There's no time like the summer to sport bronzed, Grace-Kelly-on-the-French-Riviera skin. But unless you're actually lounging in the sun all summer, achieving a golden tan with the help of a bronzer that looks natural is surprisingly difficult. Some bronzers leave you streaky no matter how much you blend, while others seem to add more glitter than they do glow. Whether you want to enhance your sun-kissed skin or you're completely faking your summer glow, we checked in with the experts for their best bronzer picks and how to use them like a pro.
1. Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer
"Bronzers with shimmer are fine in small doses, but in the sunlight, they can look glittery and fake, [which is why] you're better off with a bronzer like Hoola that has no shimmer. To boost your overall skin tone, apply this after foundation but before blush, using a large, fluffy powder brush and a light hand to sweep the color evenly over your face and blending down your neck. If you feel like the finish looks too matte or powdery, use a face mist afterward to bring back a more natural, dewy finish." – Melissa Murdick, makeup artist who works with Selena Gomez.
Benefit Cosmetics | $29
2. Lily Lolo Miami Beach Pressed Bronzer
I only, only, only ever use a bronzer with no glitter in it! I'm liking Lily Lolo's right now [because] it's a matte, light-medium tan shade. Bronzer is always one of the very last products to touch the face, especially when it's a powder. This means it goes on after foundation and concealer, after eyes have been dolled up and preferably after a lip color. It's easy to go overboard with bronzer and how intensely you apply it really depends on what colors you're wearing. I love to use a big fluffy brush and follow the application with a sweep of a clean fluffy brush to make sure there are no hard edges or streaks." —Katey Denno, makeup artist who works with Amanda Seyfried and Chelsea Handler.
3. Dior Diorskin Nude Air Tan Powder
"The very fine powder gives a natural bronzed look that's almost invisible. The color is not too orange, just the perfect sun-kissed tone, and it doesn't have a lot of shimmer. The best part is it lasts all day so [you] don't have to reapply often. The bronzer is the last thing I apply. After correcting the skin with foundation and/or concealer, I loosely powder the face first with a setting powder and then apply the bronzer. The way to keep it fairly natural is to apply it wherever the sun would hit—on the forehead, along the hairline and going down the side of the face in a '3' shape starting at the temples, down to the cheekbones and finishing on the jawline to balance out the face." —Sabrina Bedrani, makeup artist who works with Margot Robbie and Emilia Clarke.
4. Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base
"This is the best bronzer for sure! It's matte, [the color] is not orange and it's easy to blend and build. I love it just after an illuminating moisturizer if you don't wear foundation, or use it last if you do. Use it with a medium-sized powder brush and dust all over the face, focusing on the cheeks, forehead and bridge of the nose. When I use it on myself, I actually love applying it with my fingers." —Melanie Inglessis, makeup artist who works with Olivia Wilde and Kate Hudson.
"I've used this for years, and it continues to be one of my favorite bronzers for clients and even for myself! The texture is creamy but still a little dry so it has staying power and the color is the perfect shade to replicate a real sun-kissed glow. If [you're] wearing it by itself, apply it first, use concealer where needed and then go back over the entire face very lightly with the product. If [you're] using foundation, apply the foundation first and then add the bronzer, making sure to apply to all of the angles of the face where the sun would naturally hit. I like to use a large dual fiber brush to apply this [because] the stippling effect gives the most natural look to the skin and you can buff the product in so it blends with your foundation." —Kayleen McAdams, makeup artist who works with Rachel McAdams and Jessica Biel.
Chanel | $50
5. NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer
"I love using this bronzer as a final touch to makeup on the cheekbones, temples, jawline, hairline and under the chin to add glow and dimension. [It's] a multi-functional product that can be used in a variety of ways. You can mix with moisturizer to create a sheer, sun-kissed glow, add to foundation for a touch of shimmery summer color or give a bronzed finish to your makeup." —Kathy Jeung, makeup artist who works with Rita Ora and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
6. PUR Cosmetics Glow Together Jumbo Bronzer
"My new favorite: it comes in a perfect just-got-back-from-vacation shade that looks great on light to medium dark complexions. [The compact] has matte and shimmer shades [so] it also works as a great contour powder. I use this after a base and a light setting of translucent powder to shape the face and often as a blush. Apply it with a soft powder brush for overall bronzing and a fan brush when applying it to cheeks." —Allan Avendaño, makeup artist who works with Zendaya and Chrissy Teigen.