The 11 best bronzing drops we tested for glowy skin in 2024: Our review

Regardless of what season we’re in or where we’re going, we can all agree that glowing skin is something we want to have all day, every day.

With the rise of clean beauty and “no-makeup makeup” to an emphasis on glass skin and dewy complexions, it comes at no surprise that cream blushes, serum-synonymous formulations and tinted moisturizers are all the rage. Needless to say, bronzing drops were next in line to join the party.

“Bronzing drops are a thin consistency of a liquid bronzer that can be mixed into your skincare or foundation for a glowy, bronzed look,” Natalie Dresher, a professional makeup artist who specializes in special event and bridal makeup, told the New York Post. “Minimal makeup is so in right now, making bronzing drops popular, because even applying them into your skincare evens out your complexion and makes you look a little more put together than without them.”

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As a full-time beauty product tester with a background in cosmetic formulations and dermatologist-adored ingredients, I was excited to get my hands on (or should I say, get my hands bronzed) by gathering the most viral bronzing drops on the market to see how each measured up. Spoiler alert: my findings and the results may surprise you.

Perfect for adding a hint of a healthy, youthful glow in the warmer months, especially, bronzing drops are the new it-product for the upcoming months. You heard it here first, and you’ll find my in-depth reviews — and, each tube bronzing drops, ranked — so you can make one of your best beauty purchases yet.

From Drunk Elephant and L’Oreal Paris to Glow Recipe and Versed, find all of the versions I swear by. That said, I’m *dropping* the intel.

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Best Overall: Versed Mood Lighting Glow Drops

Versed Mood Lighting Glow Drops


  • Superfine, light-reflecting pigments allow for a youthful glow every time
  • Available in three sun-kissed shades to choose from
  • Contains naturally derived extracts and vitamin E for antioxidant protection and a sensitive skin-safe formulation


  • Somewhat smaller bottle size compared to most other bronzing drops tested, but not a dealbreaker

I can’t rave about the Versed Mood Lighting Glow Drops enough. This skin tint-esque serum is what I grab most often for my most radiant skin, especially before makeup. It’s available in three shades — Sheer Bronzed, Sheer Golden and Rose Gold — with Sheer Bronzed being my ultimate favorite to cocktail into my moisturizer of choice.

What I love most about the brand’s ingredients is its keen focus on deriving good-for-your-skin nutrients in a naturally derived manner. Namely, blackberry extract provides antioxidant protection and gentle exfoliation while polyglutamic acid is a hydrating peptide that holds 4,000 times its weight in water. This combination, along with vitamin E, always makes my skin feel more supple.

Its healthy bronzed glow is virtually unmatched, with the drops feeling weightless and nourishing. This is because its formulation contains superfine, light-reflecting pigments that allow my skin to always look youthful whether worn on its own or with makeup. Oh, and Versed’s Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream ($15) is the best complement to the Mood Lighting Glow Drops, should you want to marry the two.

Best Budget: e.l.f. Cosmetics Bronzing Drops

e.l.f. Cosmetics Bronzing Drops
e.l.f. Cosmetics


  • Formulated with antioxidants to help reduce UV damage and stimulate collagen and elastin production, per a 2017 study
  • Offers a rich, natural bronze that’s buildable, working well on fair skin especially
  • Budget-friendly price, allowing it to be reachable for most shoppers
  • Non-comedogenic, thanks to the addition of sunflower seed oil, so it won’t clog pores and is advantageous on acne-prone skin


  • Does not dispense out of the bottle in the most elegant way when dropping them onto your hand instead of directly on the face (though not a dealbreaker); for best results, shake the bottle before each use
  • Takes a bit longer to blend into the skin on areas where you may experience hyperpigmentation

If you ask me, e.l.f. Cosmetics is simply gangbusters for bringing rockstar product after rockstar product to market. Its new Bronzing Drops are *seriously* worth the hype, so much so that I produced a full review on the $12 item that helps noticeably give my a skin a nice, irritation-free glow.

The e.l.f. Cosmetics Bronzing Drops are available in a trifecta of colors: Copper Gold, Pure Gold and Rose Gold. Copper Gold is apt for medium to rich skin tones, Pure Gold is beneficial to light and tan skin tones and Rose Gold is chief for fair to medium skin tones. Despite what each is best for, all skin tones can benefit from each shade; they’re all buildable and can, essentially, double as a highlighter or a darker contour.

What’s more, I love how the formulation is non-comedogenic, thanks to the addition of sunflower seed oil, so it won’t clog pores and is advantageous on acne-prone skin. I love using the drops before makeup, especially before using the e.l.f. Cosmetics Halo Glow Liquid Filter ($14) because, as expected, the combination is pure heaven.

Another Great Budget Option: Pacifica Beauty Sunny Glow Bronzing Drops

Pacifica Beauty Sunny Glow Bronzing Drops


  • 100% vegan and cruelty free, making it apt for sensitive skin and appealing to clean beauty enthusiasts
  • Contains vitamin C to help brighten the skin in addition to bronzing
  • Helps enhance overall complexion in an affordable way


  • Only available in one shade
  • Subtle citrus fragrance may be a deal-breaker for some

Another wonderful bronzing drop that won’t break the bank is the Pacifica Beauty Sunny Glow Bronzing Drops. The kicker? They’re less than $20 and contain vitamin C so, aside from giving my skin that nice bronze, it also wonderfully brightens. For that reason, it’s one of my signature favorites to wear on its own.

Essentially, this formula is one of the closest to a skincare product that I’ve tested. It’s the complexion-enhancer that helps reverse dull-looking skin and, better yet, tends to hide any texture that your skin may exhibit. It has a light citrus fragrance that’s barely there and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin.

Moreover, it’s 100% vegan and cruelty free, while being specially designed for an effortless glow. If your skin is in need of a pick-me-up and you don’t want to spend all too much, this slightly dewy and noticeable finish is worth your hard-earned coin.

Worth the Splurge: Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Glow Liquid Bronzer with SPF 15

Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Glow Liquid Bronzer with SPF 15


  • One of the only bronzing drops on the market to contain SPF
  • Available in three shades to choose from, keeping undertones in mind
  • Glides onto the skin like a serum and produces a spectacular glow that’s worth the money


  • Doesn’t contain dermatologist-recommended SPF 30 amount, so be sure to layer the product with sunscreen (and reapply every two hours) for full sun protection
  • Price point may be unreachable for some

I can’t even begin to tell you how the Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Glow Liquid Bronzer with SPF 15 blends into the skin like butter. It’s the most cosmetically elegant bronzing drops I’ve tested on this list and 100% worth the cost. In essence, it’s a hybrid of your most glamorous bronzing drops and a cream contour product, though it applies smoothly, like a serum.

I love using this after loose powder, specifically, though they can be used as a standalone product that will exude the sun-kissed glow of your dreams. Available exclusively at Nordstrom, the brand’s ethos on providing a youthful glow is represented by this product, along with its Fluid Sheer Glow Enhancer Highlighter ($42) and Eye Tint Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeshadow ($38), both of which I practically worship.

Even better, this is the only formulation I’ve used that contains SPF. Though it doesn’t hold the broad-spectrum SPF 30 recommendation you’ll hear from all dermatologists, it’s a step above some others in this regard. Plus, it’s deeply moisturizing on my skin and is ultimately a versatile, splurge-worthy addition to your beauty routine.

To top off this product, it’s available in three shades that meets a variety of skin tones and undertones as well: 90 (Light to Medium), 100 (Medium to Tan) and 110 (Tan to Deep).

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: First Aid Beauty Bronze + Glow Drops

First Aid Beauty Bronze + Glow Drops


  • Contains niacinamide to help blur pores, reduce redness and support skin texture overall
  • Layers beautifully with makeup
  • 100% vegan and void of silicones


  • Only available in one shade

New from First Aid Beauty, the Bronze + Glow Drops is on-par with the brand’s commitment to sensitive skin-first products, like the iconic Ultra Repair Cream ($33) that I love to mix with the new sun-kissed gem in its product catalog. Not only does it layer well with makeup but it’s a product that’s spectacularly benefitting for acne-prone skin or any flare-ups you may experience.

The reason? Niacinamide, the superstar ingredient that helps blur pores, reduce redness and support skin texture. If you have breakouts of any kind, including blackheads, the redness level is almost completely mitigated. After a hormonal acne breakout, using this product rendered my skin nearly red-less while bronzing at the same time.

The lit-from-within glow is surely evident and it’s a wonderful product worth integrating into either your skincare or makeup routine — or both — for any occasion.

Best for Oily Skin: tarte Key Largo Bronzing Drops

tarte Key Largo Bronzing Drops


  • Feels lightweight on the skin
  • Comes in four stunning shades to complement a variety of skin tones and undertones
  • Layers beautifully with other skincare and makeup products


  • Some may find the formulation too glowy, though not a dealbreaker (pro tip: start with a pea-sized amount and blend, adding more if needed)
  • Price point may be unreachable for some

Even if you didn’t join tarte in Dubai with Alix Earle to naturally become bronze, its Key Largo Bronzing Drops are the next best thing. The glow factor is one of the best, though I found I didn’t need a lot at all; a little goes a long way.

Not only is it one of the best for layering but it’s one of the most effective for oily skin. While my skin isn’t entirely oily, it has its areas, of which I feel some foundations inevitably streaking off throughout the day. The reason why these bronzing drops are A+ for oilier complexions is because of its signature and widely loved Amazonian Clay ingredient; it’s sustainably sourced for better, longer, truer wear, which is also evident in tarte’s viral Amazonian Clay 16-Hour Full-Coverage Foundation ($42).

It’s available in four shades to complement a roster of skin tones and undertones alike, with each containing a subtle hint of shimmer and vegan squalane to smooth the skin. As a beauty product tester, it’s apparent how intentional these bronzing drops are to not only provide a glow but to make it one of the best and long-lasting.

Best for Dry Skin: Drunk Elephant Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

Drunk Elephant Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops


  • Mixes extremely well with moisturizer, though is just as moisturizing on its own
  • Easily absorbs and blends into the skin
  • Contains peptides to help benefit dull and dry skin types


  • Only available in one shade
  • Price point may be unreachable for some

I have dry skin, and the Drunk Elephant Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops always nourish my skin — with or without moisturizer. Oh, and if you’ve been following my content here at Post Wanted for a while, you know that Drunk Elephant is my favorite, of which I’ve wrote a full brand review.

Let’s talk about D-Bronzi, shall we? Not only are they TikTok-viral but they’re one of the best for making my skin both bronzed and bouncy, every time. I also find that they work well for spots on the skin where hyperpigmentation rears its ugly head. In some ways, it can almost double as a dark spot corrector as it smooths and glows in a balanced way.

Its deep nourishment likely stems from its proprietary Matrixyl 3000 Peptide Blend that helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (yes, it’s also good for anti-aging) while also allowing the skin’s barrier and elasticity to be supported. It’s also 100% vegan and cruelty-free, making it non-irritating on my sensitive skin whenever I use it.

Like most influencers on TikTok, I mix the bronzing drops with the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream ($69) and it’s a match made in heaven. Plus, Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany and I have had plenty of conversations about the duo IRL.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops


  • Nourishing to the skin, thanks to its niacinamide ingredient
  • Layers beautifully with other skincare and makeup products
  • Safe on sensitive skin and doesn’t break out the skin, either


  • May leave too shiny of a finish if overused
  • Only available in one shade
  • Price point may be unreachable for some

Speaking of TikTok, you have to have seen the pink tube with an alluring watermelon scent that everyone’s applying before their makeup. In every video. Now, its BFF has arrived, the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops, and they’re just as fantastic, now with an infused glow.

It leaves a high-shine finish which can become a bit too “in your face” if overused. For best results, pump one to two drops onto your skin and blend with your fingers. It’s the closest bronzing drops formulation to a moisturizer and is vegan, clean and contains both hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to plump and enliven my skin every time.

Even better, you can use both the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops and the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops for one of the most stunning, glossy and freshened-up finishes.

Best for Self-Tanning: Tanologist Face + Body Self-Tan Drops

Tanologist Face + Body Self-Tan Drops


  • Best-selling, TikTok-viral and effective when tested
  • Provide a more long-lasting tan than traditional bronzing drops on this list
  • 100% vegan and safe on sensitive skin


  • May not be preferred by some shoppers who want something a bit less permanent
  • Applies clear, so it’s a bit difficult to gauge how much to apply for your preferred tan at first

Don’t be fooled. The Tanologist Face + Body Self-Tan Drops isn’t your standard version of bronzing drops. Instead, these are self-tanning drops. While these are absolutely worth the hype if you want more of a bronzed finish than some other formulations on this list, you’ll have to wear a protective mitt and apply directly to the face. If you mix it with your moisturizer on the backside of your hand — like I may or may not have done — you’ll wake up with a pretty tan hand the next morning…

The drops are a No. 1 Amazon best-seller and made me do a double take when they were fully absorbed into my skin. Even on my fair skin, they didn’t make me look like an Oompa Loompa and, instead, allowed me to feel like my skin had a natural makeover. Plus, for the price, I was so thankful my skin didn’t need to experience an in-person tanning bed.

To top it all off, these self-tan drops are 100% vegan and buildable. My advice is to start with one to two drops for your first time using them. The formulation is clear, so you can’t gauge how much is the perfect amount until after a few applications.

Best for Fair Skin: ICONIC London Instant Sunshine Bronzing Drops

ICONIC London Instant Sunshine Bronzing Drops


  • Illuminated glow that’s buildable
  • Applicator allows for a targeted look
  • Travel-friendly design


  • Twist and click maneuver may be a learning curve for some
  • Only available in one shade

New from ICONIC London is its Instant Sunshine Bronzing Drops that have a nifty, crayon-like applicator that makes targeting where you’d like to be sun-kissed as seamless as can be. The brand is one of my favorites for feel-good glow, with its Illuminator Liquid Highlight in the shade “Glow” ($40) another bronzing drops-alt I love and recommend trying for yourself.

With a twist, click and blend maneuver, this disperse-and-go product is a great spot bronzing drop. You can say you’ll be *good to glow*. Additionally, it’s buildable; simply do one full pump for a more neutral finish and two pumps for a bold, bronze. While it’s targeted, the applicator may be a learning curve for some users.

While it only comes in one color, it’s sheer and buildable glow works well on my fair skin and I’d imagine it’d look just as gorgeous on darker complexions. With your favorite moisturizer with SPF, you’re golden — literally.

Most Versatile: L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer

L'Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer


  • Doubles as a bronzer or highlighter and is extremely versatile
  • Travel-friendly packaging that’s especially ideal for spring and summer buildable makeup looks
  • Budget-friendly price point, making it reachable for most shoppers


  • May make the skin too shiny if overused (pro tip: a little goes a long way)

Everyone on #BeautyTok is talking about the L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer. Of course, I ran to try it, and it remains one of my go-to options that can serve as a creamy, moisturizer-esque bronzer or highlighter.

Because of how versatile it is (and, how affordable it is), I’d say it’s a surefire staple in your beauty routine. It’s one of my favorite products for an allover glow, whether it’s used as a tinted moisturizer or more of a bronzing drop. Not to mention, it’s surely the product to finish anyone’s skin with a youthful glow.

How we tested

Best Bronzing Drops Review
The haul of bronzing drops tested, from Drunk Elephant to Versed. Victoria Giardina

After testing bronzing drops for at least three weeks, here are the criteria I kept in mind for each formula:

  • Staying power: With bronzing drops, you’ll likely want them to last for the majority of the day. I took note on how long each one last and if there was streaking of any kind.
  • Buildable glow: To keep a variety of skin tones and undertones in check, I noticed how buildable each one was, if applicable, and incorporated this characteristic into my review.
  • Irritation levels: If any bronzing drops clogged my pores or irritated my skin in any way, they didn’t make the cut. Plain and simple.
  • Versatility: Can this bronzing drop be worn underneath makeup? On its own? This is an important aspect when it comes to purchasing a specific brand of bronzing drops.
  • Price: Is the price accessible to most shoppers? If not, is it worth the splurge? Of course, price is relative, but I compared each one’s efficacy to its retail price point.

Why Trust Post Wanted by the New York Post

This article was written by Victoria Giardina, New York Post Commerce Journalist & Content Strategist, who has spent countless hours researching, testing hundreds of products and comparing the latest and greatest makeup, skincare, hair and beauty items and trends to determine what’s truly worth your hard-earned cash. She evaluates formulas, textures, ingredients and more, in addition to consulting medical and industry experts. Some of Victoria’s latest conquests include reviewing the viral Korean beauty brand, Cosrx, and testing dermatologist-recommended acne cleansers. Victoria has been creating shopping guides for the New York Post since 2021 and previously held positions at Insider Reviews and CNN Underscored.

Hunting for a headline-worthy haul? Keep shopping with Post Wanted.