The Best Drugstore Bronzers

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

Elite Daily/Amazon

Gone are the days of feeling the need to spend $25-plus on a prestige bronzer from Sephora; these days, there are plenty of incredible drugstore alternatives to choose from. When shopping for the best drugstore bronzers, consider whether you prefer a matte or shimmery finish. Matte will always be a better option if you want to use your bronzer for contouring, too. And for those with oily skin, matte bronzers are especially preferred, as they tend to include oil-absorbing ingredients like talc and silica. Shimmer bronzers, on the other hand, will add an all-over glow, and can even double as a highlighter if you pick one up in a lighter shade. You can also try a cream bronzer if you prefer a more natural, dewy look sans shimmer, or if you tend to find products you can apply with your fingers easier to use. No matter what your preference, you'll want to look for a bronzer that's one to two shades darker than your natural skin tone, and be sure to invest in a great bronzer blush for blending.

How To Use Bronzer (The Right Way)

How you apply your bronzer matters almost as much as the formula you choose. For powder bronzers, you’ll want to use a fluffy brush, but if you opt for a cream bronzer, you also have the option of using a makeup sponge. Once you've swirled your brush in your bronzer pan, tap off any excess powder and apply it where the sun would naturally hit your face (your temples, the hollows of your cheekbones, and along your jawline). You may want to use a touch of bronzer across your nose, and don't forget to sweep a light layer over your neck, too. The more you blend, the better, and it’s best to start with a light touch since you can always add more product.

Shop The Best Drugstore Bronzers

In a hurry? Here are the best drugstore bronzers:

  1. Best Matte Powder Bronzer: NYX Matte Bronzer
  2. Best Powder Bronzer With Shimmer: Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer
  3. Best Long-Lasting Bronzer: L'Oreal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Bronzer
  4. Best Cream Bronzer: e.l.f. Putty Bronzer
  5. Best Bronzer For Dark Skin: Black Radiance Pressed Powder

1. Best Matte Powder Bronzer

For a completely shimmer-free option, this NYX Matte Bronzer has nearly 7,000 five-star ratings from Amazon reviewers. The vegan and cruelty-free bronzer is housed in a mirrored compact that's convenient for applying on the go. Ingredients like talc and silica help to absorb excess oil, and because the powder has a true matte finish, you can just as effectively use this to contour as you can to give your skin an all-over bronzed glow.

Available Shades: 5

Relevant Review: "This bronzer is awesome. I got the lightest color, and it looks great on my porcelain skin. Most bronzers look orange and harsh on my fair skin tone, but this color is warm and natural. The formula blends easily, and the lack of shimmer makes it great for contouring. This will be my go-to bronzer from now on."

2. Best Powder Bronzer With Shimmer

The combination of moisturizing ingredients and a hint of shimmer in this Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer makes this perfect for anyone seeking a natural-looking glow. Though it's a powder formula, the blend of murumuru, cupuaçu, and tucuma butters gives the bronzer a creamy, silky feel when it hits the skin. There's a tropical-coconut scent to the powder, and the formula is oil-free and non-comedogenic, so it won't clog your pores. It's also a tried-and-true pick with more than 25,000 five-star ratings on Amazon

Available Shades: 8

Relevant Review: "This is hands down the best drugstore bronzer that there is. It is creamy and smooth and blends like a dream. I have super sensitive skin and this has never given me any issues. It also smells amazing. It being on Amazon is so convenient and fast, [and] I don't have to worry about it being out of stock in the store anymore."

3. Best Long-Lasting Bronzer:

Like all products from L’Oreal’s Infallible line, this matte bronzer was designed to last. More specifically, you can expect a wear time of up to 24 hours, even through wet and humid conditions (the formula is waterproof). This lightweight, buildable bronzer comes in shades ranging from very light (perfect for those with fair skin who find most bronzers too dark) to deep brown. You can also use this product to contour and define your face.

Available Shades: 8

Relevant Review: “L'Oreal Infallible 24hr bronzer is where it's at!!! I love the beautifully bronzed look it gives when used for contouring. It goes on light and smooth and is so easy to blend. I wore this in the pool and it stayed put! A little goes a long way and this compact is a good size, I'm confident it'll last me a long time before I need to buy another. Absolutely recommend!”

4. Best Cream Bronzer

A cream formula is versatile because you can apply it with a brush or your fingers, and it can be used for both bronzing and contouring. E.l.f.’s Putty Bronzer comes in a range of cool-toned shades so you never run the risk of looking orange, and has a creamy texture that dries down to a semi-matte, powdery finish. For maximum definition that really lasts, I recommend using this putty bronzer to contour your face first, and setting it with a bronzing powder on top. And if you don't like using your fingers to apply the bronzer, try the Putty Blush Brush that e.l.f. designed to be used with the accompanying product.

Available Shades: 6

Relevant Review: "I LOVE this bronzer. It blends so well and is very natural-looking. I have trouble finding bronzers that aren’t too orange as I am a pale girl. This is perfect 10/10!”

5. Best Bronzer For Dark Skin Tones

Okay, technically this is a regular pressed powder, but if you purchase it in a color that's one to two shades darker than your skin tone, it works perfectly as a bronzer, too. Black Radiance’s Pressed Powder was designed to blend easily and stay in place. The matte formula includes talc to absorb excess oil, but there's also moisturizing and soothing glycerin and allantoin in here as well. Best of all, this versatile powder comes in 12 rich shades that are ideal for those with darker skin tones.

Available Shades: 12

Relevant Review: "This is one of the only AFFORDABLE bronzers I can use for my dark skin! It gives me a great contour for everyday wear. It's highly blendable and looks great on my skin. 10/10 recommend!”

6. Best Bronzer-Highlighter Hybrid

As part of CoverGirl's TruBlend Blush line, this So Flushed High Pigment Bronzer is only available in three shades. But the shimmery finish makes the collection a great option for anyone who likes a glow on par with a highlighter. The lightweight powder doesn't cake or fade, and because it contains talc and silica, it also helps to keep oil at bay.

Available Shades: 3

Relevant Review: “I love the color of this blush and bronzer. It's such a beautiful, resilient pressed powder. The pigmentation is just perfect; not too pigmented, yet not so light you don't see it. I like to wear this as a bronzer with my highlighter. It applies like a breeze and is buildable for a bolder, brighter look. A really quality blush and bronzer by Covergirl!

7. Best Powder Foundation That Can Be Used As Bronzer, Too

Like the Black Radiance bronzer above, this is technically an all-over face powder. But if you love a versatile product, you’ll appreciate that this under-$10 bronzer can cover all your bronzing, contouring, and skin-evening bases. The matte powder helps to blur the appearance of enlarged pores and soak up shine, and it lasts for up to 16 hours — though note that this product is best reserved for those with oily or combination skin because of its oil-absorbing powers.

Available Shades: 24

Relevant Review: “Love this powder, I use it as bronzer, great price, love the color I even use it on my eyes for that sunkissed look. Maybelline is slaying with these products. As [a] makeup artist [this] line is my new obsession. Totally recommended [given] the price and the quality !”

About The Author:

Marissa DeSantis has worked as a beauty writer and editor for nearly 10 years. Her pieces can be found across print and digital publications like Bustle, Evening Standard, Teen Vogue, and InStyle.