It starts like this: a barefaced girl on your Instagram Discover feed. She looks at the camera, smiles, maybe even waves, and then proceeds to apply what looks like upwards of ten products to her face. As she expertly uses various colors to create geometric shapes (triangles under her eyes, lines under her cheekbones), you watch her complicated contouring routine take less than a minute. But don’t be fooled by the high-speed video - that effortless beach glow actually took a lot of effort.
There has to be a better way. I mean, who has the time to use that many products?
What if we told you that by just using a single bronzer you could achieve the golden look of your dreams? Of course, you won’t be able to get the expertly contoured look like a Kardashian or Instagram model, but you can get pretty close.
We’ve compiled a list of four of the best bronzers that you need, like, right now. These tried-and-true bronzers work like a charm. Skip the lengthy routine and try them out for yourself.
1. Essence Makeup “Adventure Awaits" Sunkissed Bronzing Stick ($4.99, Essence Makeup)
Much bigger than your average travel size and at an affordable price, Chelsea Jackson, a junior at Iowa State University, swears by this bronzer. She a huge fan of the cooler shade, “Travels Makes Me Happy” for her skin tone.
“If you have neutral to cool undertones, it's important to find a cooler bronzer. However, if you have neutral undertones you can make a neutral bronzer by layering both a warm bronzer and a cool bronzer on top of each other,” she says.
Not only will this bronzer look amazing on its own, but you can make it work for virtually any skin tone too with just a little bit of mixing.
Whether you wear it with a full face of makeup or just a swipe of mascara, you’ll achieve a sunkissed beach look every time (without any harmful rays). This bronzer is perfect for the summertime, and it’s not just a plain old bronzer. It also serves as an amazing highlighter, giving you a dewy and fresh glow. Plus, it’s infused with peach and sweet fig milk. Pretty cool right?
3. Benefit Cosmetics "Hoola" Matte Bronzer ($29, Benefit Cosmetics)
Benefit’s Hoola bronzer is a cult beauty favorite, and it’s one of the best you can get. Hoola gives a natural-looking matte, so it’s a perfect alternative if you’re not into the luminous or dewy looks.
Allie Foley, a rising sophomore at Marist College, says that Hoola is her everyday go-to bronzer. “I get pretty pale in the winters, so what I like about it is it gives your face a natural bronze look... not orange or anything! It also lasts a long time and is in a package that doesn’t allow it to crack or break easily” she says.
Perfect for both the summer and the winter, you can achieve an amazing bronze glow all year long!
4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer ($28, Anastasia Beverly Hills)
Get the perfect bronzed looked with this powder from Anastasia Beverly Hills. Dajin Kim, a rising senior at UT Austin, is a huge fan of the shade Rich Amber. “I love it because it gives a warm glow with a reddish tint and it's super subtle!” she says. She also suggests a great way to use it: “After I set my foundation with powder, I use it on my jawline and sides of my forehead!”
Although this bronzer is more on the more expensive side, the quality of the product is well worth the price.
5. Physicians Formula "Murumuru Butter" Bronzer ($14.95, Physicians Formula)
A drugstore brand with high-end quality, the Murumuru bronzer is a must-have for any bronzing enthusiast. Vanessa Medina, a sophomore at Emerson College, calls it her “absolute favorite, favorite bronzer.” She says, “because I don’t use bronzer a ton, I mostly use it to contour. It’s a matte bronzer, it’s really cheap, and it smells amazing (like a really good sunscreen).” Sounds perfect to us!
Bonus tip: Mix your bronzers with your moisturizer to get a more natural look
Combining bronzers with moisturizer makes it easy to apply and it looks more natural on your skin. If you can’t find one bronzer shade you absolutely love, you can try mixing more than one bronzer together to create the perfect shade.
This is one of Chelsea’s favorite methods, although it does require what she calls “a bit of makeup murder.” Combining her powder bronzers with moisturizer helps her combat dry skin and avoid “that over-power dry skin look (that’s never in style, and for good reason).
Her favorites bronzers to use are Ulta’s Matte Bronzer, Makeup Revolution's Ultra Professional Bronze Powder, and sometimes Makeup Revolution's Blushing Hearts Bronzer in Summer of Love.
But no matter the bronzer you choose, your skin will look effortlessly gorgeous and sun-kissed all day long.