My Face Is Sculpted And Glowing With These 7 Amazing Summer Bronzers

Ladies, it’s official: summer is finally here, and there are lots of things to love about this sultry season. We can lean back in our lounge chairs and sip frozen cocktails by the pool; we get to splash around with our kids in our DIY water playground; and our cheeks can ooze confidence in that copper, sunkissed glow.

Yes, I’m talking about makeup again — and today, we’re all about bronzers.

Whether your ideal summer look involves a subtle, glowy tone, or you crave a more fully contoured face, the perfect bronzer can be the magic to complete your summer style. Here, we help you pick out the best bronzer for a swaggy hot girl summer.

What Is Bronzer?

Sure, you grasp the bronzer basics: this must-have makeup can metamorphosize a dull complexion into a sparkling shine. But “many people misunderstand what a bronzer is for,” points out Melissa Gilbert, an esthetician at Fantastic Services. For the most radiant results, it’s important to have the purpose in mind before you splurge on a product.

“[A bronzer] is primarily supposed to warm up your skin and mimic its color as if you were to sit in the sun,” Gilbert explains. “Depending on the bronzer, you can also use it to sculpt your face’s features and give it a bit of dimension. It’s also a great product for people whose neck is really light-toned, as it can connect the color of your face with your chest.”

If you’re new to bronzers, you may find it daunting to learn the lingo — but you can master this makeup if you focus on a few key concepts: shimmer, matte, and sheer. 

“Bronzers with shimmer give your face a glowy, sun-kissed look, while matte bronzers work better for contouring (shaping and sculpting your face by adding shadows),” says Gilbert. “On the other hand, sheer brozers pack less color, and they’re perfect if you don’t want any definition but a natural glow that makes you look like you just got back from the beach.”

How To Choose A Bronzer

When you’re shopping for a bronzer, there are two different elements you should consider to find the best fit for your face: your skin type (oily, dry, or combination) and skin tone (fair, medium, or dark). Let’s break it down.

  • Skin type. Powder, gel, or cream? It’s all about how it blends. “Cream bronzer is great for dry skin, gel and cream to powder formulas work for all skin types, and powder bronzer is great for oily skin,” says Margina Dennis, a makeup artist and beauty expert. If you’re going with a powder bronzer, “make sure to dust your face with translucent powder before applying it so that it doesn’t go on blotchy,” she says.

  • Skin tone. For a natural look, you want to choose a bronzer that is ever-so-slightly darker than your skin. “If your skin has red or pink tones, pick a bronzer that has that; for warm tones, choose a golden-hued shade,” Dennis recommends. “And apply where the sun would naturally hit you, which are the high planes of the face: cheekbones, forehead, chin, and tip of the nose.” A matte or soft-matte finish can complete the natural, sunkissed glow.

The 7 Best Bronzers

Ready to buy your best summer bronzer? Check out our staff picks below!

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer

physicians formula butter bronzer

We’ve used this buttery-smooth bronzer for a while, and it’s the best bronzer out there for the price. It applies smoothly and gives a nice, natural glow while complementing any skin tones. The bronzer truly lives up to its name and performs better than many higher-end counterparts. There’s a reason it’s every beauty guru’s ride or die!

SHOP AT ULTA – $15.99

Hoola Matte Bronzer

Hoola Matte Powder Bronzer

This award-winning bronzer is a solid staple in any makeup collection. We love how seamless it looks on a fair complexion, and it’s suitable for all undertones. This is a great bronzer if you seek a subtle tan that accentuates your cheekbones, forehead, and chin. It’s a true bronze shade (yes!) and lasts a long time, too.

SHOP AT ULTA – $32.00

Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer

anastasia beverly hills Powder Bronzer

This ABH bronzer is brilliantly buildable, so it’s perfect if you love a contour. Since a little goes a long way, you can apply with a soft hand for that instant, natural bronze. You’ll have no harsh lines with this bronzer, and the silky finish brings a healthy look to your face.


Bobbi Brown Bronzer

bobbi brown bronzer

Bobbi Brown is best known for its supermodel styles, so you know you can count on this balanced bronzer to deliver a gorgeous, sculpted finish. This bronzer will give you a beautiful, sunkissed glow with just the right amount of warmth.


Fenty Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer

fenty Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer

This natural-extract bronzer delivers an instant sun-kissed glow that lasts as long as it is luxurious. It comes in 8 subtle shades with a soft matte finish for a fresh, light-as-air look.


Cali Contour Face Palette

smashbox cali contour face palette

This all-in-one palette is the total package, complete with a blendable highlighter, bronzer, and blush powders. The matte finish gives you a golden sculpt that shimmers on a freshly contoured face. Plus, it’s cruelty free! 


Essence Sun Club Mat Bronzing Powder Palette

essence sun club bronzer palette

This powder palette is such a steal for under $10! We love it for contouring, too (it blends so nicely on the nose for a fleshed-out, natural look). The shades are super versatile, so you can mix multiple colors to find the perfect, customized look. Whether you’re fair-skinned or dark-complected (or somewhere in between), this palette may be the best bang for your buck. 

SHOP AT ULTA – $9.99


What are your favorite bronzers? Share your picks in the comments!

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