The Perfect Bronzers For Every Skin Tone

Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages.
Bronzers can be a bit daunting. Who's to say that the clever packaging promising a "sunkissed glow" isn't actually going to impart a little bit of "radioactive orange"? And, what about all those formulas packed with deceptively chunky glitters, which, when worn in daytime, make you look like a pageant queen gone wrong?

Purchasing the perfect formula is absolutely crucial. And, according to Robin Black, renowned makeup artist and founder of the epic makeup site Beauty Is Boring, one woman's "fresh-from-the-Côte d'Azur bronze" could easily be another's "spray tan gone wrong." To help you shop for the best of the best, Robin picked out the best bronzers by skin tone in the following slides. Feel free to chime in with your favorites in the comments! 
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Photo: Stewart Cook/REX USA.

For fair skin, it’s important the bronzer is sheer, blends well, and doesn’t have too much brown or yellow pigment. A warm beige or a pale, rosy bronze is ideal. If your skin is so fair that bronzer is simply not going to happen, a liquid luminizer with a golden hue will instantly warm up your complexion.
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This delicate powder can be brushed over the entire face to create an overall glow, or used just on the cheeks and temples for a day-at-the-beach look. It comes in a wide variety of shades, including several pale rosy bronzes.
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For very, very fair skin that simply refuses even the most subtle attempt at bronzing, try mixing a small amount of this luminous golden fluid into your regular foundation. Or, tap it along the highlights of your face to create dimension and a touched-by-the-sun glow.
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Photo: Henry Lamb/Photowire/BEImages.

Light skin looks great with a pop of luminous golden color on the cheekbones, temples, and chin. I also love to sweep a little extra into the crease of the eyelids.
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This is a glamorous rose gold compact that comes with the perfect neutral bronzer (not too warm, not too taupe) and a matching pale gold highlighter. Great for subtle contouring or for creating an envy-inducing just-got-back-from-the-beach glow.
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This liquid formula can be worn on a bare face or mixed with your foundation for a very natural looking tan. It enhances your natural skin tone, has a luminous finish, and doesn’t streak.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.

With this skin tone, you can start to step up the bronzer game and still look natural. I prefer golden-based bronzers with minimal shimmer and formulas that allow you to build up the color.
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This classic bronzing makeup base has been a favorite of professional makeup artists for years. It can be used over or under your foundation and leaves the skin with a perfect sun-kissed glow.
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The Illusion D’Ete is a bronzing gel-powder with a unique texture and micronized pigments that create the illusion of perfectly sun-kissed skin.
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Photo: Picture Perfect/REX USA.

Bronzer makes a great contour for medium skin tones! It looks natural in the hollows of the cheeks and also gives skin a beachy look. I also love a subtle bronzer used in the place of blush during the summer.
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Shade & Illuminate is a red carpet star — it’s attended as many award shows as even the most veteran A-lister. It’s best used to create serious contouring or a post-Ibiza glow.
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This satiny powder blends remarkably well and is ideal for an instant all-over subtle tan, or to use just on the cheeks as a substitute for your regular blush.
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Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages.

There's a misconception that women with these skin tones can’t use or don’t need bronzer. Actually, bronzer is ideal on medium-deep tones for creating a subtle contour or for “waking up” the skin with a pop of warmth.
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No list of bronzers would be complete without a mention of the cult-favorite NARS Bronzing Powder. Their most popular shade, Laguna, is lovely for light-medium skin, but Casino is perfect for medium-dark tones. It’s an intense deep brown with a slight golden shimmer — imagine your skin after a week spent in the Caribbean!
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If you prefer a completely matte look, this bronzing powder is known for its velvety finish without a trace of shimmer...and its major lasting power. The Amber shade has a reddish undertone that looks amazing used in place of blush or lightly blended all over to warm up the skin.
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Photo: David Fisher/REX USA.

Taupe- or neutral-toned bronzers can go wrong on deep skin tones and wind up looking gray and unnatural. However, warm golden browns and reddish bronzes can enhance the skin's glow. Still, on deeper skin tones, you do run the risk of ruddying the complexion. A brush really might be your best bet.
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Beloved for its matte finish, this intense golden brown bronzer is easy to blend and creates natural-looking summery skin. It also makes a great setting powder in humid weather.
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This velvety red chocolate shade has just the right amount of shimmer, so it works as a contour or an all-over touch of sun.
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In general, on deeper skin tones, I also advise adding a bright blush on the apples and even a bit higher on the cheeks in place of bronzer altogether — it's a great way to fake "just-from-vacation skin" without the risk of ruddying the complexion. If you apply the bronzer and it doesn't seem to show on the skin, that's when you should stick with a pop of color instead.
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