Cream bronzer is beloved among pro makeup artists because it blends seamlessly into skin, almost melting to become one with the complexion. But besides its ultra-simple application and the natural, skin-like dewy finish it creates, it’s also incredibly versatile: It can of course be used to, well, bronze, but, when applied strategically, it can also contour and sculpt the face, bring overall warmth to the chest, neck and shoulders or even serve as a neutral-toned eye shadow to build beautiful, subtle depth. What I’m really getting at here is that cream bronzer is truly the unsung hero of the makeup bag, and it’s time the product gets its due.
With that in mind, here’re some of my (and cult) favourite cream bronzers and contour sticks, with something for every skin tone, finish preference and price point. From sheer shimmers that illuminate skin, ultra-blendable mattes that create a natural effect and ingeniously designed sticks that can be swept beneath cheekbones or along the hairline with ease and precision. Look through the selection below to see them all.
SAIE Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer
Lys Beauty No Limits Cream Bronzer and Contour Stick
ELF Putty Bronzer
Tarte Sea Breezy Cream Bronzer
Physicians Formula Organic Wear Sculpting Bronzer
Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer
Tower28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
Rare Beauty Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer Stick
Danessa Myricks Power Bronzer Cream Bronzer
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream
Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Cream Bronzer
If you’re a beauty junkie, you know that navigating the world of makeup can be a pretty overwhelming experience. Whether you’re in the market for a new concealer, translucent powder, or setting spray, there seems to be a million options for each—who has time to test them all and find the very best one? Luckily, that’s what beauty pros are for.
Vogue reached out to five noteworthy influencers and makeup artists who are all gaining large followings for their stellar makeup looks. This includes Neon MUA and Robert Welsh—both of whom create colorful eyeshadow looks like no other—and Wayne Goss, who has nearly 4 million followers on YouTube. If you’re a Lil Nas X fan, you may also recognize Anthony H. Nguyen’s work: He serves as the rapper’s makeup artist, and has created many of his memorable red carpet and video looks (like this graphic liner for the “Montero” video). Meanwhile, Shantanu Dhope—whose Instagram tagline is “Brown Boys wear makeup too”—also creates eye-catching beauty looks that incorporate his Desi culture.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #64 series on my blog.
Beyond simply creating enchanting looks, these pros are also proving makeup is truly for all—whether female, male, or nonbinary. Dhope, for instance, says he proudly wears makeup because, “I feel we do not have enough brown skin representation in the beauty industry, especially brown men wearing makeup. In India, a boy wearing makeup is still a very new concept, and a lot of people consider it to be a taboo.” Goss also specifically encourages men who are new to makeup to experiment and have fun with it. “When it comes to makeup, most men tend to want to enhance their looks without anyone knowing they’re wearing any,” says Goss. His tip to achieving the perfect beginner look? “Make sure you apply ‘little’ and avoid over-application. Less is more. And never be afraid of blush—healthy skin has some color to it.”
Below, read on for these five beauty artists’s top products for everyone to try.
Call me biased, but my collection of face palettes with Midas Cosmetics is something that everyone needs in their kit. These palettes are pigmented, buttery, and most importantly, they have the range. My focus with creating this collection was to make sure that everyone can have access to effective contours and bronzers, whether you are fair and need products that don’t run orange, or if you’re deeply rich and are tired of not having access to contours and bronzers that actually show up on your complexion.
This is a recent must-have for me. I love this powder because it is truly translucent. The All Nighter collection is known for being waterproof and locking in your makeup for hours, so being able to finally have a product that helps with sweat and shine that is also a true translucent powder is a gift from the makeup gods.
I will always love NARS foundations because they have such a wide range of shades and undertones, plus their formula is always top-tier. Out of all of the NARS foundations, this is the one that I always find myself reaching for, because it offers a nice amount of coverage without looking cakey, while also giving you the natural, healthy glow that everyone wants.
MannyMUA in my honest opinion has one of the most impressive influencer brands in beauty, because he’s not afraid to play with color and concepts. All of his palettes are truly impressive (especially his revamped Life’s A Drag Facelift palette), but if there’s one palette that I will also grab, it’s the Strawberry Dream palette. Reds and blues are some of the hardest colors to work with in terms of shadows, yet these shades are so pigmented and blend like a dream. Everyone needs this palette.
With the classic technique of soap brows becoming a more recent trend, and many brands releasing their version of brow grooming waxes, this is one of the only brow products I have found that draws smoothly and precisely over a waxy texture. After grooming brows into that fluffy look, this pen is also perfect to draw strokes of hair on the brows, without losing the overall look.
I find a lot of highlighters can look textured or obvious on the skin—either because they contain glitter, or because the shades are slightly off, with a metallic finish. This highlighter is the complete opposite. There are multiple different shades that complement skin tone, instead of the highlighter being just pink or gold for example. When applying this highlighter, you notice how it effortlessly blends, and almost becomes one with your skin. And because it’s buildable, you can start at a natural “glowing from within” to a more dramatic glow.
Beauty Bay has always been a go-to destination for me when looking to try new products and brands, as they offer everything from drugstore to high-end products. Their own brand’s eyeshadows, at drugstore prices, offer high-end quality. Every texture, matte, shimmer, and glitter are extremely pigmented and blend beautifully. They all have an almost creamy texture that is easy to build, and are a pleasure to use when creating a makeup look.
Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Crème Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo
One thing I get asked a lot is “what’s the difference between bronzer and contour?” These compacts are the perfect representation of what a bronzer and contour should be. The bronzing powder provides just the right amount of “sun-kissed” without being orange, and the cream contour shades create the perfect ‘bone structure-mimicking’ contour colour, which blends naturally into the skin. If you’ve had trouble finding your perfect contour shade before, or perhaps are intimidated by the idea of contouring, this product is the perfect place to start, and stick with.
I cannot leave my house without grooming my eyebrows. I just run this product quickly through my brows to give me a clean and fresh looking brow. It gives me the right amount of color without looking over done.
Danessa Myricks’ eponymous makeup brand kicks off a partnership that’s been a year in the making. You can shop nine product categories, including the Best of Beauty-winning Colorfix, on Sephora’s virtual shelves for glowing, professional-tier looks.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #42 series on my blog.
Although most of us aren’t wearing makeup as often as we used to, experimenting with makeup and carving out that time for myself has become a major solace for me throughout the past year.
Danessa Myricks Beauty exclusively revealed to Allure that the iconic brand is partnering up with Sephora to launch most of its products on sephora.com. The giant beauty retailer has been watching the brand’s growth for quite a while, and founder Danessa Myricks says the “official courtship” lasted around a year. “From the very beginning, [Sephora has] demonstrated a deep commitment to my long-term success,” Myricks adds. “They’ve followed my journey, knew of all my products, attended my master classes, and were actual customers of the brand.”
Last year was a long-overdue time of retail reckoning spurred by Sharon Chuter’s #PullUpOrShutUp challenge. In addition to sharing statistics on Black employees (especially in leadership positions), major retailers also committed to filling their shelves with more Black-owned brands and partnering with experts in the space to achieve diversity-centric goals with a conscience.
As a small-business owner and Black entrepreneur, Myricks went into initial discussions with Sephora with a certain, necessary level of precaution — but, as you can probably tell, both sides were able to make it work. “I never felt like a box checked off on a quota,” she says. “[Sephora was] thoughtful and present when it was time to have difficult conversations around inclusion and diversity and were mindful of the commitment it takes for a small brand like mine to scale at this level.”
These initiatives go beyond her own brand, too. “What excited me the most about this partnership is not only will this be possible for Danessa Myricks Beauty, but Sephora has also committed to creating this same opportunity for more female-founded, Black-owned brands as well,” Myricks shares.
I’m personally stover excited about the prospect of more makeup enthusiasts catching wind of Danessa Myricks Beauty and trying out the line for themselves. Read on to learn about every DMB product that became available at sephora.com as of their launch date, February 26.
Colorfix 24-Hour Cream Color ($18)
These multipurpose cream pigments allow you to create some seriously vibrant, out-of-the-world looks (see above for proof). And the best of news of all: The brand has confirmed that all 83 shades and finishes — Creams, Mattes, Foils, Glazes, Neons, and Nudes — will be eventually be available to shop on Sephora. (For the initial launch, there are 30 shades to dive in on.)
If you don’t know where to start, Myricks recommends a monochromatic look. “With just one drop, you can take your favorite shade and add it to your lips, cheeks, and eyelids,” she says. (Just look at your favorite celebrities, such as Yara Shahidi, for inspiration.) The intense pigmentation works on every skin tone and lasts all day, Myricks adds.
“I think the number-one unexpected way Colorfix is used is as a complexion product,” Myricks says. Colorfix in shades like Phoenix (matte bright orange) and Carrot Top (neon orange) are crease-proof fixes for dark circles and hyperpigmentation. “The tiniest drop immediately neutralizes darkness and sets without bleeding into foundation or concealer,” she adds.
Vision Cream Cover ($28)
Sephora is known to offer tons of product exclusives in the form of jumbo sizes, pop-culture collaborations, and holiday gift sets, so it’s no surprise that Danessa Myricks Beauty is kicking off its Sephora partnership with an exclusive of its own: a value-size version of the Vision Cream Cover for $22 (normally $28).
“With over 20 years of experience as a makeup artist, one thing I know for sure is everyone wants to look natural, regardless of their coverage needs,” Myricks says. This foundation-concealer hybrid has easily adjustable, sheer-to-full coverage available in 23 shades and six color transformer/additive colors for further customization (i.e. peach to neutralize redness). Infused with moisture-boosting squalane and soothing vitamin E, it glides onto skin like a dream and leaves behind a silky-smooth finish.
You only need one drop of the creamy formula for full-face coverage or a half-drop if you’re using it as a concealer, Myricks says. You can also sheer out the Vision Cream Cover with a hydrating lotion or lightweight oil. As far as application goes, you can play with it however you like. “It’s so finger-friendly but also works beautifully with a sponge or a brush,” she adds.
Dew Wet Balm ($22)
If you’re looking for an instant “glass skin” finish on the fly, Dew Wet Balm will dew that with a single swipe. Available in five luminescent colors (including translucent, rose gold, and bronze), this highlighting balm sinks into skin, rather than simply sitting atop of it. That effect is due to the formula’s hydrating jojoba oil, which lends skin a natural glow. You could say it’s the highlight of 2021 makeup trends.
Vision Flush ($20)
Similar to Colorfix, Vision Flush can also be applied all over the eyes, lips, and cheeks for a subtle, satin-matte wash of color. Choose from 12 shades — including corals, plums, and browns — and sweep the diamond-shaped reservoir tip applicator across your lips or dab onto your lids and cheekbones. Voilà, radiance in a pinch.
Illuminating Veil ($22)
Tap the Illuminating Veil for backup if you want to add major glimmer to your face or body. Whether you wear it on its own or mix it in with your favourite liquid foundation for a dewy finish, this water-based highlighter makes all skin tones glow in no time at all. If you’re short on time, you can effortlessly blend in any of the 12 bronzey, golden, silver, and lavender shades in with your fingers.
Power Bronzer ($26)
An alternative to cakey powder bronzers, the Power Bronzer is a long-wearing cream bronzer that’s impossibly easy to blend and adds a dimensional dose of warmth to your face. All three shades (Deep, Medium, and Light) are perfect for achieving a summery glow — even when you’re stuck indoors all winter long.
Evolution Powder ($24)
Designed with the harshness of flash photography and TV/film lighting in mind, the Evolution Powder blurs the appearance of texture and fine lines with light-diffusing spheres. Dust on a layer of the translucent setting powder or any of the eight tinted shades (including yellow, peach, tan, and bronze) to set your makeup with ease and guard against mid-day shine.
Hot tip: Sweep the powder in only the areas you experience excess oil with a small makeup brush (aka, precision powdering) if you don’t want to lose your all-over glow.
Light Work Palette I & II ($42)
The Light Work Palettes allow you to layer various highlighting shades so you obtain the exact level of brilliance you desire. Both palettes have six creamy powder shades each, but the “I” edition has cooler rose gold, champagne, gold, and soft white shades, while “II” has a warmer color scheme that incorporates yellow gold, terracotta bronze, cocoa bronze hues. Both, however, contain micro-light-refracting particles that add eye-catching dimension to your face.
Beauty Oil ($30)
Even though it’s spiked with deeply hydrating jojoba, sunflower, and walnut oils, you’ll find the Beauty Oil still manages to be lightweight to the touch. The clear, gold-flecked liquid sinks into skin within seconds to reveal your skin’s natural radiance when it’s worn alone as a skin-care product, underneath complexion products, and mixed with your foundation of choice (just two to three drops will do). It’s especially handy for mature skin.
What are you waiting for? Stock up on all things Danessa Myricks at sephora.com (and in-stores on April 9), and keep your eyes peeled for new and special drops.
“Because E.L.F.’s makeup and skin-care offerings are incredibly affordable and effective, wanting to fill up your cart with everything the beauty brand has to offer is a little too tempting. (We’ve all be there.) Add in the fact that you can pick up the products at your local Target, Old Navy, and drugstores, and you’ll start wondering if E.L.F. wants you to directly deposit your paycheck into its account.“
“We rounded up some tried-and-true product picks from Allure editors to make shopping E.L.F.’s vast beauty selection a little easier, more efficient, and kinder to your wallet. You’re welcome. Many of our recommendations even have a Best of Beauty Awards and Readers’ Choice Awards to their names, like best eye shadow brush and best lipstick, so you know they’re going to be amazing additions to your beauty routine. Keep scrolling to see which highlighter, eye shadow palette, and skin-care products we swear by.”
E.L.F. Luminous Poreless Putty Primer
Unlike the original version, which has a slightly mattifying effect, E.L.F.’s Luminous Poreless Putty Primer leaves the skin with a subtle dewy finish whether you choose to wear it alone or under makeup. So if you want to minimize the appearance of your pores and get a radiant glow, look no further than this primer.
If you’ve never experienced the wonders of a peeling gel, allow this Best of Beauty winner to be your introduction. Straight out of the pump, it looks like a clear gel. However, when you start rubbing it onto skin, it turns into little balls. Why? The Gentle Peeling Exfoliant picks up the dead skin cells and other grime on your face and rolls it up like eraser dust. It’s incredibly satisfying and leaves skin smooth and radiant.
The Best of Beauty-winning Cream Contour Palette contains four different matte creams — a trio of bronzes (taupe, fawn, and caramel) and one yellow-beige hue for brightening. Each are rich and intensely pigmented but once blended out, they seamlessly melt into skin for a natural-looking sculpted finish.
E.L.F.’s SuperBrighten Peel Pads may not cost you much — and yet, they actually rival some of their more expensive competitors on the market. Formulated with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), citrus (from lemon peel oil and lemon fruit extract), and witch hazel, these exfoliating treatment pads work by gently buffing away excess dead skin, which, in turn, gives the appearance of a more radiant complexion.
Washing your makeup tools doesn’t have to be a chore. Keep the Solid Sponge Cleanser near your sink, so you remember to dip dirty brushes and sponges directly into it when they need a washing. (There’s something soothing about swirling them around the charcoal-infused disc.)
Along with pristine brushes, your skin will love that you’re cleaning your brushes with the detoxifying ingredient, as it’s been said to help prevent future breakouts. And let’s be real, we’ll take all the help we can get.
Not even E.L.F. is immune to the holographic makeup hype. These color-shifting powders may look petal pink and lilac in the pan, but when brushed onto cheekbones, they transform into a hot pink and sky blue.
Made with watermelon fruit extract (yum), glycerin, and castor oil, E.L.F.’s Jelly Pop Water Gel Moisturizer soothes redness and re-hydrates parched skin in one fell swoop. It’s also super-fast-absorbing, making it an especially great option for the summer months when we’re sweating more and tend to favor lighter products.
Available in eight different shade options, E.L.F.’s Bite Size Eye Shadow Palettes (as in the same ones that went viral on TikTok earlier this year) make creating a put-together eye look easy as pie. The quad shown here is “cream & sugar” and contains a combination of neutral-toned, shimmery and matte shadows that work on almost every skin tone. Plus, the formula of these shadows is über-opaque, yet also so easy to blend.
Allure editors aren’t the only ones obsessed with E.L.F.’s Moisturizing Lipstick in Velvet Rope — our readers are, too. Velvet Rope, which is a cherry red with a golden sheen, won a Readers’ Choice Award this year for its creamy, hydrating formula that lasts all day long.
Read our guide to the best glow-givers of the year yet? If so, then you already know E.L.F.’s best-selling Baked Highlighter made the cut.
Despite technically being a powder, its ultra-buttery, featherlight formula melts into the skin like it’s nothing and never looks cakey worn on top of foundation and concealer. It also contains skin-loving ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba, and apricot seed oils, which is a nice added bonus.
Blending eye shadow ain’t easy. The Beautifully Precise Eyeshadow Brush No. 201, which recently won a Best of Beauty Award, will do all the work for you with as little effort as possible. You can pack color onto your lids with the short, dense bristles before sweeping the fluffy ends over the edges to soften them in seconds.
With all the latest palettes packed with terracotta and peach shades, the E.L.F. Mad For Matte Holy Smokes Palette has a much-welcomed mix of both warm- and cool-toned hues. On the right side, you have a peachy cream, blue-toned gray, and more neutral shades for laying down a clean base. Or, of course, you can wear just one by itself for a more minimalist look.
On the left side, you have a gorgeous teal, sapphire blue, and soft black for making your smoky eye fantasies a reality. (Hence the name Holy Smokes.) You can make sure they are all blended well with the shades situated in the middle of the palette.
If using a cream brozing/contouring product, don’t apply it directly on to your face (it can erase your base makeup and be harder to blend out). Pick up the product with your brush either directly from the product or the back of your hand, this allows for control over placement of it on your face and for a build-up to a desired intensity.
Play around with different colours and looks when you have free time. You never know what looks you could create! You might find something that you like and something you don’t. You might incorporate some into your daily makeup routine.
Learn how to properly line/overline your lips. Analyze the shape of your lips and only overline in the areas where there’s a more slim portion, and line the rest as regular. If you feel like you need to overline all over – please do! Makeup has no rules.
What are some of your makeup tips? Let me know in the comments below!