Swiping on some bronzer can give you a natural glow that will lift your spirits any time of year. A hint of blush can do just enough to fool people into thinking you spent your afternoon on the beach. And don’t get me started on the wonders of highlighter: How could we create that dewy look without it?! Of course, it takes the right products to achieve these things—and browsing the list of 2022 Healthy Beauty Award winners is the best place to get inspiration for your next purchase.
Best Body Shimmer: Bali Body Body Highlighter
Meet the body highlighter for people who think they don’t like body highlighters. The lotion blends easily, and better yet, naturally into your skin.
Bonus points, per the experts: This highlighter contains dimethicone, which helps keep skin soft and supple.
One tester said: “The shimmer looks a little intense and intimidating when you first see it, but it blends out quickly and easily to a nice sheen. My favorite place to wear it is on my décolletage when I layer necklaces. It really makes the whole look pop!”
Best Liquid Highlighter: Valentino V-Lighter Illuminating Face Primer and Highlighter with Hyaluronic Acid
If you’re a multitasker, then you’ll love this all-in-one primer, highlighter, and hydrator! Editors found a renewed love for doing their makeup thanks to this pick.
Bonus points, per the experts: This product contains hyaluronic acid, which is loved by dermatologists because it’s a great moisturizer for all skin types—even those that are acne-prone!
One tester said: “This product is magic, and I want to do my makeup just so that I have an excuse to wear this more often. I largely used it as a highlighter on top of makeup, but you can also use it as a glowy primer too. It goes on so beautifully and basically always makes you look like you are standing in front of a ring light.”
Best Stick Highlighter: Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Highlighter
G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S (yes, Fergie style) is how you will feel after trying this stick highlighter, according to editors. It contains a bit of glitter, so they say it’s best used in the evening. But hey, if you love it so much that you want to wear it any time of the day, I fully support you.
Bonus points, per the experts: Made with dimethicone, this highlighter moisturizes too.
One tester said: “I’ve never used a stick highlighter, and the product from Anastasia Beverly Hills was a good place to start! Although it is a cream stick, it feels very smooth and dry—it doesn’t go on wet or messy at all. I really love the soft applicator/brush on the other side of the stick because it applies the highlighter so well!”
Best Powder Highlighter: LYS Beauty Aim High Pressed Highlighter Powder
Editors loved this powder highlighter because it’s easy to use and looks really natural, never caking on skin. Just be sure to apply it lightly at first, as the formula is very pigmented.
Bonus points, per the experts: This highlighter is excellent for anyone with dull skin, thanks to ingredients like niacinamide, which brightens, and hyaluronic acid, which hydrates.
One tester said: “The colors are really nice, and I think this is a good product for people who like powder highlighters.”
Best Liquid Blush: Flower Beauty Blush Bomb Color Drops for Cheeks
Reviewers couldn’t stop talking about this blush’s wide range of colors that fit a variety of skin tones. Even better, Flower Beauty makes high-quality products that are super affordable—and one tube will last you a while.
Bonus points, per the experts: This blush contains dimethicone, which helps keep your skin from getting dry.
One tester said: “The eight colors in the range are all gorgeous. The gel-cream formula blends effortlessly and gives your skin a flush of color and a hint of glow that looks natural and radiant. I especially love the Bitten shade, which is a stunning berry hue that brightens up your cheeks without being overpowering.”
Best Powder Blush: RMS Beauty “Re” Dimension Hydra Powder Blush
This blush provides a nice glow without shimmer, creating a bright and rosy complexion. In fact, editors and reviewers said it’s the perfect blush for the “no-makeup” look.
Bonus points, per the experts: This plus contains squalene, a great moisturizing ingredient for all skin types.
One tester said: “I really loved this blush! It’s a powder-cream hybrid, which was perfect for someone like me who historically enjoys creams, but gets frustrated at their lack of longevity. I can tell it blends really well, because even when I applied too much, the formula still settled into my skin naturally.”
Best Cream Blush: Keys Soulcare Sheer Flush Cheek Tint
This tint gives you a natural, flushed look. Plus, it’s so creamy, the formula feels almost like a light moisturizer, according to editors.
Bonus points, per the experts: The jojoba seed oil in this product absorbs quickly and is suitable for people with acne-prone skin.
One tester said: “I can apply this with my finger, so it gets points for ease of use. The color I’m trying is very natural, so it looks like I’m blushing—which is exactly what you want from cheek tint!”
Best Balm Cream Bronzer: Saie Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer
Editors couldn’t stop raving about how natural this bronzer looks. The best part? It blends beautifully, so you don’t have to worry about streaks. It comes in four shades, the second-darkest shown above, so it’s suitable for a variety of skin types and colors.
Bonus points, per the experts: This cream bronzer is loaded with beauty-boosting ingredients like oatmeal, which soothes irritated skin, and grapeseed oil, a natural astringent.
One tester said: “Once I figured out that I really had to warm this bronzer up with my brush before applying, the formula moved onto my skin really nicely—and also lasted for so long! It’s perfect for people who want a drier formula that doesn’t feel liquidy at all—but it’s not powdery or cakey either. It’s truly a second skin.”
Best Powder Bronzer: EM Cosmetics
This sculpting bronzer lives up to its name. You’ll only need a few swipes to contour your cheekbones to new heights. And the streamlined compact is easy to carry in your purse or makeup bag, which is always a plus.
Bonus points, per the experts: This cream bronzer contains shea butter, which helps moisturize skin.
One tester said: “This was very creamy and blends super easily—a little goes a long way! Although I have very fair skin, I was able to use it while still matching my natural skin tone.”
Best Multi Palette: Ace Beauté Glow Essentials Highlighter Palette
This palette includes six unique shades—perfect for a blushed or more contoured look—so I’m confident it will quickly become a staple in your makeup bag. Reviewers liked that the highlighter goes on smoothly and mixes well with moisturizer. It’s also super versatile, allowing you to play around to accent your nose, cheeks, undereye area, and more, depending on what you’re in the mood for.
Bonus points, per the experts: This palette contains dimethicone, which helps keep skin moisturized.
One tester said: “I was excited to try this palette because of the different shades. I really love using a highlighter whenever I leave the house because it gives a natural glow without putting a ton of makeup on my skin. This product is especially great for summer when I don’t want to wear foundation, but still want to look a little more polished.”
Best Lip-and-Cheek Stick: Jones Road Lip and Cheek Stain
Cheeks on point? Check. Lip game poppin’? Check. This lip and cheek stain helps save space in your makeup bag when traveling and is ideal for people who hate using a lot of products.
One tester said: “My lips feel great after application as this product is very moisturizing! I tried using both my finger and a makeup sponge to blend in the stain on my cheeks and both worked great. Simplicity is the name of the game here and anything to make life easier is great in my book!”
With vacation season in full swing, there’s no better time to pare down your beauty assortment to curate your must-have travel makeup essentials. Whether you’re adhering to TSA guidelines or just want to pack lightly, most of us will not be traveling with our complete makeup collection.
While planning your trip details and what to wear are certainly exciting tasks, editing your beauty stash can actually be quite stressful. The entire process makes one reflect on what you’ll need on hand once you reach your destination—especially if you’re going somewhere without a drug store for last-minute beauty buys. Regardless, you’ll want at least one complexion product to even skin tone and veil imperfections, along with multitasking pigments to bring warmth and subtle color to the face. And let’s not forget how you’ll store all your makeup to avoid spills or damage.
First things first, determine what travel makeup organizers work best for you. Maybe you already own the best toiletry bag that can fit both your skin-care and makeup necessities, or perhaps you’d prefer to store them separately. Away’s water-resistant case offers spacious compartments, transparent pockets, and even a detachable makeup brush organizer—perfect to secure in your carry-on. Otherwise, consider Longchamp’s zippered pouch, which is compact enough to pop in your purse or personal item for easy access.
From the Oscars red carpet to the Met Gala, experts wax on about the importance of skin prep for glowing, beautiful skin with or without makeup. So, rely on skin-nourishing products and face primers to prep your base. We’d reach for Tatcha’s The Silk Canvas to weightlessly nourish, blur, protect, and prime—or, the French beauty favorite Embryolisse cream to restore skin moisture and leave a satin finish.
Maybe you’re fine with applying all of your makeup products with your fingers. If not though, don’t forget to pack the beauty tools you rely on at home to perfect your look. For brushes, consider a dual-ended option that pairs two different brush types in one, like this Hourglass option suitable for powder, bronzer, blush, and highlighter. On the other hand, classics like the Beautyblender sponge make blending liquid, cream, and powder products a dream.
Selecting your vacation complexion products is arguably the hardest part, with so many different types of foundations, concealers, and powders to choose from—many of us requiring multiple shades for a brightened under-eye or combat hyperpigmentation. You can’t go wrong with Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint for lightweight, dewy coverage that even boasts sun protection and nourishing ingredients (read: niacinamide, squalane, and hyaluronic acid). For concealer, the Kosas’s creamy formula not only offers dewy medium coverage, but brightens, soothes, and plumps skin over time thanks to a blend of caffeine, peptides, vitamins, and hyaluronic acid. Seriously, who can say no to efficacious clean concealers and foundations?
Set the Look
Even on vacation, it’s important to lock your look in place appropriately. Charlotte Tilbury’s setting powder is excellent to have on hand to reduce shine and blur skin where you need it, earning bonus points for mess-free application (as opposed to loose setting powder options). Then, spritz your face with Supergoop!’s mist that sets and protects against UV rays and pollutants. In fact, a similar formula by the brand saved Vogue commerce writer Alexis Bennett’s makeup during Coachella.
Bring your go-to eye look on your tip by way of the best mascara and eyeliners—both of which work wonders to make your eyes pop and enhance their shape. For smudge-free lengthening and lifting, reach for Merit’s clean mascara. To perfect your signature wing or add some dimension to your look, Ilia’s liquid water-proof formula allows you to precisely etch liner however you see fit, thanks to a fine felt tip.
Makeup artists say that the key to nailing a minimalist makeup look is adding an accent of color. One of the easiest ways to do so throughout travel is by keeping a tinted lip product on hand for a statement-making moment. Kosas’s gloss delivers a lip filler effect by visibly plumping the lips—especially if paired with a lip color complementing liner. Not a big gloss fan? Reach for Merit’s satiny lipstick for sheer, buildable color no matter the occasion.
We’ve quickly become huge blush enthusiasts, from viral TikTok picks to the best cream formulas. Either way, blendable blushes, and multipurpose color pigments allow you to customize your glow and place colors wherever you want. Versatility is key on any kind of vacation. Tap Merit’s creamy tint across the eyes, lips, and cheeks for a skin-like wash of color. Prefer a liquid formula? Saie’s water-based Dew Blush creates a natural tint after just one dot from its doe foot applicator—blended with one of the previously mentioned makeup tools.
Brows say a lot about a person, so think ahead to perfecting yours when you’re packing for travel. Draw realistic brow hairs in sparse areas with makeup pro Dani Kimiko Vincent’s ultra-fine pencil, or comb hairs in place with a brow gel like Ilia’s to volumize and thicken with flexible hold.
Maybe your travels are for a wedding or gala that requires full glam, or maybe you’re not quite sure what your itinerary entails. Nevertheless, a few products specific for camera-ready, longwear glam is essential. Think false lashes to amp up the drama; with this Velour Lashes kit, you have everything you need to apply natural-looking lashes on the go without trimming or measuring. Finally, the last thing you want during full glam is an unnecessary bout of shine. Stop oil in its tracks with Tatcha’s blotting papers without budging your look—housed in packaging small enough to fit in your party handbag or clutch.
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