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Cream vs. Powder Bronzer: Which is best for your skin type?

Legendary makeup artist Bobbi Brown explains which formula wins in the battle of the bronzers

cream vs powder bronzer
Orin Carlin
Content Writer
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Spring is merely a stone's throw away, which essentially means that summer is just around the corner. It couldn’t come sooner, but for many, emerging from wintry hibernation will be a shock to the system – especially in the skin department.

The colder months can take their toll, leaving your complexion looking perhaps sallower and pastier than you'd like.

Enter our seasonal transition makeup saviour: bronzer. In a matter of minutes, you can transform your face from drab to fab with a simple wash of glow-boosting pigment. But herein lies the million-dollar question: which is better, cream or powder?

Hello! Fashion caught up with makeup artist royalty and founder of Jones Road Beauty Bobbi Brown to find out which formula is best for your skin type.

What is the difference between cream and powder bronzer?


Model with glowy skin© Photo: Getty Images


The primary difference predictably comes down to formula. A cream glides onto the skin and can offer a dewier, more natural-looking finish, whereas powder lends itself to a more matte look. That being said, plenty of powder formulas exist that are infused with shimmer, and so it boils down to personal preference.

READ: 14 best bronzers to use for a sun-kissed look this summer

MORE: 7 designer makeup brands that are worth the investment

Bobbi finds that many women have necks lighter than their faces because the face naturally catches more sun, and she feels that powders are easier to correct that imbalance.

Which has the best staying power?

Both are buildable, and for maximum staying powder you can layer the two. "Powder bronzer usually stays longer," Bobbi explains. "However, by applying cream on top of powder, you will get the most wear time."

MORE: Princess Diana's makeup artist Mary Greenwell shares her royal-approved beauty tips

Which formula is best for your skin type?

Those who suffer from dry skin may find cream formulas more comfortable because of the extra level of moisture that they offer. On the other hand, Bobbi finds that oilier types may prefer the "simplicity and ease" of powder bronzer, in addition to the fact that powders are better at minimising shine. "If you have dry skin, I recommend using a cream formula," Bobbi says. "If you have oiler skin, powder bronzer will work better."

Whichever formula you favour, we reckon it’s high time to get that glow…

Give your makeup collection a boost of bronze:  

guerlain powder bronzer

Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder, £46, Look Fantastic

milk cream bronzer

Milk Makeup cream bronzer, £19, Cult Beauty

jones road powder bronzer

The Bronzer, £32, Jones Road Beauty

chanel cream bronzer

Chanel Les Beiges Bronzing Cream, £43, Sephora 



merit cream bronzer


Bronze Balm, £32, Merit Beauty


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