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Consider this your curated edit of the best cream bronzers to emulate a healthy glow – no sun required.

OK, OK… I know it’s my job to trial all the latest beauty products with a view to telling you what’s legit (and what’s not) but I have to admit, it took me ages to wise up to the powers of cream bronzer. You see, I’ve just never really been that bothered about bronzer. Blusher, yes. Highlighter, certainly. But bronzer? I tend to just pass on the stuff. So that’s why Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream, £43, perhaps the most hyped bronzer on the planet, passed me by for so long.

  • Shop Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream at Feelunique, £43

    BUY NOW

The funny thing is, it’s been around for years. 12 to be precise, first launching as Soleil Tan de Chanel and making an annual comeback in the brand’s summer collection ever since. Last year, however, it came back with a new name — Chanel Les Beige Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream.

Make-up artists and beauty fanatics may have raved about it for years, but what made me really pay attention was seeing the bronzer on the Instagram feed of Lisa Potter-Dixon – my make-up artist friend whose beauty advice I religiously take as verbatim – last summer. I soon realised I had massively overlooked the one thing that stands between me and a face that looks as though it’s spent six weeks in Sicily, rather than on my sofa.

So, I got my hands on some. And I can confirm that it is hands down the best bronzer I’ve ever tried. I’ve been wearing it on my make-up-wearing days ever since.

Chanel’s Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream is now a staple in Shannon’s make-up bag.

First, just opening the hefty tub is a joy. You twizzle off the lid embossed with the signature interlocking Cs to reveal a shiny and satisfying swirl of butterscotch-toned, mousse-textured cream. Heaven.

Then you see what it does to the skin. I swirled the very tip of a fluffy face brush into the pot and buffed it onto my cheekbones and temples, swiping a bit across my nose for good measure. Unlike powder bronzer, it’s so light and really melts into the skin which makes for a more natural finish. My skin looked instantly more glowy, and my usual grey tint had been lifted. See above for a before and after to see its power for yourself. 

Ever since it landed in my make-up bag, I’ve worn it without fail. And most days completely on its own. When I can’t be arsed to do my brows or apply concealer, this gives my skin a welcome shot of perkiness. 

But like everything in life, variety is a beautiful thing. Consider this your curated edit of the 11 best cream bronzers to emulate a healthy glow – no sun required.

  • Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Sun Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer

    Brand new, the Charlotte Tilbury cream bronzer is a skincare-make-up hybrid. Infused with hyaluronic acid for dewy, moisturised skin, the bronzer blends into a softly diffused glow – able to be built up swipe by swipe. 

    Available in 4 shades.

    Shop Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Sun Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer, £42

    buy now

  • Refy Cream Bronzer

    A firm favourite of the Stylist beauty team, the Refy bronzer is smooth and creamy with rich pigment payoff. Best used with the Refy Duo Brush, the stippling end helps to blend out the colour to a truly natural-looking bronze.

    Available in 3 shades.

    Shop Refy Cream Bronzer at Selfridges, £18

    buy now

  • Chanel Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream

    A cream-gel bronzer, the Chanel Les Beiges Bronzing Cream is a lightweight, velvet-finish glow with a cult following. Able to be used with a beauty blender, fingers or kabuki brush, it’s now available in three shades. 

    Available in 3 shades.

    Shop Chanel Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream at Harvey Nichols, £43

    buy now

  • Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer

    A cult cream bronzer, the fact that it’s packaged in stick form makes application easy. Swipe straight onto the face or dab onto a brush for a matte, hydrated glow. 

    Available in 2 shades.

    Shop Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer at Cult Beauty, £18

    buy now

  • Glossier Solar Paint

    A whipped-gel crème formulation, the Glossier Solar Paint comes with a small, doe-foot applicator to make applying the right amount a doddle. Highly pigmented, dotting a small amount and then buffing out will create a natural-looking tan that can be built up depending on preference.

    Available in 4 shades.

    Shop Glossier Solar Paint, £17

    buy now

  • Trinny London Golden Glow

    The brainchild of Trinny Woodall, this cream-based bronzer comes in a small pot that goes a surprisingly long way. Silky smooth, it’s best applied with fingers – the heat from your skin will warm the product up which will help press it into the skin. 

    Available in 4 shades.

    Shop Trinny London Golden Glow, £25

    buy now

  • E.L.F Cosmetics Putty Bronzer

    E.L.F. first found viral fame with its Poreless Putty Primer – a hydrating first step before make-up, the formula helps diffuse skin texture, creating a smooth base to work from. 

    The Putty Bronzer works in a similar way, transforming from a cream to a powder for a smooth, non-shiny finish. 

    Available in 5 shades.

    Shop E.L.F Cosmetics Putty Bronzer at Beauty Bay, £6

    buy now

  • Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer

    Resistant to sweat and water, the Fenty Beauty bronzer works well for warm weather, when humidity and heat-induced drizzle threaten to ruin your make-up. Soft, sheer and creamy, it defines the face in a natural, subtle way. 

    Available in 7 shades.

    Shop Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer at Boots, £29

    buy now

  • Jones Road Miracle Balm

    Perfect for anyone who likes a dewy sheen with their bronzer, Jones Miracle Balm has to be your first and last port of call. Light-reflecting, the hydrating balm blends into the skin much like a moisturiser would. A triple-purpose product, it can be used as a bronzer, highlighter or skin tint. 

    Available in 8 shades (4 bronze-tones, 4 blushers). 

    Shop Jones Road Miracle Balm, £34

    buy now

  • Iconic London Sheer Bronze

    A wash of sheer colour, add warmth and dimension to your face with this creamy, vegan bronzing formula.

    Available in 6 shades.

    Shop Iconic London Sheer Bronze at Lookfantastic, £18

    buy now

  • Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick

    Another brilliant stick cream bronzer, this luxury product melts into the skin, helping to sculpt and warm the face. Packed with hydrating, protecting ingredients like jojoba oil and China clay, it comes with a slew of celebrity fans including Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz.

    Available in 3 shades.

    Shop Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick at Cult Beauty, £44

    buy now

Images: Shannon Peter / courtesy of brands

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