I’m somewhat of a bronzer connoisseur, as I’ve been consistently wearing (and trying) different bronzers for as long as I’ve been wearing makeup. My skin has an olive-ish tone that simply looks better warmed up, no matter what season it is. But “warm” and “orange” aren’t the same thing, which unfortunately is the case with too many bronzers.
If you’re looking for a sun-kissed glow this summer (without the sun-bathing side effects), bronzer could be your answer. Even if you have fair skin, and even if you’ve had bad experiences with too-dark/too-orange/too-glittery bronzer in the past, don’t give up just yet.
I rounded up my very favorite face and body bronzers for your complexion, budget, and bronzing preference:
Best Overall: NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna 1 of 12This is one of the most awarded bronzers for a reason: it gives skin a perfectly golden hue without any oompa-loompa orange. I'm obsessed.
Buy from Sephora, $34
Best Budget: Avon Glow Bronzing Pearls 2 of 12Besides the fact that these little balls inevitably fall down the drain, get crushed under your feet, and stain your car's fabric, it still gives a beautiful non-orange glow for under $10.
Buy from Avon, $8.99
Best Natural Bronzer: Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder 3 of 12A much-loved matte bronzer that doesn't have the shimmery glitter. I especially love that it comes in three different shades for a skin-matching natural look.
Buy from Sephora, $35
Best Shimmery Bronzer: Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights 4 of 12I typically prefer natural-looking matte makeup, but I just adore this bronzer. It has a gorgeous warm hue with a soft face-brightening shimmer.
Buy from Sephora, $30
Best Bronzer for Lighter Skin: Benefit Hoola 5 of 12My fair-skinned friend has difficulty finding a bronzer that isn't too dark, and this is her top pick. It gives her summertime warmth that still looks natural. (And I pretty much love everything that Benefit makes, so I can stand behind this pick.)
Buy from Sephora, $28
Best Bronzer Duo: Too Faced Caribbean In A Compact – Sun Bunny 6 of 12Too Faced is another favorite of my mind, and their duo compact is perfect for those who prefer to create their own bronzer tone by layering golden bronze with natural pink. I really love this one.
Buy from Sephora, $29
Best Mineral Bronzer: bareMinerals READY Bronzer 7 of 12This healthier bronzer (no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or any other bad stuff) is infused with antioxidant and anti-aging benefits from their SeaNutritive Mineral Complex. And besides coming in three different skin-matching tones, it lasts up to 8 hours!
Buy from Sephora, $24
Best Tinted Moisturizer Bronzer: Stila Bronzing Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 8 of 12If you're a summertime makeup minimalist, this one product will moisturize, bronze, and protect with sheer to medium coverage. It also infuses your face with antioxidant protectants: Vitamins A and E, soothing chamomile, and Ginseng and Gingko Biloba extracts. Now that's a multi-tasker.
Buy from Sephora, $32
Best Multi-Purpose Bronzer: Stila One-Step Bronze, $36 9 of 12This miracle serum works to even out skin tone and smooth wrinkles while leaving skin looking sun-kissed. Three different bronzer shades are swirled into this Youth Revival Bio-Active Mineral Complex for a natural glow.
Buy from Sephora, $36
Best Bronzer Highligher: Benefit Sun Beam 10 of 12My love for Benefit is still strong — and Sun Beam is the perfect example as to why. Rather than the typical pink-toned highlighters on the market, this one has a golden hue that literally makes skin glow. (It's especially gorgeous with a matte bronzer.)
Buy from Sephora, $26
Best Body Bronzer: Lorac TANtalizer Deep Body Bronzing Luminizer 11 of 12I've used a lot of body tanners — leaving me streaked, splotched, and orange — and this is my favorite for a quick bronzing boost.
Lorac calls this "body makeup," and it's a practically foolproof formula that smooths evenly and dries quickly. (It comes in a lighter shade, too.)
Buy from Sephora, $32
Best Spray-On Bronzer: Sephora Illuminating Bronzing Oil 12 of 12I used to have a spray-on bronzing oil similar to this one (I think it was from Stila?), and I just loved the quick bronze look it gave without the commitment. Heading out to a party? Spray some bronzing oil on your legs for a temporary glow, without worrying about streaks and splotches.
Buy from Sephora, $14
Also see more summer beauty favorites — including my favorite self-tanner.
Read more of Michelle’s writing at Early Mama.