Tried and tested

The best bronzers for a sun-kissed tan, glow and contour

If your holiday plans are on hold for the foreseeable *sigh*, we’ve got your faux week-spent-lounging-in-the-sun glow covered. With an array of shades to suit your skin tone, this round-up of bronzers showcases a range of finishes — from matte to shimmer via luminously dewy —and formulas. Who says you need a real tan anyway?


Inspired by the shimmering ripples that dance over the ocean as the sun sets — Tower 28 Beauty does hail from sunny California, after all — the {Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer} simultaneously conditions your skin with hydrating mango butter and calming green tea extract as it casts an effortless bronzed glow. Made sans silicone, this illuminating cream bronzer achieves an effortless, summer glow with a multidimensional sheen and no filmy residue.


A multi-tone marbled bronzer that blends beautifully to achieve a luminous finish, Huda Beauty’s {GloWish Soft Radiance Bronzing Powder} boasts a silky sensorial, non-powdery texture and a true colour payoff that guarantees instant definition. Plus, the skin-blurring formula diffuses effortlessly for a smooth finish that lasts up to 12 hours.


The next best thing to two weeks in the Maldives, Saie’s {Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer} boasts a luxe, balmy texture that’s creamy, blendable and buildable to create a sun-kissed finish that looks like your skin made it. The velvety finish allows for seamless, buildable colour with a formula that is packed with skin-loving ingredients (think: organic colloidal oatmeal, silica, grapeseed oil, and elderberry extract) to moisturise, nourish and visibly balance skin.


Exclusive to Cult Beauty, VIEVE’s two-tone {Modern Bronzer} is packed with silky bronze pigments and a subtle shimmer that adds a soft glow and definition to your look. Ideal for shaping and contouring (or simply for adding a healthy flush!), the versatile formula comes packaged in a sleek, elegant case and is completely vegan and cruelty-free.


If you’ve sworn off bronzing after one too many orange-toned finishes, Benefit has the ultimate companion for paler complexions. A lighter version of their legendary bronzing powder, {Hoola Lite} bestows a healthy, natural-looking tan on fairer skin types. All about the subtle approach, this beautiful pan leaves a pure matte finish, so you can forget about tell-tale sparkle and shine and fool everyone with your natural-looking sun-kissed glow. Plus, the compact includes a soft, natural-bristle brush that’s perfect for seamless, on-the-go application. What’s not to love?


With a true golden brown tone, Chantecaille’s {Radiance Gel Bronzer} brings the dewy glow that comes from a sun-drenched week to any complexion. Weightless and seamlessly blended, the ultra-moisturising formula lends a believable, illuminating tan for a beautiful ‘kiss’ of sheer, holiday colour. The smooth liquid-gel hybrid melts into your skin for a diffused and flawless finish that lasts up to 12 hours and it can be worn alone or over foundation to alter the intensity. 


There’s nothing like a setting sun to show your skin in a good light and {The Sun Show Moisturizing Baked Bronzer} from KOSAS is like a ray of much-needed warmth in any make up bag. With zero shimmer, this beautifully buttery, blendable formula specialises in a faux glow at its most believable. Clean and void of any talc or silicones, this bronzing beauty is brimming with softening shea butter and moisturising meadowfoam oil – that come together to create the creamiest powder to ever grace your cheeks.


Picture your dream bronzer. Then think about what would make it so dreamy. Chances are Huda Beauty’s {Tantour} ticks those boxes. Easily building from a subtle glow to a chiselled-by-the-gods contour, the deeply pigmented formula banishes dullness in an instant for a long-lasting, sweat- and water-resistant finish. With five shades to choose between, there’s a cream-to-powder pan to suit a plethora of skin tones: from ultra-fair to beautifully deep.


Giving you double the glow in a pint-sized palette, Natasha Denona’s {Mini Bronze + Glow} casts a sun-kissed, sparkling, soft-focus finish that’s bound to draw all eyes. Perfectly suited to medium, olive-toned skin, it unites the brand-favourite ‘Glow Extreme’ highlighter and a bronze blush shade. Universally flattering, the highlighter grants a multidimensional, dazzling finish while the velvety bronze ‘Blush’ imparts a natural glow. Thanks to its neat, perfectly portable size, you can take this everywhere and apply effortlessly on-the-glow. 


Bethan Robinson

Bethan Robinson

Senior Copywriter

Bethan is a Senior Copywriter at Cult Beauty. When she’s not trying to perfect the ultimate ‘no make up’ make up look — she swears by Saie — or find new skin care to fall for, she’s likely playing video games, making the most of her housemate’s MUBI account or strolling around Victoria Park with a pastry in hand.