Drugstore Bronzers

13 Fabulous Drugstore Bronzers that Look High-End

By: Victoria Rogers Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Makeup is an art, there’s no doubt about it, and just like an art masterpiece requires various techniques and colors, your face deserves accessories such as the best drugstore bronzer. When you’ve finished adorning your face with foundation, bronzer can add that extra touch that helps to pull everything together.

13 Drugstore Bronzers For A Healthy, Sun-kissed Glow

Best Drugstore Bronzer

From brightening your eyes to complimenting your skin, there are so many reasons you should add a good bronzer to your makeup kit. The thing is there is also an art to the type of bronzer you choose. The spectrum ranges from a cheap bronzer product to a high-end (yet expensive) option, so if you’re not willing to part ways with a whole paycheck (we’re kidding…kind of), then consider getting something affordable yet high-quality.

It’s common that our faces are a bit lighter than the rest of our bodies, especially if we’re religious with our use of sunscreen (as we should be), so in order to have an overall look that will make you feel as confident as you should, use a good bronzer to make sure your face and body look great together.

You don’t have to worry about ordering some pricey products off the internet without even being able to get a real feel of it. Instead, your local drugstore is bound to have options that you’ll love. To help you in your quest for a bronzer that makes you look sun-kissed, even if it’s the dead of winter, we’ve compiled our top 13 favorite options for a good bronzer. You’re bound to find the right match for you on this list; check it out:

1. Milani Silky Matte Bronzer

Milani Silky Matte Bronzer

A fragranced makeup, not only does it go on smoothly but it also smells like a coconut-flavored drink, making for an appealing option for many people looking for a reliable bronzer that goes on smoothly and effortlessly. Although it’s a matte finish bronzer, it’s still soft and silky enough that you don’t feel like you’re caking on makeup.

2. Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer

Physician's Formula Butter Bronzer

Light, soft, and perfect, there’s really nothing you won’t love about this bronzer. While some bronzers can look and feel heavy, this option is smooth as butter, like its name would imply. The fragrance smells like you belong on the beach and how fitting is that when the bronzer helps to add that sun-kissed look you’re searching for. You can be sure that the words, “Your skin is glowing” will be heard repeatedly.

3. ELF Primer Infused Bronzer

ELF Primer Infused Bronzer

Affordable and with the right pigmentation, you’ll find that this cheap bronzer product goes on well and while it’s not as dark or heavy as some other options, it’s easy to build on and apply as dark or as light as needed. For the woman who loves a blend-able bronzer that will stand out just enough to give her a warm, sunny vibe, this could be the perfect option for you.

4. Maybelline New York City Bronzer

Maybelline New York City Bronzer

A good bronzer that is easy to apply and which looks natural (like you just got back from Bora Bora yesterday), this is a product that is both affordable and reliable. Soft as a flower petal, blend-able like watercolor, and although it’s matte, it doesn’t leave a powdery look. Really, if you want to look sun-kissed with little effort, this is the look for you.

5. L’Oreal Paris Cosmetics True Match Bronzer

L'Oreal Paris Cosmetics True Match Bronzer

Soft, smooth, and with a lovely fragrance, there’s so much to love about this option that many would consider the best drugstore bronzer. Providing a luminous look without leaving the shine of a thousand stars in its wake, it’s the type of bronzer that is easy to blend, and that leaves you looking natural. Not only that, but the long-lasting effect allows you to look great throughout your whole day.

6. L’Oreal Paris Makeup Summer Belle Bronzer

L'Oreal Paris Makeup Summer Belle Bronzer

With the generous amount that the L’Oreal Summer Belle Bronzer provides you with, you can be sure that you’ll be counting on this cheap bronzer product for months to come. Smooth for easy application, soft to the touch, and simple to blend, there are so many reasons why this product is considered to be the best drugstore bronzer by many people.

7. Revolution Glow Ultra Matte Bronzer

Revolution Glow Ultra Matte Bronzer

Designed for women with any type of skin tone, there are several shades of this ultra-matte bronzer to choose from. As a matte bronzer, it provides full coverage for those who want to make sure it shows up. Ideal for beautiful skin with melanin, it’s a great pick for many and won’t disappoint women with brown skin, thanks to its rich pigmentation.

8. NYX Matte Bronzer

NYX Matte Bronzer

If you’re all about that contouring, the way that this cheap bronzer product blends, makes it feel like a high-end (pricey) bronzer. It has a rich enough pigmentation that you get enough of a “tan” effect but it doesn’t look powdery and cakey like some other options with rich color. It looks natural, so you don’t have to worry about looking like you’re wearing too much makeup.

9. Colourpop Bronzer Private Party

Colourpop Bronzer Private Party

From the packaging to the pigmentation, there are a lot of reasons one would consider this product that many ladies consider to be the best drugstore bronzer. Not only is it affordable, but it also blends easily and smoothly. If you’re looking for a “right-in-the-middle” product, this is an ideal bronzer for those who want “just enough” coverage. Its creamy texture provides a buildable functionality, so you can always wear more or less, depending on the occasion.

10. Elf Cosmetics Bronzer Palette

Elf Cosmetics Bronzer Palette

With various bronzer options, you can always do your makeup for a specific “#mood.” This is when this cheap bronzer product may be exactly what you’re looking for. With four different options, you can blend one or two to get your perfect color or just use one at a time. Subtle and blend-able, this smooth and shimmery bronzer palette is ideal for any occasion.

11. Essence Sun Club Matt Bronzer Powder Palette

Essence Sun Club Matt Bronzer Powder Palette

Affordable and with rich pigmentation, it’s a good bronzer for the woman who doesn’t want to spend an arm and leg on her makeup kit. With a smooth and blend-able finish, you get enough coverage if you have darker skin. Buttery and easy to apply, you may find this to be the best drugstore bronzer for the price it costs.

12. BH Cosmetics Weekend Belgian 6 Color Baked Bronzer and Highlighter

BH Cosmetics Weekend Belgian 6 Color Baked Bronzer and Highlighter

Packing a little extra heat, this is the type of bronzer palette that brings you rich color and then some. From the bronzer to the highlighter, this is the best drugstore bronzer kit for the woman who wants to have everything she needs in one place. Buttery with plenty of pigmentation, this is the set that won’t disappoint the busy woman who wants top quality bronzers and highlighters in one place.

13. Pacifica Sun Dreams Bronzer Duo

Pacifica Sun Dreams Bronzer Duo

Rich pigmentation with a soft glow, what more could you ask for? With options for matte or shimmer, you can mix and match or use alone, making it a versatile palette that serves its purpose for any occasion. You can get a sun-kissed glow or a deeper bronze, depending on your natural skin tone, so you can always look just the way you want to, no matter what you’re using it for.

FAQ About Drugstore Bronzers

How do I choose the right bronzer?

The best bronzers give you a perfect sunkissed glow and are subtle. They help your face blend in with the darker skin of your body (because we wear sunblock on our faces). First, you need to know whether your skin tone is warm or cool. Once you have that figured out, choose a bronzer that is closest to the color of your natural tan. Be sure to choose a color that has more pink if you have a cool skin tone and more yellow for a warmer skin tone.

Is cream or powder bronzer better?

Many people get hung up on the decision between powder or cream bronzer but it's pretty simple. The general rule is if you wear a powder foundation or set your foundation with powder, go with a powder bronzer, which blends better on powder. However, if you have a cream or liquid base and you don't set it with powder, a cream bronzer is going to blend better and look more natural for you. The cream is better for dry skin and powder is better for oily skin, but it ultimately comes down to your personal preference.

Can I wear bronzer without foundation?

Yes! Bronzer can be worn with or without foundation to give you a natural sunkissed appearance when you just want a bit of color on your cheeks and nose. If you plan on using your bronzer without foundation, a cream bronzer is the best option for most and will blend and melt into your skin for a fresh natural look. Cream holds up better if you sweat or plan on swimming or going to the beach. However, if you want to tone down the shine and absorb excess oil, go with a powder bronzer instead.

How do you apply bronzer to natural look?

Apply bronzer to the high points of your face that would most likely catch the sun. This is usually on your forehead, cheekbones, and the bridge and tip of your nose. Sometimes you can apply it on the chin too, depending on your facial features. You are targeting areas where the sun hits your face the most. To figure this out, take a mirror outside and see where the sun is brightest on your skin and apply your bronzer there for a natural application.

What is the difference between a bronzer and a contour?

Whereas a bronzer is meant to be applied to the high points of your face, contour should be applied in the shadows. Contour is usually cooler and darker in tone than bronzer and creates shadows on your face to make certain features less noticeable by making them recede into the shadows. Bronzer brightens and warms your skin. It is lighter and warmer in tone and is applied to the high points of your face to mimic your summer tan.

13 Drugstore Bronzers For Making All Your Glowy Skin Dreams Come True

With so many options, do you know which bronzer is best for you? As you can see, all of these products are both affordable and reliable. You don’t have to pay an exuberant price for a good bronzer with rich pigmentation and lasting color.

Whatever the season, you may be looking for a product that makes you look you’ve just been to the Caribbean. After all, there’s nothing like that summer glow to bring out the light in your eyes and the curves of your smile. Choose one of the bronzers on this list or choose them all. When the price is right and the quality is good, who cares where you bought it?

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About the Author
Victoria Rogers

Victoria is an ex-makeup artist and full-time assistant editor at TheCuddl. Even though she stopped working in the industry, makeup remains Victoria’s main passion alongside blogging. Now she combines these passions in order to help people discover a wide variety of classy and fresh makeup styles. Her family and dogs are Victoria’s biggest sources of joy, but the fresh smell of pastry comes in a close second. Whenever she’s not typing at the keyboard, Victoria spends most of her free time testing new makeup products, watching movies, and drawing. See all articles from Victoria.

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