Bargain Bronzers for Every Need

May 1st, 2013 By  |  10 Comments   

Hi everyone! It’s that time of year where I want to turn into a golden goddess… but I don’t want to deal with the dangers of laying out in the sun. There are lots of great self-tanners for the body, but my favorite way to give my face a believable bronze glow is with my trusty bronzers! The drugstore can be very hit and miss with bronzers… some make you look greasy instead of glowy, or orange instead of sun-kissed tan. But through my bronzer trial and error, I’ve found some diamonds in the rough that can cater to a variety of skintones and preferences. As you’ll see in the pictures below- these are products in my makeup collection that truly get a LOT of use! :)

The Subtle Bronzer: N.Y.C Smooth Skin Bronzer in Sunny ($2.99, drug/discount stores) 

I’ve mentioned this bronzer before, and it’s probably one of my most recommended drugstore products. This is a totally matte bronzer, and it’s great for those with fair or light skin who just can’t find a bronzer that looks natural. With a powder brush or blush brush, you can apply this as a contour just under the cheekbones, around the nose, and forehead. For a quick all-over glow, lightly dust this all over the face. It’s hard to go overboard with this product. It’s such a natural color!

The Sculpting Bronzer: Revlon PhotoReady Bronzer in Bronzed & Chic ($11, drug/discount stores)

If you want to really contour and sculpt your face, matte bronzers are the way to go. You don’t want to see lots of sparkle as you try to create those natural-looking shadows that slim the face. For those with medium to tan skintones, this bronzer from Revlon is fantastic. It can go quite a bit deeper than NYC Sunny (mentioned above).  This one is totally matte, and incorporates four different tones. Swirling your brush in all four shades give you a nice medium-toned bronzer, but you can go deeper by using the bottom 2 shades, or lighter by sticking with the top two. I love using an angled blush brush with this bronzer to sculpt my cheekbones. While this bronzer comes with a small brush, I don’t recommend using it. It’s not full enough to give you a blended look.

 The Sun-kissed Glow Bronzer: ELF Studio Warm Bronzer ($3, Target or

So I’ve mentioned two options for matte bronzers that can be great for contouring and shaping the face. Once you choose one of those, you also want to get a glow! This bronzer from ELF can do just that. It’s very hard to find a bronzer that gives you the subtle glow you’re after, without making your skin look oily. When you swirl your brush in all of these shades, you get the perfect sheer, light bronze glow that can look great on any skintone. You won’t end up with flecks of glitter all over your face with this, but to keep the application sheer, I like to use a duo fibre style blush brush to apply this bronzer. Lightly dust it where the sun would naturally hit for a sun-kissed look! Added bonus- these shades make beautiful eyeshadows!

Hopefully this post takes the fear out of finding the right bronzer! Do you have any must-haves? Make sure to check my YouTube Channel, Beauty Broadcast, for more makeup recommendations and step-by-step tutorials! Have a great day!

<3 Emily

10 Comments + Add Comment

  • Another great post, Emily! I have the NYC and the ELF ones. Both are great! Have you ever tried the Bonne Bell Shimmer bronzer in Gold N Glitz? It’s definitely a highlight, but it really works great for a sunkissed look.

  • Thanks for the low cost options!

  • Thanks for the recommendations, Emily! I’ve been on the lookout for that NYC bronzer but haven’t found it yet. Hopefully I’ll track it down soon because I am a pasty winter white right now! LOL

  • I LOVE the E.L.F. Bronzer. Had seen it on your YouTube videos a few months ago. I am 57 yrs old and have a fair complexion and it works great for me. Will try the NYC bronzer you have recommend also. I have tried NYC eyeshadow a and was not impressed with them so not tried anything else of theirs. Will give the bronzer a try though. Thanks for the tips and help.

  • Your earlier BeautyBroadcast videos turned me onto NYC Sunny (which I’ve since turned my daughter onto and we BOTH love), as well as Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer. I usually use Sunny as an overall bronzer and the Chocolate Soleil as more of a contour since it’s a bit darker. Thanks for the great tips… rock!

  • I am loving the Revlon bronzer…using it for contour and it’s making me very happy! Thank you Emily…wouldn’t have even looked at this till I saw that it had your approval!

  • I’ll have to try the Elf one. I bought the NYC one before I started buying only cruelty-free products and I love it, so I need to find other options for when I run out… Don’t you wear the Essence one sometimes? How is that one?

  • Hey Emily!

    I’m not sure if you’ve tried this bronzer before but the wet n’ wild bronzers are hugeee and they are only about $2.50. There is a lot of fallout onto the pan but its so big that the product will last you a long time. Its totally matte and it smells like banana boat tanning oil. You should check it out!

  • Great recommendations! NYC Sunny is an alternative product that works perfect when you want to skip makeup and so is Revlons Bronzed Chic Product. When the Revlon Product hit shelves it was a definite go for most of my customers when I worked as a Beauty Advisor. They liked the fact that it could be used on all skin tones, and it was a nice switch from most of their earlier versions which many women complained were as you said to orange.

  • I want to try Sunny! I’ce heard so many great things about it

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