These Are Hands-Down The Best Bronzers For Dark Skin Tones

Not all bronzers can cater to the needs of darker skin tones, but I found the holy grail.

by Shawna Hudson
Originally Published: 
Best Bronzers For Dark Skin - e.l.f. Putty Bronzer
Courtesy Of e.l.f. Cosmetics

Who doesn’t love a sun-kissed summer glow? (Minus the actual sun damage, please.) But, as a gal with a deep olive and honey(ish) skin tone, I know that achieving that beautifully bronzed look isn’t always as easy as a quick swipe of a brush over any shimmery compact. It’s that shade struggle that led me on a quest to find the best bronzers for dark skin tones, hands down.

The first bronzer I ever purchased turned out to be a total dud: Instead of lit-from-within warmth, it left behind dull, chalky streaks that looked like I used the wrong foundation shade — ugh. While not all bronzers are able to cater to the needs of darker skin tones, after much searching, swiping, and swatching, I’m happy to report that I’ve found some holy grail bronzing products in a range of formulas — and, of course, a plethora of shades.

Some special shout-outs? e.l.f. Cosmetics’ Putty Bronzer and its unique putty-to-powder formulation, and Chantecaille’s gel-powder bronzer that delivers enviable illumination. Yes, our melanin count already renders a natural tan, but thanks to these bronzing powerhouses, we can still turn it up for a seriously radiant look.

To find the shade that best complements your skin and brings out your inner radiance, choosing a bronzer that’s one to two shades darker than your natural skin tone is usually your best bet. Ready to start shopping? Below, find the best bronzers for dark skin tones you won’t be able to leave the house without.

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Best For: Light-Tan Skin Tones

This innovative bronzer features a gel-to-powder formula that creates a soft — but buildable — glow. It’s so lightweight, you won’t feel like you’re wearing any bronzer at all, making it perfect for those otherwise-makeup-free days at the beach. The uniform micronized pigments will illuminate tan complexions, and ingredients like gardenia, woodmallow, and linden blossom soften and hydrate skin.

Best For: Tan Skin With Peach Undertones

Worried about your glow fading throughout the day? This product has a built-in primer to ensure a full day of goddess glow, taking you from the beach to an alfresco dinner. It’s also silky smooth, extra warm, and easy to apply. The shade Constantly Bronzed works best for tan skin with peach undertones.

Best For: Tan Skin With Warm or Neutral Undertones

Did you know that, with the right contour palette, you can mix up your own bronzer using one of the darker shades and a little highlight? Tested by yours truly, I can tell you the results were magical. This trick works best with products that are the same consistency, so a cream contour shade with a bronze-y liquid highlight will definitely give you that luminous pop you’ve been craving. Try: this e.l.f. Cosmetics Cream Contour Palette that blends like a dream, easily melts into skin, and is a great match for tan skin tones with warm or neutral undertones.

Best For: Tan To Deep Skin Tones

Achieve the ultimate sun-kissed glow minus the skin damage with this hypoallergenic bronzer that’s free of gluten, silicones, parabens, and synthetic fragrances. Add to the high points of your cheeks for a lifted look that seamlessly blends out when buffed into the skin. And since this bronzer is shimmer-free and matte, it can even double as your contour. As a bonus, the formula is also vegan and cruelty-free.

Best For: Medium-Tan To Deep Skin Tones

Also boasting a unique gel-powder formula is Chantecaille’s Real Bronze bronzer. For medium-tan to deep skin tones, the shade Goa is a cocoa-infused dream. Plus, it’s totally natural enough for when you’re faking summer skin during the long winter months! Never give up that glow, baby.

Best For: Deep Skin Tones

While the distinctive putty-to-powder finish of the e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Bronzer is the first product feature that caught my eye, I also did a serious happy dance when I saw the shade range — especially the rich Cabana Cutie, a great choice for deeper skin tones. This bronzer is highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way. And if you err on the side of oily, the semi-matte, non-greasy formula makes it a must-have for your makeup bag.

Bustle Shop brings you the editor-approved buys we can’t get enough of and think you’ll adore, too. Best of all, you can shop all of the products above directly on this page without visiting multiple retailers. Simply click on an item to learn more, choose your size or favorite color (if applicable), and then hit “add to cart.” When you’re done, you can click over to your cart in the top right corner of your screen to purchase all your stellar selects at once. How easy is that?

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