The Best Bronzer for Dark Skin Tones

The Best Bronzer for Dark Skin Tones


Khadija B.
November 3, 2021

Nothing says radiant and healthy like a glowing complexion, and if you’re in the market for a bronzer that can suit your darker skin tone, it’s just the way to get it.

Bronzers are the ideal fit for people with dark skin tones who still want that sun-kissed glow, but there’s a lot to know to ensure you get the right fit.

What are the best bronzers for dark skin tones? Here are our top picks:

Best Bronzer for Dark Skin 

Mented Cosmetics Sunkissed Bronzer

Best Drugstore Bronzer

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer

Best Matte Bronzer

NYX Professional Makeup Matte Bronzer Deep

Bronzers with terracotta, caramel, and brown tones will be the best fit, and choosing something that matches the undertone of your skin is important.

Avoid anything with orange hues in it as it doesn’t translate well on dark skin, and can look like a fake tan turned bad.

If you want to look like you just arrived home from a Caribbean vacation at all times, a bronzer can help you out.

This guide will show you how to shop for bronzer for dark skin tones to ensure you bring out the best of your natural complexion and get that envious sun-kissed glow.

Best Bronzers for Dark Skin Tones Reviewed

Our pick for the best bronzer for dark skin, Mented’s Bronzer is an easily blendable product that perfect for helping deeper skin tones emphasize their natural glow.


  • Vegan free, cruelty free, and paraben free

  • Richly pigmented and enriched with vitamin A & E to support skin health

  • Made with black women in mind – easier finding the right color for a dark skin tone


  • A bit smaller than you’ expect

When polling our makeup artist crew NYX makeup products repeatedly came up as go to bronzers for dark skin. This deep bronzer with a velvety texture comes in a matte formula that offers a warm glow without a hint of shimmer. We strongly recommend this as an everyday wear bronzing powder.


  • Good for sensitive skin – not known to cause breakouts

  • Makeup Artist recommended


  • A bit chalky

This longwear bronzer from Fenty Beauty has both a lightweight formula and natural ingredients to make it perfect for achieving a healthy looking glow. Papaya and mango fruit extracts have been added to the lightweight powder to achieve a hydrated, glowy skin look.


  • Available in both red and brown undertones to cater to different skin tones


  • Buy in stores for your first purchase – lots of shades also catering to lighter skin tones makes it harder to find the right shade if purchasing online

This matte finish bronzer is our favorite drugstore bronzer for dark skin. The formula here come stocked with tons of moisturizers and vitamins to create a subtle shimmer and glowing skin.


  • Our favorite budget option

  • Great for sensitive skin


  • Not great for medium skin tones

This bronzer blush duo is perfect for anyone looking for a single product blending an illuminating bronzer with a blush made specifically for deep complexions. This one stop product makes it efficient to achieve that ultimate sun kissed glow with just the few swirls of a fluffy brush.


  • Great for long term wear – won’t dry out your skin

  • Creates a subtle golden shimmer


  • Not shimmery enough to be used as a highlighter

What Does Bronzer Do?

What Does Bronzer Do?

Before we can dive into choosing a bronzer for melanin-rich skin, we need to understand the purpose of this beauty product.

A common misconception about bronzer is that it’s not suited for those with darker complexions because they already have a darker skin color, but that misses the point of bronzer altogether.

Bronzer isn’t about making your skin darker, but rather healthier.

It achieves this by being carefully placed in the right areas of your face, and all over the body, with the end results making you look like you’ve got a healthy glow and have been kissed by the sun without suffering any of the negative UV consequences.

On darker skin, a good bronzer should give subtle definitions to the right areas of your face and highlight where the sun would naturally hit.

You’ll want to look healthy, radiant, and golden, and depending on the type of bronzer, you could even have a shimmering glow on your skin.

Can Dark Skin Tones Wear Bronzer?

Can Dark Skin Tones Wear Bronzer?

Bronzer is one of the most versatile beauty products around, and while people used to assume that it had no purpose for dark skinner wearers, that’s anything but true today.

All you need to do is take a look at the huge selection of shades, tones, and colors that are suited to darker complexions and you’ll see everything that’s out there.

One of the reasons why people used to assume that bronzer wasn’t for darker skin tones is because they looked at it as a tanning product, rather than giving the radiant glow that it does.

As long as you know how to choose the right shade and pick a bronzer type that suits your skin, you’ll see how much more luminous and picture-perfect your skin can instantly become.

The Best Types of Bronzer for Dark Skin

The Best Types of Bronzer for Dark Skin

An often-overlooked feature of bronzer is the form that it comes in, with people instead focused on the colors, shades, and tones.

For melanin-rich wearers, these are the options out there and what the final impact can be on your skin.

  • Powder: Powder is the go-to for all skin tones because it gives the most natural effect. If you’re shopping for the right for dark skin, powdered bronzers can be especially beneficial and they look even better with a golden shimmer thrown in. if you choose a matte bronzer powder, make sure there are pearl or mica tones in it to avoid a chalky finish.
  • Cream: Cream bronzers are the ideal choice for anyone wanting a creamy, velvety finish on their skin and are especially good for darker skin tones. If you have dry skin and are worried about what a powder might do to it, opt for a cream bronzer and ensure it stays hydrated and glowing the whole night through.
  • Liquid: Liquid bronzers are the least popular type of dark skin wearers, as they won’t give the same finish. Although some liquid bronzers work here, you’re better off sticking to the velvety finish of a cream bronzer or the light shimmer that powder offers.

Choosing the Right Shade of Bronzer

Choosing the Right Shade of Bronzer

The shade of your bronzer will make the biggest impact on the end result and it can be an area of concern if you have a darker skin tone.

However, knowing exactly which route to take with a shade can be hard work, so consider these options to match your beautifully melanin-rich complexion.

  • Brown: There is no shortage of beautiful browns out there with neutral, cool, and warm undertones that each give a unique look. Don’t assume that brown bronzers are boring either, as you’ll soon see the huge selection of gorgeous hues on offer.
  • Terracotta: Think of your favorite terracotta pot and try to choose a beautiful bronzer that matches those rich, earthy tones. A terracotta bronzing powder is ideal for lighter dark skin and the darkest skin, so it’s a safe bet no matter your tone.
  • Caramel: A lighter caramel color can be perfect on those with medium to light dark skin tones, but not always ideal for darker skin tones. These colors add a velvety look that is especially magical when mixed with a lot of melanin.
  • Gold: Anything with a golden or shimmery effect to it will generally play well on darker skin tones. Just be sure that the gold isn’t overpowering or it can have the opposite effect, so look for minor flecks of gold and shimmer through it instead.
  • Bronze: Most of these products will have some sort of bronze tone to them, and users with dark skin can feel comfortable applying this to their complexion with great results.

Tips for Perfect Application

Tips for Perfect Application

The first time you apply bronzer can be daunting, but it’s one of the more forgiving beauty products out there.

If you’re new to bronzer and want to make sure you get your dark skin the glow it deserves, follow these experts’ tips.

  • Go sheer: Choose a sheer color rather than something solid, as this will allow you to build on it gradually. If you’ve never used bronzer before you’ll find it helpful to just do a little at a time until you reach the shade and coverage you’re looking for. These shades are also more forgiving if you’re still learning the basics of blending.
  • Choose your brush wisely: There’s nothing wrong with using a synthetic bronzer blush, and many experts recommend it.  However, you should use a brush made specifically for this purpose to assist with blending and application.
  • Shapes matter: Use a rounded brush if applying cream bronzer and a fluffy, larger brush if you’re applying powder bronzer. This will ensure you get the smoothest application that blends seamlessly into your natural skin tone.
  • Avoid orange: The biggest mistake when choosing a bronzer is to use one with orange in it, as this can look like a bad fake tan on darker skin. Other lighter colors like pinks are caramels are okay, but orange is a big no-no.

Bronzed, Brown, and Beautiful

A darker skin tone paired with the right bronzer is a match made in heaven, and it can bring a luminous glow that’s even better than a natural suntan.

There’s never been a better time to find cosmetics that are perfectly suited to darker skin tones, so don’t shy away from getting a bronzer that can deliver that sun-kissed look in an instant.

Related Questions

Bronzers are the ultimate alternative to fake tans and spending hours roasting away in the sun, and whatever your skin type or tone, there’ll be the perfect match out there.

If you have more questions about improving the appearance of your darker skin, we’ve answered some FAQs that might be able to help.

What Blush Shades Are Best For Dark Skin?

The best blush colors for people with darker skin tones are pinks, corals, wine tones, and berry, as the colors will complement your natural tone exquisitely and still stand out.

Choosing a blush that has the right finish and texture on your skin can be just as important as the shade, so don’t overlook this part either.

How Do You Pick a Foundation Color for Dark Skin?

How Do You Pick a Foundation Color for Dark Skin?

All skin tones should be able to match a foundation to their face by experimenting with various shades and choosing a product that’s about two shades lighter than their natural color.

Also consider whether your skin has warm, cool, or neutral undertones and match the foundation accordingly.

What Shade of Contour is Good for Dark Skin?

The best contour match for dark skin is a color that’s about one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone.

Choose a contour with a cool undertone so that it creates a more realistic-looking shadow against darker skin.


For More on Picking the Right Bronzer for Dark Skin

Khadija B.