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These 12 Bronzers Will Give Your Fair Skin a Natural (Not-At-All Orange) Glow

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Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Finding the best bronzers for fair skin can admittedly be a challenge. Go too light and that sun-kissed glow might be barely visible. Go too dark and you might look like you just stepped out of a bad spray tan. While it may take a bit of searching to find this essential beauty product, it's far from an impossible feat. 

Whether you’re a fair-skinned diva hunting for a way to add a golden light to your makeup routine or you just want to find the perfect matte bronzer that can double as contour, we’ve highlighted the best bronzers to use on a pale skin tone. Continue reading below to discover 15 formulas that help fair-skinned folks perfect that healthy glow—without any streakiness or cakey finishes.

BENEFIT COSMETICS Hoola Matte Bronzer in Hoola Lite
Courtesy of BENEFIT COSMETICS

Just dipping your brush into bronzing? This iconic formula is the perfect place to start. With a lightweight texture, it's hard to overdo this natural-looking bronzer—a classic beginner mistake. It's also super blendable (no streaks) and it lasts all day (touch-ups, who)? All in all, it's a great go-to for experts and newbies alike. 

2. Best for Oil-Prone Skin:

TARTE Amazonian Clay Waterproof Bronzer in Park Ave Princess™

TARTE Amazonian Clay Waterproof Bronzer in Park Ave Princess™

As much as we’d love to commit to a beachside, cabana hopping, ocean wave riding 24/7 lifestyle, we’ve got bills and other boring responsibilities keeping us firmly in fluorescent lighting. For the weeks in between our vacays, we’re pulling out this glittery clay powder bronzer to keep our glow going. The light gold shade makes it a no-brainer for fair skin, but even better are the oil-absorbing properties of the amazonian clay. With a few swipes of this on the tops of the cheeks and the sides of the jawline will keep oily skin shine-free and shimmer-full in seconds.

"Hands down best bronzer I’ve ever used," says one Ipster. "Very easy to apply and I really liked the results," another adds.

3. Best for Dry Skin:

CHARLOTTE TILBURY Airbrush Bronzer in Fair

CHARLOTTE TILBURY Airbrush Bronzer in Fair
Courtesy of CHARLOTTE TILBURY

This award-winning formula not only warms but blurs and hydrates, disguising large pores with its unique airbrushed finish while also acting as a light moisturizer thanks to hyaluronic acid—we love a makeup product with built-in skincare. This matte formula is made with finely-milled pigments, so you can expect a super smooth application that provides a smooth, glowy finish that boosts your natural skin tone rather than overpowering it.   

P.S. If you just can't get enough of how this formula makes your skin look, it also comes in a powder that you can use as your overall base!

4. Best Bronzer for Cool Undertones:

FENTY BEAUTY Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer in Amber

FENTY BEAUTY Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer in Amber
Courtesy of FENTY BEAUTY

If most bronzers tend to look way too warm on your cool skin tone, here's a formula that's made just for you. Designed specifically for fair-skinned folks with a cool undertone, this weightless cream bronzer will help you finally master a natural-looking bronze or soft contour. With a non-greasy, natural skin finish it's sweat-resistant and buildable so you can go as dramatic or as subtle as you'd like. 

5. Best for Sensitive Skin:

PHYSICIANS FORMULA Butter Bronzer

PHYSICIANS FORMULA Butter Bronzer
Courtesy of PHYSICIANS FORMULA

Whether you have particularly sensitive skin or you just like to use super gentle makeup products, you'll love what ingredients this bronzer does (and doesn't) include. It steers clear of parabens, gluten, and animal products. Plus, it's hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and cruelty-free.

As far as what's actually in it, this cult-favorite formula is famous for being infused with murumuru butter, a super-emollient natural butter that's rich in fatty acids. And while it may look like a powder bronzer, the texture is actually closer to a cream bronzer. Swipe it on with a makeup sponge and watch the soft-focus pigments effortlessly blend into the skin, giving it a smooth, sun-kissed, mega-moisturized look. 

6. Best Drugstore Bronzer:

MAYBELLINE City Bronzer and Contour Powder in Light 100

MAYBELLINE City Bronzer and Contour Powder in Light 100
Courtesy of MAYBELLINE

This affordable bronzing powder is perfect for creating soft, sun-kissed radiance or for adding dimension via contouring. With micro-milled powder and whipped cocoa butter, the texture feels super nourishing on the skin and blends like a dream. For super fair skin tones, try the "Light 100" shade. For fair skin tones that sometimes fall in the light-medium skin tone category in the warmer month (or if you're opting to use this for contouring), you might want to go one shade darker. 

7. Best Liquid Bronzer:

GLOSSIER Solar Paint in Flare

GLOSSIER Solar Paint in Flare
Courtesy of GLOSSIER

Looking for a bronzer that will really double down on the "glow" part of sunkissed glow? This light, neutral shade is perfect for bronzing fair-light skin tones while also offering a touch of luminosity. The gel creme texture is infused with both Desert Milk™ (a micro-emulsion of plant oils and extracts like jojoba and aloe) and light-reflecting pearls which give the skin a natural-looking warmth and dimension. Don't be surprised if this becomes your new favorite bronzer after just one use. 

8. Best Buildable Formula:

MORPHE Mini Bronzer in Debutante

MORPHE Mini Bronzer in Debutante

Skipping the shimmer and sparkle doesn’t mean missing out on a bold makeup look. “Debutante” is the brilliant brown bronzer shade that goes on like velvet, giving your cheeks instant definition. This matte bronzer is also easily buildable, so use a touch to subtly warm your fair complexion or layer up to use this as a sculpting contour powder. 

One Ipster calls this the “best bronzer I’ve ever used in my life.” Another Ipster raves, “A little goes a long way with this bronzer, which I love! It blends so evenly and lasts all day! I love it!” Keep that matte finish going by using a lighter-colored concealer as highlighter, or go for the gold with a shimmery highlighter. Either way, all eyes will be on your dramatic cheekbones.

9. Best for No-Makeup Makeup Looks:

BOBBI BROWN Bronzing Powder in Golden Light

BOBBI BROWN Bronzing Powder in Golden Light
Courtesy of BOBBI BROWN

If your main makeup goal is usually to make it look like you're not wearing any at all (i.e. a "your skin but better" type of deal), try this iconic formula from BOBBI BROWN. Formulated with the perfect balance of red and brown tones, the lightweight, mica-free formula is specifically modeled after the colors in a real tan to provide the most natural look possible.

10. Best Longwear Bronzer:

NARS Bronzing Powder in San Juan

NARS Bronzing Powder in San Juan
Courtesy of NARS

We'll be the first to admit it: mid-day touch-ups can be a drag. If you're looking for a bronzer that's designed to stay securely locked in place all day long, try this award-winning, longwear formula from NARS. The shade "San Juan" is a diffused light bronze with a golden sheen, perfect for creating all-over radiance or adding glow to those cheekbones. Made with finely milled powders, this bronzer can even disguise the look of fine lines and large pores for a truly flawless finish. 

11. Best for Mature Skin:

THE BEAUTY CROP Bronzer in Sardinia Sand

THE BEAUTY CROP Bronzer in Sardinia Sand

So often, blushes and bronzers for pale skin are horribly off the mark, with harsh browns and oranges creating a makeup look that is distracting at best, and distressing at worst. But this bronzer isn’t one of them. As one Ipster wrote, “I love this shade because it provides a very natural bronze for my skin tone, somewhere in between nude and beige.” We’re huge fans of using this soft sand-toned powder bronzer, whether we’re crafting a natural look or adding it to our contouring makeup routine. 

Not only does the cool-tone caramel work for light skin tones, but the inclusion of antioxidant-rich green tea extract ensures that even those with mature skin types can rock this powder product. One intrepid Ipster reviewer wrote, “I really love this product. It’s perfect for a get-ready-quick makeup routine to add some color. I’ve also used it as a beautiful neutral eye shadow and even blended it with lip balm for a natural-looking color as well.”

12. Best for Warm Undertones:

LOVECRAFT BEAUTY Bronzer in Cymbeline

LOVECRAFT BEAUTY Bronzer in Cymbeline

Shimmery- and glitter-free living doesn’t have to mean giving up on glam, especially not if you have this ultra-luxe bronzer tucked in your makeup bag. The peachy shade has red undertones with light-reflecting particles, which together create the illusion of a sun-kissed glow. Use it to top off your foundation and blush on days when you’re going full glam, or save it for your no-makeup looks to add just a hint of color to your cheeks. The hyperpigmented formula ensures that a little goes a long way, making it easily adjustable for the summer months when you’ve built up a natural glow.

One Ipster wrote, “I love this bronzer. It’s one of my favorites because it’s very pigmented!” Another Ipster added, “I am absolutely in love with this bronzer. It blends in perfectly and doesn’t leave any lines or streaks. This brand is hand’s down amazing.”

13. Best Bronzer for Contouring:

GIGI GORGEOUS The Sick Sculpt Bronzer in Turnt

GIGI GORGEOUS The Sick Sculpt Bronzer in Turnt

It’s hard to pick just one reason we’re obsessed with this matte bronzing powder. For starters, it’s a limited-edition release from the brilliant and makeup savvy Gigi Gorgeous, who knows her way around a sculpted cheekbone. What’s more, Gigi knows about the fair skin makeup struggles of hunting for sunscreen, avoiding blotchy bronzers, and saying no to tanning beds. That’s why she created a bronzer that’s a cinch to use, whether you’re new to contouring or you’ve got a counter overflowing with makeup artist brushes, palettes, and powders. 

One Ipster called this, “one of the best bronzers I’ve tried,” and another Ipster wrote, “I LOVE IT and use it every day.” Still confused about where exactly to apply bronzer for your face shape? We’ve spilled all the deets in our handy guide to bronzer.

14. Best Blush + Bronzer Duo:

PACIFICA BEAUTY Bronzer Blush Duo

PACIFICA BEAUTY Bronzer Blush Duo

If you like to keep your makeup bag light, here's a convenient blush + bronzer duo that's perfect for fair skin. Both powder, matte formulas, these essentials are literally two peas in a pod, designed to create a warm, harmonious makeup look. They're also both highly pigmented and the small palette is perfect for bringing along in your bag for midday touch-ups or in your carry-on when you're trying to get through TSA in a breeze. 

"Love this little combo," writes one Ipster. "Not only is the product great, but the convenience of the two in one is nice. I use this regularly for my contour and eye shadow."

15. Best Bronzing Palette:

NOMAD COSMETICS NOMAD x Sydney Bathers Kiss Of Sun Palette

NOMAD COSMETICS NOMAD x Sydney Bathers Kiss Of Sun Palette

Looking for bronzing shades that you can use year-round, either in the dead of winter or peak summer? Try this versatile bronzing palette that features multiple shades to suit fluctuations in skin tone. The shimmer-soaked "Bondi Beach" shade is perfect for when the skin is a bit paler and the darker "Manly Beach" is ideal for those days when you want to really emphasis skin that's already a little bit sun-kissed. 

"Love this product. It’s in my main makeup routine. The shades are amazing," one Ipster says.

Want to discover even more makeup products for fair skin? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
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Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated November 16, 2021 12:00 AM