Back by popular request, I’ve rounded up my top bronzers for 2022 … with a twist, as one isn’t technically a bronzer but you’ll see why I added it to the group. It’s actually a bit strange to think that several years ago I rarely used bronzers of any kind, but now it’s one of my most reached for beauty products. Evolution is good!
These days we not only have bronzers from basically every beauty brand, but they also come in a diverse range of textures & finishes. Powder might be easier, but nothing gives that realistic finish the way cream and liquid bronzers can. I’ve been a huge fan of CHANEL’s cream version for many years — I even still have my original Soleil Tan that I use to this day. The rebooted version has an improved and easier-to-work-with texture and I’m so glad that this year the brand came out with a Medium shade, as that was totally missing from the lineup and has since become my go-to out of the entire range (all reviewed here with comparisons).
In 2014, Giorgio Armani Beauty released the Maestro liquid bronzer in shade 100 Liquid Summer (reviewed here) and I was floored; not only does a little (as in a couple of drops) go a long way, but once blended in the look is so insanely natural, you’d never know it was makeup. I believe that about a year or so later 2 more shades were released — which I thankfully also have, but this amazing product has since been discontinued. The closest is the brand’s Fluid Sheer Glow Enhancer (reviewed here), but this isn’t as pigmented and contains a lot more shimmer.
With both products, you can definitely use your fingers for application but my preferred tools are either of these brushes: the Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush 02 or MAC’s Masterclass Oval 3 Brush (which I believe is no longer being made, but there are other brands that carry similar brushes).
Powder bronzers are not only the easiest to work with, but also more travel friendly AND can double as eyeshadow as well. With a plethora of undertones and finishes available, my most reached for are these four, a mix of new and long-time faves.
CHANEL’s Les Beiges products definitely rank as my favourites from the brand, and while several bronzers have been previously released from this range, this year’s Oversize Healthy Glow Powders (reviewed here) blow the earlier ones right out of the water — both in terms of colour, staying power, texture, and its effortless blendability. I actually own all three new shades, but Sunkiss – Medium is the one that works best on me and which I feel is the more universal hue of the bunch.
I have had a longstanding love affair with Guerlain’s Terracotta bronzers (I’ve reviewed way too many to list them all, but feel free to click the Terracotta tab here for options), and this year’s Terracotta Light version (reviewed here) does not disappoint. Slightly more orange based than the other three in the group, I love how this also includes blush and highlighter segments, so that when swirled all together, you get a truly believable sun-kissed flush of colour — and one that is unique each time, as it all depends on what part of the pan you swirl you brush. Texture-wise, it’s also sublime but I’m not surprised, as Guerlain was one of the first luxury brands to market a powdered bronzer so you can bet that they’ve got a lockdown on formulation.
There isn’t a makeup artist out there who doesn’t have NARS’ iconic Laguna bronzer in their kit, and there’s a good reason for that: it’s amazing on basically everyone. Definitely the more golden based out of the group shown, Laguna (reviewed here) also happens to be the very first bronzer I purchased many, many years ago (which I still own, but don’t use anymore due to its age — sentimentality prevents me from throwing it out, lol) and it remains a gold standard to this day. Easy to work with and a shade that can be built up, this can take your skin from a light hint of colour to full-on tan, without ever looking cakey or over the top. Note that Laguna now also comes in matte & liquid versions as well.
Dior released the Backstage Contour Palette in 2018 (reviewed here), and while I don’t actually contour my face, I love using a mix of shades from this palette for bronzing. The fact that you have a selection of hues means you have so many possibilities and depending on whether I have a light tan or not, there’s a shade here I can always use. The powder is so incredibly fine-milled and melds beautifully with the skin once applied, without ever looking like it’s sitting at surface level. Note that the 3 darker colours of the palette were used for the swatch below.
I’ve used a variety of brushes for application over the years, but the ones I reach for the most now are these 3 from CHANEL: Large Slanted Bronzer Brush (no longer available), Dual-Fibre Powder Brush (I believe this also is no longer available, but many other brands offer something similar) and the new Les Beiges Oversize Kabuki Brush for when I want to hit larger areas such as collarbones or décolleté.
So now we’ve come to the twist I mentioned at the top: the Laguna Multiple from NARS, which was limited edition and sadly no longer available (but why??????), although you can still get it in the brand’s Sculpting Multiple Duo form (reviewed here). Obviously, this isn’t technically a bronzer but as it has the Laguna DNA in its colouration, it’s also more than just a highlighter. On days where I don’t want to bother with a lot of makeup (as in, nothing else on my face but maybe a slick of mascara and a swipe of lip balm), this cream stick gives me both colour + a soft healthy-looking glow … and I’m literally done. Its compact form is also spot-on perfect for travelling with and the best part? You don’t need anything other than your fingers for application.
Every year brings us new formulations and innovation in the beauty industry and while a couple of new releases made it to this year’s list, I still go back to some tried & true favourites because as they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. With so many choices available, there’s literally something for everyone out there and even if you wear nothing else, a bit of bronzer goes a long way in adding some healthy-looking colour to the face. Or even faking a tan as I intend doing, since I don’t see a vacation in my near future (but you never know!)