The 10 Best Bronzers for Every Budget

best bronzers

Many people consider bronzer, like concealer and mascara, to be a beauty necessity. Whether it’s to run out to grab a coffee or head out on a big date, bronzer is the perfect touch to give you a glowing, sun-kissed look. Different bronzers serve different purposes. There are powders, creams, liquids, matte finishes and shimmers, and more. Keep reading to discover some of the best bronzers out there, and discover what’s right for you.

benefit hoola

Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer: When you want to use a bronzer specifically for contouring, it’s important to go with a matte formula. Contouring aims to give the impression that you have naturally high cheekbones, or a slimmer nose, so the sight of sparkles tends to be a giveaway that it’s due to the power of makeup. Another thing to look for in a contour bronzer is a shade that’s not too warm. It should have a slightly cool or ashy color. Benefit’s Hoola is a cult classic because it’s the perfect contour powder for a variety of skin tones. It works for fair to medium and olive tones beautifully.

NARS Sculpting Multiple Duo

NARS Sculpting Multiple Duo: This new, dual-ended contouring stick by NARS is incredible. It features a cream bronzer on one end, and a cream highlight on the other. Both sides are extremely versatile – you can also use them on your lips and eyes if you want to. To contour with the bronzer side, simply sweep the formula underneath your cheekbones, on your jawline and at your hairline, then blend it out with a makeup sponge. You can build the formula up, so if the contour isn’t intense enough for your liking with one layer, go over it a second time.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer: This is the perfect bronzer for that coveted J.Lo glow. It’s so buttery, smooth and easy-to-blend. It has champagne pearl powder mixed in, so you get a very soft and luminous look when you apply it. I love using this all over my face when I want an ultra-radiant complexion. The only downside is the steep price point ($50), but honestly it might be the best bronzer out there – it’s worth the splurge.

bareminerals sheer sun

bareMinerals Sheer Sun Serum Bronzer: This serum bronzer by bareMinerals isn’t like most liquid bronzers…it has a more watery consistency. That being said, it’s also better than most liquid bronzers. The unique formula is so sheer and natural – ideal for the person who’s looking for that no-makeup-makeup look. Mix it into your foundation, or dab it onto your contour points and blend it in with a makeup sponge. This would definitely work best for those with fair to light-medium skin tones. Hopefully, bareMinerals will release deeper shades soon, because this formula needs to be available to everyone!

Kevyn Aucoin The Neo Bronzer

Kevyn Aucoin The Neo Bronzer: This highlight/blush/bronzer trio is one of the best compacts for traveling. The quality is phenomenal – Kevyn Aucoin is one of the best brands out there, and really needs to be raved about more – and the packaging is sleek and beautiful. Available in two shades, a warm coral and a cool pink, there’s a perfect match for everyone. I use the coral compact, Siena, and it’s my only blush, bronzer and highlight when traveling – it cuts down so much room in my makeup bag! If you’re a big traveler, definitely look into this.

wet n wild color icon bronzer

Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzer: There’s no better feeling for a beauty addict than discovering an incredible product at the drugstore. This Wet n Wild bronzer has the biggest pan I’ve ever seen, cost me two dollars on sale, and is pretty, pretty good – for any price. The quality is honestly comparable to many bronzers found at Sephora and department stores. I typically use it during the day – it gives me a very natural, yet radiant, glow. Wet n Wild truly has some gems in its line. What’s your favorite super-affordable beauty product? Let us know in the comments!

laura mercier radiance bronze

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in Radiance Bronze: If there’s no limit to how bronze and glowy you like your skin to be, this is a must. This face primer essentially doubles as a bronzer. Apply it before foundation for extra luminosity. It evens out your skin tone and creates a smooth base for the rest of you makeup to go on top of. One thing to note is that using this is intense – I prefer using it for parties or going out at night.

Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Bronzer Perfect Tan

Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Bronzer Perfect Tan: I recently got a deluxe sample of this bronzer, and…wow. Full disclosure: I’ve never been blown away by Marc Jacobs’ beauty products, but this bronzer is a game-changer. It’s so buttery and easy-to-blend. It can be built up to give you a unique radiant-matte finish. It has a beautiful, natural bronze color that works on a variety of skin tones. Plus, the pan is huge. The brand created it specifically to work on both face and body, so use it to bronze all over.

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Sunkissed & Sunset: When Cover FX released their line of Custom Enhancer Drops a few weeks ago, everyone went crazy for the illuminators…with good reason. They have a metallic sheen unlike any product I’ve ever come across, and are just phenomenal. The two matte bronzers in the line – Sunkissed and Sunset – deserve credit, too. You only need a drop or two of these liquid bronzers to add sun-kissed radiance to your entire face. Dot it on, then blend it in with a makeup sponge for a stunning, natural glow.

ELF Golden Bronzer

ELF Bronzer: Just like the Wet n Wild bronzer mentioned before, the quality of this bronzer is way higher than its budget-friendly price tag. At three dollars a pan, this is as affordable as it gets, and on top of that, ELF constantly has sales. I once stocked up and bought ten of these bronzers for a total of about $12! Price aside, this bronzer is good. It has a slight shimmer to it, so I like to sweep it all over for my face for a fresh glow. My personal favorite shade is Golden – it looks so natural on my medium complexion.

What’s your holy grail bronzer? Let us know in the comments below!