This Is My Go-To Cream Bronzer for a Vacation-Ready Glow (2024)

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Beauty

Sun-kissed skin in seconds.

This Is My Go-To Cream Bronzer for a Vacation-Ready Glow (4)

By Ariana Yaptangco

This Is My Go-To Cream Bronzer for a Vacation-Ready Glow (5)

    Gabrielle Langdon

    If you're looking to add some natural warmth to your complexion, then it's time to try one of the best cream bronzers. Unlike powder bronzers, cream formulas have a way of melting into skin for a dewy finish. Think of that vacation glow you get after spending a day in the sun: cream bronzer easily recreates that look, thanks to its super blendable texture and flexible formula.

    Cream bronzer can also be versatile, depending on the look you want. The viral latte makeup trend calls for cream bronzer across the lids and bridge of the nose for a monochromatic look, while pearl skin will layer highlighter with bronzer to create a luminous complexion.

    So, how do you choose one? According to makeup artist Natalie Dresher, a good rule of thumb is to select a shade three to four shades darker than your skin tone “so it looks like you’re sun-kissed.” Below, pro makeup artists break down everything you need to know about cream bronzer and share their favorite product picks—with some help from Glamour editors. From affordable drugstore options to luxury splurges, shop the best ones below.

    The best cream bronzers, at a glance

    Your bronzer questions, answered

    • What's the difference between cream bronzer vs. powder bronzer?
    • How to apply cream bronzer

    All products are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    • Rare Beauty Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer

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      Rare Beauty Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer

      Both Dresher and Glamour associate beauty editor Danielle Sinay are huge fans of this Rare Beauty cream bronzer stick. “I love a warm bronzer stick and shade Always Sunny is definitely that—in fact they’re all warm,” Dresher says. “Anytime I stray from this bronzer stick, I tend to always come back because of its beautiful shades.”

    • E.l.f Putty Bronzer

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      E.l.f Putty Bronzer

      This affordable drugstore pick is so good, it took home a 2022 Glamour Beauty Award for Best Bronzer. Did we mention it's only $7?

      “These bronzers are incredibly easy to apply and deliver a super-natural-looking glow that's on par with products three times the price,” says Allure shopping director Shanna Shipin. “They blend so well and have really great color payoff while still managing to look natural on my skin. It's rare that I'll find a bronzer that's versatile enough to use all over, but you can easily swipe the blendable formula across your eyelids or mix in with your foundation for an extra sun-kissed effect.”

    • Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream

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      Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream

      Both Glamour senior beauty editor Ariana Yaptangco and makeup artist Sabena Collier are fans of Chanel's luxurious bronzing cream. “It’s smooth and blends softly onto the skin," says Collier. “It’s lightweight and applies like a soft bronzed filter for a sun-kissed glow.”

      Yaptangco agrees, adding that you'll want to stock up for summer. “This bronzer is like a vacation in a jar—it warms up my face without overpowering it and blends like a dream,” she says. “The formula is very buildable, so if I want to use it for contouring, I just apply a little extra. I take my makeup brush, swirl it around, and dab it into the hollows of my cheeks, jaw, and temples of my forehead.”

    • DIBS Beauty Desert Island Stick

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      DIBS Beauty Desert Island Stick

      Dresher and Love Is Blind star Jessica Vestal are big fans of Dibs' two-in-one product. “She's invaluable,” Vestal told Glamour. “You can do so much with this. I have all the shades. My favorite shade is 2.5, because you can use it in any season.”

      Dresher agrees, adding that it's a “desert island product” she can't live without. “Each bronzer shade has a built-in blush shade on the other end,” she says. “I also love their customer service, anyone can go on their site and get professionally shade matched by their team.”

    • Tarte Maneater Silk Stick Bronzer

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      Tarte Maneater Silk Stick Bronzer

      For mature skin, Dresher recommends Tarte's bronzer stick, which has a thinner formula that doesn't enhance fine lines. “It's also perfect for drier skin types and its chubby pencil formula makes it easy to pack in your makeup bag,” she says. “I also love that it has a really inclusive shade range where the deepest shade will be able to bronze up the deepest of skin tones.”

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    • Makeup by Mario Soft Sculpt Transforming Skin Enhancer

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      Makeup By Mario SoftSculpt Transforming Skin Enhancer

      Skin-loving ingredients like vitamins A, D, and E, and omega-6 fatty acids work to perfect your complexion over time. “This product is just so different than other cream bronzers,” says Dresher. “It really warms up the skin for a natural, effortless look. It's really sheer, so it blends out like a dream, and just blurs out the skin while adding some warmth to it.”

    • Hourglass Foundation Stick

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      Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

      For a bit more coverage, Dresher recommends using a foundation stick to sculpt and add warmth. “This is what I use for my personal makeup whenever I am looking for a full glam moment,” she says. “This is a foundation stick and I love the added coverage I get when I add this to my temples and cheekbones.”

    • Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick

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      Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

      Collier also recommends using a foundation stick to bronze skin and loves Bobbi Brown's formula for its natural finish. “As a makeup artist, the Foundation Stick is one of the first products I reach for to sculpt and bronze my clients,” she says. “It works well with every skin type, melting into the skin like butter. Also, the formula is smooth, creamy, and buildable, which helps to cover dark spots or blemishes while bronzing.”

    • Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer

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      Milk Makeup Matte Cream Bronzer Stick Spaced

      If you're a fan of contouring, you'll want to add Milk's stick bronzer to your beauty arsenal. “This formula blends so beautifully onto the skin giving a natural bronze,” says Collier. “It’s opaque, so a little goes a long way. It’s great for contour and sculpting and works perfectly on all skin types.”

    • Saie Sun Melt

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      Saie Sun Melt

      Glamour senior West Coast editor Jessica Radloff loves Saie's Sun Melt, which has skin-loving ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and grapeseed oil to hydrate skin. The balm formula is sheer and buildable—perfect for no-makeup makeup looks—and leaves a dewy finish.

    • Tower28 Bronzino

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      Tower 28 Beauty Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer

      Tower28’s cream bronzer is a cult-favorite for a reason. “This bronzer is a little intimidating in the pan, but gently buffed onto your skin—I highly reccomend a stippling brush for the best effect—it's truly stunning,” says Glamour contributor Bella Cacciatore. “It has a balmlike texture that leaves a glossy glow and hint of shimmer. Although it's incredibly dewy, it's not sticky or greasy, and it makes you look alive in 2.5 seconds. You can use just a little for a sheer kiss of sun, or build it up for a really bronzy look that never looks fake, even on my fair skin. Since it's so glowy, I usually skip highlighter as well.”

    • Merit Bronze Balm Sheer Sculpting Bronzer

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      Merit Bronze Balm Sheer Sculpting Bronzer

      For the most natural sun-kissed glow, Glamour's Yaptangco uses Merit's stick bronzer. “I apply it on the high points of my face—where the sun would naturally hit—then literally use my fingers to blend everything out,” she says. “It takes two seconds and gives me a healthy glow before running out the door."

    • Well People Supernatural Stick Bronzer

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      Well People Supernatural Stick Bronzer

      This bronzer is not only clean and cruelty-free, but its pocket-size packaging also makes it perfect for glamming on the go. “Whenever I have to get ready in the car—which is more often than I'd like to admit—this teeny tiny bronzer always comes in handy,” says Glamour's Yaptangco. “It has the prettiest shimmer that's super subtle. My skin looks luminous and never overdone.”

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    Ariana Yaptangco is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. A New York native, Ariana began her career at Elle magazine, where she was the social media and beauty editor for four years and published the viral feature “Racism Against the AAPI Community Is a Beauty Industry Problem." At Glamour,... Read more

    Senior Beauty Editor

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