Beauty Trial: The Best Bronzer

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It's safe to say that bronzer has become a bit of an essential for me. On days when I forget to throw it on over my tinted moisturizer, I feel like I look sickly and sallow. I've been pretty loyal to this liquid bronzer for a while now, but I thought it would be fun to try out five other top-rated powder versions to see if there's one I prefer. 

While Alina and I tested the products (with this brush, which is my all-time fave), there was such a clear difference between each one I put on. "Wow, you look so tan!" "Ooh this one makes me look like I'm wearing blush and bronzer at once!" Quite simply, each one I tried looked drastically different, even if the results aren't all that staggeringly obvious in the pictures below (and I'm wearing way more than usual in an attempt to show them in more detail). See my thoughts below and if any of the new bronzers were good enough to make me switch!

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1. Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder, Natural. 

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How much product on brush: Too much. When I dipped my brush into the powder, a lot came off, which made it hard to apply gradually.
Shimmer or matte: No shimmer at all.
How natural of a tan, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most natural-looking): 9
General thoughts: I really liked this bronzer and felt as though it gave me the truest-looking tan. No frills and would look great paired with a swipe of blush and a dab of highlighter on top.

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2. Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer

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How much product on brush: The perfect amount. Only a small amount of bronzer came onto my brush, which made the application process nice. I wasn't worried about having massive streaks across my cheeks and I was able to build it easily.
Shimmer or matte: Matte
How natural of a tan, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most natural-looking): 7
General thoughts: The color is on the warmer side, which doesn't make it look like I'd just come in after a day in the sun, but still looks pretty on the skin. It enhances my natural coloring in a subtle way and would be a great starter bronzer for someone who hasn't used one before.

{Before/After}

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3. Trish McEvoy Dual Resort Bronzer

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How much product on brush: Tons of product initially - so I had to brush some of it off before applying it to my skin.
Shimmer or matte: Shimmer.
How natural of a tan, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most natural-looking): 7
General thoughts: This is the bronzer that Alina uses and I always compliment her glowy skin when she comes in to work. It's nice that the illuminating powder is built into the compact, so you can sort of adjust just how much shimmer you want on your cheeks. 

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4. Smashbox Bronze Lights Bronzer, Warm Matte

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How much product on brush: A perfect amount. Barely any product went on my brush, so I was able to very gradually add warmth to my cheeks.
Shimmer or matte: Mainly matte with a tiny touch of shimmer.
How natural of a tan, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most natural-looking): 9
General thoughts: I hadn't heard much about this bronzer before buying it last week (after reading rave reviews), and I was shocked at how great it was. It basically combined my favorite things about the Bobbi Brown compact (its natural color) and the Trish McEvoy (shimmer) into one perfect product.

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5. Nars Bronzing Powder, Laguna

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How much product on brush: A good amount, but not too much that it becomes unwieldy. 
Shimmer or matte: Matte with the teeniest tiniest flecks of shimmer. 
How natural of a tan, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most natural-looking): 9
General thoughts: I liked this bronzer a lot, though the color was a touch dark on me to have it look like I'd actually been out in the sun. I could see myself reserving this bronzer for nighttime with a good amount of shimmer on top of my cheek bones and a nude lip.

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6. Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer

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How much product on applicator: A lot - that's why I just swipe it onto my fingers to get a few drops. I then rub my hands together and gradually blend it into the hollows of my cheeks.
Shimmer or matte: Matte with a little shimmer.
How natural of a tan, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most natural-looking): 9.5
General thoughts: What I love most about this bronzer is that it's a liquid, which lets me add it on top of everything else I have on without adding a powdery, dry finish. It's easy to put on too much since a little goes a long way, but once you master it, it really does help you maintain a dewy look while still adding some color to your cheeks.

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Overall favorites: Smashbox Bronze Lights and Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer. These bronzers are both so great and truly different, so I've decided to keep them both in rotation.

P.S. My 1-minute contour look, tips for glowing skin, and a bronzed peach make-up tutorial.