I am a black woman who grew up in white suburbia. As you can imagine, I heard something, almost every day, that made me question who I was. I often hear people I went to school talk about stripping and tanning in an attempt to “darken like me.” Back then, and even today, being tan is one of the many beauty industry standards that trickled his way down to my junior high school and I really wanted to make his hand as much as possible. The only makeup I got was my mom’s Black Opal powder and ruby lipstick
Unfortunately, products like bronzer, which have helped women achieve the “dark like me” look that is all the rage, seem to take me away from the message that makeup is for everyone. At the drugstore, I couldn’t find a shade that suited me. The shelves are filled only with products for people with fair and medium skin, and no one else. I want to try it but obviously it’s not the most important thing for a business to cater to people like me. Not having enough bronzers for people with different skin tones made me feel different from what I liked.
Bronzer’s main function is to mimic where the sun hits your face. But I couldn’t understand the concept even after watching a lot of great content on YouTube. In addition, I could never get over the mental stress of years of being told not to let the sun shine on my face. If anything, I’m a disciple to a fault. However, it was the colorism that kept me from trying it for a long time. Allowing the lingering effects of racism and prejudice to judge how I use something as simple as a new makeup product. Who knew it would be so deep? Even worse, it made me feel like I was trying to be someone else.
Bronzer continues to be one of my most avoided makeup routines. First of all, I don’t know what it is about. Then he felt like it was too late to learn. It’s like a stranger, when makeup is always like a good friend. What I have in common with my mom, my sister, and my friends.
Education became a priority. Specifically, watching and learning from makeup artists of color puts me in a position where I feel like I can try it and be successful. I turned to artists like Danessa Myricks and Pat McGrath who have always celebrated makeup for women of color. I know I can’t be alone with these feelings and they’re not just for bronzer. So, to my fellow Black girls and any readers who get tired of not being able to find a bronzer that suits your formula, there’s a product for you. Go find brands that are working hard to join and bring more makeup lovers into the fold. But before you do that, here’s what I wish someone would have told me about bronzer all those years ago:
What I wish I knew about Bronzer as a black girl
1. It brings the light back to the face
As someone who is very into the big Tarte Shape tape triangle series of concealer kits (IYKYK), I know a thing or two about blushing. What I didn’t know is that when you shine, you also need something to block the effect. Bronzer is the key to adding that sun-kissed glow. Every time you apply makeup, it’s about getting the right balance of highlights and shadows. Starting here is the best way to create your best color scheme.
2. Less goes a long way
The first bronzer I bought was Hula Toasted by Benefit (I still recommend this). At the time, Benefit was one of the few brands that carried a dark bronzer shade for people with my skin tone. In fact, when I first tried it I went way too heavy (let’s say “toasted” is an understatement). In fact, I felt like I was left in the toaster oven while the chef took a smoke break. To avoid this, I used a light hand and in the words of everyone who does something beautiful on TikTok, found a product that “can work a lot.”
3. Good practice
This is a cliche but it fits! It took practice to find out that it takes a little to create that beautiful look that we all go for. The right tools also go hand in hand with this, be it a sponge, a brush, or your fingers. Taking your time also helps. I recommend using your next “do nothing” date as an opportunity to make your application. In time, you’ll be a pro!
4. Makeup is for everyone
This is a gentle reminder that I will give myself from time to time. Makeup is more of an art than you might think. We’ve seen an incredible rise in people from all shades and backgrounds creating amazing looks. And the uncontrollable joy that I get from reviewing products is the memory. It’s always good to remember that at the end of the day, makeup should be fun. I no longer want to give that much power to an industry that was born to prey on the insecurity of our nature in the first place. We are beautiful and worthy no matter what we decide to put on our faces every day. The industry has its problems but at the end of the day, it is the consumer and the wearer who will define what is for you and what is not.
My favorite bronzer