Makeup

Bronzers That Actually Work For Medium, Dark, & Deep Complexions

Sure, luminizers are great, but TBH, bronzers have become the unsung heroes of glowing skin. Ages ago, people used them to fake a tan during the colder months, or added creamy formulas underneath foundation, but for some reason, people with darker skin weren't included in that narrative.

"One of the biggest myths of the beauty industry is that people of color already have naturally bronzed skin, so they have no use for bronzer," makeup artist Kilprity Moore tells us. "But if you look hard enough, there are amazing bronzers for everyone."

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Highlighting powders can sometimes look too milled or too shiny on medium, dark, and deep complexions. But with bronzers, the formulas are typically warmer, meaning you can dust it on liberally for a glowing effect. So, maybe you don't necessarily need to fake a tan if you're already blessed with melanin — but everyone can score a good glow up. Ahead, get the details on the best bronzers for medium, deep, and dark skin tones.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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MAC Bronzing Powder


"[For medium skin], look for a product that brings out your golden tones," Moore suggests. According to the pro, who works with actresses Naturi Naughton and Eva Marcille, this lightweight pick is buildable and has a soft sheen.
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NYX Cosmetics Matte Bronzer


"I don't wear bronzer every day, so I appreciate an affordable option that gets the job done. This bronzer doesn't fade as the day goes on and gives my already-tan skin more of a sunny glow, which I appreciate year-round," says Thatiana Diaz, our very own Refinery29 senior beauty writer.
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NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna


"Sometimes, medium skin can get a little orange," makeup artist Rachel Toledo says. "This one gives a tan feel without that happening."
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Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer


This luminous cream bronzer has a blendable, buttery texture, making it perfect for finger-painting onto cheekbones, eyelids, and more.
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Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer


Benefit's fan-favorite bronzer now comes in four shades, including Caramel (a golden terracotta) and Toasted, the rich mahogany hue seen here.
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Haus Laboratories Heat Spell Bronzer Duo


This Lady Gaga-approved bronzer-and-highlighter palette comes in a variety of shades to suit a spectrum of skin tones, and has the silkiest, most blendable texture we've seen from an under-$30 product.
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Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer


"This golden shade instantly warms up my dark skin, giving it that sun-kissed glow without the UV rays. It's the perfect bronzer color for my shade," says model Kamie Crawford.
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Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Deep Golden Brown


Toledo notes that a warm bronze is best for dark skin "so it doesn't look too ashy," she says.
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Guerlain Terracotta The Bronzing Powder


This best-seller is a favorite for a reason: It blends easily, creating a naturally contoured face rather than a dark brown streak.
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NARS Bronzing Powder in Casino


"Try to avoid cool or olive bronzers that will make your complexion look muddy," Moore advises. "This one is super silky," Kilprity says. "It literally looks like a fresh tan!"
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Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer


Fenty's bronzer comes in nine shades specifically catered to pop on all skin tones, but especially dark complexions. The deepest shade, Mocha Mami, has red undertones and will chisel the richest skin colors.
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The Lip Bar Fresh Glow Bronzer


For its first non-lipstick launch, The Lip Bar entered the bronzer category with the Fresh Glow range, which includes five new blush and bronzer duos. Each compact features a luminous bronzing powder and a highlighting blush. The bronzer shade selection ranges from tan to deep, so a wide variety of brown complexions are covered.
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Beauty Bakerie Coffee & Cocoa Bronzer Palette


There's a good reason why this bronzing palette has earned almost five stars at Ulta Beauty. The kit has four versatile shades that suit a wide range of skin tones from medium to deep. Each shade has a subtle shimmer to create a reflective glow that'll mimic a fresh tan from a beach day — even if you've been indoors for months.
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Cover FX Monochromatic Bronzer Duo


Feeling matte or shimmery? This pigmented bronzer duo offers the best of both worlds.
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