I’m not sure how I’ll write any future columns on cream bronzers because I can’t conceive of how Fenty’s Cheeks Out Freestyle Bronzer (£28, from boots.com) could be topped. This creamy veil of good health has been on my face most days for months, and I’ve bought not one but two backups, so I’m never without one in my bag. It is the best bronzer I’ve ever used and is near impossible to get wrong (bronzer, in my experience, tops the list of “products people like the sound of but don’t know what to do with”). The balmy texture deposits exactly the right amount of pigment when buffed into cheeks, temples and jawline with a synthetic brush (I always use Bobbi Brown’s Full Coverage Face Brush), and gives an unfailingly natural-looking glow. My colour is Butta Biscuit, an oaten brown, but there are seven shades that cover the entire population, all without that dated tangerine tinge of inferior bronzers. My one and only – frankly, straw clutching – gripe is that the mirrored compact gets a bit mucky and needs occasional cleaning.
For many years, Les Beiges Chanel’s Bronzing Cream (£43, from chanel.com) has been a cult favourite with beauty editors and makeup artists. I adore it myself, but have always been reticent in recommending it because it came in only one shade, annoyingly named Bronze Universel, that suited only white women and just a slim majority of those. Finally, a significantly deeper shade went on sale this month, and is well considered. There’s no red (a mistake made often with darker-toned bronzers) and the thick cream melds perfectly with the skin to give a matte but still radiant finish devoid of ashiness.
Matte isn’t everyone’s poison, of course, and I quite understand why one might seek a little summery lustre on the cheeks and nose. I would almost always do this with cream rather than powder, as the latter is easier to overload and can look streaky and a bit more made-up than laid-back. Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer (£18, from cultbeauty.co.uk), from new US import Tower 28, is ideal for the job. This shimmery balm has exactly the right level of pearl to the look – there’s none of the sparkle or spangle of a highlighter, more a subtle lustrousness and a moist, dewy texture from the natural fruit butters (oily skins may wish to swerve). It blends wonderfully, filtering out to a natural just-holidayed glow, and you can also pat it on eyelids for a casual, summery “one and done” face.