The best bronzelighters

Bronzelighting. It’s a thing. Maybe it’s the sunshine, maybe it’s marketing, but I can’t get enough of these bronzer-highlighter hybrids.

Base - Bronzer - Cream Bronzer - Glow - Highlighter - Makeup

I never thought I was much of a candidate for bronzelighting. Being on the anaemic end of the fair-skin spectrum, the highlighters that tend to look most natural on my skin are of the cool toned, clear or pearl family. In summer with a hint of colour – or self tan – I might venture into something more Champagne-hued. I had thought of tinted highlights as skin-tone determined; cool tones for fair skin and warm tones for deeper complexions or the gloriously lucky beach-bunny, olive skinned amongst us. I simply didn’t even consider a bronze-tone highlighter being for me.

Bronzelighting. It’s apparently a thing. I’m a fan of bronzer as much as the next pale girl; creams, gels or powders, I’m there. I just hadn’t realised that when I apply my clear, balmy Chanel Baume Essential over the top I was micro-manufacturing my own bronzelighter. Once I tuned into this trend, bronzelighters seemed to be everywhere. I saw Gucci Westman swiping on her Westman Atelier Peau de Peche and Soleil Superloaded Tinted Highlights across cheekbones, looked at Tom Ford’s Shade & Illuminate Glow Stick with new eyes, and zoomed in on Chanel’s new bronzey Baume Essential. Now I’m not talking just a shimmery bronzer. These are bronzer highlighter hybrids that amp up the glow, and aren’t strictly for brown skinned girls.

I’ve been applying these products across most of the cheekbone, where I would generally apply bronzer, and blending upward to catch the higher points of the temples. With some of these bronzelighters I definitely need to have a light touch – and know when to put. the. brush. down.

Once you find the right tone for your complexion, a bronzelighter (marketing spin name – yes, but easier than typing glowing bronzey bronzer-highlight hybrid), gives you gorgeous beach-bunny skin and is perfect for summer and applying to foundation-free skin. I personally think of bronzelighters as strictly cream or gel products. A powder attempt can look unnatural, effectively becoming a bronzing powder with glitter chunks, and a standard tinted highlighting powder is most often far too metallic and shimmery to apply to the entire cheek area. It’s all about getting the balance right between bronze and glow.

I’ve been road testing a few bronzelighters that caught my eye recently. First up is Manasi 7 who are the only brand I’ve seen actually claiming the name. Their bronzelighter in Roseate is simply packaged in a small white pot for those fond of minimalistic, Scandi-cool packaging. From the website swatch I was definitely expecting a cooler-toned, more taupe shade of bronze – and if they ever released a product that looked like this digital image I would be there. Ultimately, Roseate is a warmer, more coppery toned hue when swatched on my skin and one that medium skin tones are going to love. It’s creamy, but definitely takes more blending than other more emollient formulas.

Being an RMS Living Luminizer devotee I had to bring the Burati bronzer to the table. Not strictly a bronzelighter, this balm-cream bronzer enters the bronzelighter discussion thanks to it’s luminosity and slight shimmer. It’s a unique colour that is noticeably more pink-based than I expected. The pinky hue definitely helps fair skins with achieving a more natural sun-kissed look compared with orange-leaning bronzelighters, but if you have a lot of redness in your skin that you’re trying to conceal you might want to proceed with caution. This is also the least lighting of the bronzelighters I tested, giving dewiness but less obvious shine.

Chanel knocked it out of the park when they released their Baume Essential in Clear and Transparent, and the latest Golden Light doesn’t disappoint. While definitely the most balmy (read tacky) on the skin, the tone of this bronzelighter is just right. It’s not too warm, and not too cool, and is more tinted glow than tinted highlighter. Oily skins might find it’s too much tack and prefer a creamier texture, but dehydrated complexions will love the dewy finish it gives. It’s like healthiness in a tube. This is what I would pack for summer by the beach, and you really can’t beat the stick-form packaging, and fancy vibes that you get from a powerhouse brand like Chanel. While I love little pot cosmetics as much as the next person, swiping on the sheerer Chanel product is effortless.

Have you jumped on the bronzelighting bandwagon? Let me know your favourites on Instagram. 

Find Manasi 7 at Content and Saint Francis Place

Find RMS at Mecca and Beautylish

Find Chanel at Nordstrom and David Jones

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