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The 20 Best Bronzers and Self-Tanners for Dark Skin Tones

You've never seen a glow like this.

Lip, Cheek, Eye, Skin, Chin, Forehead, Eyebrow, Eyelash, Adaptation, Iris,
Fenty Beauty

Here's some breaking news for you: Brown girls like to look tan, too. Yes, just like the light-skinned individuals of the world who engage in a year-round quest for bronzed skin, many women of color want a deeper glow, as well. But you'd never know it based on the state of the self-tanning aisle in the drugstore, which is pretty much geared only toward light-to-medium skin tones. Why would someone who is already dark want to look darker, right? Welp, here's the quick answer: When it comes to women of color, there's absolutely no such thing as being too dark. Period.

Listen, there is nothing more beautiful to me than being surrounded a huge range of chocolate skin tones, and a major part of what makes me feel magical as a Black girl is the color of my skin. Being brown just feels special, like I'm a mighty golden goddess capable of harnessing all the powers of the world, so why wouldn't I want to look darker? (Safely, of course—skin cancer makes zero people feel like a goddess.)

But, thanks to the inherent light-skin favoritism in the tanning market, most bronzers look ashy and milky against our skin, while self-tanners do, uh, literally nothing. Still, I promise you that options do exist, as long as you know where to look. Which is why I took the headache out of one more prejudiced aspects of the beauty industry and found the very best bronzers and self-tanners that were actually made with dark skin in mind.

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Best for a Long-Lasting Glow
Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse
St. Tropez sephora.com
$44.00

No vacay, no problem. Calling all brown girls who want to get bronzed from the comfort of their couch: Get yourself some of this. It's a mousse formula that adheres to all skin tones and will stick, without looking streaky for a long-lasting tan. 

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Best for Parched Skin
Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer
courtesy of brand
Saie sephora.com
$28.00

Dry-skinned beauties, this one's for you. This pigmented balm is packed with soothing colloidal oatmeal and antioxidant-rich grapeseed oils that'll never snag on flakes or fine lines. And if you're shifting from a day at the pool to a night out, the formula is buildable and blendable so you can buff your way to your perfect complexion.

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Best for a Golden Glow
Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion in Deep Dark
Courtesy
Banana Boat
$10.16

This is a go-to for brown girls who are already somewhat skilled in the world of sunless tanning, since the tinted lotion really will give you a rich, deep color—even on dark-chocolate skin.  

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Best for Extra Warmth
Solar Paint
Courtesy of brand
Glossier
$17.00

Glossier's newest addition focuses on faking that subtle, ray of light-style glow, and the doe-foot applicator makes it easy to apply the gel-cream formula to the spots the sun would naturally hit your face.

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Best for You Carry-on
Tantour Contour & Bronzer Cream
courtesy of brand
Huda Beauty sephora.com
$30.00

Overpackers, listen up. If you can't stand to leave any of your precious makeup at home during a week away, I'll raise you a multi-formula that might make life easier. This cream-to-powder formula can be used with a stiff brush or stippler to contour, or be buffed out with a fluffy brush to create bronze-y warmth. 

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Best for Face
THE FACE Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
Courtesy
TAN-LUXE sephora.com
$49.00

Just add a few drops of this rave-reviewed facial self-tanner to your moisturizer—you can add more or less drops over time, depending on how concentrated you want the formula to be—and you'll wake up with bronzed, glowy skin. One reviewer raves: "I'm so in love with this product! My main concern, besides whether or not it would actually tan my darker complexion, was whether it break my face out? It does not!!! It gives a nice, realistic tan glow!"

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Best for a Dewy Finish
Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
Tower 28 Beauty sephora.com
$20.00

It's summer. You're sweating your ass off, which means it's probably not the time for a matte, pore-erasing finish. Enter Bronzino (I mean, how cute is that name?), a shimmery, almost gel-like formula that warms up deep skin tones with a 'just left the beach' kind of finish. 

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Best for Mattifying
Airbrush Matte Bronzer
courtesy of brand
Charlotte Tilbury sephora.com
$55.00

Pressed powder doesn't have to flatten you out—on the contrary! This classic from one of the UK's beauty queens contains micro-fine perfecting powders to create a blurring filter over the skin, while hyaluronic acid helps keep your skin looking and feeling bouncy. 

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Best For a Second-Skin Look
Flawless Darker
Courtesy of Fake Bake
Fake Bake amazon.com
$24.00

Not many self-tanners can take darker skin to an even deeper shade without looking weirdly fake, but this cult-favorite spray can and does, and even includes a mitt for easier application.

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Best for a Sunny Vacation
Sunlit Bronzer in Ipanema Sun
Courtesy of Sephora
Becca sephora.com
$38.00

Counting down the days until you can be on a beach again? Well, this bronzer was inspired by "sun-drenched destinations"—so, basically it's a vacation must-have you need. With the help of super finely-milled pigments, this blendable bronzer imparts the most gorgeous glow on dark skin tones. 

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Best for a Customizable Glow
Bronzer Palette
Courtesy of e.l.f. Cosmetics
e.l.f. Cosmetics ulta.com
$8.00

Four bronzer colors for the fraction of the price of one? We'll take two, please. The $6 price tag is unmatched, and the universal shades allow you to mix and match as you please to create a glow that caters to your complexion. 

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Best for a Lightweight Shimmer
Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer
Courtesy of Make Up Forever
MAKE UP FOR EVER sephora.com
$36.00

Thumbs down for blotchy bronzers that don't blend seamlessly on the skin. For a buildable glow, try this gel-based texture instead. This lightweight bronzer, which comes in an array of deep shades, will add a gorgeous touch of luminosity to the skin, without looking too noticeable. Think: A second-skin, lit-from-within glow. 

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Best for an Airbrushed Blur
Body Blur
Courtesy
Vita Liberata amazon.com
$38.95

Meet your real-life Instagram filter. This wash-off bronzer won't deepen your skin tone like other self-tanners, but will instead even out discoloration and hyperpigmentation for an airbrushed-looking finish.

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Best for a Selfie-Worthy Glow
Endless Summer Bronzer
bareMinerals Ulta
$29.00

Don't feel like putting on a contour powder and a highlighter? Same, girl, *time is money*. Instead, employ this beautiful blend of the two, which combines the luminosity of a highlighter and the depth of color of a contour powder. Simply swirl a fluffy brush around in this pot, and apply this wherever you want a warm glow. 

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Best for a Natural Glow
The Sun Show Moisturizing Baked Bronzer
Courtesy of Kosas
Kosas sephora.com
$34.00

Shea butter and meadowfoam seed oil make this baked powder glide on on like a dream and helps you mimic that universally flattering sunset glow. 

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Best For Creating Cheekbones
Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer
Courtesy of Fenty Beauty by Rihanna
FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna sephora.com
$30.00

Who among us doesn't want to look like Rihanna on the daily? Well, this bronzer from her beauty brand might be the closest we can get, and that's fine by us. This pigmented powder creates a sculpted complexion with just a bit of blending. 

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Best for a non-streaky application
Bronzing Mist
Versa Spa amazon.com
$43.00

One of the main causes of a splotchy, streaky self-tan is having dry patches on your skin. Luckily, the blend of green and brown algae in this bronzing mist makes up for any spots you may have missed while moisturizing.  

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Best For Dry Complexions
Power Bronzer Cream Bronzer
Courtesy of Sephora
Danessa Myricks Beauty sephora.com
$26.00

If you have dry skin, this formula provides creamy, dreamy warmth without bunching up around dry patches or flakes, and it stays for hours without creasing. 

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Best for Matte Devotees
Forever Natural Bronze Powder Bronzer
Courtesy of Dior
Dior bloomingdales.com
$48.00

If you love your look to be as matte as possible, this bronzer will keep things glamorous play perfectly with your foundation and give you that soft, Hollywood star warmth. 

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Best for Chiseled Cheekbones
Dark Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
Courtesy of SEphora
Too Faced sephora.com
$32.00

If you're in the caramel to milk-chocolate complexion range, this matte bronzer makes for a natural-looking contour.

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