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Which body bronzer is best?

When it comes to making your skin appear darker than it usually does, tanning in the sun or via artificial beds isn’t the healthiest option for your skin. Body bronzers, on the other hand, can safely provide a golden glow with little effort. Be careful though — not all bronzers are formulated for maximum efficiency when used on the body, and some tanning lotions market themselves as bronzers when they aren’t.

If you’re ready to give body bronzers a try, the best is the Firstfly Liquid Illuminator for Face and Body. It’s moisturizing, illuminating and comes in three shades.

What to know before you buy a body bronzer


Body bronzers come in three formulas: powder, liquid and cream.

  • Powders are best for oily skin types. They typically come in compact disks and are usually applied by brush.
  • Liquids are the most varied formula. Some can be as thin as water, others are thick enough to practically be creams. Depending on the thickness of the formula, they can come with pump, doe-foot or squeeze tube applicators. They can be used with oily skin but are best for drier skins.
  • Creams are the thickest formula. They often have the most moisturizing properties and the highest degrees of sun protection. They usually come in pots, though some may use squeeze tubes. They can be suitable for most skin types, depending on the specific formula.

Body vs. face

A majority of bronzers are designed for use on both the face and body or only the face. There are a handful of bronzers meant for use only on the body. They often have higher levels of moisturization than face-only or mixed-intention bronzers and can lead to breakouts and clogged pores if used on the face. Conversely, it’s perfectly fine to use a face-only bronzer on the body — it just won’t be as effective.


Some body bronzers include elements of tanning lotion. These provide an immediate benefit of artificial skin darkening while promoting natural tanning that can leave your skin darker for as long as a week. Use caution when shopping for bronzers with self-tanner — some tanning lotions market themselves as bronzers but don’t provide the immediate darkening effect, only a boost in natural tanning.

What to look for in a quality body bronzer

Shade and finish

Each body bronzers has a shade and finish.

  • Shade: Body bronzers don’t have the same range of shades that most other makeups do. Many only come in one shade or offer deeper tones of the same shade. Bronzers with multiple shades usually offer one bronze-like shade and alternate colors such as gold.
  • Finish: Most bronzers have radiant or glittery finishes. After all, bronze is a metal and metals typically have some amount of shine to them. Some powder bronzers do offer matte looks if you prefer.

Sun protection 

Some bronzers, especially liquids with elements of self-tanning, include a small degree of sun protection. This is usually no stronger than 15 SPF, though some high-priced bronzers offer higher SPF.

How much you can expect to spend on a body bronzer

Body bronzer costs range between $5-$50. For less than $15, you’ll find effective products that don’t offer many special features. Spend up to $30 and you’ll find many special features. The very best cost $30 and up.

Body bronzer FAQ

What’s the best way to apply bronzer to the body?

A. That depends on the formula. Liquid and cream bronzers can be most easily applied to the body in one of two ways: by hand or by using a makeup sponge. Creams and thicker liquids are usually easier to apply by hand while thinner liquids are easier by sponge. Either method is doable for both creams and liquids should you find a particular method to be more comfortable for you. Powdered bronzer needs to be applied by makeup brush. Technically you can also apply liquid and cream bronzers with a makeup brush, but this will take much longer.

How long does a body bronzer last?

A. That depends on the formula. Most liquid and cream bronzers won’t last longer than a year, though a few might be stretchable to a year and a half. Powdered bronzers last longer, usually for 2-3 years.

What’s the best body bronzer to buy?

Top body bronzer 

Firstfly Liquid Illuminator For Face And Body

Firstfly Liquid Illuminator For Face And Body

What you need to know: This bronzer is highly effective and a little goes a long way.

What you’ll love: Several consumers noted a pleasant smell. It offers plenty of moisturization. It’s made from a majority of natural ingredients, including green tea extract and olive oil. It comes in bronze as well as two shades of gold. It increases the luminosity of your skin.

What you should consider: Some consumers reported it feels too greasy on the skin. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top body bronzer for the money

Miescher Body Face Luminizer Liquid Bronzer

Miescher Body Face Luminizer Liquid Bronzer

What you need to know: It’s hard to find a cheaper but still effective bronzer than this.

What you’ll love: It’s available in bronze, two shades of gold and white. It’s moisturizing and can be applied to both the face and body. It’s easy to wash off and dries quickly. It has a shimmery finish for increased skin luminosity.

What you should consider: It rubs off on clothes a little too easily and may not last long in humid environments.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Bronze It Bronzer for Face and Body

L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Bronze It Bronzer for Face and Body

What you need to know: This powder is perfect for oily skin types and has a lightly glittered finish.

What you’ll love: It comes in three bronze shades to match light, medium and dark skin tones. The powder is silky, not gritty. It can accentuate the face in addition for use on the body.

What you should consider: Some consumers wished it had a darker application. Powder can fall from the application brush, staining clothing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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