In beauty, there is no category more timeless—or quintessential—than lipstick. As an enduring symbol of power and femininity, the transformative swipe of classic lipstick is never to be underestimated. Over the decades, brands have met perennial demand with a dizzying menagerie of offerings, leaving no color, undertone, or finish unturned. But despite the scale of options, there are those strikingly universal shades that women keep coming back to. From true reds to nuanced nudes, here, a dozen classic lipstick shades with that certain something loyal masses can’t get enough of.
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire & Ice
In 1952, Revlon launched its Fire & Ice ad campaign, starring Vogue cover girl Dorian Leigh, and caused a stir with its kitschy quiz supplement designed to decide if one was, in fact, suited to this tried-and-true bold red.
It was in 1991 that makeup legend Bobbi Brown’s debut line of lipsticks hit the Bergdorf Goodman counters. Of all the shades, her Lip Color in pink-tinged Brown caused the biggest sensation, helping to usher in the ’90s nude lip look still being referenced today.
Ever wondered what the Duchess of Sussex uses in her beauty routine? Whether it was during her days of playing Rachel Zane in Suits, or while she was a working member of the British royal family following her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018, Meghan has always been a woman with immense style in the beauty department. Rarely erring from a fresh face, nude lip and smoky eye combo, the Duchess also serves excellent hair inspiration – and she’s revealed some old favourites in the past. Here British Vogue takes a look at her go-to beauty products, from the ultra-cheap body lotion she loves, to a number of cult favourites you might just have in your make-up bag already.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria
A matte suede-taupe nude lipstick which is made with a blend of oils to help nourish lips, it is thought Meghan wore this lipstick in her engagement photos with Prince Harry.
Nivea Skin Q10 + Vitamin C Firming Hydration Body Lotion
The Duchess has previously said she uses this body lotion “religiously”, and praised it for its affordability and the fact it makes her skin look and feel amazing. With antioxidants Q10 and vitamin C, it sinks in quickly and helps firm the skin.
“For my flyaways, I spray this hairspray on a small boar bristle toothbrush (a regular toothbrush also works great) to lightly brush them down or smooth the hairline – this is especially good for a sleek bun when I’m off camera,” Meghan previously shared.
One of Meghan’s favourite facialists is Kate Somerville, who is based in Los Angeles, and the Duchess also uses her skincare line to “maintain that glow”. This serum is excellent for deeply hydrating the skin, and contains an array of antioxidants to fend off external aggressors, too.
“I love Nars blush in Orgasm,” Meghan previously told Allure. “I use it on and off camera because it gives you a nice glow from within.” Universally flattering, this blush is a favourite of beauty editors, make-up artists and celebrities alike.
A cult classic, the Duchess included YSL’s concealing and brightening pen as part of her “five minute face”. From lifting under-eye circles to adding a highlight here and there, it’s a multi-tasking wonder.
Having worked closely with hairstylist George Northwood over the years, including on her wedding day, it is likely that the Duchess will be using his new line of hair products. The latest are these tongs, which make achieving his signature beachy waves a breeze.
To get that dewy finish on cheekbones a la Meghan, her wedding day make-up artist Daniel Martin previously said it was all about layering textures; Aquaphor, he said, helped highlight the skin and impart the right texture “especially in a photo [when applied] on the high points of the face”.
In her Suits days, Meghan used to swear by Laura Mercier’s discontinued Illuminating Primer – she wore it on her days off instead of foundation. While it’s no longer available, the brand now offers this formula, which helps bring a similarly dewy finish to skin.
A co-founder of Le Jolie Medi Spa, Brian Nourian, was asked why someone might want to use a lip plumper, and what benefits they can provide. Here’s what he had to say:
“Whether your lips are au natural or have been cosmetically enhanced, lip plumpers can add an instant boost of plumping and shine. They’re great for red carpet or special events as there is no downtime after using them, and they offer instant results. If you’re thinking about going under the knife, they’re also a nice, non-committal way to enhance your natural lip shape and see what your lips look like slightly enhanced if you’ve never gotten fillers or injections.”
What should you look for when shopping for lip plumpers?
According to Nourian, “For that coveted bee stung look, seek out plumpers that utilize hyaluronic acid and collagen, as both ingredients help draw hydration to the top level of the skin to naturally plump and define lips. Avoid harsh ingredients like peppermint oil and cinnamon, as these ingredients work to boost lip shape by irritating the skin to increase blood flow to the surface. These irritants are doing more harm than good.”
With Nourian’s insights in mind, here are the best lip plumpers on the market.
Best Overall: Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme Lip Plumper
Working with thin, lifeless lips? With the Too Faced Lip Injection lip gloss, there’s no need to pout. Beauty sleuths swear by the patented formula’s plumping superpowers that are “based on medically-proven blood vessel-dilating technology,” according to the brand. The gloss is packed with hydrating ingredients, as well as pepper extract that enhances your lips with heat and tingle. Just a thin layer is fast-acting and long-lasting for Kylie Jenner-level results.
We can’t talk about lip plumpers without giving Buxom a shoutout. The volume-focused brand is big on big lips, offering an entire line of plumping products, including a balm, liner, serum, two lipstick formulas, and of course, its best-selling plumping gloss polish that flawlessly fakes a filler-like pout.
With a selection of more than 100 pigmented shades in three lustrous finishes, its glamorous glossy effect is certainly one of our favorites. Equally as impressive, the Buxom lip plumper features a peptide-infused formula and a refreshingly tingly feel that provides the potent plumping power you’d expect from the brand, while vitamins A and E offer lasting moisture.
Best Drugstore Option: Maybelline Lip Lifter Gloss Hydrating Lip Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid
At only $7 a tube, this drugstore lip plumper is bringing full lips to the masses, with benefits that rival those of more expensive options. Maybelline’s top-rated Lip Lifter Gloss literally does it all — volume, high-shine, and hydration — at an unbeatable price. And unlike many glosses priced at three times the cost, its moisturizing formula is boosted by hyaluronic acid for a smoother and fuller effect. Nearly 7,500 Amazon reviewers love it for creating an ultra-glossy pouty look, and with a gorgeous 10-shade color selection, you’re guaranteed to find one you’ll love, too.
Not to forget, beauty enthusiasts continually mention this gloss formula to the infamous Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb.
Best Affordable Option: NYX Filler Instinct Plumping Lip Polish
Sure, every lip plumper on this list is far more affordable than fillers, but if you’re looking for a pout-enhancing option that’ll really save some pennies, this under-$6 gloss from NYX provides big payoff at a reasonable price. Its tingly, plumping formula is packed with light-reflecting emollients that make your lips look fuller with a single glossy swipe, while its feather-proof coverage minimizes the appearance of fine lines for a super smooth finish. The gloss is available in six sheer shades, but the same formula is also available in a long-wearing lipstick form if you’d rather pack on the pigment.
Best Splurge: Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Plumping Lip Gloss
You (yes, you) are an icon, and therefore deserve Dior’s iconic celeb-loved lip gloss — Bella Hadid is also a fan. At $30, it doesn’t disappoint on the plumping front, and its price point fully pays off with results you’ll notice literally seconds after applying. Its vegan formula features one standout skincare ingredient: hyaluronic acid for long-lasting hydration and fuller lip volume. In fact, the brand claims your lips will be significantly smoother in just four weeks with prolonged use, so start lacquering up. It comes in six lustrous shades, plus two shimmery options that’ll make your lips look even more voluminous in the light.
Best Sting-Free Formula: Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Lip Bath Gloss
Not to totally shade other lip plumpers, but many contain mild irritants like cinnamon, capsicum, and even bee venom that cause your lips to swell and sting in the process. Instead, Charlotte Tilbury’s high-shine Lip Bath Gloss promotes a pain-free payoff with gentle mustard sprout extract. And because hydration is key to achieving that ultra-plush pouty effect, nourishing marine collagen and coconut oil will give your lips some much-needed moisture.
It’s available in five colors — including universally flattering favorites like Pillowtalk and Walk of No Shame — that are each formulated with shimmery pearlescent pigments, reflecting light to create an illusion of larger lips.
Best for Hydrating: PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Lip Booster
PSA for anyone who applies lip plumpers a little too often (you know who you are): Excessive use can lead to dry or chapped skin, especially if your treatment of choice intentionally uses an irritating ingredient to plump up that pout. What’s worse, dry, flaky skin can actually minimize the appearance of lip volume, so you feel the need to keep reaching for the same product that caused your skin to crack in the first place.
This super hydrating option from PCA Skin turns the tables on moisture-sucking lip plumpers with a nourishing and gentle formula you’ll never regret using. Plumping peptides make your lips look full and supple, but its moisturizing power is equally impressive with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E included in the lineup of soothing ingredients for long-term results.
For ultra-thin lips, the Tiktok-famous Derol Lip Plumper delivers needle-free results without a visit to the derm. The set includes two lip plumpers: one with ginger essence for daytime use as a volumizing lip gloss and another with mint for nighttime use as a leave-on mask. Both contain vitamin E and collagen for a fuller, more moisturized look and feel, and feature a lightweight, non-sticky formula for hours of comfortable wear. Reviewers say both plumpers burn pretty intensely upon application, but the feeling is, of course, far less painful than nip tuck.
Best for Lasting Results: GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper
If you’re looking for more than just a fling with your lip plumper, lock down a longterm commitment with a volumizing treatment that’s luckily pretty easy to fall for. The brand recommends applying the gloss twice daily for 30 days to ensure a long-lasting volumizing effect. Best of all: Its high-gloss formula will love your lips right back with nourishing ingredients like Volulip and hyaluronic acid that’ll moisturize your skin while promoting collagen production for natural fullness.
And if you’re merely looking for instant gratification, no judgement — the fast-acting formula noticeably improves volume in less than five minutes. Purchase it in 10 sheer, high-gloss colors, including rosy-hued dusty taro and peachy toasted apricot.
Best Long-Term Plumper: Fillerina Lip Plump Grade 1
The first thing you’ll notice when applying this product is the intense but not unpleasant numbing sensation that overtakes your lips. Unlike other products, this plumper is designed for longterm use and lasting effects. Users should apply the formula from this medical-looking applicator every couple of hours each day for optimal results. If you re-apply lip balm throughout the day, this habit-friendly device is your friend for gaining an attractively swollen-looking smile.
Best Serum: BeautyBio The Pout: Volumizing Lip Serum
Go beyond the gloss with a balm-like serum that’ll serve you far beyond your done-up days. Collagen, squalane, and hyaluronic acid — a dream team of powerhouse ingredients — plump and nourish lips to put fine lines and wrinkles to bed. Two clear, glossy shades can be applied throughout the day to help achieve perfectly volumized and supple lips without the distraction of tints and glitter. But if you do prefer a surge of color, the brand’s shimmery sparking rosé option might make you feel a little more put-together.
Best Treatment: Clinique Moisture Surge Lip Hydro-Plump Treatment
Plumping and hydration go hand-in-hand, so it’s no wonder why this volumizing moisture treatment works so well. Its gentle fragrance-free formula is ideal for sensitive skin types thanks to an ingredient list rich in lipids, shea butter, and ceramides that work together to plump, moisturize, and soothe. And not only is it multitasking, but it can also be used multiple ways: as a balm for an instant boost of hydration, a five-minute treatment to condition lips before applying makeup, or even as an overnight mask to maximize its nourishing benefits. No matter how you use it, the feather-light consistency is ultra comfortable to wear, so you can apply it day or night without that dreaded sticky, weighed down feel.
The secret to maximizing the results of your lip-plumping gloss is starting with a great foundation. Give your pucker an extra punch of volume and hydration with a mask that’ll prep your pout for the next step in the process. Unlike your favorite face mask, Tatcha’s leave-on treatment doesn’t need to be rinsed off or removed after applying. In fact, its jelly-like formula absorbs into the skin to fully utilize nourishing ingredients like squalane and Japanese peach that lock in moisture, plump fine lines, and improve fullness. The brand recommends using this mask before bed so it can work its magic while you sleep, but its lightweight, non-sticky feel is comfortable enough to lacquer on during the day, too.
Best Lip Plumper Patches: skyn ICELAND Plumping Lip Gels
The result of these patches is not as dramatic as with other, more aggressive formulas, but these gels make a significant difference. In just ten minutes, your lips will be hydrated in places lip balm can’t reach, more uniform in shade, and turned up ever so slightly at the bow. For your date night ritual, just stick on a gel patch for ten, then swipe on a gloss and healthy, inviting lips are yours.
Best Tool: Fullips Lip Plumping Enhancer
This unexpectedly simple device has over 800 five-star reviews on Amazon, more than virtually all other products in its category. The silicon device relies on suction from your own mouth in order to plump your lips. Just apply the round or oval shape over the part of your mouth you’d like to enhance, and create a vacuum by inhaling the excess air within. Don’t hold for too long, otherwise you risk bruising your skin, but you’ll be sure to see results after about 30 seconds.
What links Audrey Hepburn, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Cleopatra and Angelina Jolie? Liquid eyeliner of course. While make-up trends come and go, the feline flick is a timeless classic and suits every aesthetic. From the ultra glamorous to the insouciantly rock’n’roll, it can be dressed up or down. The trick is to work out the right look for your face and chosen aesthetic, and stick with it.
How to successfully apply a liquid liner
Heed Vogue contributing beauty editor Pat McGrath’s advice, and draw the wing first. It’s easy to place the wing too low or high once you’ve already sketched a line along your lashes, especially considering that the natural curve of the eye slopes downwards at the outer corner. Instead, look straight ahead in the mirror, place a small dot where you want the line to end, draw your flick, then line along your lashes.
How do I choose an eyeliner?
Start by considering what effect you want from your eyeliner; while liquids offer a more precise finish and achieve that striking Hepburn-esque wing, gel and kohl liners tend to be more forgiving and can be blended and buffed in for a softer, more diffused effect. It might sound obvious but those who want a product just for the waterline should opt for a pencil or gel formula, as a liquid won’t stay put.
What is the best eyeliner for beginners?
The perfect eyeliner for you will also depend on your familiarity with the product. To beginners and those not au fait with applying it regularly, a liquid liner might seem intimidating as it requires a steadier hand. In this case, it can be wise to start with a pencil, whether gel or kohl, or for a pen-style liquid if that’s the effect you want. Beginner or not, the trick is just to go for it – liquid eyeliner can smell your fear. One of McGrath’s biggest tips, whatever your liner abilities, is to finish by tidying up with a cotton bud – even the pros get it wrong sometimes.
Is gel liner better than pencil?
Not necessarily – it all depends on the effect you want. Gel liners bridge the gap between liquid and pencil liner, as they impart much of the impact and precision of a liquid, but with more of the malleability and softness of a pencil. They’re an excellent option for those who like a soft, smudgy finish, if you’re creating more impactful eyeshadow looks (many make-up artists use them as a base for shadows), or if you like to apply haphazardly and buff and blend your line into place. Gel liner is also a great option if you like your liner to stay put once it’s set. Meanwhile, pencil adds intensity to the waterline and can offer a more exact effect.
From long-wearing gel liners to easy-to-use felt tips, find your perfect fit within Vogue’s edit, and get yourself in front of the mirror for practice. Shop the 15 best eyeliners below.
Best Gel Eyeliner: Victoria Beckham Beauty Beauty Satin Kajal Liner
Few liner formulas match up to this creamy, ultra-blendable number which, once set, stays put for hours. As versatile as they come, you can smoke it up with the built-in smudger or keep it to a minimal line. A must try.
Best Eyeliner For The Waterline: Charlotte Tilbury Rock ’N’ Kohl Black Eyeliner Pencil
Queen of a serious sultry stare, it is only right that Charlotte Tilbury has an eyeliner that creates the look in seconds. Brilliant for all parts of the eye, this one is particularly good in the waterline – expect it to roll on and stay put for hours.
Best Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner: Too Faced Better Than Sex Easy Glide Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Whether you’re diving into a pool or a hot steamy encounter (as the name might suggest), Too Faced’s Better Than Sex waterproof liner is a product you can rely on. It promises to stay put up to 24 hours without smudging, budging or fading.
Best Brown Liquid Eyeliner: Byredo Eyeliner in Practical Brown
It might be under-the-radar but Byredo’s liquid eyeliner is beloved by any and all who try it. This brown hue is particularly flattering and lends a gentle shimmer to eyes for a soft, sultry effect. Plus, it’s vegan too.
Best Smudge Proof Eyeliner: Gucci Stylo Contour Des Yeux Eyeliner
As well as looking extra chic in your make-up bag, Gucci’s eyeliner is waterproof, offers pigmented colour and truly stays put for hours. You can use it for flicks, in the waterline or even buffed in as an eyeshadow, plus there are lots of different colours to try.
Best Eyeliner For Sensitive Eyes: La Bouche Rouge Le Kôhl Noir
Developed without microplastics and with 98 per cent natural origin ingredients, this is a good bet for those who have sensitive eyes. It delivers impactful colour in both the waterline and around eyes.
Best Coloured Eyeliner: Dior Diorshow On Stage Liner
From pink to green, Dior’s coloured eyeliners are the best in the business. The brand’s make-up artist, Peter Philips, regularly uses them backstage for the iconic looks he creates for the shows, plus the flexible felt tip is super easy to use.
Best White Eyeliner: Shiseido Kajal InkArtist Shadow, Liner, Brow – Kabuki White
From an eyeshadow to an eyeliner, this Shiseido number is an excellent multi-tasker. White eyeliner is brilliant for making the eyes look more awake, so roll its Kabuki White shade in your waterline and expect to look infinitely more rested.
When it comes to creating the ultimate feline flick, look no further than Hollywood legend Audrey Hepburn. “Her almond eyes were synonymous with the winged eyeliner that adorned them, and the perfectly defined lashes that fluttered as she gazed through the window of Tiffany & Co, eating a croissant,” says Vogue makeup artist, Celia Burton. “When Alberto de Rossi died, Hepburn’s make-up artist of 25 years, she was said to have declared she’d rather not work again. A perfect tribute to the enormous role that makeup — and the man applying it — had played in her career. Legend has it that de Rossi would apply mascara and then separate each individual eyelash with a safety pin to emphasise her doe eyes.”
Indeed, famed for her feminine brows and signature cat-eye, Hepburn’s was a beauty that surpassed all others. And one that will be under the spotlight once more thanks to a new documentary on the Breakfast at Tiffany’s star. Masterminded by the same BAFTA-nominated team behind 2018’s McQueen, a film about Alexander McQueen, Audrey takes an intimate look at one of cinema’s iconic actresses, featuring never-seen-before footage as well as interviews with her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Givenchy’s former artistic director Clare Waight Keller, and Tiffany & Co design director emeritus John Loring. Though the film promises to uncover the woman behind the red-carpet glitz and glamour, focusing on the psychological effects of her difficult upbringing, it will no doubt bring some of her iconic beauty looks back into focus, too.
To mark the occasion, Vogue makeup artist Celia Burton breaks down the steps to recreating Audrey Hepburn’s signature cat-eye flick.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #56 series on my blog.
Step 1: use liquid eyeliner to mark the position
Look straight into a mirror, with your chin lowered. Consider your eye shape, and use a liquid liner — my favourites are Glossier Pro Tip or Voyeur Waterproof Liquid Liner by Hourglass — to mark out with a dot or dash where you want the ‘flick’ to finish. For the Hepburn effect, I recommend a sharp, squat flick, angled upwards and outwards from the end of the lash line at 45 degrees.
Step 2: drag the eyeliner across the eye
Tip your head back, so now you’re looking down at the mirror, and drag the liner across the eye from the inner corner, staying as close to the lash line as possible. Always have a cotton bud and oil-free makeup remover to hand, to neaten as you go.
Step 3: connect the dots and thicken up
Stop when you reach the end of the lash line, return to looking straight into the mirror, and join the dots from the marked spot to the main event. You can leave this skinny, as a subtle flick, or thicken it out at the wing — just make sure to keep the 45-degree angle.
Few things have the power to instantly transform your look like a great bronzer. But what classifies a formula as the best bronzer is complicated. There’s the obvious: at its core, a bronzer’s purpose is to add depth and warmth to your skin, says Danessa Myricks, makeup artist and CEO of Danessa Myricks Beauty. But a fantastic one can do so much more—like give the illusion of cheek filler or make it look as if you’re fresh off a trip to Ibiza when you haven’t left your couch since the pandemic began.
Here’s where it gets complicated: despite their ability to wake up your skin, so many formulas tend to skew too orange, too ashy, too glittery, or just overall fake-looking. Once you know exactly what to look for, though, the ability to fake a glow and J.Lo-level cheekbones becomes far more simple. That’s where makeup artists and magazine beauty editors come in. Brush up on your bronzer basics below, and then scroll on for the best bronzers according to them.
How to pick your perfect shade
With bronzer, the goal is for it to look as natural as possible. “When selecting a bronzer, think about what naturally happens when you’re in the sun,” says Myricks. “Let your body give you clues. Identify the deeper tones that surface on your chest, shoulders, and arms, and use that as a gauge.”
A safe place to start is a color two shades deeper than your natural skin tone, then go darker if you want a contrast that’s more intense. Makeup artist Kasey Spickard says fair skin tones will look best with a bronzer that has neutral undertones—i.e., shades that don’t lean too warm or cool. Terra-cotta hues with a slightly reddish undertone beautifully complement tan and olive skin. Meanwhile, bronzers that lean golden work best on deep skin, while formulas with a brick-red base play up deep skin with red and brown undertones.
And if you don’t quite know what undertones you have? Stick with something neutral, says Spickard, which no matter your skin tone will still give you a natural flush.
How to choose the right formula for your skin type
Like all other types of makeup, take your skin type into consideration when choosing a formula. Powders are the least intimidating and easiest to use, especially if you’re a beginner. They work on all skin types but are best for oily skin. “If you have dry or combo skin, make sure you are doing proper physical or chemical exfoliation regularly,” says Spickard. “That way your bronzer and blush won’t catch on dry skin and create a patchy application.”
Myricks personally prefers cream bronzers since they look most natural, are versatile and buildable, and last longest on your skin. If you have dry skin or just love a fresh, dewy look, she recommends tapping her Dew Wet Balm in Hot Water over any shade of bronzer. “It’s super easy to apply and can be worn on bare skin or over powders on any skin tone,” she says.
How to apply bronzer
“As is my philosophy with all makeup, start with less and build from there,” says Spickard. “Tap a large fluffy brush once or twice into the pan to load the brush with product, then make a fish face.” From there you’ll want sweep bronzer in a 3 shape over the perimeter of your face—starting at your temples, down the side of your hair, over the tops of your cheekbones, and along your jawline. Then, using whatever product you have left on your brush, you’ll want to blend along the sides of your nose, the tip of your chin, and your neck.
If you feel like you’ve applied too much, take a clean fluffy brush or your fingers and buff out any areas where it’s too heavy. Myricks adds not to forget to buff it into the top of your ears and your hairline for the most natural finish.
Now that you’ve got all that down, here are the best bronzers makeup artists swear by.
Best Overall: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Bronzer
This matte, silky powder received nothing but glowing praise from GLAMOUR Beauty Awards judges—a mix of editors, influencers, and makeup artists. In other words: a tough crowd to please. “After months of being stuck indoors, I’m officially as pale as I ever get,” says contributor Erin Parker. “Thankfully, I’ve had this flawless matte bronzer at the ready—it’s seriously undetectable and blends in so naturally. The true matte powder is honestly perfect for faking a tan (and accentuating your bone structure) quickly and effectively. This is the kind of bronzer you’ll always get plenty of use out of, no matter where we’re at in the makeup trend cycle.”
“A matte cream bronzer is a perfect solution for powder lovers who want the ease of use and the matte finish of powder but with the flawless, undetectable finish a cream provides,” says Myricks. She recommends her Power Bronzer, which applies like a cream but dries down matte: “This can also be a great solution for women with more combination or oily skin, as cream-based products last longer throughout the day and help hold back shine.”
You really can’t beat a classic. Hoola is well loved for it’s insanely easy-to-blend texture, totally matte finish, and the fact that it’s cool enough to realistically contour with and also warm enough to make you look vacation-ready. After years of offering a single shade, the brand now has options for a range of skin tones.
Best Bronzer and Contour Duo: Victoria Beckham Beauty Matte Bronzing Brick
While sure, you can use bronzer to shape your face, it’s technically recommended that contouring should be done with a cool-toned powder since you’re emphasizing shadows. This duo from Cheekbone Queen Victoria Beckham includes a cool-tones powder for definition, and a warmer shade to add a sun-kissed effect to your skin. Both powders are insanely fine and seamless, and the packaging is beautiful and luxe.
Best Bronzer for Dry Skin: Saie Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer
This yummy bronzer has a balmy texture, making it perfect for skin types on the drier side. The formula even has skincare ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and grapeseed oil to soothe and moisturize skin. Even if you don’t need the extra moisture, you’ll appreciate the dewy but not shiny finish and easy-to-blend texture.
Best Blurring Bronzer: GloWish by Huda Beauty Soft Radiance Bronzing Powder
This silky bronzer has a mix of shimmering and matte powders, so your left with an airbrushed, luminous finish that blurs pores and imperfections. One swipe gives you a natural look, but it can be built up for more warmth if that’s your style.
Best Drugstore Bronzer: Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer Murumuru Butter Bronzer
Butter Bronzer has a cult following for a reason. Despite being a powder, it has an almost buttery cream feel, so it never skips or looks patchy, and it has a nice satin finish. It’s very buildable, so you can make it work if you like a natural or more glam look. Plus, it smells like a tropical vacation.
Best Liquid Bronzer: BareMinerals Bare Pro Glow Bronzer
Liquid bronzers don’t get a ton of love in favor of powder formulas, but they’re the secret to a truly seamless faux glow. “I love the classic BareMinerals bronzers, but my current favorite is the liquid version,” says Spickard. “It’s not too warm or orangey, and I love doing a liquid bronzer on a no-makeup day. I just buff it right onto clean skin. I also like to layer this under powder bronzer to make it last all day.”
Best Clean Bronzer: Tower 28 Beauty Bronzino Illuminating Bronzer
This bronzer is a little intimidating in the pan, but gently buffed onto your skin, it’s truly stunning. It has almost a balmlike texture that leaves a glossy glow and a hint of shimmer. Although it’s incredibly dewy, it’s not sticky or greasy, and it makes you look alive in 2.5 seconds. Since it’s so glowy, it means you can skip highlighter as well.
Best Shimmer Bronzer: Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Lighting Bronzer
This powder is very neutral, so it never reads orange—making it a great natural bronzer for fair skin. However, the real selling point that makes it worth its $52 price tag is its luminous finish. The bronzer is formulated using what the brand calls photoluminescent technology, which essentially means it reflects light to blur your skin and add a lit-from-within glow. While some powders can look flat, because this one is so finely milled and has light-reflecting particles, it actually makes skin look dewier—but definitely not sparkly.
A stick bronzer makes application a breeze, and Milk really hit it out of the park with this chubby twist-up. Thanks to the bigger size, you can quickly add warmth to your cheeks, nose, and forehead, or use a brush or sponge for more detailed shading. It blends in in seconds but stays put all day. Plus, it’s the perfect neutral tone.
Best Shade Range: Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk’r Bronzer
“My personal favorite bronzer is the Fenty Beauty Sun Stalkr Bronzer in Private Island,” says Spickard. “It goes on so smoothly, never patchy.” It’s also a favorite among GLAMOUR staffers for the inclusive shade range—there are eight that span from very fair to deep—and realistic undertones. No matter what shade you are, you’ll never look orange or ashy.
Sometimes it takes a little mixing and matching to get the perfect shade for you, which is why Spickard loves these duos. He likes to blend the shades together to create a sun-kissed glow that is very natural. The powders are finely milled, so it’s hard to go overboard. The formula is also vegan and cruelty-free.
Best Bronzer for Fair Skin: Maybelline City Bronzer
If you’re fair and like to use a bronzer to add depth, shade Light 001 is the answer to your prayers. There’s not even a hint of orange; it just gives your skin a nice glow and definition. The powder is really buildable, which is ideal for pale skin, and it has a velvet matte finish thanks to the inclusion of whipped cocoa butter.
Best Bronzer for Light Skin: Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer in Milk Chocolate
This bronzer looks beautiful both in the pan and on your skin, and because it’s made with real cocoa powder, it smells incredible as well. This buildable bronzer doesn’t pull orange, and the Milk Chocolate shade is particularly great for light skin. The deeper shades are just as good, and all three can be used to add warmth and definition.
Best Bronzer for Medium Skin: Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel
This bronzer is on the expensive side, but the hamburger-sized jar will last you a lifetime. While it’s a cream product, it dries down to a powder that doesn’t budge. The beautiful texture buffs right into your skin, and it can be used both to add warmth and sculpt your face. It also looks incredible on your vanity or top shelf.
Best Bronzer for Deep Skin: Mented Cosmetics Bronzer
It’s still frustratingly uncommon to find bronzers that work for dark skin, but Mented is here to change the game. Created by women of color, for women of color, these bronzers are richly pigmented, buildable, and insanely smooth. They’re also enriched with vitamins A and E for skin-care benefits; plus, they’re vegan and cruelty-free.
Best Bronzer for Red and Brown Undertones: Makeup Revolution Splendor Matte Bronzer
Chances are you’ve seen these bronzers praised all over Twitter for being one of the few options that cater to women of color across all skin tones and undertones. The reviews back up the tweets, with users being pleasantly surprised by how richly pigmented and easy to work with they are. And the price can’t be beat.