I used to bake out in the sun for hours on end to get that sun-kissed glow. All you had to do was hand me some headphones, an ice-cold beverage, and some SPF, and I’d be golden (pun intended). But now I’m trying to be a little bit better about my sun exposure and avoid sun damage, even if I’m slathering on the sunscreen. So I’m extra careful about how long I spend out sunbathing nowadays, and I’m extra vigilant about applying and reapplying and then reapplying SPF. Don’t get me wrong; you’ll still find me poolside or lounging on the beach, but most of the time, I try to seek shelter under an umbrella.
Now that I limit my sun exposure, that glow doesn’t come as easily. So I’ve been leaning on bronzers to get that natural-looking radiance, especially in the summer months.
I used to be strictly all about powder bronzers, but I recently tried some cream formulas and instantly became obsessed. The creamy consistency makes my skin look even more radiant and dewier. Some powders can look cakey or can crease, especially when it’s hot out, but with cream bronzers, I get that effortlessly blended finish.
I normally apply it very lightly with my fingers or a brush on my cheekbones, temples, nose, and chin. Lightly is key here for me so it seems more natural and not like I overdid it. It also gives me more room to build on the color if I want a little bit more.
Take a look at some cream bronzers I love plus other editors’ and readers’ favorites below.
This lightweight, gel-cream bronzer is easy to blend in and goes on so smoothly. It leaves a velvet-matte finish.
I used to be wary of anything creamy because I thought it would feel greasy on my skin, but that’s not the case with this bronzer. It just melts into the skin effortlessly. The sheer formula is buildable and sweat- and water-resistant.
The cool thing about this bronzing stick is that it contains some skincare ingredients, too. It contains jojoba oil, Indian senna seed, aloe vera, and cactus flower.
You can use this soft-matte bronzer to add some definition and sculpting to your face. While it’s a cream formula, it sets like a powder. It’s also long-lasting and buildable.
Tower 28’s bronzing balm has some nourishing, good-for-the-skin ingredients like green tea extract and mango butter.
This shimmery bronzing stick is made of all-natural, hydrating ingredients like coconut oil, jojoba oil, cupuaçu butter, and daikon radish extract. The formula blends in easily and doesn’t feel sticky or heavy at all.
Kosas’s bronzer duo leaves you with a warm, glowy complexion. The buildable product has a soft and smooth finish. It also contains nourishing oils like marula, rose-hip seed, grape seed, green tea, and myrrh.
Saie’s creamy balm bronzer just melts into the skin for a natural glow. It has ingredients such as colloidal oatmeal (to soothe and moisturize), grape-seed oil (for antioxidant protection), and elderberry extract (to balance the microbiome).
For a waterproof formula, you’ll like this buildable bronzer from Tarte. It’s also enriched with marine plant extracts to reduce the appearance of fine lines.
If you’re looking for a sheer and subtle glow, this bronzer from RMS Beauty will get you that look. It has buriti oil, which is a source of vitamin A and beta-carotene.
This bronzer stick is formulated with green tea, aloe, and olive oil for hydration.
This one leaves a matte finish, and you can also use it for contouring. Mango butter and apricot oil in the formula provide hydration benefits and make it easier for the product to blend in better.
Here’s a versatile option: You can use this bronzing stick on your eyes, lips, and cheeks. The buildable formula contains antioxidant-rich white tea and green tea extracts.
A cross between a powder and cream, this bronzer goes on so smoothly and blends in so easily. It’s made with a blend of nourishing butters: murumuru, cupuaçu, and tucuma.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.