Rant & Rave: Bronzer

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Bronzer

Rave: I love reddish-toned bronzers with a bit of shimmer as they add depth and warmth to my face, and the bit of shimmer makes them easier to blend out overall. Rant: It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of product and yet most brands treat the color range that way with one shade or if you’re lucky, two to three shades but rarely enough. I also feel like the undertones could be better in general offerings.

— Christine

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Compare Any Two Swatches

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

27 Comments

Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rave: I love how a bronzer can brighten up my complexion while giving structure (through warmth and depth).

Rant: Finding the right shade is hard… something that it’s not too shimmery (I prefer something that is more towards satin), not too red, not too warm, not too dark/pigmented… getting the right undertone for my complexion is usually hard.

I never use bronzer, although I did get talked into buying one a few years ago. I don’t like the “sun-kissed” look on myself.

I’m not a big fan of bronzer. If I’m running late or want a light makeup look , then I’ll do a quick bronzer and highlight, but it’s not my favorite kind of makeup.

Personally, I think most people over do it when it comes to application. That’s not the fault of the bronzer, that’s the fault of the person applying it. They use it to change their skin tone, they pick the wrong color, they apply it too heavily, they don’t blend, they treat it as if it were contour, etc. So, to me, the only con to bronzer is more about the person using it rather than the product itself. If a person picks a product that mimics their skin tone when they’ve got a bit of a tan, a light and translucent hint of bronzer on the high points of the face can be quite beautiful.

Rave: Because my skintone is such a dead neutral tone of medium and has an olive undertone, it literally needs LIFE blown into it! Bronzer absolutely achieves that. As long as the tone runs reddish-brown and not orange or too yellow, I’m usually very happy with this infusion of some sun-kissed life into my blah tones!

Rant: Most bronzers still run too orange or yellow, plus, most cater only to lighter complexions. Some brands DO have a wide range of depths, but not tones. Others have neither a range of depths or tones. Not every person looking for a bronzer is in the light to lt.-medium range! Nor looking to be orange!

Mostly rants: Ditto what others have said regarding finding the right color, applying it correctly, etc.

Rave: because my skin is cool with gray undertones in places, it took me forever to find a bronzer and then I was fortunate enough to even find a second one. One bronzer is more matte and is slightly yellow; the other is slightly shimmery and slightly red. Only trial and error resulted in these finds. I rarely wear bronzer but I like the matte/yellower one any time of year and the shimmer/redder one in summer. It serves its purpose but it’s probably something I could easily live without because I don’t wear it much at all.

These aren’t what I consider to be cool undertoned, which is what I thought I needed bronzer wise with my undertones; cool ones never looked right on me. I think my skin is too cool with the gray undertones and some veining I’ve gotten, but I didn’t realize this until I tried numerous bronzers (as well as just finding out what worked for me with other makeup like concealer and blush).

The more matte and yellowish one is Estee Lauder Victoria Beckham Bronzer in the color Saffron Sun. The more shimmery/redder one is Givenchy Healthy Glow & Body Bronzing Powde in the color 02 Douce Saison.

I have several bronzers because, like a few others, I thought the idea of a “sun kissed” look was appealing. And like a few others, the reality is more illusive than the idea. I do have a few I like but I rarely use them though in the past few weeks, I have been using my new Clarins bronzer and an older one from IT Cosmetics a bit more. I guess my “rant” is how illusive that “sun kissed” look is and how often it turns out to be more “dirt kissed” than “sun kissed” – it is just too easy to end up with a very artificial finished product. But I do like the slightly healthy look this new Clarins bronzer imparts.

Never use it. I once owned Benefit hoola and occasionally used it when contouring was THE thing but bronzer just isn’t a look I prefer for me. I’m more into the Victorian pale and pasty look for myself.

I am very fair. I don’t tan. I get spray tans when I’m going on a trip. So the use of a bronzer isn’t something that I would use a lot. To find a colour to match a spray on tan is too much work for me. I have a gold highlighter that looks nice when I’m going out in the evening with my tan. That’s as far as my expertise goes lol!

Rants: I rarely wear bronzer, and I’m never trying to look as though I have a tan. I can’t wear most bronzers, because I have very fair skin and neutral undertones. Most brands make them too dark, too warm, too shimmery, and too orange. They’ve kept me from buying some cheek palettes. I’m not paying for 1-2 colors I can’t wear if there are only 4-5 products in the palette to start with.

Raves: There are a few out there that I like. TheBalm Balm Desert is a matte, rosy brown, and is my favorite. I will use it in the summer instead of blush. I use it on my cheeks, bridge of nose, hairline, and tip of chin. It’s very natural looking. It’s also really good year-round for putting a little warmth back into the face if the lipstick color I’m wearing is a bit draining.

Wet n Wild Reserve Your Cabana (sadly, now discontinued — I bought 3 backups) is the only bronzer subtle enough that I can use it over my entire face and neck for a touch of color without looking “bronzed,” and it makes a good setting powder. TheBalm Take Home the Bronze Anti-Orange Bronzer in Oliver and Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer also work great on me. I apply them like I do Balm Desert. I used to use Milk Chocolate Soleil as a contour powder, and it worked surprisingly well.

Too dark bronzers work as eyeshadows for me, especially light-medium mattes (awesome crease shades), so if there is a small pan in an otherwise great-for-me face palette, I can use it for something.

Pretty much all rant. I use bronzers as blush. I don’t go for that tanned look any more. I’m trying to deal with the damage I did when I was young, silver blankets and laying out on the porch roof 😱

All rants for me: I don’t wear a bronzer at all on my pale porcelain skin tone as it would end up looking fairly ridiculous on me. I think you have to have lots of practice applying bronzers for them to work well on you.

Rave: I love bronzer. I live in FL so I use it all year long to get that sun-kissed glow. It makes me look healthier!

Rant: I definitely need a reddish-brown tone for my medium/neutral skin and most are so orange or they’re not dark enough. I’ve found the best ones for me are Elizabeth Arden’s Bronze Goddess in Medium or Bobbi Brown in Medium.

I personally love bronzer, it gives life back to the skin and I love the way a look comes together with bronzer, blush and highlighter. I’m fair in the winter and light in the summer, with neutral undertones. So finding the right shade can be challenging. I live in Florida and work outside and for the longest time didn’t believe I had a “summer shade”. Bronzer helps me when foundation is too light. I’m bummed that the new Natasha Denona Tan palette didn’t come in more shade ranges as the shades in that palette are unfortunately too deep for me just as I’m sure it might be too light for some. My rant would be that brands need to get it together and realize one universal shade is not enough. We are not a one size fits all. Yes, Fenty has set the bar on that one. But even their bronzer selection won’t work for me for example because the lightest shade is the right undertone, but too light. Second shade is way too yellow, and it goes on from there. But I appreciate that they at least tried!

I used to love bronzer for a night out pre-2010 when I was a teen, I guess i used it more as a contour though. I like the healthy glow it can give and looks good when I’m a little darker in summer.

However, I struggle to get it to look good on me, especially matte formulas as I just look dirty (I’m very pale so I need to be able to use it lightly and preferably some shimmer). I also don’t know what undertones would suit me, and so I’ve avoided it for years now that I’m better at makeup.

Rave: I like the soft definition that the right bronzer can give my skin.

Rant: There needs to be more varied undertones on the market. A lot seem very orange/yellow toned and that just doesn’t jive well with my skintone.

It’s very much trial and error to find the right one(s) in terms of colour 🍊🍊🍊, pigmentation, and finish. For my tastes, I really do not like bronzer used as a contour. I do not like heavily pigmented bronzers and prefer sheer buildable formulas. I like to use both matte and shimmer bronzers to layer. I like bronzer best when I am wearing a casual dewy face with my 10 minute makeup routine in summer. I appreciate bronzer in winter when I am paler and an ultra light dusting gives me dimension and I look healthier. My favourite shimmer bronzer has been d/c’d 😱😱😱

RANT! I can’t find an OLIVE toned bronzer to save my life. I don’t think they exist. I’m fair, but in the summer my body tans and a strong green undertone shows on my shoulders and arms.

I have one for you Linda that I absolutely love and yes it’s geared for Olive toned skin…I live in L.A. so I have access to many make up shops geared for make up artist although I found that they have a storefront on Amazon as well – color is Sunshine and it’s by MUD (Make-up Designory) I believe the description states its shimmery it’s NOT it’s really satin. I’m olive toned and sit in the medium spectrum and truly I love it.

I LIVE for bronzer, but it can’t be too shimmery. Either matte or a slight shimmer is ok. It’s one of those products that is always a part of my look (along with eyebrows), no matter how minimal a look I’m doing that day.

Rave: I love bronzer but for me it’s a base products of sorts I don’t go for a bronzed look – I prefer to lightly add bronzer and then top with blush. I have quite a few bronzers but my all time favorite if I could almost call it perfect would be a color called Sunshine by MUD (Make-up Designory). The reason it’s my favorite is because it’s geared for an Olive complexion (i sit on the medium olive spectrum in skin tones).

I’m very fair so a red toned bronzer looks the most like a sunburn, which is what happens when I get sun. I don’t tan, I burn and go back to white, so a brown, yellow or orange bronzer doesn’t work on me. Most bronzers cater towards those with light to medium skintones, not the two opposite ends.

I’m super duper pale (like NC5 is too dark) so I don’t use it. I feel like every time I use it, it’s basically trying to change my skin tone. I like using contour though.

I don’t use bronzer (I’m into pale, even skin), so no raves, really.

My rant has only to do with how people use bronzer: like contour! I don’t know how many youtube videos I’ve seen where the person in the video says “now bronzer!”, and then the proceed to put bronzer in the shadow areas of their face (especially just below cheekbones). Drives me nuts! When bronzer became a thing, I felt like people understood that it was meant to create a sun-kissed look, and the only way to do that is to hit the high points of your face (where most people are used to putting highlighter now); but chiseled features have taken on such an importance that people are afraid to use bronzer the way it’s intended — top of nose, top of cheekbones, protruding part of chin. You can’t even find a decent bronzer tutorial; I searched Google and found a half dozen drawings that outline “bronzer” areas, and they’re identical to drawings that show where to use contour. Maddening.

Rave: Armani’s Sun Fabric 400 is very good for my yellowish light-to-medium complexion. Sadly, the product is now discontinued so if anybody can think of a dupe or a decent replacement (doesn’t need to be in the expensive spectrum), it will be lovely! For reference, my perfect foundation match is Chanel’s Vitalumière 20 (not aqua, the “regular” one that is geared towards dry skin and is in a glass bottle).
Yes, a good colour can add warmth. You need to be sure that your “canvas” whether that’s foundation or simply moisturiser allows you to apply the bronzer in the right way. I’m afraid some matte foundations don’t do it.
(So that was my transition to the rant part). I understand there might be a small intersection between matte bronzers and contour colours but I cannot take applying Guerlain’s Terracota shimmery bronzer for contouring as serious advice. Also, if we all agree orange is not the way to go, why are there so many orange-y bronzers? Back to my Armani bronzer, I think they managed to offer some variety in respects of undertones, but then again, this product line is now defunct.
Another rant point: Chanel and Armani now offer compacts that are both finishing powders and bronzers depending on the colour you pick up and I’m confused because in my mind dark really, really is not equal to suntanned (or is it just me?), not to mention texture as I expect bronzers to have that slightly creamy quality.
And then, there are those mosaic/facetted bronzers, what’s their purpose besides being esthetically pleasant? You don’t really understand what the real colour that you would be putting on your skin is, not to mention that one of the colours (say, the lighest beige) might get less cooperative with time so the overall colour you’re getting might turn to be the wrong colour for you.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!