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

Sure, luminizers are great, but in 2020, 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."


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.

For Medium Skin

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.

Iman Cosmetics Bronzer Sand

"The light-reflecting shimmer in this automatically gives you a great glow," says makeup artist Renny Vasquez, who's behind the looks of Serena Williams and Brandy.

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."

For Dark Skin

Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer

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

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.

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.

For Deep Skin

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!"

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.

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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