It’s that time of year again: Most of us are coming out of winter hibernation mode and our skin could use a bit of help in the glow department. That’s where bronzing drops come in, which are trending big right now. According to Spate, searches for bronzing drops have soared this past year, up 415% since last year. While bronzing drops can fake the look of a tropical vacation in a flash, they don’t just offer color perks: Look for moisturizing ingredients if you have dry skin; if you live in a big city or spend a lot of time outdoors, opt for an antioxidant-rich option.
Most bronzing drops are meant to be mixed into serum, moisturizer or foundation, but they can also be used solo for more concentrated color. Don’t hesitate to mix a few drops into your body lotion for a little bit of a sun-kissed effect, too. I have fair skin, and I love mixing bronzing drops into my body cream and applying it on my arms whenever I’m wearing a sleeveless dress. These seven formulas lends a nice temporary glow without committing to self-tanner or damaging your skin in the sun—one drop at a time.
The Best Bronzing Drops For Your Skin
“I don’t wear foundation, but I really wanted something I could mix into my other products to give my skin some color,” says Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson. “D-Bronzi is made with vitamins, antioxidants, platinum peptides, and barrier-supportive fatty acids that defend skin from environmental free radicals. It’s a gorgeous, sheer bronzer that I formulated with skin health top of mind—like sunshine in a bottle without the damage.”
Pro tip: Though some bronzing drops can be used alone, Masterson says this formula is way too concentrated to be used that way.
Key ingredients: Virgin marula oil, black currant seed oil, vitamin F, raw, unrefined cocoa butter, platinum peptide acetyl tetrapeptide-17 and a chronopeptide
Formulated with a plant-based oil blend that helps gives skin a more toned appearance and a boost of hydration as you wear it, these drops have a lightweight, liquid texture that gives skin the prettiest luminosity. It’s also really fun to mix them into the brand’s beloved Skin Tint for a little extra glow factor.
Key ingredients: Walnut oil, Brazil nut oil, sunflower oil, vitamin E, and emogreen
Available in four shades—two are more bronze and two are more highlight—these hydrating drops are best mixed into foundation for an illuminated effect (they also help minimize the appearance of pores). Or, you can apply it alone as a full layer under foundation, or dab a little bit on the high points of your face to accentuate certain features.
Key ingredients: Prickly pear extract, sodium hyaluronate, pomegranate peel extract, vitamin E, milk thistle extract
For those who battle redness and also want a little color, these plumping bronzing drops are a great option. A botanical pea extract is the star, which has been clinically proven to provide a temporary tan enhancement without the use of DHA. Cacao seed adds blue light protection and kelp extract protects against pollution. The three ingredients together help combat redness, reducing its appearance over time.
Key ingredients: Pea extract, cacao seed extract, hyaluronic acid, and giant kelp extract
When you want something a little closer to self-tanner, but without the DHA, this is one to try. At the heart of the 98-percent natural formula is erythrulose, a botanical alternative to DHA, which gives skin instant color, but can also be layered gradually for a deeper tone. Because it contains both hyaluronic acid and glycerin, it’s great for those with dry skin, but any skin type can benefit.
Key ingredients: Erythrulose, hyaluronic acid, glycerin
Let’s dive into the secret sauce behind this formula: Pai combines mica (a natural pearlescent pigment), titanium dioxide and iron oxide particles, and then changes the size and shape of the particles to alter the color and intensity of these drops. So cool!
Though the three shades of these drops were designed to suit all skin tones, if you have yellow undertones, the brand says you might prefer Champagne. Pink undertones may lean toward Rose Gold, and the original Bronze delivers a warmer, deeper glow (a little goes a long way).
Key ingredients: Mica, hyaluronic acid, sea kelp and lemon fruit water