Shimmer Bronzers, When You Need To Fake a Beach Vacation

We may earn a small commission on purchases made through our affiliate links below. Learn more about how we review products and our sources of information.

Best Shimmer Bronzers

I think the best part about shimmer bronzers is that you don’t have to spend 40 minutes to figure out where the bronzer goes and where the highlighter goes. They take the guesswork out of summer makeup for makeup lovers that don’t identify as a makeup artist or a beauty guru! Thankfully, shimmer bronzers have come a long way. And these days, they are far from looking like glitter mud in powder form. Quite the opposite, actually. The best shimmer bronzers give you a fake tan with a glistening effect, which turns ‘stuck indoors skin’ to ‘beachy bronze skin’ with a few swipes.

And they work on all skin types. The thing with shimmery bronzers is that people think that they don’t look good on oily skin types. Wrong! Shimmer bronzers come in all forms. You have blindingly glowy finish options as well as the ones with a very subtle sheen. So there is one for everyone and every skin type!

Even though matte bronzers are great for sculpting the face, bronzers with ultra-fine shimmer can be used all over the face as well. Not to mention, you have powder, cream, and stick formulas.

So depending on the look you’re going for, there is a variety of options that allow you to intensify your makeup or make it look more natural and sun-kissed. So you’re not going to leave this page empty-handed no matter your skin tone.

Now scroll down to check out the best shimmer bronzers.

Best Overall: Nars Bronzer Powder

Nars Bronzer Powder - Best Shimmer Bronzer

This one still reigns supreme over others as it has the most subtle shimmer wrapped in a bronzer. It comes in 4 different shades, one of which is going to be your new favorite go-to for glowy makeup. The pigmentation is not super strong, so you can’t overdo it. But it’s absolutely buildable. It’s great for natural, everyday makeup to get a barely-there shimmer with the perfect amount of sun-kissed bronze. It does fade a little bit throughout the day. So if you need a long-lasting effect or if you’re going to wear a mask, you might want to set it with a setting spray.

Best For Medium Skin: Too Faced Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer

Too Faced Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer

This one is a dual bronzer that comes in two shades. And it has a pink undertone, which is supposed to “mimic the flush of a real tan”. I don’t know about that but I can say that it looks like you’re wearing both a blush and a bronzer, which ends up giving you the most natural-looking brown. And it brings your whole makeup together with a luminous finish. You will not need to wear a blush when you’re wearing this. The only downside is that you have a single shade to work with.

Best For Dark Skin: Kosas The Sun Show Moisturizing Baked Bronzer

Kosas The Sun Show Moisturizing Baked Bronzer

Bronzer simplified! You have three different shades; light, medium, and deep. So don’t overthink this. The good thing about this baked bronzer is that you can either get the shade for your skin tone or get all three to highlight, bronze, and sculpt. They’re all very lightly shimmery, which is great for natural, summer makeup. The lightest shade has warm undertones to bring some warmth to fair skin tones without looking muddy. The medium shade has a peachy undertone that gives you just the right amount of definition. And the deepest shade has red undertones, which look incredibly rich and pretty, and is the absolute best shimmer bronzer for dark skin tones.

Best Affordable: Milani Baked Bronzer

Milani Baked Bronzer -  Best Affordable Shimmer Bronzer

Speaking of baked bronzers, this Italian goodie offers straight-up glowing skin. And it’s the most affordable shimmer bronzer to get that sun-kissed look. It feels super light on the skin, blends seamlessly into the complexion, and just brings about a healthy glow onto the cheeks. The vegan bronzer is baked, so it feels velvety on the skin. That means you can apply it both with your fingers and with a brush.

Best Cream: Tower 28 Beauty Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer

Tower 28 Beauty Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer

Cream bronzers come in handy for a more natural, dab it and leave it type of makeup. They’re also easier to work with on textured skin or aging skin, all because of their blurring and blending effect. This clean beauty gem has a buttery formula with a dewy finish that melts into the skin and freshens up your complexion. It’s moisturizing and illuminating, and absolutely one of the best shimmer bronzers to create dewy makeup looks.

Best For Fair Skin: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer -  Best Shimmer Bronzer

This one is similar to Nars Bronzer Powder in that they both have a very subtle shimmery finish. But this one is a little more pigmented. It’s not the best for contouring or sculpting unless you want to. But it’s excellent for warming up the skin and faking a sunny day at the beach. It blends well even on bare skin if you want to go foundation-free. It gives you that multi-dimensional glow to give depth to the complexion without contour.

Best Drugstore: L’Oreal True Match Lumi Bronze It Bronzer

L'Oreal True Match Lumi Bronze It Bronzer -  Best Drugstore Shimmer Bronzer

Apparently, it doesn’t have to be expensive to get bronze and glowing skin. This powder formula is a cult favorite for its affordability and the fact that you get a fair amount of product. The three shades, which have cool undertones, make it easier to sculpt the face and define your features. The shimmer is very subtle, so you can use it all over the face without looking sparkly. The lightest shade is the best shimmer bronzer for very light skin. The medium shade, if you ask me and if I’m being honest, is useless. So whether you have medium, olive, or dark skin tone, go for the darkest shade and build slowly.

Best Duo: Cover FX Monochromatic Bronzer Duo

Cover FX Monochromatic Bronzer Duo - Best Shimmer Bronzer

This bronzer duo has both a matte and a shimmer shade. It’s so convenient. If you’re not ready to fully invest in a glow bronzer, this one allows you to experiment. You have your regular bronzer to sculpt and warm up the skin. And if you feel like it, you can always dab into the shimmer option to bring a youthful radiance into the complexion. Additionally, you can use them together at the same time for a seamlessly blended, overall glowy, and highlighted look. This one is good for all seasons! The shade Suntan Bronze has red undertones, which looks amazing on medium skin tones.

Best Palette: Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette

Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette

If you prefer a face palette to get the glow going on all fronts, then you’re going to love this powder glow palette. Besides a seriously glowy bronzer, you have a blush and two highlighters to complete your look. And by the way, these are all ‘what you see is what you get’, meaning that yes, they are that glowy and that pigmented. They are all high-impact and richly pigmented. The Universal palette is great for light skin tones and offers warm undertones. And the Glitz palette can be used for medium skin tones and can be built up for darker skin tones. Either way, the palette is great for blindingly glowing skin.

This concludes our round-up of the best shimmer bronzers. Remember that bronzers look unnatural when you overdo it. So it’s best to start very slowly and build up from there especially if you have very light skin.

To properly apply your shimmer bronzer, get a little amount on your powder brush. And start by pressing your brush onto the hollows of the cheeks and slowly blend towards the center of your face. This is going to give you an overall warm and defined look. Don’t forget to apply it across the forehead closer to your hairline and down the temples and your jawline as well.

To achieve that sun-kissed look, give more focus to the center of your face. Apply it liberally on the bridge of the nose and a little bit on the sides of the nose scattered towards the cheeks but still closer to the under-eye area. As your nose is the first place the sun hits (and burns), this is the best way to fake sun-kissed skin.

Read Next: How to Do Your Makeup Without Foundation

Scroll to Top