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/ October 29, 2018

The Best Bronzers for Fair and Light Skin (+ Redheads!)

Bronzers for us very fair gals have come a looong way.

I’m really happy about the updates  and added shades that companies have made.   Back when I first started wearing makeup about 20 years ago, bronzers seemed to all come in one shade:  medium, with a hint of orange.  I’d get that slightly dirty, too-dark look, which also somehow made my concealer and the center of my face look oddly pale and way too light.  I always looked like I was dirty, instead of looking glowing and healthy.

Shade Tip | What I’ve learned about bronzer is that it works best if it’s only slightly darker than your skin.  It really only needs to be a half a shade deeper than your skin. 

This will give you a glow vs. that just-rolled-in-the-mud look.  I’m happy that so many companies have started making lighter versions of their best selling bronzer formulas.

Formulas | There are three bronzer formulas: powder, cream, and liquid. 

Cream and Liquid formulas are great for natural looks and dry or mature skin. 

Honestly, I tend to use powders more, as I like to apply bronzer last, after all the rest of my makeup is done and they are a little quicker.  But I love the look and natural finish of cream and liquid bronzers.

If I’m using a cream of liquid formula, I’ll apply it right after foundation and concealer and blend immediately.  You can also add a drop directly into your foundation if you are tan and the foundation is a bit too light for you (good vacation makeup hack).

I love how bronzer takes me from a bit too pale looking, to sun-kissed in just a few swipes.

Here are my favorite fair-skin-approved bronzers!


1 | Tom Ford The Ultimate Bronzer .3 oz, $68 – Gold Dust.  

Holy macaroni.  This bronzer is the cream-de-la-cream of bronzers.  It’s light and gives a natural skin finish.  

It never looks like I’m wearing bronzer, no matter how much I pile on.  

It just looks like I’m back from a vacation.  Yes, it’s expensive, but I have been using the same giant pan for over 3 years and it still looks almost new.

shop it | sephora . saks fifth ave . nordstrom . ebay . neiman marcus . net-a-porter

2 | Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer .38 oz, $15 – Light.  

Physician’s Formula has the lock down on drugstore bronzers.  They have every finish you could want – matte, satin, shimmer.  

I LOVE that they have “Light” versions, fair skin friends, you will love these.  They have truly sunkissed shades, never orange.  Their bronzers do skew more gold, so this is great for warmer and neutral toned fair-skin ladies. 

The new Butter one is their best selling product and smells like a vacation.

Hot Tip: you can use your Ulta coupons on this brand.

shop it | ulta . target . ebay . amazon

3 | Daniel Sandler Bronzer in Hot Toddy .51 oz, $16.50-$26.50.  

This liquid bronzer can feel a little tricky the first time you use it.  I recommend putting a drop on the back of your hand, dipping a foundation or kabuki brush into the liquid evenly, then applying it in the traditional bronzer “3” shape (forehead, cheekbone, jaw line).

I always make sure to pack this for summer vacations because it guarantees my foundation will always look right, even if I get a little sun.  If I’ve gotten deeper, then I just add one drop directly to my foundation to make the foundation a shade deeper all over.  

It looks completely natural on, the tone is just perfect, nice and bronzing, with no orange in sight.  It’s a great bronzer!!   Satin (natural skin) finish.

shop it | LookFantastic . Skinstore

4 | no 7 Match Made Bronzer .352oz, $13 – Golden Sands.  

I just tried this brand for the first time this year and love this shade of their bronzer.  Also, the packaging/ powder design looks like a high end brand.  The bronzer is a nice matte formula.  On hotter days this summer when my skin had enough natural *glisten* I would reach for this matte shade and get a nice natural looking sun kissed-without-sparkle look.  It is very pigmented, so I recommend to use sparingly.

shop it | No7

5 | Becca Cosmetics Sunlit Bronzer .25oz, $38 – Bali Sands + Capri Coast.  

I said it before about Becca highlighters and it’s worth repeating:  They have their powder formula on point.  Their powders are so creamy that you can’t believe it’s a powder.  

This bronzer melts into my skin and looks so natural.  There is just the perfect amount of glimmer for a satin skin finish.  This bronzer just looks so natural and never powdery.

Bali Sands is great for very fair skin and Capri Coast works for my fair-to-light skin.  The Becca bronzers are giving my Tom Ford bronzer a run for it’s money.  

shop it | sephora . ulta . nordstrom . ebay . revolve (global shipping)


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I hope this post was helpful!  Please let me know if you try and of these bronzers or if you have a great fair shade bronzer leave me a comment below – I’d love to know your favorites.

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  1. Hi Molly, I just wanted to add my favorite bronzer as a pale redhead is the Fenty beauty bronzer in the lightest shade- Inda Sun. It’s amazing- not too dark, dirty, or orange on pale skin. And it’s buildable.

    • Thank you, Maureen! I appreciate the recommendation! I will check them out. I love how Fenty always makes sure there is a shade for every skin tone in their products. Good to hear the formula is nice too!