The Best Drugstore Bronzer for Dark Skin – 2017 Reviews & Top Picks


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In order to help you attain a natural sun-kissed effect on your face, we’ve rounded up 5 of the best drugstore bronzers for dark skin. We’ve tested these products and found that they work great for creating a smooth complimentary touch of bronze to your skin that can enhance the complexion of people with dark appearance. We believe these products can be a good addition to your beauty collection.


A bronzer, much like a lipstick or foundation, can make or break your entire look. That’s why you have to select one that is meant to highlight your skin and work with its undertones. 

Fortunately, we are always here to help as your go-to beauty gurus.

The first thing to consider is your skin tone (including undertones) and type.

And the second is the product’s ingredients, finish, color, and packaging.

Confused?

As were we, but we will guide you through the maze of drugstore bronzers and present to you the top five products that may give you some much-needed glow.

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Quick Overview: The Top Five Best Drugstore Bronzer for Dark Skin

The Balm Bahama Mama reigns supreme in our list. We like that this talc-free bronzer boasts a smooth, natural-looking finish. We were also delighted with the versatile hue which can match most skin types.

Up next is the Covergirl Queen Natural Hue Mineral Bronzer. We love that this product possesses a mineral base. It can be suitable for all skin types. Furthermore, it is available in many shades, which can work for accentuating various skin tones.

Third on our list is the New York Color Smooth Skin Bronzer. We approve the combination of Zinc Stearate, Silica, Mica, Ultramarines, and Titanium Dioxide. We were also delighted with the matte finish and that we found it to glide on easily. 

E.L.F. Sunkissed Glow Bronzer is our fourth choice on this roundup. It contains Vitamin E, which is known as a robust antioxidant. Thus, it can help to protect the skin from free radicals.

Lastly, we present the E.L.F. Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder in Turks and Caicos. We like that this is a handy, compact bronzer which comes with a blush. We find it can be great for girls who are always on the go. And those who are in need of quick, easy touch-ups.

Questions to Ask When Inspecting a Bronzer:

What Are the Ingredients?

When looking at the ingredients list of a makeup product, it can get pretty confusing.

But as your beauty gurus, we are here to help you out.

1) Talcum Powder

Talc is a common ingredient can be found in many bronzers. It has been used for decades, from powders, eyeshadows, to bronzers.

It has many benefits, including sebum-absorption which may help avoid acne breakouts. It also makes products soft on the skin which can prevent reactions on sensitive skin.

For this reason, talc is a commonly found in baby powders and makeup palettes.

There has been much debate about whether talc is good for your skin and health or not. The original form of talcum powder contains asbestos, which is proven to cause cancer (source).

That is why since the 70s, most products that contain talc have been free from asbestos.

2) Mica

Another popular ingredient, Mica is a bunch of silicate minerals. These are typically ground into powder form when added to makeup products (source).

It is popular because of its sparkling effect and for this reason, it is often referred to as nature’s glitter.

Mostly it is seen in products that are supposed to make your skin glow, such as bronzers, highlighters, and finishing powders.

Since it is organic, we consider it excellent to use on most skin types, including sensitive skin.

3) Titanium Dioxide

Another ingredient is Titanium Dioxide, which is often found in sunscreens. It can be seen in some bronzers, finishing powders, and foundations (source).

It can protect your skin from the sun and its harsh ultraviolet rays. Titanium Dioxide is naturally-occurring, although it is not considered organic.

If you see this ingredient in your bronzer, these products may provide some minimal protection from UV rays.

4) Ultramarines

These are mineral colorants that can be seen in many makeup products. They are synthetic and serve to give products a color.

Ultramarines are a cluster of pigments and are composed of a few colors, such as violet, red, pink, blue, and green (source).

A natural form of this ingredient occurs in Lapis Lazuli, but only the synthetic version is approved by the FDA to be used in cosmetics.

Anyway, you have to make sure that you don’t get any makeup into your mouth, nose, and eyes.

5) Iron Oxides

Since the early 1900s, Iron Oxides have been used as a colorant. These Oxides are grouped into three major color sections: yellow, black, and red (source).

Because of their fine, powdery texture, and their moisture-resistant feature, it is considered ideal for makeup products. It is also non-toxic and is deemed suitable for sensitive skin.

Often, Iron Oxides can be found alongside Ultramarines in many makeup products.

Different Types of Bronzer Finish

Many products are sheer, while some have deep, matte pigmentation. Some have a satin finish with a slight shimmer which doesn’t work well for contouring.

If you want an overall glow, you could choose bronzers that are sheer or have a satin finish.

If you want to use your bronzer for contouring, you should choose one that has a medium to deep nuance.

What Color or Shade Should I Choose?

The general rule is to choose a shade that is around one to two times deeper than your skin tone (source).

But when it comes to dark skin, sometimes, there aren’t a lot of options. Which is why you should look for a bronzer that has a buildable pigment.

You can also choose a bronzer that can function as a highlighter instead of a contour powder. Products that have a faint shimmer and are slightly golden can work efficiently for you.

What Else Can I Do With My Bronzer?

As mentioned, you can use your bronzer as a contour powder. We advise you to follow your cheekbones and frame your face from the forehead to the jawline.

You can also make use of it as a highlighter by choosing one with a slight shimmer or a golden tone.

Just lightly pat on the top of your cheekbones, on your nose, and inner corners of your eyes.

Another option would be to use it as a finishing powder. Just lightly brush all over your face for an overall glow.

Product Reviews: Our Top Five Picks of the Best Drugstore Bronzer for Dark Skin


Best Drugstore Bronzer for Dark Skin - 1

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At the top of our list is the Balm Bahama Mama. As mentioned, Mica is typically responsible for a product’s shimmer.

But this bronzer has a matte finish; Mica is used in this product to give it its soft texture, along with Dimethicone.

Dimethicone is also commonly employed in cosmetics because it can provide a smooth finish.

It can help to even out rough texture and fine lines. And this is precisely why your skin can feel soft after brushing a layer of powder.

Silica is a naturally-found mineral and works as sweat, oil, and moisture absorber. It also prevents light reflection, which causes excessive shine.

This ingredient can also make the spreading of a product easier.

One of the things we love about this product is the no-shine formula. It can give the makeup an all-natural finish.

It could be used as an overall finishing powder for dark skin and as an eyeshadow. It is also heavily pigmented, which made it our top choice for accentuating the dark skin.

What We Liked:

  • Matte finish
  • A little goes a long way
  • Lasts long

What We Didn't Like:

  • Small, fragile packaging

For our second choice, we like the Covergirl Queen Natural Hue Mineral Bronzer. This hypoallergenic bronzer can be a match for those with sensitive skin.

This product is also non-comedogenic, meaning there is a less chance of acne breakouts.

The natural and versatile hue of this bronzer can make it great for contouring. As mentioned, Talc is a common ingredient found in many powdery products, such as baby powders.

Best Drugstore Bronzer for Dark Skin 2

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Talcum powder is prized for its sebum-absorption capability. Silica also absorbs oil, sweat, and moist.

The combination of Mica and Dimethicone is responsible for the smooth application of this bronzer.

Titanium Dioxide could give your skin some mild protection from the sun, while Iron Oxides can provide a broad range of color.

When we tested it out, we loved the natural finish. The contouring effect was subtle, but it was enough to make the cheekbones pop.

This particular product can also double as a bronzing finishing powder and eyeshadow. It has some shimmer, but we think it may be just the right quantity to make the face glow.

What We Liked:

  • Smooth, natural finish
  • Can double up as a contour powder
  • Easy to blend

What We Didn't Like:

  • Contains sparkle

Best Drugstore Bronzer for Dark Skin 3

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New York Color Smooth Skin Bronzer is the third pick for the best drugstore bronzer for dark skin.

Zinc Stearate functions as a lubricant and is believed to have powerful antibacterial properties.

It is considered appropriate for external use, although it may irritate so we encourage you to keep it away from the eyes. 

Another ingredient, Aluminum Starch, works as an anti-caking agent which prevents this product from smudging when you layer it on the skin.

Iron Oxides and Ultramarines are FDA approved colorants. Although it contains Titanium Dioxide, we still recommend you to use another product as a primary sunscreen.

After testing this bronzer, we loved its sheer, natural-looking, and matte finish. It also glides effortlessly onto the skin.

Since it is dermatologist-tested, people with sensitive skin are likely to benefit from it. It did not seem to cause us any breakouts, and we were satisfied with the way it adapted.​

One thing we noticed is that you need to layer it well. But since its color is buildable, you can use it as a finishing powder and eyeshadow as well.

What We Liked:

  • Easy to apply
  • Buildable color, adaptable to many skin tones

What We Didn't Like:

  • Needs to be layered well

Next up on our list is the E.L.F. Sunkissed Glow Bronzer. It is infused with Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect the skin against free radicals.

Talc and Mica help target on absorbing sweat and excessive oil. These can assist the makeup to last longer regarding packaging.

Best Drugstore Bronzer for Dark Skin 4

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Furthermore, they can also help retain the makeup staying well for several hours on the face.

Magnesium Stearate can reduce the sheer finish of a product which can often give a heavy pigmentation. 

In other words, with this bronzer, a little goes a long way so be careful how much you put on your brush.

When we tested it out, we found that it has some shimmer which can be beneficial to use as a highlighter for dark-skinned ladies.

One thing we noticed was the small packaging. While it could be splendid for traveling if you are looking for a long-time bronzer, this one might not be the best choice.

What We Liked:

  • Powerful antioxidant properties
  • Has sebum-absorption capabilities

What We Didn't Like:

  • Small packaging; won’t last long

Best Drugstore Bronzer for Dark Skin 5

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The last best drugstore bronzer for dark skin is the E.L.F Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder in Turks and Caicos.

As mentioned, while cosmetics containing Titanium Dioxide may provide some protection from the sun, it is still advisable to use another product as your main sunscreen.

That is unless the bronzer specifically states that it contains SPF 30 or more.

Ultramarines and Iron Oxides both function as colorants that can be gentle to use, even on sensitive skin. Meanwhile, Talc and Mica serve to absorb moisture, including sweat and sebum.

When we tested this bronzer out, it surpassed our expectations. It has a subtle, buildable finish that makes it easy to use as a bronzer, blush, contour powder, and even eyeshadow.

Although with this product, you have to be careful because a small amount packs a ton of pigment. So if you want natural-looking results, we recommend you to use a light hand.

What We Liked:

  • Handy packaging comes with a blush
  • Subtle, natural finish
  • Buildable pigment

What We Didn't Like:

  • May have some shimmer

The Bottom Line

Bronzers, much like foundations and concealers, are not a one-size-fits-all type of cosmetics.

For the ladies with medium to deep skin tones, bronzers are often too light or too thin for any noticeable changes to become visible.

Our top recommendation in this list for the best drugstore bronzer for dark skin is The Balm Bahama Mama.

This bronzer is also heavily pigmented, which can be an excellent choice for ladies with chocolate skin.

Because you only need a small amount at a time, even though it is small, it seemed to last us for ages. Plus, the convenient packaging makes it easy for us to carry around.

You can also test out our other recommended products. They wouldn’t have made it to our list if they haven’t gone through thorough evaluation.

We believe they can be useful for targeting various skin conditions and you can find yourself among them. 

We also made another guide for you ladies who have brown or chocolate skin, you can read it here.