21 Best Bronzers in 2023 for a Glowing Complexion | Allure

By Kaleigh Fasanella , Marci Robin , and Jennifer Hussein

Blush isn't the only makeup product that gives your complexion an instant pick-me-up. A sweep of one of the best bronzers on the high points of your face creates subtle definition (hello, cheekbones) while also adding a beautiful, all-over warmth that will trick people into thinking you just got back from vacation — minus the sun damage. Photo Luminescent Glow

21 Best Bronzers in 2023 for a Glowing Complexion | Allure

However, much like foundation and concealer, bronzer can go catastrophically wrong if you don't find the right shade for your skin tone. As a general rule, you want to steer clear of any bronzers that look too orange or gray, as these tones can make you look unnaturally tan or washed out. It's always a good idea to check out how the color looks in natural light to ensure it's a spot-on match.

If you have fair skin, New York City-based makeup artist Elisa Flowers recommends looking for one just a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone and always, always using a light hand when applying. Those with light-to-medium complexions can also benefit from choosing shades one or two decimals darker than their natural skin color, but in terms of undertones, look for options that are neutral to get the most natural-looking glow possible. "Be sure to avoid bronzers that appear overly orange or red-toned in the pan, as it will only come across more intense when you apply it to the skin," says Flowers.

People with tan, olive-toned skin can get away with wearing most bronzer shades as long as they don't stray too far from their natural skin color, says Flowers. However, she also says to look for terracotta hues that have a hint of red to them, as they look beautiful on tan complexions.

It can be especially tricky (and unfairly so) for those with dark and deep complexions to find a suitable bronzer, as there are fewer options on the market that cater to them. That being said, there are some brands like LYS and Fenty Beauty getting it right. Ultimately, your best bet is to look for ranges that offer deep shades that will not only show up but add a gorgeous glow to the skin, like many of the ones ahead.

Since we know how confusing it can be to determine which bronzer complements your exact skin tone and its undertones, we tapped makeup artists who bronze faces on the daily to share their knowledge on this beloved beauty staple. Ahead, check out their expert picks that'll make your skin look glow like a post-vacation tan, sans excessive exposure to UV rays.

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For a shimmer-free dewy look, swipe on the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream. This formula has a balm-like, cream-gel texture that melts instantly once it touches your skin, leaving behind a wash of warm, velvety color. Each of its three shades contains light reflective pigments for a radiant sheen without looking excessively shimmery.

Don't let its powder-based formulas fool you, because Westman Atelier's Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer has a rich, conditioning formula that could rival any cream or liquid bronzer. Both of the terracotta-toned shades create a natural, sun-kissed look on any skin type with its conditioning mix of cocoa seed butter, vitamin E, and mango seed oil.

The E.L.F. Cosmetics Halo Glow Contour Beauty Wand is a newer launch that's already picking up steam across TikTok for its warmth-inducing abilities. Its plush applicator allows for precise application while the velvety, creamy formula blends out like a dream. Speaking of the formula itself, this liquid bronzer is available in five flexible shades that work across a wide range of skin tones.

Sure, the Guerlain Terracotta Light Healthy Glow Bronzer provides all the warmth your desire for your complexion, but what makes this powder bronzer so special is its ability to blush, warm, and highlight your complexion all at once. Each of its six shades was meticulously crafted (with moisturizing Moroccan flower honey, might we add) to boost radiance and definition while adding a subtle, natural-looking flush through its honeycomb-patterned design.

One of the biggest questions to ever plague humankind is, without a doubt, this: Bronzer or contour? Well, you can get both from one goof-proof product, thanks to Milk Makeup's Matte Cream Bronzer Stick. The beauty of this stick bronzer is its matte finish, which defines and enhances the natural contours of your face while its neutral-to-warm hues create a luminant look. No matter which of its five shades you decide to swipe on, we can guarantee you'll be pleased with the results.

When we say the Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer, an Allure Best of Beauty-winning drugstore bronzer, feels as plush as soft butter, we truly mean it. This buttery bronzer comes in eight shades and actually gets its putty-like texture and moisturizing feel from a blend of murumuru, cupuaçu, and tucuma butters.

Yes, this 2018 Best of Beauty-winning matte bronzer smells like chocolate, and yes, it also comes in the perfect shades to achieve a sun-kissed glow all year round. Infused with cocoa powder and bronzing pigments, this matte bronzer comes in three shades: Milk Chocolate Soleil (light matte bronze), Chocolate Soleil (medium matte bronze), and Dark Chocolate Soleil (deep tan shown above) to suit a wide range of skin tones.

If you're shopping for drugstore bronzers, L'Oréal Paris's Infallible 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer is one of our tried-and-true favorites. Not only does it comes in a wider eight-shade range, but its formula is also one of the best long-wear matte-finish bronzers we've ever had the pleasure of swiping on. Its waterproof formula won't budge or fade for a guaranteed 24 hours.

Powder products will always have a space in our makeup bags, but cream bronzers are so blendable and create such a naturally dewy look that we can't help but reach for them. One of the best cream bronzers currently in our cosmetics collection is the LYS Beauty No Limits Cream Bronzer, a balm-like formula that comes in five varying shades. This matte formula sculpts and defines contours while hydrating sodium hyaluronate, a derivative of hyaluronic acid, plumps skin and creates a glowy (not greasy) finish. 

New York City-based makeup artist Jamie Dorman says this cream bronzer is one of her favorites for its larger range of undertones. "It can be so hard to find bronzer shades for dark skin with options for people who want warmer or cooler tone," she says  "This product comes in multiple undertones and has a silky formula that will make skin look naturally tan."

Yes, Nars may be known for their orgasm-inspired blush, but don't sleep on the brand's Bronzer Powder. This soft, buildable, and Allure Best of Beauty-winning formula comes in four shimmer-spiked shades that blend like a dream on the skin, regardless of whether you're wearing foundation or going bare. "The matte texture looks like a natural tan and it comes in shades that have warm and cool undertones," adds Dorman.

Can't choose between a powder or cream bronzer? With the Allure Best of Beauty Award-winning Patrick Ta Beauty Major Sculpt Crème Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo, you won't have to. With this contour palette, which comes in three shades, you can have the best of both wrolds: a soft powder formula for subtle contour moments and a more pigmented cream for added intensity.

Want an easy multiuse option that's practically impossible to mess up? Allow us to introduce you to W3ll People's Supernatural Stick Bronzer, a creamy stick formula that makes subtle contouring as easy as a few swipes. This stick instantly melts into your skin, leaving behind a sheer wash of shimmer and warmth for an understated glow.

Any of this buildable formula's three shades can be layered for added subtle intensity across your jawline, cheekbones, and lids. In case you're wondering, this bronzer stick is also infused with good-for-skin ingredients, including antioxidant-rich green tea to protect against free radicals and moisture-retaining jojoba oil.

Fenty Beauty always reigns supreme when it comes to providing proper shade ranges, and that still rings true when it comes to the brand's Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer. Out of all of the bronzers on this list, Fenty Beauty's shade range is one of the largest, topping at nine matte hues, so you can easily find a perfect match for your skin tone.

Hourglass's Ambient Lighting Bronzer looks like a marbled masterpiece, but that's not the only reason why we love it. This illuminating bronzer comes in four layerable hues, each one containing a blend of the brand's Ambient Lighting Powder with bronze pigments (hence its swirled finish).

21 Best Bronzers in 2023 for a Glowing Complexion | Allure

1/8" 3.0MM With five shades and a luminous finish, the Gucci Poudre De Beauté Éclat Soleil Bronzing Powder is one of the best luxury bronzers worth your hard-earned dollars. It has a soft, silky, and lightweight feel and blends effortlessly without completely fading away for a faux glow that makes your skin look as sculpted and bronzed as ever. It's also worth noting that this bronzer is spiked with hyaluronic acid, a skin-care ingredient known for its water-retaining properties.