Despite the talk of matte skin on the runways, women from coast to coast crave bronze skin as the summer season hints at arrival.
This wasn't always the case. During the 19th century, pale skin was the accessory de rigueur of wealthy fashionistas. One style legend credits Coco Chanel with reversing the no-tanning trend after accidentally acquiring a sunny glow while cruising to Cannes in the 1920s.
For those of us with neither yachts nor Chanel in our immediate futures, I've rounded up a list of the best bronzers so that you, too, can appear as bronzed as a vacationing socialite, minus the risk of skin cancer.
Best Beach Bronzer
Jemma Kidd's Water Resistant Show Stopper Bronzer imparts glow to go without smudging or streaking. The bronzer is packaged in an oversized container that makes application with a large blush brush oh-so-easy. (I recommend the Bamboo Bronzer Brush from EcoTools; $9.99 at drugstores). And while the color appears dark in the container, when applied sparingly it imparts a just right, natural-looking glow. Get it for $23 at local Target stores.
Best Mineral Bronzer
Bronzed FX bronzer from Cover FX may just be my favorite new bronzer. This mineral pressed powder bronzer is missing a lot, including oil, fragrances and parabens; all skin irritants that are mainstays in many other bronzers. What you do get with Bronzed FX is rich, believable color in a variety of shades such as Pink Topaz, Golden Peach and my personal pick, Garnet. Get 'em for $28 at Sephora locations.
Best Drugstore Bronzer
Physician's Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50 Bronzer serves up protection from the sun alongside a generous helping of that sun-kissed look. Oil-free, fragrance-free and paraben-free, Healthy Wear Bronzer offers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection — meaning you're well protected from sun damage — paired with the skin brightening effects of tomato and licorice extract. Sweet! Get it for $14.95 at local drugstores and Ulta locations.
Best Boutique Beauty Bronzer
You may not be familiar with Face Atelier, an up-and-coming beauty brand that offers top-notch products with high-end ingredients at reasonable prices, but you should be. The line's Ultra Bronzer ($34) calls upon micronized pigments that appear to float on the surface of skin, never sinking into fine lines or wrinkles (not that we have any of those). Face Atelier's animal testing policies are approved by PETA — they refuse to purchase ingredients from vendors who test on animals, and Face Atelier is endorsed on PETA's CaringConsumer.org site, a directory of cruelty-free products and companies. Shop the collection online at faceatelier.com.
Thanks to these best-of bronzers, you too can fake that refreshed, sun-kissed shimmer. Just sweep bronzer on the bridge of the nose, apples of the cheeks and forehead; all the places the sun naturally touches. You glow, girl.
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of tampabay.prettycity.com, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.