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

The 11 Best Blushes, Bronzers, and Highlighters of 2022

Swiping on some bronzer can give you a natural glow that will lift your spirits any time of year. A hint of blush can do just enough to fool people into thinking you spent your afternoon on the beach. And don’t get me started on the wonders of highlighter: How could we create that dewy look without it?! Of course, it takes the right products to achieve these things—and browsing the list of 2022 Healthy Beauty Award winners is the best place to get inspiration for your next purchase.

Best Body Shimmer: Bali Body Body Highlighter

Meet the body highlighter for people who think they don’t like body highlighters. The lotion blends easily, and better yet, naturally into your skin.

Bonus points, per the experts: This highlighter contains dimethicone, which helps keep skin soft and supple.

One tester said: “The shimmer looks a little intense and intimidating when you first see it, but it blends out quickly and easily to a nice sheen. My favorite place to wear it is on my décolletage when I layer necklaces. It really makes the whole look pop!

Best Liquid Highlighter: Valentino V-Lighter Illuminating Face Primer and Highlighter with Hyaluronic Acid

If you’re a multitasker, then you’ll love this all-in-one primer, highlighter, and hydrator! Editors found a renewed love for doing their makeup thanks to this pick.

Bonus points, per the experts: This product contains hyaluronic acid, which is loved by dermatologists because it’s a great moisturizer for all skin types—even those that are acne-prone!

One tester said: “This product is magic, and I want to do my makeup just so that I have an excuse to wear this more often. I largely used it as a highlighter on top of makeup, but you can also use it as a glowy primer too. It goes on so beautifully and basically always makes you look like you are standing in front of a ring light.

Best Stick Highlighter: Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Highlighter

G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S (yes, Fergie style) is how you will feel after trying this stick highlighter, according to editors. It contains a bit of glitter, so they say it’s best used in the evening. But hey, if you love it so much that you want to wear it any time of the day, I fully support you.

Bonus points, per the experts: Made with dimethicone, this highlighter moisturizes too.

One tester said: “I’ve never used a stick highlighter, and the product from Anastasia Beverly Hills was a good place to start! Although it is a cream stick, it feels very smooth and dry—it doesn’t go on wet or messy at all. I really love the soft applicator/brush on the other side of the stick because it applies the highlighter so well!

Best Powder Highlighter: LYS Beauty Aim High Pressed Highlighter Powder

Editors loved this powder highlighter because it’s easy to use and looks really natural, never caking on skin. Just be sure to apply it lightly at first, as the formula is very pigmented.

Bonus points, per the experts: This highlighter is excellent for anyone with dull skin, thanks to ingredients like niacinamide, which brightens, and hyaluronic acid, which hydrates.

One tester said: “The colors are really nice, and I think this is a good product for people who like powder highlighters.”

Best Liquid Blush: Flower Beauty Blush Bomb Color Drops for Cheeks

Reviewers couldn’t stop talking about this blush’s wide range of colors that fit a variety of skin tones. Even better, Flower Beauty makes high-quality products that are super affordable—and one tube will last you a while.

Bonus points, per the experts: This blush contains dimethicone, which helps keep your skin from getting dry.

One tester said: “The eight colors in the range are all gorgeous. The gel-cream formula blends effortlessly and gives your skin a flush of color and a hint of glow that looks natural and radiant. I especially love the Bitten shade, which is a stunning berry hue that brightens up your cheeks without being overpowering.”

Best Powder Blush: RMS Beauty “Re” Dimension Hydra Powder Blush

This blush provides a nice glow without shimmer, creating a bright and rosy complexion. In fact, editors and reviewers said it’s the perfect blush for the “no-makeup” look.

Bonus points, per the experts: This plus contains squalene, a great moisturizing ingredient for all skin types.

One tester said: “I really loved this blush! It’s a powder-cream hybrid, which was perfect for someone like me who historically enjoys creams, but gets frustrated at their lack of longevity. I can tell it blends really well, because even when I applied too much, the formula still settled into my skin naturally.”

Best Cream Blush: Keys Soulcare Sheer Flush Cheek Tint

This tint gives you a natural, flushed look. Plus, it’s so creamy, the formula feels almost like a light moisturizer, according to editors.

Bonus points, per the experts: The jojoba seed oil in this product absorbs quickly and is suitable for people with acne-prone skin.

One tester said: “I can apply this with my finger, so it gets points for ease of use. The color I’m trying is very natural, so it looks like I’m blushing—which is exactly what you want from cheek tint!

Best Balm Cream Bronzer: Saie Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer

Editors couldn’t stop raving about how natural this bronzer looks. The best part? It blends beautifully, so you don’t have to worry about streaks. It comes in four shades, the second-darkest shown above, so it’s suitable for a variety of skin types and colors. 

Bonus points, per the experts: This cream bronzer is loaded with beauty-boosting ingredients like oatmeal, which soothes irritated skin, and grapeseed oil, a natural astringent.

One tester said: “Once I figured out that I really had to warm this bronzer up with my brush before applying, the formula moved onto my skin really nicely—and also lasted for so long! It’s perfect for people who want a drier formula that doesn’t feel liquidy at all—but it’s not powdery or cakey either. It’s truly a second skin.

Best Powder Bronzer: EM Cosmetics

This sculpting bronzer lives up to its name. You’ll only need a few swipes to contour your cheekbones to new heights. And the streamlined compact is easy to carry in your purse or makeup bag, which is always a plus.

Bonus points, per the experts: This cream bronzer contains shea butter, which helps moisturize skin.

One tester said: “This was very creamy and blends super easily—a little goes a long way! Although I have very fair skin, I was able to use it while still matching my natural skin tone.”

Best Multi Palette: Ace Beauté Glow Essentials Highlighter Palette

This palette includes six unique shades—perfect for a blushed or more contoured look—so I’m confident it will quickly become a staple in your makeup bag. Reviewers liked that the highlighter goes on smoothly and mixes well with moisturizer. It’s also super versatile, allowing you to play around to accent your nose, cheeks, undereye area, and more, depending on what you’re in the mood for.

Bonus points, per the experts: This palette contains dimethicone, which helps keep skin moisturized.

One tester said: “I was excited to try this palette because of the different shades. I really love using a highlighter whenever I leave the house because it gives a natural glow without putting a ton of makeup on my skin. This product is especially great for summer when I don’t want to wear foundation, but still want to look a little more polished.”

Best Lip-and-Cheek Stick: Jones Road Lip and Cheek Stain

Cheeks on point? Check. Lip game poppin’? Check. This lip and cheek stain helps save space in your makeup bag when traveling and is ideal for people who hate using a lot of products.

One tester said: “My lips feel great after application as this product is very moisturizing! I tried using both my finger and a makeup sponge to blend in the stain on my cheeks and both worked great. Simplicity is the name of the game here and anything to make life easier is great in my book!”

SELF