Kosas Color & Light: Crème Cream Blush & Highlighter Duo
Kosas gives you the best of both worlds by packaging a cream blush and highlighter in this compact case. And because it’s Kosas—a clean beauty brand—the duo is formulated with nourishing oils and pigment to give you the skin and makeup look of your dreams.
In Danessa Myricks’ world, the number one rule is to experiment. The makeup maven’s cult-favorite Colorfix is a creamy, multipurpose pigment that can be used as eyeshadow, lipstick or gloss, blush—anywhere.
LYS Beauty Higher Standard Clean Cream Blush with Vitamin E
There’s a reason this blush is flying off Sephora’s (online) shelves. Cream blushes normally don’t give an intense color payoff but LYS Beauty’s version is the exception. With six colors to choose from, the cream blush imparts a soft matte finish that can be dressed up to full glam or subtle for soft glam.
This blush is a dream thanks to its cream to powder formula. It’s smooth to the touch and melts into the skin. Plus, it’s whipped to perfection with vitamin E and argan oil to keep the skin moisturized.
Flushed, rosy cheeks have always been a constant in Patrick Ta’s artistry. Enter Double-Take: a blush palette with two options. One side of the palette is a cream blush, and the other side is a powder blush to complement each other.
Finding the right makeup products that won’t break you out is hard, but Honest Beauty is a start. Free of any harsh chemicals or ingredients, Honest Beauty’s Cheek Blush is a good-for-skin product packed with raspberry, blackberry, and grapefruit extract.
Cheek Gelee is basically a stain for your cheeks, without the stubborn stiffness that comes with stain-like products. This blends like a dream with the other makeup products on your skin for a seamless, symmetric makeup look.
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.
You don’t need to have expert false lash application skills to achieve a thick, long, dramatic lash look. The right volumizing mascara will do just that — no glue required. It will ensure your lashes are anything but subtle.
Plus, I have a quick application tip for you to help your lashes look as voluminous as possible. Before swiping the wand all the way through your lashes, start by wiggling the bristles into the base of your lashes and lightly stamping the mascara against your waterline. This simple step will help even the sparsest fringe look instantly fuller by filling in the gaps between your lashes. Afterward, you can proceed with your usual mascara application technique. Keep scrolling to discover 14 of the best volumizing mascaras to practice that tip with.
Maybelline New York The Falsies Lash Lift Mascara
This affordable thickening mascara left its mark on New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020 at Christian Siriano, Jason Wu, and Naeem Khan, to name a few. Makeup artist Gato says he loves this washable formula for runway shows because it makes an impact but is easy to remove.
Los Angeles-based makeup artist Fiona Stiles has been a fan of Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara since it launched. The reason? “It’s a great mascara that gives lashes a full, fluffy effect,” she says. “I can always count on it not to clog up fake lashes when I apply it over them, which happens a lot with other mascaras.”
Allure’s digital beauty reporter Devon Abelman has lost track of how many tubes of Tarte Maneater Voluptuous Mascara she’s gone through. Because its formula veers on the drier side, quickly layer on the product for a luscious look that could easily be mistaken for lash extensions.
CoverGirl makes some of the internet’s highest-rated drugstore mascaras, so it’s no shocker that the masses love the recently released Exhibitionist Mascara too. That hourglass-shaped brush is loaded with long, dense bristles, so one coat can go a long, long way.
The Wander Beauty Unlashed Volume & Curl Mascara doesn’t just add drama to lashes, it also lengthens and helps them hold a curl. The versatile pick has won a Best of Beauty Award because you can add multiple layers without worrying about your lashes looking spidery.
Lattes, facials, and gummies aren’t the only things spiked with CBD oil lately. The Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara is too, and Los Angeles-based makeup artist Molly R. Stern is feeling it. “The brush is great and deposits a full lash every time,” she says.
Los Angeles-based makeup artist Mai Quynh swears by the Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara for serious lash volume. “I love the formula because it gives lashes a fullness without making them clumpy,” she says. “Also, it’s not flaky and I really love the smell!” Yes, you read that right. This is one of the few mascaras that doesn’t smell like paint.
Professional makeup artists and Allure editors alike often find themselves reaching for the beloved Dior Diorshow Mascara. Stoj, an MUA based in New York City, prefers it for an extreme-volume effect. “This mascara is enriched with microfibers to give you the most voluminous lashes,” he says.
As soon as you grace your lashes with the Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara, you’ll probably have the same reaction as New York City-based makeup artist Joseph Carrillo has every time he uses it: “It’s like wow, thicker, fuller, drama, sexy, sultry,” he says.
Fenty Beauty Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara
Allure’s digital assistant beauty editor Angela Trakoshis only had to try Fenty’s Full Frontal Mascara one time to know she was in it for the long haul. Thanks to the drastically different bristles on either side of its brush, you can swipe on one thin layer of mascara for length, or coat it on until you’ve reached full-volume capacity. “It normally takes me four coats of mascara to get my desired lash, but thanks to Rihanna, it now only takes two,” Trakoshis says.
This drugstore selection has won both a Best of Beauty Award and a Readers’ Choice Award for its glossy black formula and wand, which is decked out with supershort bristles that help fan out lashes. Be sure to twirl the wand as you sweep it through your lashes to take full advantage of its maximizing powers.
The first time New York City-based makeup artist Chiao-Li used Givenchy Noir Couture Volume Mascara, she was shocked: “It really makes your lashes look super voluminous and doesn’t clump at all,” she says. “It’s my absolute favorite whenever I want to create great volume without using false lashes.” She recommends layering it over a coat of Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara for a longer-lasting curl and over-the-top vibe.
Just as its name suggests, Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara comes with a pretty beefy wand. Don’t be intimidated by its size. Allure’s digital deputy beauty director Sophia Panych believes it’s the key to nearly doubling the thickness of your lashes.
If you’ve ever lusted after Emily Ratajkowski or Shay Mitchell’s lashes, chances are Los Angeles-based makeup artist Patrick Ta raked Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara through their fringes. “This is one of the blackest mascaras I’ve ever used,” he says. “If you are looking for intense definition, you have to give this a try!”
This foundation is perfect the person who still wants their skin to look natural and dewy. Thanks to a concoction of oils like avocado, meadowfoam, red raspberry, jojoba, rosehip and more, this foundation gives your skin all the hydration it needs while offering an enhanced glow and light coverage.
This foundation gives the skin a moisturizing boost with a thin veil of makeup that includes vitamin E oil, antioxidants, and peptides. The foundation not only works to cover blemishes but also reduces wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and dull-looking skin with neuropeptides, daisy flower extract, and bisabolol.
This hydrating liquid foundation is an all-in-one complexion perfecter. Not only does it nourish skin with licorice root extract but also hides imperfections like hyperpigmentation, acne and more well with its lightweight and full coverage formula. The hypoallergenic formula is also safe for sensitive skin.
Hoping for a dewy finish? Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer should be your go-to. It not only protects the skin from sun damage with an SPF of 30, but it also takes away the appearance of skin impurities and adds hydration with macadamia, tamarind seed extract, and kukui seed oil.
This liquid foundation offers medium coverage and is perfect for those with dry skin because of the infused grapeseed oil and sodium hyaluronate, which helps replenish the skin. The easy-to-use tube is perfect for the girl on the go.
This paraben- and fragrance-free tinted moisturizer offers a full day’s worth of nourishment for all skin types. It’s packed with hyaluronic acid and aloe water for maximum skin health and dewiness. SPF coverage protects skin from environmental aggressors as well.
This foundation has a built-in brush to make application easier for the busy body. The formula lasts for eight hours and is deeply nourishing thanks to hyaluronic acid and Irish moss extract.
Side note: I really don’t like the applicator, it gets very dirty and messy very fast. If you can find another way to use the actual product, such as dispensing some on the back of your hand and then applying it, you’ll love it.
Tarte Babassu Foundcealer Skincare Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20
This foundation is vegan, hypoallergenic, and hydrating—perfect for those with sensitive and dry skin. The coverage is buildable so you’re able to play around with what suits you best on any given day. Babassu, vitamins A & E, hyaluronic acid, fatty acids and antioxidants offer skin nourishment and a plump feel.
This foundation not only includes SPF 35 to protect the skin, but also pansy extract, which keeps the skin from drying out throughout the day. The coverage lasts for 24 hours, with a glowing finish that avoids looking too shiny or oily.
This foundation features light protective pigment and antioxidants which lessen the damage caused by pollution, free radicals, and blue light. It’s also made up of 40% water which helps to keep the skin hydrated.
Dermablend’s foundation delivers all-day hydration through a smooth, creamy formula, while also protecting the skin with SPF 30. The coverage stays on for 16 hours, and works wells even over acne, rosacea, and vitiligo.