I’m a Former Bronzer Hater, but I Finally Found a $7 Formula I Like From This Issa Rae-Approved Brand

It gives me a faux sun-kissed glow.

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This Issa Rae-Approved Brand Makes My Favorite Bronzer, and It’s Only $7
Photo:

Instagram @elfcosmetics

Despite being someone whose shade range covers “very fair” to “ghostly white,” bronzers have never been a consistent part of my makeup routine. The issue I’ve found is that even the lightest shades leave an orangey hue, like self-tanner gone wrong, with the blend far from seamless. And bronzing powders, as beloved as they are, typically don’t mesh with my dry skin. 

Though bronzer has never been a staple in my routine, I also never had a hard and fast rule against it, I just simply hadn’t found “the one” and, let’s be honest, wasn’t actively searching for it. But when I came across e.l.f’s Putty Bronzer at the drugstore, which had a $7 price tag, I added it to my basket without hesitation. Why not give sun-kissed skin another try?

e.l.f. Putty Bronzer
e.l.f. Putty Bronzer.

Amazon

Shop now: $7; amazon.com and Ulta.com

I had known e.l.f was a great place to find quality makeup basics on a budget, whether that was concealer or a brow pencil. Issa Rae even gave the brand her stamp of approval when wearing a full-face of it to the 2022 Emmys. Yet, I was still shocked when this bronzer melted into my skin. While the texture wasn’t overly creamy — based on looks alone, I wrongly assumed it would feel similar to Glossier’s Stretch Concealer —  the putty-to-powder formula was incredibly easy to work with and blended into the skin without any tools. 

Applying dots of the shade Tan Lines to my cheeks, temples, and forehead, which I worked outwards towards my hairline with my fingers, I was instantly met with a look that indicated my SPF-covered skin might have actually gotten a little sun. The color payoff was just right for a natural look – though reviewers note that it can be easily built up – and incredibly lightweight. There was the subtlest glimmer to this product (an overabundance of sparkles is another of my typical bronzer gripes), with a matte finish that gave my face a no-makeup makeup appearance. 

Best yet, even after turning to powder, the formula never caked. And to my surprise, it didn’t leave my dry skin yearning for a thick layer of balm thanks to two of the bronzer’s key ingredients, argan oil and vitamin E, which worked to moisturize and nourish my skin. 

Heading into colder months, when those small bits of tan I got over the summer disappear, the Putty Bronzer from e.l.f will be the product I turn to for a bit of color and hydration. And at just $7 on Amazon and Ulta, you can add the natural bronzer to your makeup routine too.

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