We all know that a good bronzer can help transform your face: emphasising cheekbones and jawlines, and giving your face a sun-kissed glow without any UV exposure are just a few of the multifaceted bronzer’s talents.
However, application is key to keeping your bronze looking subtly sun-kissed. More on that to come…
How do I choose the right bronzer shade?
Most makeup artists recommend opting for a bronzer just one or two shades darker than your skin tone for a natural-looking finish.
It’s also a good idea to work out your undertone to help you decide which bronzer to go for.
If you have warm undertones (the veins on your wrist look green), rich golden shades will compliment you. On the other hand, those with a cooler natural tone (veins look blue) should look for a bronzer with peachy hues.
When it comes to the formula, everything from matte powders to sheer creams can be applied flawlessly with a brush – you just need to find the right one.
Although contour, bronzer and highlighter are different products, bronzer is pretty adaptable and can also be used to sculpt your face if you prefer to keep a minimalist makeup kit. You can read about our guide to mastering contour here.
It all comes down to choosing the right brush and knowing how to use it. On that note, let’s dive into which brush works best for every type of bronzer.
Which type of brush should you use for bronzer?
The right type of brush can totally transform your bronzing experience and should be chosen according to the look you want to achieve.
The fluffier the brush, the more diffused the product will be, delivering a subtle warmth of colour. The smaller and more compact the brush, the more precise the application, with a more intense pigment payoff.
I find densely packed brushes pair well with cream bronzers, as they allow you to blend the product in with ease.
For a simple sweep across the face, neck and decolletage, soft fluffy brushes are the best go-to and can see you out the door in minutes.
Angled brushes are ideal for emphasising the cheeks, whereas compact travel brushes are a must-have for those who do their makeup on the go.
What type of brush should you use for contouring?
For contouring, smaller, more precise brushes are usually your best bet to sculpt your face and define features.
That’s because shorter, more compact bristles allow for more product to be applied in concentrated areas, such as in the cheek hollows, under the jawline and down the nose.
The best brush size will vary depending on which area you’re wanting to contour, but a mid-sized tapered option is a good starting point for your collection.
6 of the best bronzer brushes
Below, find the six best bronzer brushes for sweeping, sculpting and stippling your favourite glow-enhancing product.
No7 Bronzer Brush, £15.95
A typical fluffy bronzer brush, this compact No7 option is great for anyone who travels with their makeup, whether that’s on an exotic holiday or just on your daily commute.
Its silky synthetic fibres are soft on sensitive skin, and thanks to its retractable-brush-and-lid combo, you can load product onto the brush before you go out for the day, meaning less to carry for instant makeup refreshes.
Spectrum Collections Pink A05 Precision Brush, £7
Designed to hug the contours of your cheeks, this angled Spectrum Collection brush works for both bronzing and defining, depending on whether you lightly dust and buff or precisely press and blend the product into the skin.
As with the whole Spectrum Collection range, it’s beautiful in design and will be a welcome addition to any beauty bag.
Huda Beauty Face Sculpt & Shade Brush, £22.90
A two-in-one solution to bronzing and contouring, this Huda Beauty brush is the perfect option for those not wanting to use too many tools, but who also prefer each one to have a dedicated use.
On one side, the smaller, more densely packed bristles allow for a precise blend along your cheek hollows, inner eyebrows and nose.
Flip it round and the larger, fluffy end lightly diffuses the bronzer over temples and cheeks in seconds.
EDY London Medium Angled Blender Brush, £10.99
The biggest isn’t always the best when it comes to bronzer brushes. When contouring – especially on the nose – the more precise the shape, the more clean-cut the finish.
Of course, while this is specifically called a nose contouring brush, it does a great job on other areas too. Use it to touch up bronzer on the tip of your nose, pat highlighter onto your cupid’s bow, or wing out your eyeshadow.
Essence Bronzer Brush, £3.49
At under £5, this is a real bargain beauty buy. With an ability to work with your cream, gel, or powder bronzer, this formula-flexible brush will be one of the most versatile in your makeup bag.
The tapered head allows for both precise application and softly-blended looks, meaning you can use it to bronze your cheeks and temples before moving onto blush and highlighter. The soft synthetic fibres seamlessly work to blend product in, making light work of any beauty routine.
Fenty Beauty Portable Contour & Concealer Brush 150, £19
Another portable option, this Fenty brush is a no-brainer for those who already own products from the brand or are looking to expand their collection. That’s because it magnetically attaches to the Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinsticks, £23, Boots, which contour, highlight and conceal.
The brush can then be used to diffuse the Match Stix once swiped onto the face, or alternatively can be lightly dusted over your chosen bronzer and blended on top of your base for a subtler finish.