Product Reviews: Bronzers

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Bronzers are perfect when you want a warm, sexy glow but would rather stay out of the sun or tanning bed. They're convenient, quick to apply, provide instant results and when you're tired of the look, they wash right off.

As women grow more aware of the health and cosmetic dangers of the sun's harmful rays, the sales of alternative tanning products have risen and companies continue to launch new self-tanners and bronzers. The new bronzers work better than ever but you need to be selective to find out which products really go the extra mile.

Like all cosmetics, bronzers come in a variety of formats and a range of colors. A good bronzer won't be overly brassy or orange; it will blend with your natural tone so that you'll look like a sun-kissed version of yourself and not like a walking carrot.

When you're shopping for bronzers, it's essential to try them out and compare different swatches next to each other in the same testing session. If possible, see how they look under natural light as well as under the lights of the drugstore or cosmetics counter. If you're fair-skinned, be extra cautious of your bronzer choices; some bronzers can look unnatural on your skin tone in certain lights.

Powder Bronzer

Powder bronzer is a favorite because it's so easy to use. Just dust it on, blend with a brush and you're good to go. It's wise to evaluate how finely milled a powder bronzer is because it can affect how much product you'll need to get natural yet effective coverage. Some drugstore powder bronzers are cheaply made and leave you looking painted but some will surprise you with their quality.

Revlon Bronzer (average price $13.99) is a good, basic bronzer that's widely available at drugstores and grocery stores nationwide. While this bronzer comes in only 2 colors, the pigments look natural and don't have an excessive metallic edge. The powder is lightweight and helps absorb excess oil from your skin. The only caveat: the small, flat brush that comes with the product isn't the best for bronzer application. Spend an extra few dollars and get a larger, softer brush that will more evenly dust on your bronzer.