Shimmer vs Matte Bronzer

by Madeleine Borgersen

Bronzers, like us, come in all shapes and types, liquid, powder or cream; shimmer or matte. Here’s our take of shimmer vs matte bronzers and how and when to use both.

Shimmer vs Matte Bronzer

Bronzers come in all types and consistencies, but don’t think you need to have all of them, likewise, don’t think you’re only allowed one. They all create different looks.

Depending on what look you’re going for, liquid bronzers are great to add to foundation to give you a little lift all over, powder bronzers are terrific for adding a quick flush or contour and cream bronzers for blending and dewiness.

Here are our picks on shimmer vs matte bronzer to best create the look you’re after.


To contour your face you want a matte (so no shimmer!) bronzer. This is because you’re wanting to mimic a shadow on your face. Shadows – unless you’re Tinkerbell, are generally matte.

A powder bronzer like Benefit’s Hoola is great for contouring as it’s matte with no shimmer and a tone that isn’t too dirty looking. Just like your fake tan, you’ll swatch away to find the right shade for you.

If you’re new to contouring with bronzer, the newer cream bronzers that are coming into the market are really easy to use and 90% of the time matte.

They are easier to apply and blend out with a brush or makeup sponge and due to being cream are often more sheer (so natural!) and give a nice dewiness to the skin.

You can then go on to highlight your cheekbones and nose with a regular highlighter to add more definition to the face if you would like it.


If you’re after a bronzer to give you that year-round I’ve just come back from Jamaica flush then try a shimmer bronzer like Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess.

Depending on the brand they have subtle (or not so subtle!) specks of shimmer that act as a bronzer and highlighter in one.

With shimmer based bronzers you don’t want to use them as a contour (i.e. to create cheekbones of steel!) and you don’t want to team them with another matte bronzer or you’ll risk looking like a gingerbread man.

Shimmer bronzers are great however for summer holidays to enhance an already existing tan (fake or not!) and easy nights out.

You can apply the shimmer bronzer anywhere the sun would naturally hit so your cheeks, your forehead, nose and chin.

The trick with shimmer bronzer? Keep it low-key. Add a little to the areas above and build it up as you wish.


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