These $12 Bronzing Drops Are No Less Glowy Or Easy To Use Than Drunk Elephant's

This new dupe will keep me sun-kissed all season long.

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Despite the fact that spring inevitably arrives after winter, the first bright sunny day of the season always feels like a shock to my system. Immediately, I feel unprepared — and pasty in the light of the warming sun.

Of course, in the name of avoiding sun damage, alternate bronzing methods must be pursued. I’ve ran the gamut of bronzing and self-tanning serums, drops, mists, and makeup in search of just the right combination of products to deliver a very tan (but still believable) look. However, I also know many people who fear a spray tan or feel like they can’t choose the right shade of natural-looking bronzer to feel sun-kissed, not sun-slapped.

Luckily, e.l.f. cosmetics has just dropped their new bronzing drops that promise to deliver a customizable, temporary glow for every kind of makeup wearer. Read on for our honest thoughts.


  • Brand: e.l.f. Cosmetics
  • What’s the product? Bronzing Drops
  • Price: $12
  • Shade range: The Bronzing Drops are available in three shades: Rose Gold (for fair to medium skin tones), Pure Gold (for light to medium skin tones), and Copper Gold (for medium to rich skin tones. All shades are also customizable, you can adjust the intensity based on how many drops you mix into your moisturizer.
  • Specs: Vegan and cruelty free
  • Where can you buy?

The Product:

NYLON Tries it:

Steffanee Wang, music editor

Wearing Shade 1 Rose Gold
1 / 2
1 / 2

Layla Halabian, culture editor

Before Bronzing Drops
Wearing Shade 2 Pure Gold
1 / 3
1 / 3

Sam Neibart, beauty editor

Before Bronzing Drops
Wearing Shade 3 Copper Gold
Wearing Bronzing Drops + Concealer
1 / 3
1 / 3

With the three different shades and three different levels of excitement about being springtime tan, we tested the new e.l.f. product from all angles. Wang didn’t perceive a huge difference in her before and after experience, but she says she definitely saw a reflective, dewy shine, even if it wasn’t overwhelmingly bronzed. Halabian, who says she feels trepidation towards bronzing and tanning products called out how foolproof it felt to use the drops with her own skin care and liked the very subtle glow. For me, as a noted self-tanner lover, I wasn’t afraid of a little color. I found these incredibly helpful as a top-up on my (at times uneven) tan. A consistent issue with the faux glow is that it fades faster on my face than it does my body, thanks to my effective skin care routine. The little boost in my moisturizer helped to blend all shades of tan on my face and neck, without needing to put on more.

Worth it?

The $12 e.l.f Cosmetics Bronzing Drops sure do look a lot like the $38 Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Bronzing Drops with Peptides to my eye — both in the packaging and in use. In fairness, the Drunk Elephant drops tout more skin care result claims and ingredients that may warrant the higher price tag. However, because the point is to mix only a few drops into a serum or moisturizer of your choosing, anyway, those potential benefits are not necessarily something you would miss having in this particular kind of product.

Final Verdict:

For the nervous tanner, the e.l.f. Cosmetics new drops are basically bronzer with training wheels. But the buildable, customizable nature of the product also means it has a place in the routine of someone who can’t get enough glow. For $12, you’d be remiss not to grab a bottle of the Bronzing Drops, to go with this season’s bright lip colors and sundresses. A little bit of sun (real or faux) just makes everything look better.