Bronzers for brown Skinned women
Bronzers are perfect for a minimalist makeup look, especially when the weather heats up because who wants to wear foundation in the sweltering heat?

First, I want to point out what a bronzer is and its purpose.

Bronzer’s are either powder, gel, liquid or cream products that are used to give the impression of a bronzed/golden color of a suntan.   Powder bronzers are most effective for individuals with oily skin, whereas, liquids and creams are best for people with dry skin.  Bronzer is usually applied to the face on the chin, cheeks, center of the nose, cheek bones, and if you’re wearing a low-cut shirt add bronzer to your décolletage to enhance it.

There are very few companies that have bronzers specifically for women of color who have darker skintones.  Iman Cosmetics, Milani,  Black Opal, and now Shea Moisture are brands for women of color that carry bronzers for women like us.  Some high-end brands like Bobbi Brown and Guerlain have bronzers for brown skinned women, too!

Iman Sheer Finish Bronzing Powders:

“Capture the brilliant glow of the sun with naturally shimmering sheer powders that bring a touched by the tropics to every complexion.”

Available in three color selections: Afterglow, clay (medium-dark complexion) & sand (medium-light complexion).


Black Opal Color Fusion Mosaic:

“Highlight the natural beauty of your skin with this multi-toned mosaic bronzing powder. Formulated with Vitamins that work to condition and protect your skin as well as oil blotters to help control shine, this ultra-fine, jet milled powder also ensures smooth application and long lasting streak-free color. For all skin types.”

Available in five different shades: 1. Bronzer, 2. Shimmer Bronzer, 3. Pressed Powder, 4. Raspberry Bronzer Blush, 5. Golden Bronzer



Covergirl Queen Natural Hue Bronzer


Affordable drugstore brand bronzer that was made especially for us brown girls.  Makeup Artist Sam Fine recommends this bronzer.

Available in three shades:  Light Bronze, Brown Bronze, Ebony Bronze

Guerlain Terracota Bronzer 


This is a splurge, at $52.  If you like Covergirl Queen’s Natural Hue Bronzer in Ebony, you will probably like this one, and it has less shimmer, and is more wearable for people suffering with oily skin.  Shades 05 and 07 work best for my skin tone; however, darker complexions can get away with 08. I’ll post swatches of this soon.

Available in seven shades:  00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 07,08

NYX Matte Bronzer

(see my swatches and review here)

Deep Tan would be perfect for darker complexions, and at $9.00 it is a great price.

Available in five shades: Light, Deep, Medium, Dark Tan, Deep Tan

Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder :


This soft matte, silky-smooth bronzer instantly gives skin the look of a natural tan.

Available in six shades: Golden Light, Medium, Natural, Rich Cocoa, Dark, Deep


NARS Casino Bronzer:

This has become a favorite of mine.  It is the darkest shade of bronzer offered by NARS, and is the top selling bronzer, next to the famed Laguna Bronzer.  It has shimmer.  It is great to use as a blush or as a shadow.

Personally, I use the following:

1. MAC Format blush

2. MAC Raizin Blush

3. MAC Sweet As Cocoa Blush

4. MAC Weekend Bronzer

5. NARS Casino Bronzer

6. MAC Minieralize Skinfinish Deep Dark

7.  NYX Matte Bronzer



1. Oily skin should avoid bronzers with loads of shimmer.

2.  Apply a little powder before the bronzer to prevent streaking.

3. Choose a bronzer two shades deeper than your complexion (too light and it’ll appear ashy; too dark and it’ll look muddy).

4. Mix Liquid bronzers like Inglot’s Liquid Illuminators with body oil/baby oil to create a bronzing oil for your body.

5.  Mix your liquid bronzer with a tinted moisturizer to get an all-over face golden glow.

Do you currently use a bronzer? If so, which?

If not, why?

51 Comments on Bronzers for Brown Skinned Women

  1. i dont use bronzer. no real reason. i guess i always find some other make up item i'd rather spend my money on.

  2. I like Bobbi Brown because it does not have any shimmer, or orange it is matte. i also use MAC every now and then …I am trying to cut back on shimmer.

  3. I have a great bronzer from elizabeth arden. I like to use it in the winter more so than in the summer. In the summer my skin already seems to have a glow and bronze look, so adding bronzer on it just makes me look weird, I dont really like it on my tan. In the winter it looks a lot better on my skin because i l've lost all my summer color and it brings it back : )

  4. No I just bought the milani all over glow #01 today for the first time ever and i dont know it just doesn't look right………………some help please

  5. I just bought Milani baked bronzer 06. It looks a bit shimmery on the skin, however its my first time trying it. I am not a "makeup" person, but the loss of my summer tan had made me look dry and worn out. Any suggestions for a cheap, good bronzer.

  6. Anybody know which of the two milani is a little darker I am trying to find one that fits my skin I am about a little lighter then caramel right now and I used to use milani dark bronzer but it is no longer sold and is hard to find. Is the fake tan or bronze glow darker or better for my complexion anyone got any ideas?

  7. My eyes have definitely been opened to the dearth of cosmetics for darker-skinned women! After reading the comments, too, I'm interested to see how different these different bronzers look on you. I rarely use bronzer, even as a fair-skinned woman, so I'm curious as to the effect on darker skin.
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  8. Great post Kim, especially the range from budget to high end. And also, the shimmer thing is also important to note. Really enjoyed the suggestions and thoughts, thanks!

  9. Awesome post! I need to stay on the hunt for that Covergirl one – I can never find it. I ordered the NYX matte and can't wait for it to arrive.

    • A lot of people think bronzers are good for contouring, but even the deeper shades aren't good for it because of the undertones. Contour should be grayish to mimic shadow.

  10. I am glad you posted this. I brown-skinned friend of mine asked me before what a good highlighter for her would be and I honestly couldnt answer her because I had no idea! I will forward her this post!
    My recent post Baby’s First Designer Bag from Lily Jade

    • It wouldn't work as a highlighter. I love the inglot illuminators, MAC Golden Bronze iridescent powder as highlighters.

  11. I love that you actually pointed out the purpose of a bronzer. Some of my friends are guilty of using it as war paint.
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  12. i've also heard good things about guerlain's teracotta bronzer from my brown bff, Anisha
    My recent post The Makeup Show NYC 2014 – Part 1

  13. Great post! MAC Sweet As Cocoa was one of my favorites from back in the day. Just this past Friday I went into MAC for something else and thought about buying it because I've missed it so much.

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