Whenever I Wear This Product, People Ask Me If I’ve Been on Holiday

Before I start talking about the joys of looking bronzed and glowing, I would like to say something very important: I will never advocate lying in the sun with the sole intention of tanning your skin. Sure, accidental tans happen to the best of us, but if you’re asking for my expert advice, no suntan is worth the long-term damage UV rays do to your skin.

Having said that, there is something wonderful about looking as though you have just stepped off a plane from a warmer land, is there not? Despite its pitfalls, the sun has a wonderful way of making our skin look delightful. A few hours in the sunshine can make our skin look not only bronzed but also glowing, radiant and actually quite healthy. So what if I told you there was a way to get that sun-kissed glow without having to put up with the long-term damage? And no, it doesn’t involve a fake tan. 

It’s all down to good ol’ trusty bronzer. Gone are the days of excessive bronzer use leaving skin looking orange-toned and Oompa Loompa–like. In fact, after years of over-applying bronzer, I’ve found the new-age formulas actually have people asking me where I’ve been on holiday (and I haven’t even touched a fake tan yet this year). 

The key, I have learned, is to opt for a glow-boosting (but not shimmery) bronzer. I’m talking silky, melt-like-butter powders with teeny-tiny light-reflecting particles dusted over the top of the forehead, swiped along cheekbones and patted onto the bridge of the nose. Trust me—since I adopted this makeup technique last year, I have people complimenting my tan all year round (when really I’m the palest I’ve ever been). Using a glow-boosting bronzer is, without a doubt, the speediest way to fake a tan. And to avoid making any wrong turns in the bronzer aisle, I’ve compiled a list of the best glow-boosting bronzers for such results—you’re welcome.

When it comes to bronzer, this stuff is the crème de la crème. As someone who has tried just about every glow-boosting bronzer out there, I have no doubt in my mind that Guerlain Terracotta is the GOAT. The ultimate everyday reach-for, it leaves skin looking both sand- and sun-kissed—like your skin is covered in a layer of superfine desert dust.

If it’s real glow you’re after, then this stuff should tick all of your boxes. For starters, it’s luxe. I mean, what’s not to love about a glossy white-and-gold Tom Ford compact? What makes it better, though, is that the bronzer itself is also quite magical. The powder is infused with nourishing butters to give it a super-creamy texture that creates a liquid-like veil over the skin. If this bronzer were to morph into human form, it would definitely be Jennifer Lopez.

This stuff is new addition to Chanel’s bronzer line-up. First, if you’re wincing at the price, just know that it’s supersized. For real, I think there’s potential for it to last a lifetime. The bronzer itself is a feat. Creamy, subtle, easy to blend, and with a radiance to it that doesn’t appear even a little bit shimmery, this bronzer just might end up rivalling Terracotta. 

I can honestly say that I have never used a makeup product quite like this one. At first look, you might expect the swirl of highlighting powders and bronzers to create a super-luminous finish not too dissimilar to Hourglass’s iconic Ambient Lighting powder (more on that later). But actually, you’d be wrong. Instead of delivering high-pigment bronze, it delivers a warm hint of colour with a blurring luminosity that’s so subtle it’s hard to distinguish where face and makeup meet. I thought I’d hate this, but it’s actually become one of my favourite makeup products of all time.

I challenge anyone to find a bronzer as universally loved as this one from Nars. With a very subtle shimmer, it’s like beachside glamour in one very chic compact that you’re guaranteed to love for years to come.

This stuff is eye-wateringly expensive. However, it is also a unique bronzing product. In terms of glow boosting, it works very differently to the other products on this list. Its finish is technically matte (meaning it doesn’t contain a hint of shimmer or glitter), but the formula is infused with hydrating butters that work to boost the skin’s hydration and natural glow. 

If you’re going on holiday this year, be sure to pack a bottle of this stuff. While high-pigment, highlighting bronzing drops are so not my thing, this stuff is very different. The oily liquid is jam-packed with hydrating, skin-loving ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and sea kelp to visibly plump and moisturise the skin, making it look almost unbelievably healthy.

If you can get your hands on one of these sell-out bronzers I encourage you to cling to it. Unlike dated contour sticks, these Rare Beauty bronzers have a natural-looking warmth to them that simply elevates your complexion (rather than distort it). The best bit? They’re creamy enough to dab onto cheeks on the go.

I’ve already mentioned this bronzer, and I’ll be honest: I was kind of torn about including it on this list. Not because it isn’t good enough (in fact, I’d say it’s potentially one of the best makeup products of all time), but because the level of glow it delivers is so good it feels out of place next to the rest. In short, this bronzing powder blurs every single pore and blemish in its tracks while leaving skin looking bronzed, radiant and full of luminosity.

I have a lot of love for this little pot of bronzing cream. While powder bronzers can be a bit troublesome in terms of placement and blending, this stuff can literally be warmed up between fingers and patted onto a one-square-centimetrearea at the highest point of your cheekbone. Seriously, that’s all it takes to create an illusion of a beautifully sunkissed complexion.

If you like your makeup products to feel chic, luxe, and everything in between, this one is for you. Seriously, I have never feel more in charge of my own life than when I’m holding this chic-as-hell bronzer in the palm of my hand. Sure, the cream faux-leather compact is a work of art, but so is the bronzer inside of it. It delivers a bronzed finish so natural-looking that you’ll never want to use another bronzer again.

When compiling a list of the very best glow-boosting bronzers around, it should be considered criminal to leave out Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess. Yes, it contains a shimmer, but is that really so wrong? With a deep, terracotta-esque hue that catches the light of summer sun in the most mesmerising of ways, I think I speak for every beauty editor out there when I say Bronze Goddess is the gold standard of summer makeup products.

Next up, skincare-infused makeup is the biggest beauty trend, and I’m here for it.