These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (2024)

TL;DR

Our top bronzer pick is the Nars Laguna Bronzing Cream because it’s richly pigmented, easy to blend, long-wearing, and comes in an excellent range of shades. But if you’re looking for a more natural-looking, luminous option, we recommend the Saie Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer or the Merit Bronze Balm Sheer Sculpting Bronzer.

Adding theright bronzerto your makeup routine can leave you with defined and glowing skin. If you’re new to bronzers, a cream bronzer is a great place to start since they’re a bit easier to apply. “Creams allow a smoother application on the skin compared to powders,” saysRenée Loiz, a makeup artist and groomer in Los Angeles. Additionally,Nicky Posley, an NYC-based makeupartist,says cream bronzers are easier for non-professionals to blend.

We spent 462 collective hourstesting45 different options, using each product three to four times per week. We clocked how each one blends and builds on itself, how long it stays in place without needing a touch-up, pigmentation, overall look, and more. We used this information and insights from three professional makeup artists to craft this list of the best cream bronzers to give you that coveted lit-from-within look.

Our Top Picks

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What We Like

  • Goes on smoothly and doesn’t dry too quickly

  • Beautiful pigment

  • Natural finish

What to Consider

  • Some reviewers have said it can apply a bit patchy

Shades: 5 | Finish: Matte | Size: 19 grams | Cruelty-Free: No

Nars' Laguna Bronzing Cream ticks all the bronzer boxes. It’s easy to apply and has gorgeous pigmentation, finish, and overall wear. It’s available in five shades and each one has just the right amount of pigmentation for building and blending beautifully into the skin. Plus, the natural finish is just ‘chef’s kiss.’

Our tester loved that this cream bronzer looks brown on the skin rather than orange and that a little product goes a long way. It’s also super lightweight, lasts all day, and doesn’t feel (or look) oily or greasy. There’s really nothing we don’t like about this product.

These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (2)

Alyssa, tester with cool undertones: “Compared to a powder bronzer, the bronzing cream enhances my skin and looks more natural and creates a more polished look.”

What We Like

  • Lightweight feel

  • Glowy finish

  • Stays put all day

What to Consider

  • Some shades are a bit too sheer

Shades: 5 | Finish: Illuminating | Size: 4.5 grams | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Tower 28’s Beauty Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer is legitimately on par with the more expensive options we tested. Our tester loved the way it sunk into her skin (without settling into pores) and left her with the perfect bronze glow.

It has a light and smooth texture, making it great for building and blending when needed. What really blew us away, though, is that it somehow managed to look better on the skin as the day wore on. While Kianna loved the shade she tested, some users found the lighter shades a bit too sheer.

Kianna, tester with warm undertones: “The bronzer stuck to my skin throughout the day and didn't rub off. The product actually looked better as the day went on."

What We Like

  • Excellent blendability

  • Doesn’t get cakey after building

  • Leaves skin natural and glowy

What to Consider

  • Not long-lasting enough

Shades: 10 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

With 10 different shades and various undertone options, Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Cream Bronzer is our favorite for dark skin tones. The formula is buildable to help you get just the right amount of color and we love how great it looks once that color is achieved. The bronzer is also super creamy and light (aka doesn’t feel like anything on the skin)

We noticed that it always goes on smoothly and never looks cakey or ends up sticking to dry patches of skin. This is a very strong product, but if we could change anything, we’d want it to be a little longer lasting (it did fade a bit by the end of the day).

These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (5)

Jaclyn, tester with neutral undertones: “It was very smooth and creamy. It was lightweight and made me feel natural.”

What We Like

  • Doesn’t sink into bigger pores

  • Lasts throughout the day

  • Creamy and lightweight

What to Consider

  • Could be richer in pigment

Shades: 4 | Finish: Natural Matte | Size: 21 grams | Cruelty-Free: Yes

This Charlotte Tilbury cream bronzer has a natural matte finish that is a perfect foil for oily skin. Plus, it’s sweatproof and formulated with hyaluronic acid, so it’s also moisturizing. Loiz calls it “a must-have in my kit. Its warm golden shades complement multiple skin tones beautifully.”

When using this product, our testers said it never sunk into pores or creased. Rather it left the skin looking beautiful, and, since it’s a long-wear product, it stays put throughout the day. While it comes in four different shades, one tester found the shade she chose wasn’t quite as pigmented as she’d like (but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with some building).

  • These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (7)

  • These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (8)

Elena, tester with neutral undertones: “It was so SO easy to blend, honestly flawless. I used a beauty blender for this one (I tried a few other options but this was the best) and it would glide on without hesitation. Just perfectly in place. I also have bigger pores and it never sank into them or creased."

What We Like

  • Subtle, natural finish

  • Applies smoothly on the skin

  • Doesn’t cling to dry patches

What to Consider

  • Requires quite a bit of blending

Shades: 4 | Finish: Natural | Size: 8 grams | Cruelty-Free: Yes

If you’re looking for a bronzer to sculpt and contour the face, we suggest EM Cosmetics’ So Soft Multi Faceplay Bronze + Sculpt stick. It has a matte finish and provides a more subtle glow, which we really love. We also appreciate how lightweight it is and that it doesn’t cling to any areas of dry skin (aka creating patchy texture).

This bronzer is made with squalane and vitamin E, so it’s super creamy, but it still has a natural finish (so your skin won’t look greasy or oily). We love how this bronzer looks, but it does take a bit of effort to get the formula to fully blend.

These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (10)

Gibreel, tester with neutral undertones: “The product was creamy and lightweight. It did not get cakey or sink into any fine lines around my face.”

What We Like

  • Leaves skin looking flawless

  • Layers well with other products, but also works great alone

  • A little goes a long way

What to Consider

  • Some reviewers say shades can skew muddy

Shades: 7 | Finish: Natural | Size: 5.23 grams | Cruelty-Free: Yes

This bronzer from Fenty Beauty comes in seven beautiful shades with different undertone options (warm, cool, and neutral). And Loiz notes that “unlike some darker bronzers that can turn cool and ashy, Fenty offers deeper shades that enhance warmth.” While testing, we were blown away by how beautifully it sits on the skin. It doesn’t settle into creases or pores and just has the perfect finish. One tester said it lasted so long that it withstood a night out dancing with friends.

The formula for this cream bronzer is lightweight, sweat and water-resistant, and looks great whether you’re wearing it alone for a little glow or blending it with other products. However, you may need to play around with the shades to find the best one for your tone.

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  • These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (13)

Elena, tester with neutral undertones: “The texture is incredible—creamy, smooth, beautiful. It sat on the skin without sinking into pores or fine lines and left me with a really beautiful look.”

What We Like

  • Goes on evenly

  • Doesn’t fade throughout the day

  • Provides a beautiful dewy finish

What to Consider

  • Limited shade range

Shades: 5 | Finish: Luminous | Size: 7 grams | Cruelty-Free: Yes

For a bronzer with just the right amount of bronze (and not orange) pigment, we like this one from LYS. It has enough color to work as a bronzer or contour but still goes on light so it doesn’t look overdone. Our tester liked how buildable it is—she could always add a little more product to get the color she wanted. It feels super light on the skin and leaves a slight but absolutely stunning glow. We just wish there were more shade options.

Taylor, tester with neutral undertones: “I am quite pale, so most bronzers can seem too strong and I felt that way about this product at first—but once I learned that a little went a long way, it ended up being great! The product was very buildable and I was able to achieve my desired look.”

What We Like

  • Perfect finish—not too matte, not too dewy

  • Easy to build to the perfect shade

  • Super easy to blend

What to Consider

  • Packaging seems low quality

Shades: 5 | Finish: Luminous | Size: 12 grams | Cruelty-Free: Yes

We love this pick for someone looking for a bronzer with just a hint of color. It effortlessly creates a glowy, sun-kissed look and blends so well with other products (credit to the lightweight and smooth consistency).

The creamy formula glides onto the skin and doesn’t cling to dry patches or settle into pores or fine lines. It has a versatile luminous finish that works whether you want a more matte look or more dewy and glam. The only thing we don’t like about this product is its packaging—we expected something a little more high-quality.

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  • These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (17)

Sophia, tester with olive undertones: “I like how well it blends! It's so smooth and seamless and makes doing my makeup quick and easy.”

What We Like

  • Lightly pigmented for easy building

  • Applies smoothly even on dry skin

  • Long-lasting formula

What to Consider

  • Not great for travel

Shades: 4 | Finish: Luminous | Size: 15 grams | Cruelty-Free: Yes

With its lightweight formula, Rose Inc’s Solar Infusion Moisturizing Cream Bronzer is ideal for building to create that perfect-for-you color. We love its smooth, creamy texture and how it doesn’t get cakey even after adding several layers. It has an illuminating, satin finish that leaves skin looking beautiful.

When testing this one, we found it held up all day, didn’t cause irritation, and sat nicely on the skin without highlighting blemishes, fine lines, or dry skin. There’s nothing about this product we’d change—except to make it a bit more portable for quick touch-ups on the go.

These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (19)

Michal, tester with warm undertones: “In the past, I used stick cream bronzer, and a lot of the time, it comes out of the stick patchy or with too much product or is hard to blend. That’s not the case with this one. It left my skin feeling completely natural, and I will continue using it (and repurchasing!)”

What We Like

  • A little goes a long way

  • Glides on easily

  • Silky, lightweight formula

What to Consider

  • Some say is can look a bit greasy

Shades: 7 | Finish: Silky | Size: 0.24 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

You always want a bronzer that blends seamlessly with other face makeup, and this stick bronzer from Tarte does that. We love how its velvety texture melts into the skin whether when mixing it with other products or using it on its own. It leaves skin looking healthy and just the right amount of sun-kissed.

This bronzer is available in seven shades and is super buildable, however, our tester was most impressed by how little product they had to use to reach their ideal hue. They loved its long-lasting wear and were happy to see it looked as good by the end of the day as it did right after application.

Chrissy, tester with cool undertones: “I wasn't sure if I would like the bronzer because I have never used it, but it blended easily. It looked very natural and highlighted the areas of my face where I applied it. I will definitely continue to use it.”

What We Like

  • Glowy, natural-looking finish

  • Lightweight

  • Buildable and blends well

What to Consider

  • Lack of pigmentation

Shades: 4 | Finish: Glowy | Size: 4.5 grams | Cruelty-Free: Yes

This bronzer from Well People is full of clean ingredients like jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, and green tea, and it leaves skin looking absolutely flawless. We love how well it blends into the skin and builds on itself to create the perfect look.

This bronzer has a natural finish with just a hint of glow—almost like a highlighter effect. It’s worth noting though that it’s not super pigmented, so you may need to build on a few layers to get your desired look.

Cassidy, tester with cool undertones: “I have only ever used powder bronzer before so my frame of reference may be skewed, but this bronzer blended well with the rest of my makeup.”

What We Like

  • Applies smoothly

  • Works well with tinted sunscreen

  • Great option for sensitive skin

What to Consider

  • Some say the color skews muddy

Shades: 8 | Finish: Matte | Size: 7 grams | Cruelty-Free: Yes

We love a stick bronzer for quick, easy application on the go (or if you’re running late at home) and this one from Rare Beauty is a particularly good one. It’s available in eight gorgeous shades, applies smoothly to the skin, and has a matte finish. We love how blendable and buildable it is, too.

One of our testers has facial eczema and noted how well the bronzer applied to her sensitive skin, never leaving it feeling irritated. Even during an eczema flare-up, it went on smoothly and didn’t cling to the affected skin. There is nothing we don’t love about this product.

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  • These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (24)

  • These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (25)

Lee, tester with neutral to warm undertones: “The texture of this product is so lovely. It's very creamy and super lightweight. It glided on so smoothly on my dry, sensitive skin.”

What We Like

  • Doesn’t dry too quickly

  • Light, natural finish

  • Hydrating effect

What to Consider

  • Product is a bit stiff when first used

Shades: 6 | Finish: Natural Luminous | Size: 28 grams | Cruelty-Free: Yes

During testing, Saie’s Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer applied smoothly and settled nicely onto dry skin without clinging to any patches. Not only does it look great on, but since it’s formulated with colloidal oatmeal it’s also soothing and hydrating, which may help improve dry skin texture over time.

It has just the right amount of pigmentation for building, and we love that it’s available in six shades. The whipped cream texture makes it super lightweight and great for blending, however, when we first dipped our brush into it, it took a bit of rubbing to get the product moving enough to use. We suggest using a beauty blender for this one.

  • These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (27)

  • These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (28)

Sarah, tester with cool undertones: "Often when I try bronzers, they tend to be too dark and too orange for my liking. However, this hit a sweet spot. The shade was light enough for my pale skin tone, but still warm enough to actually act as a bronzer rather than a contour.”

What to Look for in a Cream Bronzer

  • Shade: One key to making your bronzer look seamless is choosing the right shade. “Generally one to two shades deeper than your own shade is best,” explains makeup artist Elizabeth Follert, adding, “Always try the bronzer beforehand to ensure it’s not too orange or muddy.” The best bronzers come in several shades that encompass a variety of skin tones.
  • Finish: Don’t assume that just because the bronzer has a cream formula it will be super emollient or dewy—bronzers come in a range of finishes from radiant to glowing to matte. Regardless of the finish you choose, Posley notes that the right cream bronzer will be easy to apply and won’t feel greasy on your skin.

FAQ

  • Is cream bronzer the same thing as cream contour?

    Though they appear similar and can have the same formulas, cream bronzers and cream contours are different—and the difference lies in the colors. Bronzers are meant to add a warm bronze look to the complexion—like an after-sun glow—while contours shape and define facial features. Bronzers tend to be neutral or warm in tone, while contours are neutral to cool. But remember, there are no rules when it comes to makeup, so if you want to use a product that’s marketed as a contour for your bronzer or vice versa, that’s totally fine, too.

  • How do you apply cream bronzer?

    The best way to ensure a seamless cream bronzer application is by applying it on top of an unset base, meaning you should save setting powder for after bronzer. Sometimes, when you apply creamy products on top of powder, it can cause patching or pilling. “A soft contoured blending brush is a great way to apply cream bronzer.” says Follert. Using your brush of choice, slowly build up and blend your cream bronzer in the areas you want to warm up. Loiz recommends, “applying your bronzer to areas where the sun naturally hits the face, such as the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, and chin, for a radiant glow.”

Why Trust Byrdie

Ashley Ziegler is a lifestyle commerce writer specializing in beauty and fashion. She also tests products and services so she can stand behind her recommendations. She’s a regular bronzer user and has tried several picks on this list. Ashley has written for several Dotdash Meredith brands over the years including Byrdie, InStyle, Verywell Health, and HEALTH.com. She's also a mom of two and occasionally covers family-related content.

For this article, she spoke to the following experts for their recommendations and insight:

  • Renée Loiz, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist who has collaborated with brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, Nars, and more. She's the founder of Color May Vary, a guide to the best black-owned brands for beauty enthusiasts.
  • Nicky Posley, a NYC-based makeup artist, beauty educator, and cosmetic brand development consultant.
  • Elizabeth Follert, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist with an expertise in green, clean beauty and cruelty-free products.
These 13 Cream Bronzers Go On Smooth, Blend in Seamlessly, and Will Leave You Looking Sculpted (2024)
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