There's something so satisfying about faking that fresh-from-vacation glow for less than the price of a sad desk lunch. We've said it once and we'll say it a thousand times more: Bless bronzer for making all our glowy skin dreams come true. If your skin is looking a little sad because your time in the sunlight has been scarce, a healthy glow is no longer out of reach. A quick swirl of warm, buttery formula on your cheekbones, lids, cupid's bow, or forehead will make a world of difference on your skin. Or, layer a liquid bronzer under your foundation for an all-over glow.
The Marie Claire beauty team scoured the shelves of drugstores to bring your attention to the best formulas for all skin tones—and none of our picks will set you back more than $25. Drugstore bronzers give luxury counterparts a run for their money, imparting a long-lasting glow that won't fade throughout the day. From creamy glow sticks to powder highlighters, there's an assortment of affordable options that will be sure to brighten up even the most lackluster skin into a sun-kissed, beaming dream.
Best For Beginners
e.l.f Cosmetics Putty Bronzer
The unique formula of this drugstore bronzer goes on like a bouncy putty and dries down to a powder finish.
Best Shimmery Bronzer
wet n wild Color Icon Bronzer
For that just-got-back-from-vacation glow, pick up this shimmery (but not glittery) powder bronzer from wet n wild.
Best Contour Kit
Maybelline Master Contour Face Contouring Kit
New to the world of contouring? Pick up this palette that will give you everything you need to achieve a bronzed, blushed look.
Best Lit-From-Within Bronzer
Flower Beauty Heatwave Luminous Bronzer
The baked formula of this bronzer from Flower Beauty has specks of highlighter woven through it, so swirl it all over your face ASAP.
Best Big Palette
BH Cosmetics Tinsel Twerking: 6 Color Bronzer & Highlighter Palette
This palette of six different bronzers lets you truly customize your color. Mix 'em all together or pick your favorite.
Best All-Over Color
Revlon Skinlights Face Glow Illuminator
I love to mix my foundation or tinted moisturizer with this illuminator from Revlon. Or, blend it over your foundation for a lit-from-within glow,
Best Bronzer-Contour Hybrid
Is it a bronzer? Is it a contour? It's a little bit of both!
Juvia's Place Bronzed Duo
This paraben- and sulfate-free bronzer duo from Juvia's Place comes in five shades to suit all skin tones.
The Cult-Favorite Bronzer
Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer Murumuru Butter Bronzer
Why fix something that's not broken? This bronzer from Physician's Formula has been a fan-favorite for years, and for good reason.
Best Sheer Pick
Undone Beauty Water Bronzer
This bronzer might look dark, but the resulting color is super sheer, so it's best for beginners who don't want to overdo it.
Best For All Skin Tones
Beauty Bakerie Bite Size Snackaroons Bronzer
The three shades of this bronzer from Beauty Bakerie were made with all skin tones in mind. Choose from one of the coffee-inspired shades, including "House Blend," "Perfect Blend," and "I Don't Give a Sip."
The Small-But-Mighty Palette
e.l.f. Cosmetics Bronzer Palette
Go ahead and get your glow on with this 4-in-1 palette for those who like options. If you really want to get creative, build a custom highlight for yourself by mixing the shades and cocktailing the colors to your liking.
Maybelline New York Bronzer and Contour Powder
Yes, you can bronze and contour your skin at the same time. This velvety, creamy formula that will give you a gilded, sunny glow.
The Selfie-Worthy One
L'Oréal True Match Lumi Bronze It
Use this bronzer to sculpt and chisel your cheekbones. It looks amazing on all skin tones, and will up your selfie game.
Milani Baked Bronzer
Want your skin to look like literal fairy dust that just dropped from the heavens above? Not a problem—just dust this bronzer all over for a delightful glow.
For Dry Skin
W3ll People Bio Bronzer Baked Powder
It might look like a powder, but this pigmented option settles on the skin like a cream thanks to hydrating squalene.
The Wallet-Friendly Bronzer
NYX Matte Bronzer
The sun-kissed pigments in this wallet-friendly bronzer makes for a nice matte contour powder that never reads cakey and yields a magically hallowed cheek.
Julia Marzovilla is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire covering all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. Offline, she’s most likely browsing the web for another pair of black boots or listening to music too loudly—often at the same time.
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