8 Buildable Bronzers Designed To Flatter Fair Skin Tones

Think taupe, not terracotta.

For those with pale complexions, bronzing can be precarious ground. Generally designed to define and enhance darker skin tones, bronzer can often take fairer ones into muddy, messy territory if not handled with extreme care.

When done right, though, it holds the power to deliver glow, warmth and definition to flatter fair skin beautifully. There are several secrets to success: shade, finish and method.


First things first; the shade. You wouldn’t reach for a foundation several tones darker than your skin, so why do so with bronzer?

If your complexion is fair, the goal shouldn’t be to look ‘bronze’ (an objective out of your complexion’s wheelhouse), but rather to look ‘bronzed’—any shade two to three tones darker than your base colour will deliver the desired effect.

When it comes to selecting a shade, tone is important, too; look for cool-toned taupe hues rather than warm-toned tan ones—and definitely steer clear of anything of the terracotta variety; orange undertones are no friend to an alabaster complexion.

Finish is the next factor. If subtle, sunkissed warmth is your brief, steer clear of shimmer—a matte formula will deliver glow sans glitter.


As for application? A light touch is a must. Bronzer is buildable, so start slow; it can prove effective while still appearing undetectable.

Simply sweep product across areas where sun would naturally hit the face (think the cheekbones, jawline, nose and temples), and build until you’re satisfied with the result.


chanel bronzer

1 / 8

Les Beiges Healthy Glow Luminous Colour in Light by Chanel, $90 at Myer

A powder-cream formula that delivers a subtle, natural glow.

Too Faced

2 / 8

Milk Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer by Too Faced, $51 at MECCA

Infused with real cocoa powder, this bronzer is the opposite of orange.

bronzer fair skin

3 / 8

The Sculpting Powder in Light by Kevyn Aucoin, $70 at MECCA

Free from shimmer, this sculpting powder delivers seamless, soft definition.

bronzer fair skin

4 / 8

Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer in Inda Sun by Fenty Beauty, $46 at Sephora

Further proof that Fenty knows its way around an extensive shade range.

bronzer fair skin

5 / 8

Hoola Lite Bronzer by Benefit Cosmetics, $54 at Sephora

The same soft-matte formula we all know and love, in a heavenly honey hue.

bronzer fair skin

6 / 8

O!mega Bronze Coconut Perfect Tan in Tan-tastic by Marc Jacobs Beauty, $72 at Sephora

A beige-toned bronzer delicately scented with a divine coconut fragrance.

fair skin bronzer

7 / 8

Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess by Tarte, $41 at Sephora

A true matte with the ability to revive cheekbones from the dead.

fair skin bronzer

8 / 8

Warm Glow Natural Bronzer by Burberry, $72 at David Jones

If a warm glow is the aim, this aptly named powder is the one for the job.

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