5 Illuminators and Bronzers to Maximize Your Summer Glow

by Amber A. McKinnon

It’s no secret that brown skin has a natural luminosity that practically glows in the summer sun. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take your naturally gorgeous skin to the next level. Believe it or not, bronzers can be a brown girl’s best friend, making deep skin tones look their most rich and luminous. Here are a handful of products that will leave you bronzed from head to toe.

1. blackUp Sublime Powder ($36.50)

Recently reformulated, these ultra-fine, illuminating powders come in a range of shades made especially for dark skin tones, and they feel and look amazingly silky on the skin. Take your pick out of five shades from warm gold to rich bronze to highlight areas where sunlight naturally hits your face. Apply with a fan brush for targeted application, or a bronzer brush for an all-over glow.

2. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Blushed Copper ($38)

BECCA boasts one of the most comprehensive ranges of foundation shades in the beauty game, and their brown-girl friendliness extends to their arsenal of highlighters. I’m crushing on the Limited Edition Blushed Copper shade. More than just a highlighter, this rose-gold infused copper hue makes for a brilliant blush on brown skin. Sweep onto the apples of the cheeks when you want a stunning rosy golden glow.

3. Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer SPF 15 ($64)

Just call this product liquid sun in a bottle. Formulated after their game-changing Maestro Liquid foundations, this lightweight liquid bronzer is waterless and made of a complex of oils and pure pigments. Just mix in a drop or two of Liquid Summer into your favorite foundation or moisturizer for a healthy glow, or dab a few drops onto cheekbones for a bronzed highlight.

4. St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Lotion ($44)

Go with me on this one. Sunless tanners and bronzers aren’t just for fair-skinned girls. A quality bronzer in a rich, deep shade can add a beautiful bronze glow to brown skin. Even better, it can make legs look more toned while camouflaging cellulite and imperfections. My all-time favorite is from St.Tropez and I repurchase every summer. It’s hand-down the best I’ve ever tried for brown skin.

5. Belle Butters Silky Outdoor Tanning Butter ($14)

For those of you who prefer a more natural means of getting that sun-kissed glow, this one’s for you. Drench your skin in moisture while perfecting your summer tan. This butter is rich with hydrating butters and oils including shea, mango, and coconut. Just apply the tanning butter all over before sunbathing for soft, smooth skin, and a gorgeous post-sun glow. Keep this one in your beach bag all summer long.

NOTE: Don’t forget the sunscreen! Sunscreen protects your skin from damaging sunrays that can cause aging and skin cancer, but it doesn’t stop you from getting a tan. Silky Outdoor Tanning Butter features a natural SPF of 10-15, but you should layer it over your favorite sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.

Photo: Shutterstock

Amber A. McKinnon is a beauty blogger, brand ambassador and on-air beauty expert. You can find her online at and on social media @BombshellAmber.

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