But what if pasty white isn't your preferred summer look?

If you're aiming instead for bronze goddess, try out one of my favorite bronzers. All of the sunny glow, none of the sunburn.

The Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer, $30 at Sephora, is infused with real cocoa powder and smells like heaven in the pan. (It doesn't smell once applied to the skin!) It comes in three shades (Milk Chocolate, Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate; I'm a Milk Chocolate girl), so there's a variety for most skin tones. The matte bronzer can be layered for an extra-sunkissed look.

If you're looking for a bronzer with a touch of shimmer, try the Too Faced Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer, $30 at Sephora. (Bronzers with a touch of shimmer can look more natural than matte bronzers, which sometimes require intense blending to look realistic.) But beware: Too much shimmery bronzer will look like you've been dipped in glitter, so if you're extra pale, stick with matte varieties.

Speaking of natural, the Laura Geller Bronze-N-Brighten, $33 at Ulta, is one of the most lifelike. This bronzer features multiple shades of powder swirled together — swirl a fluffy powder brush (try the up & up Powder Brush, $6.99 at Target) over all the shades, and buff into the skin for a subtle, believable bronze.

One of the most common bronzing pitfalls is turning into an orange Oompa Loompa. BareMinerals Faux Tan All Over Face Color, $21 at Ulta, is so cool-toned, you never need to worry about that happening. You'll look instead like you just got back from a week at the Shore.

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer, $29 at Sephora, is a cult favorite for a reason. The super-finely milled powder makes this matte powder easier to blend than most, and the color is universally flattering.

For the babe on a budget, I recommend the Milani Bronzer XL, $10 at drugstores, and the Milani Baked Bronzer, $9 at drugstores. Inexpensive bronzers can look streaky (and fake!), but both of these Milani powders give a faux glow of far more expensive bronzers. (They're also big — talk about bang for your buck!)

Next week, we'll take our bronzing south, with the best and most goof-proof sunless tanners. I promise you won't be streaky or orange.

Alison Smith is blindingly pale but aspires to bronze-goddess status. Got a burning beauty question? Email asmith@philly.com.