May 30, 2023

woman with glowing skin

When I told a friend I was writing about bronzing for brown skin, his first reaction was, “If you’re already brown, why bronze?” Statements like those are exactly why it’s necessary to educate everyone on this topic: If you are brown, there’s no reason you can’t love a good glow—one that catches those beautiful rays of sunlight, along with a few eyes.

Bronzing is more than just self-tanner. It adds depth to the skin, and gives you that warm and healthy lit-from-within vibe. So here, we go: I’m breaking down the ways brown people can can get that vacation glow, without an actual vacation. Because I’m pretty sure when Beyoncé released “Brown Skin Girl,” she was talking to all of us.

What Is “Bronzing”

Bronzing is all about adding warmth to your skin, no matter the shade. You can create a faux tan to add depth and definition, as well as highlight for those very same reasons. It’s all about the sun-kissed glow. It also helps shape your face with added dimension, but still keep everything looking as natural as possible.

When bronzing brown skin, stay away from products that are too mattifying, otherwise they work more as a contour. While the shade should certainly be darker than your skin tone, the bronzer should have some shimmer to reflect light with a golden undertone. Cooler colors, like silver will likely end up looking ashy on our melanated skin. This isn’t a hard and fast “rule,” as rules in beauty and experimentation don’t really exist, but I’ve found it to be helpful advice nonetheless. More advice: Red or orange undertones to the bronzer will counter the bronzing effect and end up looking like a blush. While this does sound a bit complicated, it is quite once you understand your undertones (and the undertones of a bronzing product). That is what holds the key to choosing the best bronzer for your skin.

What you Put Into Your Body Helps Your Natural Glow

You’ve probably heard this a million times over, but what you put into your body can help (or hurt) your glow. Vitamins, probiotics, and hydration will positively affect your skin. Here are all the foods you need to shine bright like a diamond.

Face and Body Bronzing Tips

For brown girls, bronzing is different than for those with lighter skin tones. That said, the general process is still the same. The sun generally hits the highest points of the face—this includes your forehead, cheekbones, jawline, and temples. When you applying bronzing products, it is best to emulate that natural suntan finish by working in the same areas, and building them up to your desired glow. Always go one to two shades darker than your natural skin tone to avoid any muddiness. Thanks to the advancements of shade ranges, this is now a possibility for us all. With a light sweeping motion of a sculpting brush and gentle application, blend the bronzer in an upward motion into the hairline for a seamless and natural finish.

When it comes to body bronzing—more is always more, IMO. Think: from your shoulders to your shins, collar bones and forearms. Last year the market was flooded with body makeup, including KKW Beauty, Huda, and Fenty. These makeup brands set the trend for body shimmers and body foundations alike. All you have to remember is to apply the product along where the light would hit naturally, blend, and you’re good to go.

If you aren’t into the more-is-more mentality, you can always combine a bit of your bronzing product with your favorite moisturizer for a more natural, less targeted glow.

My Favorite Bronzing Products

tan luxe super glow
Tan-Luxe Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum $49.00

Think skincare, meets makeup, meets self-tanner. Tan-Luxe focuses on hydrating ingredients as much as they do on self-tanning. The formula includes doses of hyaluronic acid, cocoa seed extract, and raspberry seed oil to protect your skin from daily environmental aggressors, ad well as infuse antioxidants and hydration. Plus, the glow is oh-so good. Tan-Luxe also offers the formula in a bigger size for body bronzing.

Natasha Denona Bronze Eyeshadow Palette
Natasha Denona Bronze Eyeshadow Palette $65.00

Natasha Denona has always been known for her high-quality pigments. Then, she released an entire bronzing collection! The eyeshadow palette 15 shades, a mix of mattes and shimmers, that add glow, bronze, dew, light, and shine. This is your new favorite product, guaranteed.

sol body shimmering dry oil
Sol Body Shimmering Dry Oil $15.00

This shimmering dry oil is not only an incredible price, it also offers a bit more shimmer than the rest of the products on this list. The oil incorporates slightly larger flecks of glitter, but they catch that sun for a flawless, warm-skin finish. There are a ton of different shades, as well as a few travel-friendly sizes for when vacations are back on menu.

fenty bronzer
Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer $32.00

A few years back, finding a shade deep enough to give brown-skin girls that bronzed, sun-kissed look was near impossible. Then Fenty Beauty came along and put a proper shade range on the map. Rihanna made inclusivity a must. Now, Fenty launched cream bronzers that also cater to everyone—in eight different shades for all our bronzing needs.

sol de janeiro glow oil
Sol de Janeiro Glowmotions Glow Body Oil $35.00

An all-over glow is what summer dreams are made of. And these body oils provide just that—complete with the scent of a tropical vacation. The formula includes cupuaçu butter, as well as coconut and açaí oils, to soften, condition, and moisturize, as well as offer up some blinding sparkle and sheen.