The best new bronzers and highlighters for your summer glow up

Instant illumination for your skin is right this way.

Instant illumination for your skin is right this way

With summer here, many of us are planning to go lighter with the beauty products. But there are two products we probably won't be skimping on: bronzers and highlighters. They provide instant warmth and prismatic, photogenic angles at every turn! 

This year more than ever there are so many to choose from; newcomers like Nars Orgasm, a stellar liquid highlighter, creamy bronzers like Huda Beauty's latest offering, and of course the ever-popular body highlighter, Fenty Beauty's body lava. Here's our roundup of the best bronzers and highlighters to try.


This is simply a harmonious quartet of radiance. There are two shade palettes: lightgasm and lovegasm; each comes with a highlighter, highlighting blush, bronzer and and bronzing blush. While intended for cheeks and temples, you can totally use it on your eyes, which makes this a great multipurpose summer product. I found the highlighters in both shades to be very smooth and skin-like — the glow is very buildable so you can go from gently sunkissed all the way up to a megawatt shine. 

Charlotte Tilbury Glowgasm Face Palette, $95, Charlotte Tilbury

If your goal is to have that glass-like skin this summer, you should give these drops a try. Marc Jacobs just launched a new deeper 'dew drops' shade called 'Tantalize'. I've been using it mixed in with my tinted moisturizer for a shimmery soft-focus look. It can also be applied like a traditional highlighter, with a brush to the high points of your cheeks on top of your base. When used that way, it gives a very natural shine. The dew drops are part of the hydrating coconut collection, so it smells like the tropics and has provitamin B5 to keep skin moisturized.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter, $55, Sephora

There's always so much buzz around this highlighter. So when they came out with a collector's edition to their popular champagne pop shade, I decided to give it a try. It's the perfect peachy-gold finish. I've seen people lighter and darker than me use this product to beautiful effect. I tried applying it with a wet brush and it made the highlighter pop even more. It has this ultra fine creamy powder vibe to it — you can also try it as a setting powder because it works well for blurring imperfections.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter, $47, Sephora

These new liquid highlighters come in three shades (moonlight, sunshine and sunrise; all equally luminous) and are perfect to throw in your summer totes and cross-body bags. The applicator makes the gel-like formula easy to apply to cheeks, the bridge of your nose and cupid's bow; a few quick taps is all it takes to blend it in. I was surprised at how quickly this dried down, while still looking glowy. Sunrise looks most natural on my darker skin tone and I'd definitely use the other two as eye shadows. As with all nude by nature products, these highlighters are made without synthetics, are cruelty-free and infused with ingredients like kakadu plum and avocado oil.

Nude by Nature Beach Glow Liquid Highlighter, $21, Shoppers Drug Mart

Every year we daydream about what our skin is going to look like in the summer. Folks, when you put this highlighter on, the result is what we've been picturing! If like me you're a little self conscious about your legs and thighs, this highlighter creates a smoothing illusion and even covers up some of my varicose veins. Same goes for other parts of your body. The best part for me is that it's water and transfer resistant! There's definitely a learning curve to application, because the product dries so quickly. It's best if you use a Kabuki brush or something similar.

Huda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H All Over Body Highlighter, $49, Huda Beauty


If you've been looking for a shimmery bronzer, then this is it. You get both depth and warmth with a reflective glow; it's like a highlighter and bronzer in one. If you're a Cover FX fan like me, you'll know that this launch is major, because it's their first real foray into colour products. They also launched a blush duo with this collection. 

Cover FX Monochromatic Bronzer Duo, $50, Cover FX

This bronzer and contouring powder will help you capture that effortless summer radiance. It's a pressed powder formula infused with whipped cocoa butter for a smooth finish. It's basically matte, making it a good option for oily skin. The shade range isn't that varied, so if you have dark skin on the deeper side, this unfortunately won't work for you. On lighter skin it will give a nice sculpt, and since it's subtle, I think it's an ideal pick if you're new to using bronzers. Plus at under ten bucks you'll have more in your pocket for other summer fun.

Maybelline New York Face Studio City Bronzer, $8.96, Amazon

This is a matte bronzing powder that's perfect for contouring. If bold isn't your thing, with eight shades you can bet you'll find one to complement your skin tone and to give you a more natural summer sculpt. It's on the velvety side in terms of the formula, and it's got a very subtle shimmer to it. These are richly pigmented bronzers so (trust me) a little goes a long way. 

Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer, $40, Sephora

This is the bronzer formula to a one-time foundation of the same name. MAC launched this with two shades: canyon dreamin' (a light medium colour) and sun soaked (a golden brown). It's a lightweight blendable bronzing powder, that promises to give a long lasting natural glow.  And it's hard to resist these products because of the beautiful marble packaging with gold leaf accents too!

MAC Cosmetics Next to Nothing Bronzer, $35, MAC

If you're a bit intimidated by some of the more pigmented matte bronzers, then you'll love the delicate satin finish of this one. It's actually two shades in one; when swirled together the two produce a deep golden-champagne colour. It glides on smoothly and evenly, and if you do want a richer colour, it's definitely buildable. Plus this limited edition bronzer comes in a large tin compact, so you'll get much more product than in other Too Faced bronzers. 

TOO FACED Natural Lust Satin Dual-Tone Bronzer, $45.50, Ulta Beauty

Nneka Elliott (@nnekaelliott) is a lifestyle blogger, host and actor. She shares her adventures with fashion and beauty in her pursuit of a gutsy life.


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