I Swear by Matte Bronzers—These Ones Give the Most Convincing Sun-Kissed Glow

Shannon Lawlor

If you’re anything like me, you will have spent the majority of the last few months cooped up inside. During winter, my friends often joke and liken me to a hermit crab that refuses to come out of its shell. However, the minute the sun starts shining through later in the year, you'll struggle to keep me in the house. This year, though, thanks to the limits on outdoor activity and the fact that I live in a flat with absolutely no outdoor space, I’ve spent the majority of my time inside.

It it knowing this that has left my friends very confused whenever we sit down for our weekly Zoom drinks. “Shannon, how are you so glowing right now?” one of them declared last week. And I can honestly say that nothing about my bronzed glow is real. I haven’t been outside for longer than a couple of hours at any given time and, even when I have been out, I’m slathered in a thick layer of SPF 50.

So, considering that my go-to facial tanning drops (Coola Sunless Tan, FYI) ran out a couple of weeks ago, I can 100% confirm that my bronze is down to my new-found love for matte bronzers. You see, I’ve always loved using bronzer as a way to add some depth and life to my base, but I’ve never been much of a fan of the shimmer or light-reflecting properties that so many of them pack. I’m a no-makeup-makeup kind of girl through and through and, within that, there’s no room for shimmer.

Cult classics like Benefit’s Hoola may have been around for years, but now there’s a whole bunch of different textures, shades and formulas on the scene. Whereas before we might have had only a few to pick from, now there's something for everybody. Unlike a light-reflecting bronzer, a matte formula creates a natural-looking, deep tan-like bronze for a just-stepped-off-the-beach finish. Keep scrolling for the formulas I swear by for a convincing bronzy glow.

Nars Matte Bronzing Powder (£31)

If you had asked me a few months ago whether Nars's iconic Laguna bronzer was matte, I would have said absolutely. However, since giving the new matte version a go, I can totally see the difference. The finish is definitely deeper and more seamless.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Bronzer (£39)

Packed with hyaluronic acid as well as soft-focus silica, this new bronzing powder from Charlotte Tilbury is almost impossibly silky and, dare I say it, even a little bit hydrating.

Iconic London Ultimate Bronzing Powder (£25)

Another new matte bronzer launch, this bronzer is from a brand most famous for its illuminating, glow-giving products. However, just as wonderful at giving a sun-kissed finish as it is at contouring, it's a real multitasker.

Laura Mercier Viva Cuba Bronzer (£31)

Like summer in a compact, I love the way this bronzer looks dusted over cheekbones and across the bridge of the nose.

Guerlain Terracotta Matte Compact Powder (£38)

Guerlain's Terracotta has long been one of my favourite bronzing powders. However, I must admit that the highlighting properties of it can look a little full-on when your face catches the light. This matte version has all of the warming properties of the original, just without the shimmer. And the smell is still just as delicious.

Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder (£27)

Basically loved by everyone who has ever tried it, Hoola is the original matte bronze. While for a long time people complained that it only came in one shade (which was far too dark for those with fair skin and far too light for those with dark), Benefit has since released extra shades.

Chanel Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream (£42)

Speaking of things that only come in one shade, Chanel's newly reformulated Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream (it has replaced the iconic Soleil Tan de Chanel), gives the most natural-looking, healthy glow to my skin, and I truly love it. However, it shockingly only comes in one "universal" shade. While it's super blendable and probably workable for those with fairer skin than me, those with darker skin might be able to use it as a glow-giver, but definitely not a bronzer. Chanel, we're calling for more shades!

MAC Bronzing Powder (£24)

Probably one of the most basic-looking bronzers on this list, this bronzing powder from MAC is without a doubt one of my favourites. It's sheer but buildable, making it perfect for just about every occasion.

Huda Beauty Tantour Contour & Bronzer Cream (£26)

I love a cream product, especially when it comes to matte bronzers. Whereas some matte bronzers can dull your natural radiance, cream products like this one from Huda Beauty manage to enhance luminosity while delivering a bronzed, tanned finish.

Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Bronze Coconut Perfect Tan Bronzer (£38)

I challenge you to find a more luxe-finish bronzer. Not only is the packaging absolutely divine, but the powder itself is also silky and warming. Plus, it has the most wonderful, summery coconut scent.

Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder (£32)

It might not look that exciting, but this bronzer has been a staple in my makeup bag for years. It requires minimal effort to apply and is virtually foolproof thanks to its soft, lightweight nature. 

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer (£34)

You might already be familiar with Estée Lauder's Bronze Goddess collection thanks to its iconic, best-selling fragrance. However, I think this bronzing powder is a real unsung hero. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer (£30)

All six shades of this bronzer have a slightly red undertone to them, which, if you ask me, creates the most natural-looking tanned effect when applied along the hairline and down the centre of the nose.

Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer (£28)

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: Cream bronzers are an absolute dream to apply. This new launch from Fenty offers seven easy-to-blend shades that make for the best contour products.

Too Faced Dark Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (£25)

An oldie but a goodie. I used to love Too Faced's chocolate bronzers. The matte powders provide a deep, rich pigment that basically melts onto the skin like butter.

Lumene Invisible Illumination Watercolour Bronzer (£23)

For something a little different, this matte watercolor bronzer actually delivers serious hydration. However, with no visible shimmer, it gives the most glowy, realistic tanned radiance. This stuff is probably one of my most-used makeup products ever.

Next up, 19 summery perfumes to try if you're desperate for a holiday.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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