The best cream contours and bronzing sticks

·6-min read
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When summer is in full swing and our complexions have a healthy sun-kissed glow, we feel less-inclined to reach for our makeup bags.

Whether it’s the sweltering weather or the influence of Gen Z, but the clean girl aesthetic is a huge thing now - we’re definitely opting for effortless, light makeup as opposed to the heavily made-up, dark eyeshadow and sharply-carved eyebrow looks which were everywhere pre-Covid.

But as the winter weather draws in and the vitamin D deprivation sets in, you may be looking for a bronzed boost. Cream beauty products, especially ones which come in stick form are on the rise, with endless cosmetic houses bringing out handbag-friendly forms of existing products.

They can be applied and blended without any makeup tools, making them perfect for on-the-go as well as while travelling, and they also won’t use up your hand luggage allowance for any trips away.

Around seven years ago, striking contour was all the rage - everyone had the Anastasia Beverly Hills contour palette, and Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer was an absolute must-have.

Powder bronzer and highlighter was the dream combination, but we’ve slowly but surely moved away from harsh powder lines, and into creamy, blendable bronzers.

Professional SFX and makeup artist Alexa Riva Ravina - who has over 10 years experience in the industry and has worked with the likes of Little Mix - told us: “Cream bronzer doesn’t look as cakey within the pores if you use it all over the face.

“It’s something that, with the sun, actually can settle into the skin better than powder - because it’s wet, it looks more natural.

“It’s something that can be done with every budget as you can go for something like Tom Ford, but there are also much more affordable brands creating similar products as it’s a trend that’s so prominent right now.”

Shop the best below at all price points.

Rare Beauty Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer

Since launching in 2020, Rare Beauty has made serious waves in the cosmetics industry. The Selena Gomez-owned brand - though initially aimed at a younger audience - has appealed to a huge range of customers, and the quality of the products do all the talking,

The Rare Beauty Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer will give you a natural looking glow through its liquid-like consistency which easily blends. Easy to apply, this magic stick does not cake, crease or clog pores and will wear evenly.

The top-rated stick bronzer has a weightless, non-greasy formula, and comes in five different shade options; Power Boost; Happy Sol, Always Sunny Spring, Full of Life and True Warmth.

It provides a second-skin finish and incredible colour, and is also water-resistant.

Buy now £22.00, Space NK

NARS Laguna bronzing cream

Inspired by bestselling shade Laguna, NARS’ new Laguna Bronzing Cream is available in five permanent sunkissed shades, including the original award-winning hue.

Its silky texture seamlessly glides onto skin, delivering long-lasting, second-skin warmth with a natural finish.

Scenting the cream is the brand’s signature French Polynesia Monoï de Tahiti Oil, which is also known to lock in moisture, firm, and tone the complexion.

Buy now £32.50, NARS

Glossier Solar Paint

Solar Paint is a weightless bronzer designed to capture the warm glow you get from spending a day in the sun, keeping things very natural - as the brand usually does.

The buildable and non-comedogenic cream texture is easy to apply and it gives an instant summer glow to all skin types, with a slight touch of luminosity from light-reflecting pearls.

Thanks to its Desert Milk infusion, Solar Paint gives a natural finish that blends seamlessly with just the use of your fingers.

It’s available in four different shades.

Buy now £17.00, Glossier

Byredo Colour Stick

Luxury beauty and fragrance brand Byredo’s Colour Stick is a fabulous multi-use product.

Though not strictly defined as a contour or bronzing stick, it can be used as such, as well as on the lips and eyes.

The entirely vegan formula glides on to the face, and blends like a dream. It comes in 22 different shades, and will set you back £28.

Coleoptera, Ancient and La Scene are some of the best if you want to give your face a subtle sun-kissed glow.

Buy now £28.00, Selfridges

& Other Stories Radiance Wand Stick

& Other Stories may be best known for its fashion offering but it also has a not-so modest range of beauty products, which are very affordable.

The brand’s Radiance Wand in Tresor Dore is a shimmery bronzing stick which gives your skin a healthy, dewy glow and takes your makeup to the next level.

Buy now £19.00, & Other Stories

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour & Highlight Sticks

When the contouring trend first gained speed back in 2012, Anastasia Beverly Hills was at the forefront.

The US-based brand might have first started out in the eyebrow grooming realm, but it quickly became world famous for its contouring palettes.

Ten years on, the label has a huge range of products which expands across all areas. While the powder contour palette is still available to buy, the cream contour has now made its way into stick form.

The sticks are full-pigment cream sticks perfect for contouring and highlighting, delivering a natural-looking matte finish for the face and body.

With three shades, these cream sticks offer buildable coverage and allow you to achieve the ABH signature technique with ease.

Buy now £27.00, Beauty Bay

Morphe Dimension Effect Highlighter & Contour Sticks

Glow all out with the Morphe Dimension Effect Highlight & Contour Stick.

This creamy contour glides onto the skin, creating instant luminosity, and its lightweight formula blends effortlessly to give your skin a flattering, candle-lit effect that can be built up for a more intense radiance.

At only £14, it’s an affordable alternative for someone who doesn’t want to splash out, and has a strong shimmer. It’s great for a holiday makeup bag.

Buy now £14.00, Boots

Huda Beauty Tantour

Since starting out on YouTube years ago, Huda Kattan has gone on to dominate the beauty industry, from liquid lipsticks and eyehshadow palettes to SPF and now the Tantour.

This cream bronzer can be built up, used for a subtle glow or even give the illusion of the most chiselled, carved out cheekbones.

The deeply pigmented formula is sweat and water-resistant and blends like a dream, and there are five different shades to choose from.

Buy now £28.00, Cult Beauty

M.A.C Studio Fix Tech Cream-To-Powder Foundation

Yes, it might techinically be a foundation, but this cream-to-powder product from M.A.C doubles up perfectly as a cream contour.

All you need is a good brush or a damp beauty blender and it can be used as a cream contour, and there’s a whopping 42 shades to choose from.

It provides medium-buildable coverage, drying down to a natural matte finish, and delivers long-term moisturisation with 12-hour wear.

Buy now £30.00, M.A.C