Cream products are without doubt the most natural on the skin, and a good cream bronzer is a makeup bag essential. Where powder bronzers can sometimes sit on top of the skin, cream bronzers gorgeously melt into your base and look seamless and real.
On the top shelf is the influencer approved Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel. This does the rounds every few years, floats in and out of favour but is inevitably considered one of the best. While no doubt pricey, this dressing table tub of bronze is strangely large. I’d love to hear from anyone who has ever reached the bottom of it. It’s not what I pack in my travel makeup bag, in fact, I would love it if they released a cute little travel size, but for at-home use it’s great. In winter I have to use a light hand, or things can get a bit orange, and while there’s no doubt there should be more than one colour available, this ‘universal’ shade is quite wide-reaching. I have seen others go in with a beauty blender sponge, but I like to take a medium dense buffing brush, swirl it into the product and then stipple and blend into the skin. It sets down more matte than others I’ve tried, which is quite nice especially in the summer months.
While not budget, but definitely more purse-friendly than Chanel, Milk is a clear favourite of mine and my daily go-to. The tone of Baked is a little less warm, a little less orange, than Chanel and the obvious difference is its stick-form. The chunky white stick, with secure lid, makes it a travel makeup bag’s dream, but my application method remains the same. I tend to stipple my Bobbi Brown foundation brush onto the product, rather than swiping it straight onto my face. The consistency is dewier, and more emollient than Chanel and it definitely doesn’t set down quite as matte, despite it’s name. As with the Chanel, this seems to last an absolute age. Milk Makeup is definitely not the easiest to get hold of, depending on where you are in the world, so a good alternative would be NudeStix Nudies Matte All Over Face Color Blush & Bronze in Bondi Bae – if a little more caramel toned.
Wild card entries, these last two honourable mentions still hold their own in my bronzer shortlist. Charlotte Tilbury released a limited edition cream Hollywood Bronze & Glow many moons ago, but it is worthy of mention should it ever appear again. The packaging featured Norman Parkinson artwork and the same palette set-up as the powder version. The cream bronze itself, is a slightly deeper, ever so slightly greyer tone than my other picks, and serves me well when I want a contour and bronze in one.
While not the same in tone, Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick in Biscuit works for me in the same way. Some will find this too grey for a bronzer, but on pale complexions this can really work when you find all others show too orange. The texture, as I’ve mentioned before, is an absolute dream – creamy and effortlessly bendable. The packaging is obviously to die for (as it should be at that price), and practical, and where Milk Makeup sticks can feel a little chunky, you can swipe this straight onto the cheekbones for an exact contour placement. If you’re testing this out as a bronzer, just make sure you’re blending it up higher on the cheekbones, and adding some to the forehead and tip of the nose to mimic where the sun would naturally catch you.
Find Chanel at Nordstrom
Find Westman Atelier at Mecca
Find Milk Makeup at Cult Beauty