Ranking posts and videos are always interesting to me, but my collection is so big that there are very few categories that I can show in their entirety without feeling like it’s an overwhelming task to remove them from their various storage spots. In the case of bronzers and contours, it’s also hard to remember them all when some are mixed in face palettes with other products. So, for this ranking post, I am only including individual products and bronzer/contour palettes without blushes or highlighters. It’s fairer that way considering the bronzers in my full face palettes are likes but not loves. The closest to “love” I have in one is the Kaja Bento Mochamallow Trio, which I am still working through at least the cream bronzer/contour. It’s quite dark for me now until summer comes around.
I will also separate my favorite cream/liquid products and favorite powders before combing them both in a top ten. Granted, these photos were taken and this list compiled prior to the release of the new MAC Sunstruck Bronzers, Pat Mcgrath Labs Skin Fetish: Divine Bronzers, Nars Laguna Talc-Free Bronzing Powders and the shade extension for the Rare Beauty Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer Stick. I bought Nars shade 6 and Rare Beauty’s shade Full of Life during the Sephora VIB sale and had it shipped to the US. I bought Matte Rich Golden and Radiant Rich Rosy from MAC and had it shipped home since it was unavailable on the MAC DE website at launch. I bought Bronze Divinity and Burnished Honey from PML and had it shipped to my current location, but Desert Glow that I bought later won’t arrive in time for this post and even if I delayed this post to include it, I wouldn’t have had enough time with the Pat Mcgrath bronzers for it to be fair to include them in this ranking. However, expect a review of those 2023 bronzers in the future! For now, I will include a sneak peek of the two Pat Mcgrath Bronzers at the very end of this post.
The starting point we’re working with (minus 2 Melt products and 2 Colourpop ones I forgot about until midway through sorting)!
Some products I already decluttered prior to taking the large group photo is the Wayne Goss Radiance Boosting Face Palette and Patrick Ta Contour/Bronzer Duo. Both of them had alarming looking bumps in the powders, so I did not want to risk using them, even though they’re supposedly oil spots according to customer service. This happened after only the second use with Wayne Goss, but the Patrick Ta one developed after about a year.
Below are the separated creams and liquids.
If I had to do a declutter, below is what I would narrow things down to. I essentially removed the Tarte Cream Blushes, Danessa Myricks Contour Balm, and KVD Mod Liquid Contour. I really like all three products, but if I had to rank ease of blending of all the creams, Tarte comes last. Plus, I don’t have a perfect shade and rely on using two products together. I’m trying to simplify my collection, so if I have bronzers I like better that are a better shade, as much as I like the Tarte, it doesn’t make sense to keep them when it takes up space and prohibits me from getting more use out of the others. If my collection was smaller overall, keeping it for variety would have been fine. As for the Danessa Myricks Contour Balm, it was always a warmth adding shade for me and didn’t give much of a shadowing effect. Plus I didn’t care for the texture of it on my skin. Lastly, I do like the KVD one and it looks amazing when I apply it perfectly, but the tricky part is that initial application process. Using too much or too little looks pretty bad, so I feel it would benefit me to not keep such a finicky product.
Narrowing things down to my absolute favorite cream bronzers would be the three below. The Colourpop Super Shock Bronzer includes both my Summer to Winter shade and Winter to Spring shade. I actually hated the first ABH Cream Bronzer because the color threw off the look. However, my correct shade (Terracotta) looks beautiful which is why it surprisingly made the list. The Charlotte Tilbury Cream Bronzer is one I was unsure about for a while because I could swear the undertone looked different on me every time, but I continuously reach for it.
The biggest factors as to why these three made it is because of not only the color, the ease of use, the impeccable blendability, longevity, and setting down to a dry or dry enough finish on the skin, but also primarily because over time these creams have not dried out or created a film on the top layer or changed in consistency in any way. I loved the Rose Inc Bronzer for all the above reasons (and especially how it set to a non-tranferring finish), but it dried out in the container! I can still use it, but it’s so tough to get the product out now. I like the Nars Laguna Bronzer a lot, and it would be up there with the ABH one, but it’s a little more emollient, is borderline heavy in fragrance, and the color is a little more red than I prefer. If the shade was more on the deep golden side, I’d have still kept it in the favorites. The Glossier Solar Paint is beautiful, but it’s a little heavy on the shimmer (even more than the Kosas) and the liquid blends nicely, but buffing out some of that shimmer isn’t as easy. I also loved the Danessa Myricks Power Cream Bronzer, but it’s a tad too dark for me now and it does have a big issue with forming chunks on the top layer. Those chunks increase the need to spend extra time smoothing it out when it’s on my face. The difficulty with smoothing it out is increased when the color is already too dark for me.
Sometimes I feel like more of the bronzer from Danessa ends up being scraped away than applied to my face.
Now for the powder products:
The Fenty bronzer represents all of them in my collection (which includes this individual in Mocha Mami plus the Bronzer/Highlighter palette).
In some cases, I own multiple shades because I have to mix the two together to create a better shade match. In the case of Coloured Raine, Jaclyn Cosmetics, and Glowish, I just have one shade that works and the other is too dark. I kept them in case I get significantly darker (quite easy if you forget sunscreen just once in Florida and are outside for hours), but I’m considering decluttering them.
It was quite easy to declutter the L’Oreal Powder Foundation that I used as bronzer because it was nice but not a favorite. The Juvia’s Place Bronzer Duo always looked pretty but didn’t stay on my skin. The ELF Contour Palette I never even used despite having it for years and I don’t think I would ever get around to using, so I could let it go. What should technically also be let go is the Glowish Face Powder which I purchased to use as a shimmery bronzer. It’s way too glowy and texture enhancing, but I don’t want to declutter it yet. I can’t explain why except some part of me feels like I can get it to work somehow.
Below is what I narrowed down to actual favorites of the ones that survived the declutter. Some that didn’t make the list due to being a nice but not standout formula, in a shade that wasn’t perfect for me, are: The Nars Bronzing Powder, Fenty Sunstlk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer, and The Gucci Bronzing Powder. The ones excluded because the formula was nice but not necessarily as special as the others (and shade was not factor) is the bronzer within the Kaleidos Contour Trio and the Coloured Raine Powder Bronzers. The Vieve Bronzer/Contour Duo didn’t make it purely because I haven’t used it enough to form my opinion. I can’t even remember if I used it one time at all. Perhaps only once.
The Makeup by Mario Perfector is nice, but didn’t make the favorites because of the trickiness of trying to get a strip of bronzer with only a little bit of the top strip for slight satin type of shimmer, but not any of the actual shimmer strip which has much too large and noticeable of glittery shimmer particles.
At this point, had I remembered the Melt Contour/Bronzer Stack and Melt Ultra Matte Bronzer, the Stack would have made it to this point above, but neither would make the “Top Favorite Powder Bronzers” pile below.
Because these are my absolute powder favorites thus far, I deal with having two shades of Mented Bronzer and two of the Hatice Schmidt Labs Bronzer.
I’ve surprised myself by putting the Jaclyn Hill Sun Bathe Pressed Bronzers, Makeup Revolution Glow Splendour, and I Heart Revolution Tasty Coffee Bronzer this high, but they’re quite good! I have to give them credit. I thought for sure I would declutter the last two, but when I tried them again, I was too impressed to let them go. The I Heart Revolution one is similar to Coloured Raine’s bronzer, but the slight addition of shimmer is what edges it above because of the slightly prettier finish from my perspective. Revolution’s bronzer is similar to Jaclyn’s, which is similar to Mented, which puts it nearer to the bottom of the favorites. Jaclyn’s didn’t make it beyond this point because of the strong (though tolerable and somewhat pleasant) fragrance and the fact that the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Matte Powder Bronzer is just better.
Some products that are past favorites that didn’t make the list were my decluttered Fenty Contour Matchstix and Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour and Highlight Stick. I liked them at the time, but not enough to repurchase them which is an indication for me that they’d make it through some of the rounds, but not the final ten. The same goes with the Benefit Hoola Toasted Bronzer that I loved, but the hardpan issue and it being too deep for me (and Caramel is too light) is why I decluttered them.
This is what I’m left with for my top powder favorites!
Below (somewhat in no particular order but kind of in that order), are my top 10 bronzers! All of them are products I’ve used for nearly a year or several years!
And then these final six pictured below are my absolute holy grails! These are the ones I would repurchase immediately. In fact, when I return to the US, I am planning to try the repackaged and slightly reformulated Kosas Sun Show Baked Bronzer (in the yellow version of this packaging) that I purchased in the VIB sale. My old one is too dark for me now (shade Deep/Dark), and I believe it’s the equivalent of Paradise, but Paradise might be slightly lighter. The original smells pretty off (like old frying oil) but had such a pretty effect on the skin that I kept using it. Plus, it’s one of the few shimmers that make it high in my rankings. The Huda Glowish Bronzer in Tan and Hatice Schmidt ones have that baked gelee effect leaving such a beautiful natural sheen to the skin in a stunning blend that one normally gets from a cream, but these are definitely powder products. What puts the Glowish above the Hatice is just that I can use one shade versus needing two. And of course the Charlotte Tilbury is the most powdery of the powder bronzers in the ultimate holy grail list. It gives the most beautiful airbrushed finish. I need something like a 4.5 version between Tan and Dark (basically the color of the cream version of Tan which is darker than the powder version of Tan) in order for it to be perfect, but because of how blendable it is, I can certainly pull it off. I reserve it for when I’m not trying to look entirely natural and want to look snatched but well blended. A glam look.
The ABH one got edged out purely because I don’t need three creams at the top and Colourpop’s price trumps ABH. The Nabla Skin Bronzing has an amazing formula like the Hatice Schmidt one, but it’s subtle on me and Nabla doesn’t have any darker shades available. Mented didn’t make the holy grails because of the needing two shades issue (plus Charlotte Tilbury’s powder formula topping it). The Covergirl Trublend So Flushed High Pigment Bronzer didn’t make it because as much as I’m impressed by that bronzer (enough for it to make the top ten) the powder surface is starting to change a little bit (not blending quite as well as it was in the beginning). I think the formula expiration is quicker than the others. I noticed this briefly the day before I left for the trip, but I will look into it further when I return in May (and update this post if needed).
*UPDATE: MAY 29, 2023 – The Covergirl Bronzer is 14 months by old now and has indeed started to not blend as well, but is still workable with a beautifully smooth finish. I would keep it where it is on this particular list. However, in testing out quite a few new bronzers released in 2023, there’s at least one that would be guaranteed to knock this out of the top 10.
So, that’s my bronzer collection decluttered and ranked (33 keeping of the ones featured here)! Now that I’ve done this, I feel it will be a bit easier going forward to stick better to my low-buy in the bronzer category. I have to admit that I’m curious about the Hermes Plein Air H Trio Healthy Glow Mineral Powder, but I could only ever dream of trying that in the refill. Plus, I hear it’s not too far off from the Charlotte Tilbury Powder Bronzer or Victoria Beckham Matte Bronzing Brick (another long time lust). If that’s the case, I should be all set on my bronzer collection. Or at least…I want to be!
As promised, here is a sneak peek of the PML Bronzers!
Thank you for reading!