The Best Bronzers For Faking A Tan On Fair Skin

If you have fair skin, you know that bronzing can turn obvious and muddy-looking real quick. It seems so simple: You pick up a bronzer in a light shade, dust it ever so softly across your high points (you've done your homework on best bronzing practices), and voilà — the perfect sun-kissed glow. Not so much. Upon inspection, there's nothing natural or subtle about the brown streaks running along the contours of your face. So, what gives?

Most likely, you've ended up with the wrong bronzer for your light skin tone — unfortunately, not all formulas are universally flattering. If you have a fair complexion, you have to be careful around formulas with shimmer or orange-y undertones. Your best bet is to stick with matte bronzers if you're looking to warm up your skin in a natural, non-obvious way (which, of course, you are).


Ahead, the bronzers that make fair skin look believably sun-kissed every time.

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Soleil Tan De Chanel

It might sound borderline ludicrous to spend $50 on a bronzer. But if you're looking for the crème de la crème — a sheer, velvety butter that melts right into the skin and makes you look like you just got back from a week on a yacht in the South of France — it's worth every stupid penny.
Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel, $50.00 Buy

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

When you're looking for an all-over skin tint, sometimes a liquid bronzer is better than a compact. Drunk Elephant's Sunshine Drops are a fan favorite because one small pump can be mixed with your moisturizer of choice to give skin a subtle bronze glow, no contouring necessary.
Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi™ Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops, $36.00 Buy

Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder

We love this powder because it never leaves orangey streaks on fair skin, but the fact that it smells like summer, thanks to the gardenia in the formula, sure doesn't hurt. Plus, it looks great on redheads (we tested).
Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder, $54.00 Buy

Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder

This matte bronzer blends easily and smoothly into the skin. Formulated with a balance of red and brown tones, the Golden Light shade is just about the closest you'll get to a true tan without baking in the sun.
Bobbi Brown Bronzer, $44.00 Buy

Benefit Hoola Bronzer

There's a reason countless YouTube vloggers wax poetic over this little pink bronzer box — it flatters a surprisingly wide variety of skin tones, including the most fair.
Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder Mini, $16.00 Buy

Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer

Tarte's clay formula is heavy on pigment, but proves to be ultra-blendable and buildable. Bonus: It's waterproof, so you don't have to worry about sweat whisking it away.
Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer, $30.00 Buy

Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer

This gel-power is buildable, which is great for fair skin types. Start with a light layer (in the shade Natural Matte Honey), then add another if you want a bit more contour.
Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer, $36.00 Buy

Rimmel Natural Bronzer

Makeup artist Elisa Flowers told us that she uses the drugstore formula in the shade Sun Bronze to warm up fair to medium skin tones.
Rimmel Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Bronze, $4.28 $3.97 Buy

Shiseido Oil-Free Bronzer

This oil-free, dermatologist-tested powder is perfect for those with lighter skin who are also acne-prone.
Shiseido Bronzer, $35.00 Buy

Pixi Beauty Bronzer

This natural-looking, finely-milled bronzer comes with its own compact kabuki brush — easy application is the name of the game.
Pixi Pixi Beauty Bronzer + Kabuki in Subtly Suntouched, $18.00 Buy
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