(Main Squeeze)

The Absolute Best Bronzers For Achieving A Sun-Kissed Glow

No PTO, no problem.

MERIT Beauty
best bronzers 2024
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Join TZR editors for Main Squeeze, the series dedicated to sharing beloved beauty products — be they bold, effective, or simply fun — that make our week just a little bit better. Ahead, Team TZR spotlights their favorite bronzers of the moment.

Rest and relaxation aside, the absolute best part of going on vacation to a warm, tropical locale is the souvenir of a sun-kissed glow. Once you’re home, you’re likely to encounter a flood of compliments on your radiant skin. However, as the stress of daily life starts to creep back in, your complexion will revert back to its original dull state. Thankfully, the best bronzers can warm up your features until your PTO resets.

There was a time when all bronzers were thick, chalky powders that went on orange and streaky. However, these formulas have evolved and are now created with hydrating and brightening skin care ingredients that ensure a smooth, even application that isn’t ruddy or flat. But if liquids and creams are more your speed, there are now a plethora of bronzer options for you, too. These options typically offer a more subtle finish but they can easily be layered on the odd occasion you want to up the ante.

Regardless of the makeup look you’re chasing, there’s going to inevitably be some trial and error before landing on the product that’s right for you. If you’re unsure of where to start your search, TZR editors have narrowed down a set of bronzers that over-deliver on their promises. Ahead, the standout formulas we turn to for faking a sun-kissed glow.

"I’ve heard that this product is great, but I always wondered how life-changing a bronzer could truly be? Well, not only was I late to the game but I've been missing out on how just a tiny bit of product could enhance the look of my skin. Fortunately, it never reminds me of my regrettable tanning bed days of the '90s, but rather the bronzed skin of sunbathers in Côte d'Azur. The smooth, lightweight finish on my skin makes it the GOAT of all bronzers, and one I keep in my kit all year round." — Kathy Lee, editor-in-chief, TZR

"I caved and bought this bronzer after seeing it all over my TikTok FYP, and thankfully, I wasn't disappointed. The product is blendable, buildable, and super forgiving — so it's hard to accidentally go overboard. I love a more natural makeup look, so this sheer balm is the ideal way to add some warmth to my cheeks." — Maggie Haddad, sr strategist, social media, TZR

"I've stayed away from powder bronzer for years after abusing it in my 20s (I looked like a Dancing With The Stars contestant for the better half of a decade). But, over the past year or so, I've been seeking a more glowy, sun-kissed skin finish that reads more natural. This OG Laura Mercier product has been the perfect formula to get me back into the world of bronzer as the shades are soft, matte, and deliver buildable color that is super subtle. I now use it daily, swiping it on the highest points of the face for a little effortless radiance." — Angela Melero, executive editor, TZR

"I was never a big bronzer girl, even in its early 2010s heyday, but I do supremely enjoy the sun-kissed glow I get from this Westman Atelier stick. In the thick of winter, I'll layer it with a blush just to look like I'm getting more vitamin D than I actually am; during the summer, it's a subtle way to enhance my tinted SPF and lipgloss makeup routine." — Alison Syrett, deputy fashion editor, TZR

"The creamy texture, delicious subtle scent, gorgeous packaging — everything about this Gucci bronzer is perfection. With just a few swipes on my cheeks and forehead, I look like I just spent a long weekend lounging by the ocean. Tip: All you need is a tiny bit of product to get a gorgeous sun-kissed look." — Kelsey Stewart, associate fashion editor, TZR

“As someone who went to high school in the early 2000s, I can’t help but associate bronzer with the decade’s orange-toned spray tans. However, as a fan of Glossier’s original Cloud Paint blush, I was intrigued when the brand announced it was launching a bronzer in the beloved formula. And I’m so glad I gave it a shot. The sheer, creamy gel offers a light wash of color that blends seamlessly into my skin, adding a bit of warmth to my winter-worn complexion. It also looks amazing as a neutral eyeshadow.” — Erin Lukas, deputy beauty editor, TZR

“Oversized compact aside, I don’t think I’ve ever used a bronzer so natural as Tom Ford’s. The subtle shimmer-infused baked formula never feels cakey or orange, instead blending out incredibly easily for a back-from-the beach glow that just looks so downright healthy. Fortunately for my makeup bag, the brand’s since rolled out a miniature-sized version, too.” — Amanda Ross, beauty editor, TZR

“I typically steer clear of powder complexion products because my T-zone gets oily during the day so I find they get cakey. However, this compact from Victoria Beckham has a long-lasting natural finish. I love that the sleek compact holds two products in one, which helps save space in my makeup bag. I use the darker shade to add a subtle contour to my cheeks and the lighter one to add warmth to on the high points of my face. Then, I sweep a bit on my eyelids to tie the look together.” — Lukas