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
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.
After an easy way to pep up tired, pale winter skin? Look no further than a stealthily-applied cream blush. Ideal for those whose skin demands some colour each morning (the many, not the few), a hit of creamy pink, berry or red can overhaul the face, and make skin look healthier in less than 10 seconds.
Glossier knows its way around a fantastic cream blush, having launched its bestselling Cloud Paints in 2017. Inspired by New York sunsets, there is a shade for everyone, from Dusk to Storm. In the short time they’ve existed, the blushes have already become cult, adored by everyone from teenage beauty fans to pro makeup artists. And now the brand has expanded the shade range to include two more hues: Eve and Spark.
“Eve is a mulberry, deep burgundy red which is gorgeous on darker skin tones,” explains Celia Burton, European makeup artist for Glossier. “Used really lightly, it creates a wine-stain finish and looks beautiful on brunettes. Meanwhile, Spark is a vibrant, poppy-orange red which gives a warm glow.”
Both shades are your ticket to a warm, healthy flush this autumn, and can, Burton points out, be used all over the face. “They’re multi-faceted, rather genius, products. A little goes a long way, so after you’ve applied to your cheeks, you can use the leftovers on lips and eyes.” For the makeup equivalent of a winter warmer, pat excess product onto the bridge of the nose – it will make you look like you’ve spent a week in the sun. Or, Burton says, mix the new Spark or original shade Dawn into a cream or liquid bronzer, for a naturally bronzed flush.
She’s a fan of using the fingers, which helps to control how much product you get out of the Cloud Paint tube and offers an easy way to apply it on the go. However, “If you’ve got the luxury of time, use a brush – it’s a nice way to diffuse the colour and really blend the product out, creating that lovely puff of colour that Cloud Paint creates so well.”
Just as Harris Reed’s clothing offers an important voice in the conversation around the way we define masculinity and gender identity in fashion, a limited-edition collaboration with MAC Cosmetics created by the 24-year-old British-American designer is set to redefine the way we approach makeup.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #37 series on my blog.
“Beauty is fluid, beauty is for everyone and I can’t wait to see how people are going to use this collection to show their version of self-expression and fluidity,” Harris toldVogue, practically shrieking down the phone with excitement. “That’s what I’m super excited about.”
“My first experiences with makeup were with my friends at a MAC store getting ready for prom and it was the brand that I first saw putting make-up on ‘boys’’, they explain, citing MAC as the perfect partner. “For it to even trust me, and take on my strong-ass message of fighting for fluidity, I have to say, has just felt like the most beautiful partnership.”
One of Harris’s personal highlights to come from the collaboration is that it will enable their hundreds of thousands of followers the opportunity to own their own part of the Harris Reed brand and feel included in its wider message. “It’s such an emotional thing for me. I’ve been so incredibly lucky that millions of people have seen the things I’ve worked on and have been a part of, but have maybe until now they’ve not been able to buy into it. This is now something that anyone can get their hands on and be a part of. It doesn’t feel real, it feels crazy.”
The millennial-pink packaged collection is made up of four products, each of which offers a plethora of possibilities to play around with. A smudge of one shade into your hairline could work mixed with another swept over your eyelids for a trip to the shop – just as Harris did when creating the palettes. Though MAC has a history of being used by professionals, this collection has a level of tactility to it that the least acquainted with makeup can become quickly familiar with. The fact that there are no application brushes is deliberate – Harris prefers the human touch.
“It is very much about a playfulness and the joy of makeup,” Harris continues. “As someone who makes clothes that take a couple of weeks to produce, if I want to make a statement with makeup, it literally takes me seconds with a good lipstick or eyeshadow. As I have pushed this idea of a more fluid space in a more fluid world, I’ve really loved that makeup can always be that gorgeous icing on top. It doesn’t only complete the look but, it also completes the message, acting as that extra ounce of light to help radiate what I stand for.”
Much like their clothing, the inspiration behind the colours and products is a major meeting of eras and aesthetics, resulting in an overall “glam-luxe romanticism gone non-binary,” they say. “It is a mix between Studio 54 and rococo, but also think a full renaissance party. You can start with this very beautiful, very whimsical approach and then by the end you can end up with this Studio-54-inspired gold eyeshadow all over your face, even pushing up to the hairline.” Their hero product? A trio of lipsticks called ‘From Harris, With Love’ that reminds them of their first forays into makeup and looking at lipsticks with their mum as a child. “I know those are the ones that I will keep on me at a party, applying, applying and applying.”
Harris’s own approach to beauty and using makeup for themselves has shifted as their sense of self has grown — most notably after they started at Central Saint Martins, emerged in London’s creative scene. Yet they weren’t always so comfortable and forthcoming with using products for themselves. “Being around fabulously flamboyant people really pushed me in the way that I wanted to express myself in terms of my gender identity and being creative across so many areas,” they said.
“[Wearing makeup] has made me have a much more honest approach to my identity. Like anything, it can be scary if you’re not familiar with it. The minute I thought of makeup as a tool to use to send a message and spark a story, was when I started having a way more playful approach. It gave me a space to feel that everything was okay. It definitely was a journey and now I realise that you write your own rulebook.”
The four-piece collection is a small but mighty push for us all to rethink how we use and approach makeup. Harris doesn’t see using cosmetics any differently to employing a fabulous fashion accessory when putting an outfit together. “I think if I, and this collection, can be of any influence to make people look at makeup as a tool to be who you want to be, then that’s job done,” they said.
“Try and not think of makeup as something that makes you look ‘pretty’ and try and not look at it as something that you use to make yourself better, but to explore and enhance something within you. Use makeup as a tool to be your most authentic self.”
It’s infused with rosehip and jojoba oils for maximum hydration.
If dry skin has ever kept you from wearing makeup, skincare CEO Charlotte Parler promises you’ll meet your match with the Kosas Color & Light Cream Palette.
“It’s probably my favorite cosmetic product right now,” said Parler, the founder of Dieux Skin, in a recent viral TikTok. “If you have dry skin, this highlighter and cream blush duo is going to make you look dewy.”
Kosas clearly had dry skin in mind when creating this palette, which is formulated with apricot kernel, rosehip, and jojoba seed oils to soothe and brighten skin. The blend of oils also makes for an incredibly blendable product, and the infused pigments are buildable and offer major staying power. To seal the deal, the blush and highlighter are cruelty-free and boast a shelf life of a whopping 18 months.
The Color & Light palette is available in four complementary color combinations, all of which are also sold in a high-intensity variation containing double the pigment. And these shades have range— shoppers can choose from the peach and cream Velvet Melon, the cool pinks of 8th Muse, the burnt orange and mauve in Helios, and the vibrant bronze hues of the Tropic Equinox duo.
More than 300 shoppers have supported Parler’s claims about this palette in the form of a five-star review on Kosas’ website. “During the winter when my skin is naturally drier, this allows me to keep my skin hydrated while having a dewy looking glow,” one customer wrote. “It’s exactly what I was looking for!”
“I love the glow this gives on my dry skin,” said another. “I find myself grabbing it almost daily.”
The Kosas Color & Light Cream Palette can be yours for $34, which isn’t so bad when you consider that it contains two high-quality formulations in a single pan. Plus, if you sign up for the brand’s mailing list, you’ll receive 10% off your first order. No matter your skin tone or texture, it’s a foolproof path to a hydrated flush during the driest season of the year.
You’ve probably seen Tower 28’s sunny, beach-inspired products on your Instagram feed. Welcome to Artist Spotlight #24 series on my blog.
After dealing with embarrassing flare-ups throughout her career, while working for some of the biggest brands in the beauty industry, Liu wanted to create makeup products that people with sensitive, compromised skin would feel good about using.
In under two years, Tower 28 has become known for its clean formulas, beach-inspired shades, colorful packaging, and accessible price points.
However, while Tower 28’s cult-favorite SOS Daily Rescue Spray has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, the brand’s products aren’t just for people with eczema or other chronic skin conditions.
“My hope is the products aren’t just for people who suffer from eczema or have problem skin like mine,” Liu tells InStyle. “It’s been fascinating because if you were to look at the people who tag us on Instagram, there’s everything from beauty guru full makeup looks to people who are more into skincare. It makes me so happy because I wanted this brand to be for everyone.”
Find out how Liu broke into the beauty industry, her thoughts on the future of the clean beauty movement, and so much more.
How did you wind up working in the beauty industry?
My first job out of college was consulting. I didn’t feel an attachment to the work I was doing because once I was done a project somewhere I would leave. I went through what I call my quarter life crisis, and went to business school with the intention of changing careers. I don’t consider myself to be a super glam person or a beauty junkie, but the way people engage with beauty products and the psychology of beauty products has always fascinated me. Putting on makeup can be a confidence boost, and as someone who’s aging and has had compromised skin, I understand that experience. So, I went to USC for business school and did my first internship at L’Oréal with Maybelline. Then I worked at brands like Smashbox and Kate Somerville. All the while, I always knew I wanted to do my own thing but I’m quite a risk-adverse person. The idea of walking away from a job with a decent salary and raising money to start a brand was really scary. In the end, I ended up raising money from friends and family and that’s how I started Tower 28.
What is the inspiration behind Tower 28?
I’ve had compromised, inconsistent, eczema-prone skin since I was in college. You see it addressed in skincare, but not really in makeup. I really wanted to wear makeup when I had flare-ups, but my biggest fear was making it worse by using products. I also felt self-conscious at work when I was presenting products to people and my hands had eczema on it. I’m sure part of it was in my own head because no one ever said anything to me, but it made me want to create something that could help people with compromised skin who felt guilty or bad about wearing products.
My parents immigrating to America from Taiwan is the second thing that’s inspired the brand. I was born in the U.S., grew up in California, and felt very American, but I still felt a little bit on the outside because I didn’t fit into what was considered the typical standards of beauty. That’s part of the reason why the brand has a beach theme to it. I’ve lived in Southern California near the beach for so long and you don’t just see blue eyes and blonde hair. Tower 28 is a real place on the edge of Santa Monica and Venice, and you could not find a more diverse group of people there. I wanted to tell a different story about the beach, and bring clean beauty to a larger group of people.
California just passed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act. As a clean beauty brand founder, how do you think this bill will affect the industry?
In general, as a wide statement, most businesses will not change unless there’s a real threat to their business. However, I’m happy that it’s happened and I hope it’s the tip of the iceberg. I think the consumer and the demand for clean products what will ultimately change the industry. I don’t think people think this new legislation is strict enough, especially if they’re already using clean products.
What Tower 28 product are you most proud of?
The product I’m most proud of and personally reliant on, is our SOS Spray. We recently announced that we’re launching a jumbo size on Instagram and all of the comments were from people saying how excited they are. I’ve had this skin problem so long and started the brand not knowing I’d make something that really helps me, and then so many other people. It’s exactly all of the things I wanted to get out of creating a brand. Outside of that, I also think it’s cool that we don’t just have one hero product. We only have a few SKUs, but they’re all pretty productive.
I hope to provide access to mentorship and education at a time where so many Black founders are suddenly being seen and there’s an influx of demand. Since I’ve worked in the beauty industry for 17 years, I’m able to help people connect the dots, find mentors, and hopefully leverage this moment. A huge part of the success I’ve had in my career is due to my network and community in the industry, which in itself is a privilege.
Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
For a natural, streak-free glow, a cream bronzer is your best bet. Tower 28’s buildable formula blends like a dream, thanks to skin-conditioning ingredients like mango butter and calming green tea extract. It comes in two shades” West Coast is a medium bronze with neutral undertones, while Best Coast is a deep bronze with red undertones.
What do you get when you combine everything you love about your favorite lip balm and gloss? Tower 28’s ShineOn Lip Jelly. The six translucent shades (including this red) offer high shine and hydrate lips — without any stickiness.
This isn’t your average refreshing facial mist, the cult-favorite spray is formulated with hypochlorous acid, an ingredient that helps reduce bacteria and inflammation, which in turn, can soothe compromised skin and prevent acne.
There’s no right or wrong way to use this tinted balm. Dab it on your eyelids, lips, and cheeks for a luminous, sheer wash of color. The three available shades are inspired by the warm tones of a Santa Monica sunset.
Available in four shades inspired by alternative milks, the milky edition of ShineOn Lip Jelly is a level up from the original. It’s infused with apricot kernel and raspberry seed oils to nourish and protect lips from free radicals and environmental aggressors.
Wind-flushed cheeks; flawless skin; and just-bitten lips: all hallmarks of the “English Rose”, the term used to describe a delicate kind of beauty long regarded as classically English. The likes of Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, Ella Balinska, Emma Watson and now, newcomer Emma Corrin – who appears on British Vogue’s October cover as her The Crown character Princess Diana (another famous English Rose) – all share a certain innocent appeal.
“The quintessential English Rose look comprises berry-stained plump lips, ruddy, flushed cheeks and a dewy, invisibly-perfect complexion,” says make-up artist Neil Young. “The complexion should feel real and translucent, so as to reveal all the natural undertones of the skin.” Here, Young shares exactly how to achieve the look for yourself with the assistance of some cleverly applied make-up.
To create a harmonious balance of colour on the face, Young recommends using a multi-use lip and cheek product. “Creams and gels lend themselves to this look as they melt into the skin, creating a believable pink undertone to the lip and cheek – think royal flush and berry-bitten lips. Deeper complexions should opt for darker red and fuchsia tones,” he says. Look to Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge creams – there’s a shade for everyone – or Westman Atelier’s Baby Cheeks Blush Sticks for an ultra-natural, dewy finish.
Use your fingers
To create that natural, just-been-outside flush, use your fingers to apply your blush. “It pushes the cream formula into the apples of the cheeks, which makes it look like the colour is radiating through the skin, rather than floating on top like a powder blusher,” explains Young. “If your complexion is combination to oily, then a powder blush [like Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Blush] with light-reflecting particles will achieve the same effect.”
Where to apply
The aim is to make your flush look totally natural, as if it hasn’t been applied, so mimic where you would naturally redden: “Apply to the apples of the cheeks and pull down towards the jawline for a flushed appearance,” advises Young. “If you’re using a powder, sweep across the apples of cheeks and pull the brush down towards the jawline to create a ruddy effect.”
Heat, humidity and sweat; three of make-up’s biggest enemies. Or so you might think. It doesn’t have to be that way, since nifty products and clever application techniques can help your make-up stay put through thick and thin – and that’s with a mask on, too. Here find five make-up artist-approved tips to harness when it’s hot.
Prep the skin
How you tend to your skin before you apply make-up is key to enhancing the longevity of base formulas. “Cleanse and then apply a good serum and moisturiser,” says make-up artist Cher Webb. “Then use a primer. It makes a huge difference and will keep your base on for longer.” Look to lightweight, antioxidant-rich moisturisers like QMS Medicosmetics Epigen Pollution Defence Day Cream, a good summer option, then ensure you apply an SPF, like Beauty Pie’s Featherlight SPF 50. As for primer, look no further than Elemis’s new Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser, which imparts a radiant sheen over skin while also keeping subsequent base products in place.
Whether you use a spray or a powder, setting your make-up is key. “The Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray has been one of my make-up kit essentials for so many years now, as it sets and holds make-up in place for up to 16 hours,” says Webb. “It prevents make-up melting with its built-in temperature control formula, and I also spray it on top my brushes before make-up application for added longevity.” Mists are a great option during summer (we also love Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray), since they also hydrate and refresh the face – needed when temperatures are sky high – but powders are particularly good for those with oily skin. Look for finely-milled, translucent formulas, like Morphe’s Bake And Set Powder.
Consistency is key
To heat-proof your make-up look, switch creamy consistencies for powder textures instead. “In the heat, I would recommend making the most of your eye make-up, and add a matte bronzer and powder blush as these will last the duration,” advises Webb. “Cream and gel textures may move slightly over time, so go for matte products.” You’ll love getting Gucci Beauté’s Éclat Soleil Bronzing Powder out of your bag, such is its beautiful packaging and flattering matte bronze, while Chanel’s Joues Contraste Powder Blush comes in an array of flattering hues, ideal for sun-flushed skin.