For all the pale people in the world (raises hand), finding a good bronzer can be quite the challenge. And while fair skin types might be inclined to stay away from bronzer altogether, it’s actually a makeup must-have if you’re looking to contour or add definition to your face. Plus, since us pale-skinned folk tend to stay out of the sun, using bronzer is a safe and easy way to achieve a sun-kissed look without the risk of skin damage. Ahead, a comprehensive guide to the best bronzers for fair skin — but first, a few tips.
Shade-wise, picking out the right bronzer for pale skin is pretty straightforward: choose something on the lighter side, and stay away from orange undertones. Additionally, look for a soft, buildable formula to avoid a caked-on or muddy finish that will be hard to fix.
Aside from choosing the right shade, making bronzer work on fair skin mostly has to do with your application method. The main rule to live by is the lighter the hand, the better. Start with a gentle dusting of product, since you can always add more; this is also why it’s so important to buy a buildable formula. You can also try using a liquid bronzer and mixing a few drops into your moisturizer for a natural, all-over glow.
For six pale skin-approved bronzers — from liquids and powders to shimmers and mattes — scroll on.
1. The Overall Best Bronzer For Fair Skin
Benefit’s ‘Lite’ version of their cult-classic Hoola bronzer is one of the most popular choices among fair skin types; it works great as an eyeshadow, too (try applying it on the crease of your lids for subtle definition). The latte-like shade has a matte finish — so this isn’t for anyone who wants shimmer — and the easy-to-blend formula is buildable and smooth. It also comes in a convenient compact with a mirror and brush, and since the box is paper-based, it’s harder to break if you drop it on the floor.
"Best bronzer for fair skin," commented one reviewer. "No sheen or glitter, just a nice glow. Smooth finish, doesn’t create fine lines because it isn’t too powdery."
2. Best Liquid Bronzer For Fair Skin
If you’re looking for an all-over glow, consider this bronzing tint from clean beauty brand Dr. Hauschka. It’s basically a liquid bronzer, and you can wear it on its own or mix a few drops into your favorite moisturizer for an even more subtle effect. For sensitive skin types who love a sun-kissed look, but don’t want to expose their skin to the sun, this bronzer offers a completely safe alternative. The natural formula is also free of fragrance, preservatives, and dyes, and since a little goes a long way, one bottle will last you ages.
One fan of the bronzer described it as the "Best bronzer ever. Sheer, looks natural, much better than powder." Another reviewer wrote, "Looks so natural. Love the way it feels (like nothing but some moisture)."
3. Best Shimmery Bronzer For Fair Skin
Becca is known for their gorgeous highlighters, primers, and bronzers. The shade ‘Bali Sands’ is perfect for pale skin types who love a hint of shimmer in their bronzer, and the silky formula is easy to blend with all types of base makeup. If the "sun-kissed look" is your thing, this is the one for you.
4. Best Non-Orange Bronzer For Fair Skin
If you don’t even want a single hint of orange in your bronzer, you’ll love theBalm’s Take Home The Bronze bronzer. ‘Oliver,’ the lightest shade, has the slightest touch of shimmer (it’s barely noticeable), and it provides just the right amount of natural-looking bronze on fair skin tones. Try using it as a contour powder, too; the pigment is bold yet buildable.
"I really enjoy the color Oliver. It’s perfect for fair skin … The powder formula is very soft and easy to apply," commented one reviewer, while another wrote, "I got the lightest shade and this is a nice flat color so it helps bring my face structure without glitter. I love the tone and how subtle it is. Very buildable and a little goes a long way."
5. Best Drugstore Pick
This popular drugstore bronzer from Physicians Formula has a unique texture that feels like a cream, but goes on like a powder. The creamy formula provides a soft, glowy finish, and it’s available in two shades that both work well for fair skin tones: light bronzer and bronzer. Though nearly identical, the light shade has slightly more peach-y undertones, while the bronzer leans a bit more brown.
"Blends super easily and doesn’t look too warm or muddy on my super pale skin," wrote one reviewer. "It doesn’t look shimmery on the face, which makes it good for light contouring as well."
6. Best Palette
Hourglass’ cult-favorite Ambient Lighting Palette is one of the most popular highlighting sets on the market, and this three-shade set includes everything you’d need for a full face of iridescent contour. ‘Dim Light,’ the first shade, is a shimmery, barely-there bronzer that works beautifully on fair skin tones, while ‘Incandescent Light’ and ‘Radiant Light’ provide your highlight and blush. The powders are all fragrance-free, and the palette comes with a built-in mirror.
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