11 Bronzer Sticks That’ll Make You Look like You Just Returned From a Tropical Vacation

Photo: W+G Creative
With the Well+Good SHOP, our editors put their years of know-how to work in order to pick products (from skin care to self care and beyond) they’re betting you’ll love. While our editors independently select these products, making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission. Happy shopping! Explore the SHOP

Bronzer can end up being a pretty crucial part of your makeup routine. It has the job of helping your skin look more bronzed, defined, and like you just spent the whole day in the sun (with SPF on, of course). However, if you choose the wrong shade — too dark or too light, or pick a formula that doesn’t really blend well with your skin — you could end up looking more orange than bronzed. While there’s no denying bronzer can totally be used wrong, for the most part, it’s a great product to have in your makeup bag, and there are so many types of bronzer on the market. We’re talking powder, cream, liquid, balm, and in stick form. The best bronzer sticks are extremely convenient and make the entire application process a bit easier. You’ll notice bronzer sticks have some shimmer in the formula accompanied by a warmer shade than a highlighter or contour stick.

Experts In This Article
  • Naseeha Kahn, Nasseha Kahn is a professional makeup artist and one of the founders of CTZN Cosmetics.

The best bronzer sticks, at a glance:

What is a bronzer stick?

A bronzer stick is a cream-based form of bronzer. It is a super convenient and blendable way to apply warmth to the skin. How it lays on your skin sets it apart from other forms of bronzer. “I find the cream-based formulation makes the skin look more natural and seamless,” professional makeup artist Naseeha Khan says. It’s also a great product that can assist you in underpainting when doing your makeup.

To help you find the best bronzer stick for your skin, we’ve tapped a makeup artist and compiled a list of bronzer sticks with different formulations, finishes, and shades. Ahead, the top 11 bronzer sticks to help you find the one that will work best for your skin type and tone.

Shop 11 of the best bronzer sticks

rare beauty warm wishes, one of the best bronzer sticks
Best overall: Rare Beauty, Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer Stick — $26.00

Besides the smooth formula, the best part about Rare Beauty’s bronzer sticks is that it gives you a visible glow that and just the right amount of warmth. The liquid-like cream formula is as seamless as it gets and there’s not much of a learning curve when it comes to using it. It’ll melt right into your skin and won’t fade as the day goes on.

This bronzer stick is extremely blendable and buildable, meaning you can apply as much or as little as you’d like. You won’t feel like you’re wearing much makeup when using this bronzer either. It is pretty weightless, which is why it’s so easy to sculpt the face without creating super harsh lines that are hard to blend.

Shade options: 7


  • Smooth, weightless formula
  • Long-wearing
  • Buildable
  • Doesn’t cake or crease skin


  • It may be too subtle for some
  • Some shades may not be dark enough for certain skin tones
milk makeup matte cream bronzer stick
Best clean formula: Milk Makeup, Matte Cream Bronzer — $24.00

There are a good amount of clean bronzer sticks on the market but none are as good as Milk Makeup’s Matte Bronzer Stick. The creamy formula glides on seamlessly and creates a very natural glow with a matte finish. It’s a great option for those who are aiming for a matte look with zero shimmer.

When applying it along your hairline, on your cheekbones, and above your jawline you’ll find just how easy it is to blend — no matter if you use your fingertips, makeup sponge, or brush. You can even use it as your eyeshadow or as a neutral lip color.

If using clean makeup is a priority, this Matte Bronzer Stick is vegan, clean, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free.

Shade options: 5


  • Clean and cruelty-free formula
  • Creates an instant glow
  • Hydrating


  • Has a coconut scent that might not be for everyone
merit balm sheer sculpting bronzer stick
Best for a natural finish: Merit, Bronze Balm Sheer Sculpting Bronzer — $30.00

The Bronze Balm Sheer Sculpting Bronzer from Merit is perfect for those who prefer a natural finish that’s errs on the sheer side. While it isn’t as opaque as other bronzer sticks, it still provides the noticeable warmth and depth we all love from this kind of makeup product.

The best way to notice how well the bronzer sits on the skin is to apply it on any spot of your face where the sun naturally hits it—this will give you a natural-looking warmth. You can also easily sculpt with this bronzer stick with precision without applying too much product, which can easily happen with heavier bronzers and even when using a powder and brush.

Shade options: 5


  • Has a sheer finish
  • Doesn’t cover up skin’s natural texture
  • Lightweight


  • May not provide enough coverage for some
nudies matte all over bronzer stick
Best for matte finish: Nudestix, Nudies Matte All Over Face Bronze Color — $35.00

Most of us need time and practice to really get the hang of using all the makeup products out there—from lip liner to bronzers. This bronzer stick from Nudestix is so easy to travel with and a great option for those who are new to applying bronzer to their skin. One side of it has the bronzer and the other has a removable blending brush, making the application and blending process a breeze.

You can use this bronzer all over your face to add some warmth to your skin or to sculpt. Some shades available are on the pink and mauve side — allowing you to create a rosy blush look that is perfect all year round. The Bondi Bae and Bondi Belle shades are more on the bronze side while the rest could act more like a blush. Either way you use it, it creates a beautiful matte finish.

Shade options: 7


  • Blending is easy due to the built-in buffing brush
  • Can be used as a contour, bronzer, and blush


  • Some shades may be too warm for certain skin tones
  • Formula isn’t long lasting
charlotte tilbury hollywood contour wand, one of the best bronzer sticks
Best liquid bronzer stick: Charlotte Tilbury, Hollywood Contour Wand — $42.00

A liquid bronzer stick is ideal for those who really love a dewy and glowy look. The Hollywood Contour Wand from Charlotte Tilbury has a cushion applicator, which feels so soft on your skin, making it easy to sculpt your cheekbones. The best part? It’s super pigmented. Once you apply it to your skin, you’ll see that it instantly creates shadows while defining your face. While the color of the bronzer stick is pigmented, it leaves a very natural finish.

The formula is lightweight, making the blending process easy. The applicator helps apply the product to skin evenly and without using too much of the liquid.

Shade options: 2


  • Shine-free
  • Easy to blend
  • Highly pigmented


  • Only two shades available
  • Application can get messy
makeup by mario scultping stick, one of the best bronzer sticks
Best bronzer for contouring: Makeup by Mario, SoftSculpt Shaping Stick — $32.00

Contouring with bronzer can be so fun because you can see the shape and definition of your face transform within seconds. Since this bronzer stick is dual-ended, you can sculpt and warm up any part of your face that you’d like and easily blend the product out. The stick comes in six shades ranging from neutral to dark deep—all of which dry down to a natural matte finish for effortlessly looking definition.

The best part about this stick is that when using it for contouring, it doesn’t create harsh lines that are hard to blend. It leaves a softly sculpted look that will only complement skin tones no matter the undertone.

Shade options: 6


  • Very easy to blend
  • Creamy formula
  • Dual-sided with blending end


  • Prone to breakage
westman atelier face trace bronzer stick
Best splurge: Westman Atelier, Face Trace Cream Contour Stick — $48.00

When splurging on a makeup product, you want to make sure it’s worth it — and the Face Trace Cream Contour Stick is definitely one you won’t regret buying. This creamy contour stick from Westman Atelier will add the perfect amount of subtle definition to help lift your cheekbones with a very natural finish. The coverage is perfect for someone who likes the natural look but wants to add some noticeable dimension to their face.

The product will blend seamlessly into your skin and it’s super buildable, allowing you to customize how much coverage you have. The bronzer stick layers extremely well over your other makeup, especially any powder or liquid formulas, without messing it up.

Shade options: 3


  • Layers well with other makeup products
  • Formulated without silicones, mineral oil, and synthetic fragrances


  • Pricier option
  • May not be long-lasting
fenty match stix matte contour skinstick, one of the best bronzer sticks
Best shade range: Fenty Beauty, Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick — $32.00

A wide variety of shade options is very helpful when it comes to finding the best bronzer color for your skin tone. Fenty Beauty has nine shades to choose from, ranging from cool neutral undertones for light skin tones to medium deep skin tones with a cool undertone. It is a buildable cream-to-powder formula that will add golden definition to your skin.

While they’re called contour sticks, it’s easy to find a shade that’s dark enough to act as a bronzer. When applying it to your skin, you’ll notice that it blends easily into your skin and doesn’t mess up your other makeup. It’s a great option for a more natural makeup look.

Shade options: 9


  • Wide variety of shades
  • Formula is long-lasting


  • Some folks found the formula dry and harder to blend
lys beauty no limits cream bronzer stick
Best cream bronzer: LYS Beauty, No Limits Cream Bronzer & Contour Stick — $20.00

All skin types, especially those with dry and dull skin will reap the golden benefits of this LYS Beauty Cream Bronzer & Contour Stick. It’s great for creating instant dimension to your face but will also help your skin tone look vibrant and sun-kissed. Just one swatch of the product will provide you with noticeable results. The formula is lightweight, smooth, and will create a shadow-like effect wherever you apply it.

When using the bronzer on your cheekbones, the temples of the forehead, and your jawline, you’ll see how much your overall complexion will radiate and appear healthier. Easily blend the formula out with a brush or sponge and you can build the product to your liking.

Shade options: 5


  • Triangle tip makes contouring and sculpting easier
  • Moisturizes your skin while brightening it


  • Some shades may look to warm on certain skin tones
  • Formula isn’t as pigmented as other options
pixi on the glow tinted moisture bronzer stick
Best blendable bronzer stick: Pixi, On-the-Go Bronze Tinted Moisture Stick — $18.00

If you love the sun-kissed look that makeup can help you achieve without the sun’s harsh rays, you will love this Pixi On-the-Go Bronze Tinted Moisture Stick. With a few gentle swipes on your skin, you’ll instantly have a healthy, bronze glow. All you need to do is twist the base of the product up or down before swiping it on your skin. Fans of this stick say it “blends out like a dream” no matter if you use your fingertips or a brush, even if you put a little too much on.

Shade options: 4


  • Easy to travel with
  • Easy to blend


  • Not many shades for darker skin tones
jouer bloom bronze and glow bronzer stick and highlighter
Best 2-in-1 bronzer stick: Jouer Cosmetics, Bloom, Bronze & Glow Bronzer + Highlighter Duo — $36.00

A 2-in-1 bronzer stick makes the application process super easy. This hydrating and glow inducing bronzer and highlighter stick from Jouer is a dream product. It has a shimmery finish, ideal for those who don’t prefer a matte product, and is made with skin-loving ingredients like jojoba seed oil, rose hip oil, shea butter, squalane oil, and vitamin E—and your skin will reap the benefits. You’ll notice your skin feeling more hydrated and looking nourished each time you use this 2-in-1 bronzer stick.

The highlighter side of the product is super light in weight and will enhance the high points of your face. The bronzer side will give your skin a warm and natural glow. It can also serve as a contour and help you define your cheekbones and jawline.

Shade options: 3


  • Dual sided: one side for bronzing and one for highlighting
  • Made with added skin-care ingredients


  • Not many shade options

Things to consider when choosing a bronzer stick

When selecting a bronzer stick, Khan recommends looking for a formulation that is creamy and easily blendable. “I would also recommend looking for a bronzer shade that suits your skin tone and undertone,” she explains. When looking at the various shade options, remember that your bronzer should be a few shades deeper than your skin tone.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a contour stick and a bronzer stick?

Two makeup products that look very similar are contour sticks and bronzer sticks. “A contour stick is strategically used to add dimension to the face and enhance your natural features,” Khan explains. “It is typically applied to the forehead, nose, cheekbones, and jawline for definition.”

When using both products, you’ll notice that a bronzer stick will add warmth to the skin—specifically in the places where the sun would naturally hit, such as the mid forehead, the tip of the nose, and cheeks. “Bronzer typically has warmer-undertones, while contour has cooler-undertones,” Khan says.

Does a bronzer stick go on before or after foundation?

Makeup has no rules! So you can apply your makeup in any order that works best for you. However, Khan says “you can apply your base makeup including your foundation and concealer before going in with your bronzer to add life and color back into the skin.” She adds, “You can also use bronzer before foundation for the “underpainting” technique for a more natural-looking finish.” You can find more tips for applying bronzer here.

What color bronzer should I use?

With so many shade options out there, it can be a little confusing when picking out the color for your skin. “You should look for a bronzer that is one to two shades darker than your skin, and depending if you have cool, neutral, or warm skin, you should adjust your shade tone accordingly,” Khan says. “Lighter skin tones should look for neutral bronzers with slightly golden undertones, while more medium tones should go for a bit more deeper and warm undertones.” Those who have deeper skin tones, depending on undertones, should look for deeper shades with neutral, red, or cool undertones.

But wait, there's more!
Want to be the first to hear about the latest (and greatest) SHOP product drops, custom collections, discounts, and more? Sign up to have the intel delivered straight to your inbox.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

Loading More Posts...