Cream vs. Powder Bronzer: Which Is Best For Summer?

Cream vs. Powder Bronzer: Which Is Best For Summer?
The transformative power of summer makeup is an amazing thing. In just a matter of minutes, we can fast-forward from drab and dreary to fresh faced and vibrant - and all it takes is a touch of concealer, lick of mascara, a splash of lip colour, and perhaps something on the eyelids, if we’re feeling fancy. Less into primping and more about creating a healthy glow? That’s when our fast-track complexion boosters (tinted moisturisers, highlighters and blusher, we’re looking at you) are ready to spring skin back to life. And of course, we mustn’t forget bronzer.

Cool or warm toned, buttery or luminous, bronzer is the skin brightening, colour boosting, base topper that gets us glowing every time. Particularly as we head into summer and a sunkissed tan becomes the new season essential. Which bronzer are we turning to when it comes to topping up our gold-boosting stash? Good question. Afterall, it’s no longer a case of sparkly vs matte. With a full selection of shades, finishes and textures to choose from, we really have a chance to find our best bronzer yet. But first we have a choice to make - powder or cream?

To help us make the right decision for our skin type, we’ve called on two brilliant makeup artists, Jamie Genevieve to tell us why cream bronzers deserve our vote, and Emma O’Byrne who’s flying the flag for traditional powder bronzers. And the best part is, there are shimmery and matte options for each (wink wink). Let’s find out what the experts have to say on this bronze matter.

Why Powder Bronzer Is The Best

It’s the bronzer texture we’ve come to know and love. Tiny powdery particles, packed into a palette, which swoop effortlessly onto skin courtesy of our favourite fluffy makeup brush. But what’s Emma’s top reason for choosing a powder bronzer? “Generally, they’re more long lasting” she tells us, which is a major benefit as we head into summer with the extra heat adding risk of a makeup slide. “Powder bronzers also work very well over foundation and can be used on all ages,” she adds.

When it comes to skin types, there is one category who should probably avoid this type of summer glow booster. “Avoid putting powder bronzer on dry skin as it will stick to any dry areas, turn darker and look patchy,” Emma warns. For all other skin types, “the key is to properly moisturise and let your foundation or tinted moisturiser settle before applying.”

How To Apply Bronzing Powder

What are Emma’s key application tips for powder bronzer? “I like the look of powder bronzer over a tinted moisturiser, as it looks finished and natural but not too shiny during the day. Use a big, angled bronzer brush, and sweep over the forehead, cheekbones and under the chin to accentuate your jawline,” she advises. As for choosing the best powder bronzer, Emma has some words of expert advice, “choose a bronzer that’s two shades darker than your natural skin tone and avoid orange-looking shades. I tend to go for the browner bronzer shades, as they generally flatter all skin types.”

And what about our old-time favourite, the shimmery bronzer? Emma urges us to choose a more modern approach. “Some powder bronzers have a lot of shine in them, and I personally think they can look too intense,” she tells us. If you do enjoy a touch of shine, “my tip is to choose a matte bronzer and then add a seperate shimmer product where you want it,” says Emma. “Nars Bronzing Powder, € 38,00 and Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, € 65,00 are both great for this.” she adds.

Here are the powder bronzers we rate.

Why You Should Choose Cream Bronzer

In search of a dewy complexion, many of us are turning to cream bronzers - whipped or stick formulas that can be easily blended into skin for a bronzed-yet-glowy finish. But the main reason Jamie Genevieve, founder of VIEVE and expert makeup artist loves them so much is, “a cream bronzer gives a more natural finish,” she tells us. “You are also able to build up the colour gradually giving you more control on the finish.” What’s more, “If you apply too much you can easily tone it down by using the left-over foundation on your brush or sponge over the top,” she adds.

Of course, a cream bronzer isn’t for everyone - especially if you prefer a matte finish or have oily skin, but others could definitely benefit from the dewier texture. “Drier skin types will benefit the most from using a cream bronzer as it’s less likely to move around,” Jamie tells us. Age should be considered too, as “on slightly more mature skin, I would also recommend trying a cream bronzer as it’s slightly dewier. Cream bronzers can also have skincare benefits depending on ingredients (they might add hydration, add extra glow etc),” says Jamie.

Concerned about your cream bronzer fading or slipping throughout the day? Jamie has a tip to boost its lasting power. “Setting your cream bronzer with a powder bronzer will add more dimension and top up with translucent powder to ensure the bronzer lasts longer,” she advises. “Try to avoid applying the cream bronzer over a powder though, always apply it over your foundation before powder.”

How To Apply Cream Bronzer

“Start with less product and gradually build up the colour. A densely packed brush or a beauty blender will work best when applying a cream bronzer as you will get the best colour pay off whilst having the most control. Apply the bronzer with your sponge or a densely packed brush in a stippling/dabbing motion to give an even blend,” Jamie directs.

As for bronzer sticks, “If you’re afraid of applying too much directly with the stick you can brush over the top of the product to pick up colour before stippling the product onto the face,” Jamie advises. Similarly, “applying a liquid bronzer with a sponge/beauty blender will give you the most control when applying,” she tells us. And as for the best cream bronzer for you, “choosing warm-toned bronzer one shade darker than your natural skin tone, will give you the most natural and sunkissed look.” Jamie suggests.

Wondering which cream bronzer to buy? Here are some options that’ll give you great results every time.

Powder Vs Cream Bronzer - The Verdict

Those seeking a more natural or dewy finish may benefit from cream bronzer, as will those who suffer from dry skin. Meanwhile, the lasting power and matte finish you can achieve from a powder bronzer may appeal to others. Both can be built up to achieve varying levels of bronze, but surprisingly, it doesn’t need to be one or the other. In fact, for added dimension and staying power, Jamie urges us to try a combination of cream bronzer topped with powder bronzer to set it in place. Just be warned that once powder has been added, your cream bronzer will need to be dismissed - cream on powder is a recipe for patchiness.

A stick bronzer blended onto your existing (powder-free) base is arguably the best option for those wanting to top up on the go (we still haven't quite recovered from dropping our last powder bronzer palette), and for those wanting a touch of shimmer in their bronzed look? Well, powder or cream - take your pick.

Read More

Best Summer Makeup
How to Wear Nude Blush
Best Tinted Moisturisers
The Best Makeup Brushes
Nars vs Charlotte Tilbury Foundations
Posted: Friday, 10 June 2022

More From Inside Space

RJ Tulloch On Her TikTok Makeup Transformations SPACE SESSIONS

RJ Tulloch On Her TikTok Makeup Transformations

Read Now
Our Beauty Editor's Favourite Buys Under £15 MOST WANTED

Our Beauty Editor's Favourite Buys Under £15

Read Now