LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 12: A model is seen backstage ahead of the Reuben Selby show during London Fashion Week June 2021 on June 12, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Nicky Sims/BFC/Getty Images)

Bronzer has had a torrid few seasons. Our obsession with adding warmth to our faces seemingly began some time in the mid-to-late Noughties, albeit with a far less nuanced view on application. Back then, it was all about swirling as much powder bronzer onto your brush as possible and caking it on to your entire face with abandon.

A few years later our bronzer use became (a little) more refined, as Kim Kardashian reintroduced the world to an old school makeup technique called contouring. We used cream and powder bronzer to heavily sculpt our cheekbones and slim our jawlines, using deeper shades to change and manipulate the very proportions of our faces.

Now bronzer application has become far less liberal, as the current less-is-more aesthetic requires only a touch of colour to create depth, add glow and subtly contour. Cream bronzer is also now preferred over powder due to its natural finish, making it easy to blend and buff into the complexion for a barely-there effect.

Here are a few of GRAZIA‘s favourite cream bronzers to fake a natural glow, sans sun (and telltale streaks).


Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick, $68 SHOP NOW

This buttery formula melts seamlessly into the skin, with the stick format making application absurdly simple.


Tom Ford Shade And Illuminate, $130 SHOP NOW

A cult favourite duo for a reason, this luxe cream bronzer is perfect for adding warmth, while the accompanying highlighter gives skin a believable sheen.

Mecca Max Off Duty Contour Stick, $18 SHOP NOW

For a more cost-effective option, you can’t go past this new formula from MECCA MAX. It comes in three shades – Medium, Deep and Rich – so all skin tones are covered.

Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer, $50 SHOP NOW

Fake a healthy glow sans sun damage with this super blendable cream bronzer, which can be a lightly layered or built up for more intense definition.

Chanel healthy Glow Bronzing Cream, $91 SHOP NOW

The Rolls Royce of cream bronzer, this beloved Chanel formula now comes in two shades – Soleil Tan Bronze and Deep Bronze – to suit all complexions. The silky cream delivers effortless natural colour, without unsightly streaks.