Photo Details: Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel // Clarins Sunkissed Bronzing & Blush Compact // NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer // NARS Monoi Body Glow // La Mer Gradual Face & Body Tanner // Charlotte Tilbury Hydrate & Glow // Charlotte Tilbury Overnight Bronze & Glow Mask
With summer in full bloom, I wanted to do a post totally dedicated to all my favorite bronzers on the market – from long-lasting products to wash-away after the day makeup. I mentioned it on instagram a few weeks back, but I’ve finally finished putting this together and am excited to share the results. I’ve tried (almost all slash most of) these products mentioned, which is probably why it took me so long to get this post up! Let me know your thoughts and if you’ve tried any of these! OR did I miss any MUST-try products?! PLEASE do share!
Bronzer Powders (Makeup)
The products below are the powder bronzers as opposed to most of the other products we’re discussing in other sections which are liquid-based. I personally really like a matte look once in a while, especially during fall and winter, but I kinda switch it up. I’ll usually put a little bit of a powder-based color agent on top once I’ve finished doing my entire face of makeup to sort of smooth things out, too.
Clarins Sunkissed Bronzing & Blush Compact – This, along with the Bobbi Brown one below, are probably my favorite – or work best with my skin and skin color. This one does just what it promises – adds a natural sun-kiss. If you want to look like you have a bit of a tan but don’t, this is your jam.
Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder (in color Medium) – Been using this stuff for years. I like that it’s matte and doesn’t have any shimmery-ness to it so it looks natural (to me at least). You can also layer it to be light or heavy depending on your preference.
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer – A little goes a long way here, and the color can get pretty intense BUT it’s wonderful for contouring if that’s your thing. It just sticks well to your face and is great for creating definition since you can so easily build on it. It’s matte and no shimmers, which I appreciate. Also, it smells like chocolate so….
Hourglass’s Ambient – This is a cult-favorite but I just don’t get it. Unfortunately this turns my face orange every single time; so I gave it to my roomie Dani (she says it does the same thing to her face, though!)
Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer – This is one of the holy grail bronzers that I feel like everyone uses and really enjoys and a lot of my friends actually use it. What I appreciate about this the most is the color – it’s a very pretty tan color and seems to work well on most skin types. It’s super stable too – as in it’s not a dainty compact that can break easily. I will say, sometimes I feel like it gets a little blotchy, but maybe that’s an issue with my brush or application process? All around, I really like this one and think it’s a great starting out point for powder bronzers!
Bronzing (gel-based) Makeup
If you don’t like powders or want a more dewy finish, these are the cream- or liquid-based makeup bronzers. So not necessarily self-tanners, but more so makeup that adds color to certain parts of your face. I often hear people afraid of liquid- or cream-based bronzers (or blush) but they just take a little practice and then they’re amazing! My tip is to make sure your face is moisturized first and use a slightly wet beauty blender if you hate using your fingers. Just blend well!
Bobbi Brown Gel Bronzer ($34) – You guys. Okay. So this stuff is amazing, but I think it’s for a VERY specific customer. I’ve been using it since (literally) high school and am obsessed with it. One of my best friends (Anna Magee) and I used to wear it religiously to school when we didn’t want to wear makeup (i.e., mascara etc.) but still wanted to look ‘awake & fresh’. It comes on STRONG, but if you blend it in enough it adds such an amazing color to your skin. When I wear this stuff, I don’t usually wear blush because it adds enough color on it’s own. Also, it’s great for contouring if you wanted to try and contour with a liquid bronzer! All in all, I love it and highly recommend it, but just know that it’s dark at first and really adds color to your face. But unlike some bronzers, this one washes off with your makeup!
TOM FORD Bronzing Gel – Eh, for as great as Tom Ford’s stuff usually is, I’m not totally into this one. For one, it stained my fingers and was HARD to get off my face. I will say I liked the texture of it – super easy to apply, but overall, this one didn’t do it for me. Does anyone use and like?
CLINIQUE Sun-Kissed Face Gelee Complextion Multitasker – So much YES, y’all. If you want a product that’s kind of a mix of a tinted moisturizer, bronzer, and self tanner, this is your girl. It’s very natural looking and just beautiful. I even mix it in with my lotion like before the gym or errands if I need some color. Just make sure you blend it well before it fully sets – so really rub it in. It also works well just rubbed into the hollow of your cheeks to help define that area, but I generally use it all over.
Self-Tanning For Face (lasts longer than makeup)
OK so these are the get-you-fake-tan products. Most of these should last more than one day, so these are best used for all over application (can use on face and body) and basically replace a spray tan because who has time for those?
La Mer ‘Soleil de La Mer – The Face & Body Gradual Tan’ Lotion – Totally loved this one. I don’t think this will replace any of my other favorite products, but I’m definitely going to keep it. I LOVE that it doesn’t get on any of my clothes or sheets and that it smells SO normal – not like self-tanner at all. The color is VERY subtle (way less than St. Tropez) and gives you a nice-looking glow if you ask me!
St. Tropez’s express tanner – Lately (and before I decided to test out a bunch of products), I’ve been addicted to St. Tropez’s express tanner and have been using it for a little over a year now. Oh em gee does it work! Do you SEE my RIGHT leg in the photo ABOVE?!! YASSSSSS. The only problem with this stuff is that it sometimes gets on your clothes and 100% will get on your sheets. But honestly, I felt like that was a small price to pay for how good it made me feel and (I guess?) look! (ha).
St. Tropez (for the face) – This stuff is awful. Don’t waste your money on it. I just use the mousse on my face and deal with the clogged pores and hope I don’t break out. I know that sounds awful, but it ends up working just fine (and WAY better than this stuff!)
Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel ($34) – I tried this one ONCE and didn’t really like it to be honest. I actually ended up returning it. Maybe I should have given it another shot, but i just didn’t really feel like it make a difference? But I must say that some people were RAVING about it and seem to love it. I’ve actually heard mixed reviews. I’ve heard that it smells bad and never completely dries slash feels a little greasy too. Have you tried this one? What do you think?
COOLA sunless tan anti-aging serum – I haven’t actually tried this stuff myself but after reading a few reviews I feel like I HAVE to try it now. Have you tried it? I’ve heard it’s great for mixing with your moisturizer and is a great tanning solution specifically for the face.
Other St. Tropez Products I want to try
After reading some of your comments, I’m determined to give a few other St. Tropez products a try in the next few weeks. I’ve heard the in-shower stuff is great from a few of you (BUT HOW?!!) and I am going get the (brand new) bronzing mist this week – I think that stuff will make the whole tanning process so much quicker. Have you tried either of these? Oh wait, I also heard the UN-tinted bronzing mousse is amazing because it doesn’t get all over your sheets. But idk, call me crazy, but I kind of like the bronze color that shows up RIGHT when you put it on. Have you tried the un-tinted one?
A Few More To Try
Products I didn’t get to try but heard were good (from y’all)
Dr Dennis Gross glow pad for face – A few of you recommended this product but I didn’t get a chance to try it out. Honestly, I feel like this would be similar to the tan towels, no? And I didn’t particularly love those because they didn’t give me enough color!
Jose Marian Argan Liquid Gold ($38) – There are some GREAT reviews on Sephora for this product and I’ve heard from a few of you (via comments + DMs) that it’s a good for sensitive skin and doesn’t clog your pores like other self-tanners will do.
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