Ask the ESSENCE Beauty Editors: 'What Are the Best Body Bronzers Under $20?'

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When it comes to beauty, no one loves to talk makeup, hair and skin care more than your ESSENCE beauty team. If you’re in need of get-glam tips and tricks, help is here. Each week Corynne, Tasha, Marcia and Nicole will answer your most pressing questions, share expert advice and recommend must-have products. Email your questions to BeautyEditors@essence.com.

Q: I’m looking for a good body bronzer for under $20. Any suggestions?  –Deborah

A: There’s nothing like the arrival of spring to make you want to get your glow on. Hey, even us brown girls get a little pale over the winter, right? Liquid and powder body bronzers are a quick (and safe) way to get glowy, sun-kissed looking skin. But there’s nothing worse than bronzing gone wrong, so first, a few tips on getting it right.

1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. You want your skin to be as smooth as possible to ensure an even, streak-free finish.

2. When choosing a color, makeup artist Janice Kinjo, who’s worked on everyone from Tamar Braxton to Mary J, told me that brown-skinned women should look for one that is similar, not darker, to your complexion for the best results.

3. Most bronzers should stay put and not transfer, but stack the odds in your favor by waiting until it is dry to the touch (about 5 minutes) before getting dressed. Wear loose fitting clothes after applying bronzer or if you plan to wear a dress, apply only to exposed areas like your collarbone, décolleté and legs.  If you're wearing a halter top, apply to your back and shoulders.

4. Lastly, here's a great tip from Sophie Evans, St. Tropez Skin Finishing Expert: If you are using an instant bronzer, spray a light mist of hair spray over the “tan” to ensure it stays in place. Or, dust on a little translucent finishing powder.

Here are our bronzer suggestions that are worth your $20:
  • e.l.f. Studio Bronzer ($3)
  • NYX Body Bronzer ($9)
  • L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer Self-Tanning Lotion ($11)
  • Gleam Body Radiance ($15)
  • St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Body Lotion ($18)
  • MAC Lustre Drops ($20)

If you've found a fabulous yet wallet-friendly bronzer I didn't mention, please leave your suggestion in the comments section!  —Marcia

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