’s go-to for a few reasons. “First, I love that the formula is 95% mineral origin, but what I love most is the texture,” says Bedrani, behind Sofia Vergara’s radiant glam for the 2022 Emmys. Infused with wild pansy flower extract, “it blends easily onto the skin, warms up the face without looking too powdery, and gives a very natural sun-kissed look,” the makeup artist says. “It’s also a great product when doing men’s grooming, as they tend to not like the feeling of having makeup on their faces.”

Simihaze Beauty Sun Wash Bronzing Powder

Zizi Donohoe’s aesthetic sensibility led her to this formula from Simihaze. “The glossy red magnetic packaging is to die for,” says the designer who also moonlights as a model. This bronzing powder comes in two finishes—matte (infused with kokum seed butter) and pearlescent (with a flicker of diamond powder)—which Donohoe uses conjointly for an effect that’s “glowy without looking like a glazed donut.” She also applauds the lighter shade range for working wonderfully with her pale skin. “It’s a perfect, easy, everyday look,” she says, adding that a dusting on “eyelids and temples” amps things up for a night out. 

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Glow Setting Powder

Carolina Gonzalez, the makeup artist behind Sabrina Carpenter’s nearly glass skin, has found a favorite in this formula. It’s technically a setting powder, she notes, but “it’s so multi-use, and the shade range is additionally perfect for bronzing.” The microfine pigment “buffs out flawlessly and can be layered, all the while adding a radiant and effortless glow,” adds Gonzalez, part of Armani’s international artist collective. The built-in brush and minimal compact make it an on-the-go companion for touch-ups throughout the day. 

Prados Beauty The Matriarch Bronzer

I love Prados Beauty because it’s an inclusive and uplifting brand that inspires people through the lens of Indigenous communities,” says Thirteen Lune cofounder Nyakio Grieco, behind the recently launched skin-care brand Relevant. She favors this formula because of its versatility. “Depending on the day and occasion, I like to wear this bronzer in different ways,” she says, opting for a light dusting anywhere the light hits for a daytime glow and focusing on dimension for a night out. 

Clarins Bronzing Compact

Whether I want to sculpt or just add a sun kiss, this bronzer works perfectly and always looks natural,” says makeup artist Adam Burrell, known for keeping California girls glowing (Winnie Harlow, Khloe Kardashian). “It features the Clarins Anti-Pollution Complex, which helps minimize damage from environmental pollution that leads to premature signs of aging,” he says, alluding to a trifecta of powerhouse botanicals that includes succory dock-cress, white horehound, and furcellaria. Another trio that makes this bronzer great: the compact’s three side-by-side shades, which allow for customizable color. 

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream

After a makeup artist introduced her to this Chanel formula, model Eniko Mihalik went home and immediately ordered one for herself. “I was impressed with how natural the color is—it is not an orangey shade,” Mihalik says. “Nobody is orange.” Using a large sponge, she likes to apply it to her face and body, giving her fair complexion a “healthy summer glow” by way of light-reflecting pigments. It’s a sentiment echoed by drag artist Violet Chachki, part of the Farfetch Beauty Global Collective. “It gives me that perfect, natural, sun-kissed look, and the formula is smooth, extremely blendable and buildable,” says Chachki, preferring this cream-gel hybrid for the way it works with other products in her arsenal. 

Guerlain Terracotta Sunkissed Natural Bronzer

In the winter, Guerlain’s Terracotta acts as my best friend,” says makeup artist Violette, explaining how this argan oil–infused bronzer perks up her olive skin. She prefers “nothing too technical” in terms of application, dusting it across the nose, forehead, and cheeks, along with a swirl of her own Bisou blush. “When I do this, I look fresh—like I napped and went on a vacation!

VANITY FAIR

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