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The 17 Best Bronzers and Self-Tanners for Dark Skin Tones

The glow your complexion deserves.

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 only geared 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 life and found the very best bronzers and self-tanners that were actually made with dark skin in mind. Check out the best 17 options, ahead.

1 of 17
Best for a Lightweight Shimmer
Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer
MAKE UP FOR EVER sephora.com

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. 

2 of 17
Best for a Customizable Glow
Bronzer Palette
e.l.f. Cosmetics ulta.com

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. 

3 of 17
Best for a Long-Lasting Glow
Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse
St. Tropez sephora.com

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. 

4 of 17
Best for a Glistening Glow
Monoi Body Glow I
NARS sephora.com

If you're simply looking to add a bit of sun-kissed shimmer to your poppin' melanin, then look no further than this shimmering body oil. Lather this luxurious formula on to your skin for a striking yet natural summer glow. 

5 of 17
Best for an All-Day Party
Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer in Cocoa Naughty
Fenty Beauty sephora.com

You can certainly trust Rihanna, a glowing queen, to make a bronzer the sun won't stand a chance against. Whether you're looking to carve out your cheekbones for a snatched contour, or add a bit of warmth to amp up your glow this velvety bronzer will hold up for hours on end. 

6 of 17
Best for a Selfie-Worthy Glow
Endless Summer Bronzer in Warmth
bareMinerals sephora.com

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. 

7 of 17
Best for a Sunny Vacation
Sunlit Bronzer in Ipanema Sun
Becca sephora.com

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. 

8 of 17
Best For a Second-Skin Look
Flawless Darker
Fake Bake amazon.com

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.

9 of 17
Best for an Airbrushed Blur
Body Blur
Vita Liberata amazon.com
$38.95 (13% off)

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.

10 of 17
Best for a non-streaky application
Bronzing Mist
Versa Spa amazon.com

One of the main causes behind splotchy, streaky self-tanner 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.  

11 of 17
Best for a Golden Glow
Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion in Deep Dark
Banana Boat

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.  

12 of 17
Best for Chiseled Cheekbones
Dark Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
Too Faced sephora.com

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

13 of 17
Best for a Sun-Kissed Glow
Bronzing Gel
Tom Ford amazon.com

If you're a bronzer newbie, try a wash-off gel, first. It's easier to apply than a heavy cream or a drying powder, so you'll never look too matte or too slick.

14 of 17
Best for Extra Radiance
Thankakha Radiant Bronzer
Volition Beauty

For darker skin with red undertones, look for a shimmery bronzer with gold and copper undertones. Bonus points if it's a liquid formula, which gives skin a more realistic glow.

15 of 17
Best for a Hint of Luminosity
Natural Hue Bronzer in Ebony Bronze
CoverGirl Queen

A cult-favorite among brown girls, this velvety powder has slightly red undertones, making it ideal for anyone looking for a warmer, richer glow.   

16 of 17
Best for a SPF-Packed Shine
Laguna Body Tint
NARS amazon.com

You won't find any chunky glitter or disco sparkle, here—just a stunning bronze shade that looks good on even the deepest of complexions. Plus, it contains SPF 30, because yes, brown girls need sun protection, too.

17 of 17
Best for a Sculpted Effect
Terracotta Bronzing Powder
Guerlain sephora.com

Yes, the price is kind of steep, but shades 07 and 09 in this brick-hued bronzer are top picks among beauty vloggers and makeup experts.


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