Navigating the many, many bronzer options can be tricky for women with dark skin. Some turn out looking chalky (not good) while others fail to blend properly, resulting in a red or orange-ish finish (also not good). While some women of color have found their favorites among the cream and gel varieties, New York City-based makeup artist Deborah Padilla is partial to classic powders with a matte finish. “They look more realistic and help to even out skin tones,” she says, adding that they also tend to photograph well—an important factor for those who count sharing pics on social media among their hobbies. And once you’ve found your bronzer, Padilla says, application is key. “Use a medium-sized, fluffy brush,” she advises. “If the brush is dense, it’ll pick up too much powder and make it difficult to blend.” Chasing a lit-from-within look? Looking to illuminate those areas naturally hit by the sun—the cheeks, chin, forehead and nose, and the collarbone, too, if you desire? Consider Padillas picks for the best bronzers for dark skin.
Guerlain Teracotta Bronzing Powder, Color 7 ($53, sephora.com)
A classic, fine powder bronzer, this cult favorite feels airy light on the skin and is infused with a subtle fragrance that’s a blend of bergamot, mandarin, gardenia, and vanilla.
Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna ($39, narscosmetics.com)
A slight shimmer affords a natural, sun-kissed glow, while the powder settles into fine lines to smooth the complexion.
CoverGirl Queen Collection Natural Hue Minerals Bronzer in Ebony Bronze ($8, drugstore.com)
Formulated specifically for dark skin tones, this bronzer is great for enhancing the cheekbones and controlling shine on the nose and forehead.
Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Deep Golden Brown ($42, sephora.com)
Red and brown tones combine to make this popular bronzer, which has a matte finish and is buildable for a more dramatic look.
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