Are the Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops Worth the Hype? I Put Them to the Test!

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Everyone’s talking about Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops, but do they live up to their reputation? Here’s my honest experience with the Drunk Elephant bronzer drops!

Drunk Elephant bronzing drops container and packaging on a wooden table

Get “sun-kissed” skin without the sun damage. ☀️

It seems like all of social media is raving about the Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops. It’s the hot beauty product that many influencers are branding a “must-have.” Needless to say, it sells out super fast every time it comes back in stock.

Is the product really worth the hype? I had to find out for myself. The first time I saw a bottle available, I snatched one up and put it to the test! Before I jump into my review, here’s what you need to know about the product.

Woman squeezing a container of drunk elephant bronzer drops

What exactly are the Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops?

These drops give you a temporary sun-kissed glow without the skin damage that can happen when sunbathing. The product isn’t generally used like traditional bronzer or contour where you place it on a few specific places on your face. Instead, you’re supposed to mix these drops with a cream, serum, or oil and apply it all over like a self-tanner. The effect is temporary and will wash off at the end of the day.

Many users are ditching their foundation altogether and just using these bronzing drops with moisturizer. It’s no wonder why they are loving this product thanks to the powerhouse ingredients!

Woman mixing bronzer with moisturizer

Here are a few of the star ingredients:

  • Peptides – These promote elasticity and help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Cacao extract – Contains antioxidants to protect against environmental stressors and premature aging.
  • Fatty acids, vitamins and oils – These nourish skin and encourage hydration. Two of the major oils used are black currant seed oil and virgin marula oil (listed as Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil on the packaging).
  • Chronocyclin – This mimics the antioxidant power of Vitamin D.

The drops also have a skin-friendly 4.8 pH balance and are made without what Drunk Elephant calls “the suspicious 6,” the top ingredients they feel are at the root of common skin issues. That means this product. contains no essential oils, silicones, chemical sunscreens, SLS, fragrances + dyes, or drying alcohols. 🙌

If you’re not familiar with Drunk Elephant, the brand is known for making clean, cruelty-free, vegan products that come in sustainable packaging. The company is an upscale skincare brand so keep that in mind when you see the price tag.

These drops are currently selling at a price of $38 for a 1 fl. oz. bottle!

hand holding a bottle of Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops in front of the sink

How to apply Drunk Elephant Bronzer Drops.

To apply the product, add a few drops to your favorite serum, oil, moisturizing cream, or even liquid foundation. Mix it together and apply evenly over your face.

If you still need a little extra glow, I recommend you go back and apply it in the spots you typically would with your bronzer. Do this slowly as using the product alone can sometimes look patchy. The product does have a learning curve so if you decide to buy it, play around with it to find the best application for you.

Here’s what happened when I applied Drunk Elephant Bronzer Drops to my face.

The photo of me on the left is with only moisturizer on and the right is after I combined 3 drops with my foundation and applied the mixture to my whole face:

Woman showing the comparison between her bare face and wearing Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops

Here’s how I put them on…

I first tried just mixing the product with my moisturizer and applying the combination. It lacked coverage and I did not like the way that looked. My skin tone appeared uneven and any problem areas were much more prominent. I quickly washed it off and tried again.

The second time, I applied my moisturizer as normal. Then, I added 3 hearty drops of the product into my favorite foundation and mixed it up until my foundation turned a slightly warmer tone. Next, I applied my foundation as I normally would.

My initial impression…

The effect was VERY subtle. It was also a tad orange so I was afraid to add another layer to my whole face. Instead, I squirted a bronzing drop onto my finger and added just a teeny bit to my cheekbones and temples. After blending it out, my face did have that natural, sun-kissed effect that the product promised. The product seemed to work exactly how the company intended, and since I only had to use a little bit of the product each time, I do think a bottle will last a long while.

Woman wearing Drunk Elephant bronze drops and holding the package

That being said, the product did not wow me. I truly think a similar product or traditional bronzer could achieve the same effect at a fraction of the cost. I’m not too worried about missing out on the star ingredients as many are found in other skincare products like serums and anti-aging creams.

A heads up for those eczema or sensitive skin…

These drops contain oils and mica as two of the main ingredients. Mica is often used in cosmetics because it helps to blend ingredients together and it also has a light-reflecting quality that can provide a shimmer.

I try to avoid products with a significant amount of mica because dermatologists say that it may irritate sensitive skin or exacerbate acne. This is most likely to occur when used in mineral powder products. These may be liquid drops, but mica has affected my skin health before and according to Healthline, it’s a product to avoid if you have eczema. So far, I haven’t noticed much irritation but I did have some dry patches after using the product.

It’s also worth noting that there is controversy regarding child labor and the mining of mica, so there may be ethical reasons to avoid this ingredient, as well. If you’re worried about ethics or have super sensitive skin, consider skipping the Drunk Elephant bronzing drops and opt for something with little or no mica instead. Also, check out this list of brands that use ethically-sourced mica.

woman showing the ingredient list on the back of the drunk elephant bronzer drops package

If you do not have sensitive skin, you will probably handle mica just fine. Many people do and it’s considered safe for cosmetic use. It’s actually in a ton of products that you’re probably already using.

Despite some reviewers saying the product clogged their pores, Drunk Elephant says their bronzing drops are appropriate for all skin types including oily complexions. The company conducted a study with 32 people and 87% said their skin still felt smooth and hydrated after using the product for 4 weeks so the product seems to be non-irritating to the majority of users.

What are the best Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops alternatives?

If you’re not ready to drop $38, don’t sweat it. You can still achieve a sun-kissed look! There are several great products similar to these Drunk Elephant Bronze Drops and they are way more affordable! Here are my top 5 picks:

1. L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion

hand holding a L'oreal lumi glotion

This super affordable alternative is a hit with many. It’s less orange than Drunk Elephant drops and the price is right. Though it doesn’t contain any mica, it also doesn’t include the peptides or hydrating oils of the Drunk Elephant drops so keep that in mind. It does contain shea butter to lock in moisture and it can be applied alone, under foundation, or on target areas like cheekbones.

“Perfect glow! I got the darkest shade instead of the Drunk Elephant, it’s definitely not the same shade. The Drunk Elephant is more orange. So I actually ended up liking this product more, does the same thing for less! I mix with my primer or moisturizer before foundation.”

2. Indeed Labs Nanobronze Bronzing Drops

a customer image of the nanobronze drops bottle

This may be the best alternative for Drunk Elephant bronzing drops. The formula is clean and vegan plus the packaging is sustainable. It’s a tinted serum that works to combat dull skin and it contains cacao extract similar to Drunk Elephant. It’s also supposed to reduce redness over time and protect against environmental stressors. It does contain mica as the 5th ingredient so be aware if you have sensitive skin.

“Buy it! I’ve used the DE drops and these are by far the best! I got a lovely tan and did not look orange at all! Little goes a long way and you can darken as needed depending on tan. Definitely will be my go to product for vacations/ summer. So happy I found these and so much more affordable!!”

3. Versed Mood Lighting Luminizing Glow Drops

two bottles of versed mood lighting glow drops

These glow drops are a vegan and pregnancy-safe option! It feels and acts like a serum and it’s supposed to plump and hydrate your skin thanks to the peptide polyglutamic acid which is similar to hyaluronic acid. It can hold 4000x of its weight in moisture! Plus, this product uses blackberry extract which is high in antioxidants. It does include a minimal amount of mica, but as one of the last ingredients versus one of the top. Reviewers with sensitive skin have rated it highly and seem to be able to use this product without issue.

“It’s better than the cult favorite Drunk Elephant bronzing drops at a fraction of the price. I said what I said.”

“I still like Drunk Elephant bronzing drops better, but these are good too. I use these during the week for work and use drunk elephant when I go out or for special occasions.”

4. Saie Super Get Lightweight Dewy Moisturizer

A bottle of Saie sunglow serum a dupe for Drunk Elephant bronzing drops

This clean and cruelty-free option contains rose hip oil and vitamin C that provide antioxidants and help brighten and moisturize skin. You can mix it with your skincare, use it as a spot treatment, wear it as a primer, or use it as body shimmer. For a similar effect to the Drunk Elephant bronzing drops, I recommend using the Sunglow shade. The Starglow shade is more of an illuminator.

“I love this product! This is the perfect alternative for the Drunk Elephant bronzing drops, and I think this product is better. It’s gives me a nice gooey bronze.”

5. Tanologist Sunless Self-Tanning Drops

woman holding Tanologist Face and Body drops

Looking for an option that may last a little bit longer? Unlike Drunk Elephant bronzer drops that wash off, these tanning drops last around 48 hours. They have clean ingredients and you mix them with your moisturizer for a natural glow. These mica-free drops contain hydrating ingredients like pink grapefruit and goji berry plus calendula which calms skin. Just be aware that this product has a strong smell.

I love this self-tanner. It’s a great, natural color. Applies so easily. I just mix a few drops into my lotion before bed and it looks great by the morning time. It does not come off on my sheets. It’s not streaky at all and compared to the other, more expensive brands I’ve tried – this is definitely my favorite and my new go-to. Also, the smell isn’t bad at all. I’m fairly pale and got a dark color.

3 HAN Bronzers lined up in a row

Or try one of these highly-rated traditional bronzers…

My final thoughts on Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops…

Woman wearing drunk elephant bronzing drops (or d-bronzi anti-pollution sunshine drops) and holding up the packaging

I preferred mixing the Drunk Elephant bronzer drops with foundation instead of with just a cream or serum. I also liked the look better when I applied a little extra to my cheekbones and temples.

This product is probably best for those with fair, or light-medium skin tones. I have pretty fair skin and I had to add extra drops to my cheeks just to see the product appear in pictures. I’m afraid these drops might not show up well for those with darker skin. If that’s you, I suggest trying a traditional bronzer like Merit Bronze Balm Sheer Sculpting Bronzer or an affordable foundation like Born to Glow by Nyx.

So, are Drunk Elephant bronzing drops worth the money?

Many people think so. The drops are very highly-rated, have plenty of skin benefits, and users claim one bottle lasts a really long time! If you’re a fan of Drunk Elephant skincare or you love clean, cruelty-free products, and tan-looking skin, then this product might be for you.

Personally, I will not spring for these drops again. For $38, the results were too underwhelming. For that price tag, I wanted to be blown away. Instead, when I looked back at my before and after photos, I had a hard time telling when I was wearing the product. When I could tell, I thought I looked a little orange.

As my moisturizing cream and serum already contain peptides, nourishing ingredients, and vitamins, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the skincare benefits of Drunk Elephant either. I truly believe a similar effect (if not better) can be achieved with a more affordable option and that’s what I plan to buy next time.

If I change my mind, I’ll be sure to update this review!

A bottle of Drunk Elephant Bronzer Drops and its Packaging

I’m just one person. Check out these other helpful reviews!

We all have different skin tones, sensitivities, and skill levels when it comes to applying makeup. I wasn’t over the moon with the Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops but Hip2Save’s Paige LOVES them and so do thousands of other people! To help you decide if they are worth a try, check out some other reviews.

Here are a few reviews of the Drunk Elephant bronzer drops that stood out:

“Highly highly recommend! I mix this in with a sunscreen, moisturizer or primer and it adds a healthy, luminous glow to the skin. You don’t need much, maybe a pea size or even less, and I take it all the way down to my neck and chest. Love it so much and the bottle lasts such a long time! – Ang, product reviewer

“Not worth the hype. Color is nice but unless you mix it with a moisturizer it looks patchy and if you have oily or acne prone skin because it WILL clog your pores. Not sure why these went viral but they’re pretty disappointing.” – Tay, product reviewer

“I wanted to love this. I did at first. But two of the ingredients are literal oils. It took me a few weeks to figure out WHY my skin was suddenly so OILY! Like literally wiping greasy shiny oil off my face. As a result of the excess oil, I got whiteheads constantly. Stopped using, skin went back to normal.” – Allie, product reviewer

“Beautiful! I had to see what all the fuss was about as it was sold out everywhere else. I am not disappointed! I mixed 2 drops with my Drunk Elephant moisturizer & WOW! Silky, glowing, even, gorgeous tint of color! The perfect addition to my no makeup days routine! I hope it stops selling out so fast by the time I need more because I will definitely buy again. The only con is the price for such a tiny bottle. I love Drunk Elephant but I don’t love their prices.” – Amanda, product reviewer

Looking for honest feedback? Check out the rest of our product reviews!

About the writer:

Kara is a writer and photographer from the Midwest. Her creative work has appeared in various publications over the past decade. With a background in finance, she loves to be money-savvy.

Join The Discussion

Comments 8

  1. FourOhOne

    I tried one of their retinol serums. I am still shocked to this day how much money I spent. That was also with a sale. If Ulta sold Drunk Elephant there would be better chances to try this brand for a little cheaper but….Not impressed. Just my opinion though

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for the honest thoughts on it and how you felt it worked for you. We sure appreciate it! 💕

  2. Laurie kerze

    God made us all in beautiful hues. Love it, accept it.

  3. carol

    Right now Amazon has SOL by Jergens Deeper by the Drop Self Tanning Drops for 12.00 which is 50% off and works as good as the drunk elephant drops….just saying

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      SWEET! Thanks for the heads up on your find, Carol! We’ll be sure to check it out! 🥰

  4. mama

    My daughter bought me these because I always asked her bronzer she had on! A pretty color. I blend with my sunscreen and/or bb cream. They’re a perfect glow!

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for sharing how well you like these bronzing drops and how you apply it, mama! 💕

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