Here’s some breaking news to get your attention: Brown girls like the appearance of being tanned as well. Yes, many women of color desire a deeper glow, just as many light-skinned folks throughout the world do on a year-round basis in pursuit of bronzed skin. However, based on the status of the self-tanning aisle in the pharmacy, which is mostly oriented toward those with light-to-medium complexion tones, you’d never guess it. After all, why would someone who is already dark want to appear darker? So, here’s a simple solution to your question: As far as women of color are concerned, being excessively dark is not an option at any point.
Consider this: There are few things as stunning for me as spending time in an environment with a diverse range of chocolate skin tones, and the color of my skin is a significant part of what makes me feel wonderful as a Black girl. The fact that I’m brown makes me feel unique like I’m a powerful golden goddess capable of controlling all the forces of the universe, so why wouldn’t I want to seem even darker? (Of course, in a safe manner; skin cancer makes zero people feel like goddesses.)
However, due to the inherent light-skin preference in the tanning industry, most bronzers seem ashy and milky on our skin, whereas self-tanners do, well, nothing at all. Nonetheless, I assure you that there are alternatives available if you know where to search. So I went out and discovered the greatest bronzers and self-tanners that were really created with a dark complexion in mind, saving you the hassle of dealing with yet another biased element of the cosmetic business.
Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse
No vacay, no problem. Calling all brown girls who want to get bronzed from the comfort of their couch: Get yourself some of this. It’s a mousse formula that adheres to all skin tones and will stick, without looking streaky for a long-lasting tan.
Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer
Dry-skinned beauties, this one for you. This pigmented balm is packed with soothing colloidal oatmeal and antioxidant-rich grapeseed oils that’ll never snag on flakes or fine lines. And if you’re shifting from a day at the pool to a night out, the formula is buildable and blendable so you can buff your way to your perfect complexion.
Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion in Deep Dark
This is a go-to for brown girls who are already somewhat skilled in the world of sunless tanning since the tinted lotion really will give you a rich, deep color—even on dark chocolate skin.
Glossier’s newest edition focuses on faking that subtle, ray of light-style glow, and the doe-foot applicator makes it easy to apply the gel-cream formula to the spots the sun would naturally hit your face.
Tantour Contour & Bronzer Cream
Overpackers, listen up. If you can’t stand to leave any of your precious makeup at home during a week away, I’ll raise you a multi-formula that might make life easier. This cream-to-powder formula can be used with a stiff brush or stippler to contour, or be buffed out with a fluffy brush to create bronze warmth.
THE FACE Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
Just add a few drops of this rave-reviewed facial self-tanner to your moisturizer—you can add more or less drops over time, depending on how concentrated you want the formula to be—and you’ll wake up with bronzed, glowy skin. One reviewer raves: “I’m so in love with this product! My main concern, besides whether or not it would actually tan my darker complexion, was whether it break my face out? It does not!!! It gives a nice, realistic tan glow!”
Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
It’s summer. You’re sweating your ass off, which means it’s probably not the time for a matte, pore-erasing finish. Enter Bronzino (I mean, how cute is that name?), a shimmery, almost gel-like formula that warms up deep skin tones with a ‘just left the beach’ kind of finish.
Airbrush Matte Bronzer
The pressed powder doesn’t have to flatten you out—on the contrary! This classic from one of the UK’s beauty queens contains micro-fine perfecting powders to create a blurring filter over the skin, while hyaluronic acid helps keep your skin looking and feeling bouncy.
Not many self-tanners can take darker skin to an even deeper shade without looking weirdly fake, but this cult-favorite spray can and does, and even includes a mitt for easier application.
Sunlit Bronzer in Ipanema Sun
Counting down the days until you can be on a beach again? Well, this bronzer was inspired by “sun-drenched destinations”—so, basically, it’s a vacation must-have you need. With the help of super finely-milled pigments, this blendable bronzer imparts the most gorgeous glow on dark skin tones.
Four bronzer colors for the fraction of the price of one? We’ll take two, please. The $6 price tag is unmatched, and the universal shades allow you to mix and match as you please to create a glow that caters to your complexion.
Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer
Thumbs down for blotchy bronzers that don’t blend seamlessly on the skin. For a buildable glow, try this gel-based texture instead. This lightweight bronzer, which comes in an array of deep shades, will add a gorgeous touch of luminosity to the skin, without looking too noticeable. Think A second-skin, lit-from-within glow.
Meet your real-life Instagram filter. This wash-off bronzer won’t deepen your skin tone like other self-tanners, but will instead even out discoloration and hyperpigmentation for an airbrushed-looking finish.
Endless Summer Bronzer
Don’t feel like putting on a contour powder and a highlighter? Same, girl, *time is money*. Instead, employ this beautiful blend of the two, which combines the luminosity of a highlighter and the depth of color of a contour powder. Simply swirl a fluffy brush around in this pot, and apply this wherever you want a warm glow.
The Sun Show Moisturizing Baked Bronzer
Shea butter and meadowfoam seed oil make this baked powder glide on like a dream and helps you mimic that universally flattering sunset glow.
Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer
Who among us doesn’t want to look like Rihanna on a daily? Well, this bronzer from her beauty brand might be the closest we can get, and that’s fine by us. This pigmented powder creates a sculpted complexion with just a bit of blending.
One of the main causes of a splotchy, streaky self-tan is having dry patches on your skin. Luckily, the blend of green and brown algae in this bronzing mist makes up for any spots you may have missed while moisturizing.
Power Bronzer Cream Bronzer
If you have dry skin, this formula provides creamy, dreamy warmth without bunching up around dry patches or flakes, and it stays for hours without creasing.
Forever Natural Bronze Powder Bronzer
If you love your look to be as matte as possible, this bronzer will keep things glamorous play perfectly with your foundation, and give you that soft, Hollywood star warmth.
Dark Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
If you’re in the caramel to milk chocolate complexion range, this matte bronzer makes for a natural-looking contour.