Why don’t more black people wear bronzer? Seriously, if they knew how good it can be, how radiant, lusty, and lit-from-within it can make us look, it would be mandatory. And it’s not just those with dark skin. In my 15 years of beauty editor-dom, I’ve noticed that some Latina and Asian girls—basically all non-white people—shy away from bronzers, too. It’s the whole idea of, “I’m already brown, what’s the point?”
The point is that bronzers don’t just add another layer of brown. They enhance your skin tone into something fierce.
And, now that we’ve officially entered fall—R.I.P. summer loves, summer Fridays, and summer complexions—my collection of bronzers is more important than ever. As my sun-kissed tan starts to fade, they help extend the life of my glow. And honestly, there are few things chicer than a slight, beachy luminosity in October. It’s unexpected and suggests that you just returned from a whirlwind getaway in Santorini.
Now, here are a few things to remember when choosing bronzers: Pick a color that’s one or two shades darker than your skin tone, and no more. Go for products that are sheer, not matte (matte can make your skin look dirty). And when in doubt? Try Iman’s line of bronzers, which flatter the entire range of brown skin tones. (There’s a reason the supermodel is now a supermogul.)
Being obsessive over bronzers, I have different ones for my face, body, and legs that I use separately, depending on the degree of sunlit sexiness I’m going for! Brown girls, try my recommendations, and you, too, will be bronze believers.
The key to face bronzer? Use it as blush!
To use: Apply with a fluffy brush and swipe it over your cheekbones. For a wind-whipped, natural finish, smile, and then blend a peachy-pink shade onto the apples of your cheeks. For extra dimension, swipe the bronzer along the outer perimeter of your face (along the hairline), and down the bridge of your nose.
Date night? Don’t wear that itty-bitty, bod-con dress without enhancing your cleavage and arms with a golden, shimmery bronzer.
To use: First, find one with a golden undertone, rather than a red or pink undertone (cool colors can make dark skin look ashy). Then, dip a large, fluffy brush into the powder and swipe a little between your breasts, along your neck, over your shoulders, and down your arms.
We have a few more weeks where we can still go out in short skirts sans tights, right? I’m fully taking advantage of them! But not without making sure my legs are properly bronzed and beautified first. My go-to leg moisturizer is bronze shimmering dry oil—it’s like Bora Bora in a bottle.
To use: When you first get out of the shower and your skin’s still damp, rub a quarter-size amount over your legs. The finish isn’t glittery or overwhelmingly bronze, it just leaves your legs with a lightweight, honey-gold-flecked sheen that gleams when the light catches it.
Try: The Body Shop Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil, $16.50
Photo: Larysa Dodz / Vetta
Tia Williams has been a beauty editor for 15 years, at publications like Elle, Glamour, Lucky, and Essence.com. Back in 2005, Tia created one of the first beauty blogs, Shake Your Beauty, where she wove her love of products through hilarious vignettes from her life as a beauty expert and mom living in Brooklyn. She’s also written several books, including the best-selling novel The Accidental Diva and supermodel Iman’s The Beauty of Color. Follow Tia on Twitter @shakeyourbeauty.