All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (2024)

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (1)

With our forecast apps donning nothing but rain cloud emojis *cue the internal cursing*, we've no hope for acquiring a natural sunkissed tan on our faces any time soon. However, we all know that sun tans aren't good for our skin, per se, so, silver linings, right?

But (!!) fear not for it's not all doom and gloom... What has newly entered the makeup market to bring a smile and tan – albeit faux – to our faces c0mes the exploding range of face bronzing drops! Plus, your skin will be just as pleased as you are with your newly bronzed glow, as they're typically delivered in skincare-based formulas. It's a win-win all-round!

Bronzing drops are different from facial tanning drops, as they don't cause fake tan's reactive processes in the skin and don't leave a long-lasting tan behind. Bronzing drops wash away with your daily makeup, meaning you can skip on the drying effects of tan, there's no risk of stubborn patchy application and no orange pillowcases. I've never even begun to attempt the maintenance involved in tanning, so, I fell completely in love with bronzing drops. From the gentlest washes of iridescent warmth to pigment-packed formulas, bronzing drops are a very varied category, meaning there really is something for everyone. They can be used alone right after skincare, to give a warm glow to your foundation-free days; They can be mixed in with skincare for a soft and subtle radiance; Some can even be mixed into your foundation to give it an illuminating sun-kissed boost!

The justifiably viral Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi anti-pollution Sunshine Drops were my first love, and they inspired me to delve into the bronzing drops world to see what other treasure I could find. Spoiler alert: they're still my favourite. But I did discover some more gems. So, continue scrolling to discover which passed our coveted Cosmo Hype Test... all in a day's work, folks.

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (3)

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (4)

My love affair with Drunk Elephant's D-Bronzi is still unrivalled. It's hard to even express the sweet spot that its tone hits or how the healthy radiance it gives is just a complete wash of got-my-sh*t-together-ness. The balance of pigment and glow is so perfect that my skin looks evened out and filtered. The colour it gives lasts and doesn't just blend out to nothing-ness, despite how much of this formula is pollution-busting skin care. Impressive, much?!

It's very rare that a product knocks me off my feet and earns an instant forever spot in my arsenal. But that's what this did.

Oh, and don't be deceived by its compact packaging; at 30ml it's the size of an average foundation and you use far less each day than you do a foundation, just 2-3 drops.

Revolution Bright Light Bronzing Drops

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (5)

Given this was one of the cheapest options I tried, it's even more impressive that it was one of my favourites. Revolution's Bronzing Drops deliver on colour and even when swatched on my hand, the glow on this just never visibly dried down.

It comes in two shades, Scorched, a light/medium and Spice a tan/deep. Though, as someone who falls very much in the middle of the skin tone scale, if you're unsure, I found it better to go for the former. The lighter shade still has a shimmering warm butterscotch hue that gave me a lightly toasted boost.

Isle Of Paradise Liquid Sunny Serum

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (6)

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This gorgeously packaged baby is for our serious gworlies. I mean, trust a tan brand to come through with the bronzing!

A little of Isle Of Paradise's Liquid Sunny Serum goes a long way and it's definitely the most pigmented of the options I tried. That being said it still gives that same glowy, no-makeup feeling when worn solo.

Unlike some of the others that verged upon 'glow serum' territory (with just a light tint of tan), this product gave an all-out bronze.

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Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow - Niacinamide Hue Drops 40 ml

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (7)

Glow Recipe's take on tanning drops delivers very minimal colour, so, it's perfect for those with fair complexions. It's a warmed-up version of the brand's beloved Niacinamide Dew drops, which tackle glow from a two-pronged approach: a dose of hydration and a radiant formula. Add in the third element, a hint of bronze, and you've got yourself a triple threat. Voilà!

On my medium complexion, it didn't deliver much by way of colour but it still did have a gorgeous glow. If you've tried bronzing drops before and they're just too deep, this is a great pick for you.

Indeed Labs Nanobronze Bronzing Drops

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (8)

Indeed Labs' Nanobronze Bronzing Drops are all about colour, with a radiant finish thanks to its rich, pigmented hue. Plus, the hydration hit it gives to the skin is all we could ask for.

The brand has now released a deep shade but this original was surprisingly dark; not one for the pale girlies. While you could try mixing a very small amount into your foundation or moisturiser, I found the darker shade just looked a tad muddy on me, so, there are limits to the stretch.

The right shade on me, however? Well, it was like a whole different product. Gawjus!

Glow Hub Hy Glaze Face Frosting Serum Drops in Bronze/Sunrise

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (9)

I never thought I’d be drinking the 'clean girl aesthetic' Kool-Aid (read: she’s a full-coverage girlie at heart) but GlowHub’s hy_glaze finds me guilty. Infused with hyaluronic acid and squalane, the serum-meets-make-up hybrid not only benefits the skin with silky hydration but also provides an ultra-dewy base.

However, as you may have guessed, this product definitely lean more toward the glow serum end of the scale, so, if colour is what you're looking for, they might not be the first pick.

But there are four shades on offer, ranging from a deep bronze to a silky champagne, and they all give a frosty, glimmering finish… so, Edward Cullen, eat your heart out.

Juicy, healthy-looking skin with a subtle touch of warmth that was enough to lift any dullness.

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Lumene Invisible Illumination Liquid Bronzer

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (10)

Dubbed as a liquid bronzer (but can be used all over the face) Lumene's glow drops deliver a healthy sunkissed glow without looking greasy or oily – aka, it's shimmery but NOT sparkly. Personally, I use it alone all over my face and/or mixed into serums, moisturisers or my foundation base and no matter the concoction, it's super easy to blend.

That or you can use it with a stippling brush around the hairline and on your cheekbones for a sculpted look! The world is your oyster.

Versed Mood Lighting Luminizing Glow Drops Sheer Golden

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (11)

Ok, so these aren't technically bronzing drops as such. But on the fairest of them all, like Senior Beauty Writer Charlotte –'everything not white makes me look bronze'– Bitmead, these give the results those of us with a little more pigment get from bronze-labelled picks. With plumping peptides and superfine light-reflecting pigments, this product will have you feeling and looking juicy and radiant. And it does come in a bronze shade for those of deeper complexions.

e.l.f. Bronzing Drops

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (12)

At under 15 quid, e.l.f. really has pulled through for those of us on a budget (...guilty!). And so, if, like me, you've not got any summer holidays in the pipeline (woe really is me), this product will be your BFF.

A little really does go a long way and just a few drops provide a warm, back-from-vacay glow. Being a tinted serum itself, there's no need to mix it with your existing skincare products as it moisturises and nourishes skin itself with sunflower seed oil and antioxidants like Vitamin E. More bang for your buck, if ya know what I mean!

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (13)

Elena Chabo

Beauty Writer

Elena Chabo is Cosmopolitan UK's beauty writer, working on everything from buzzy celeb news and trending beauty, to sincere first-person reviews and engaging video content for social media. She also creates meatier features and expert-led how-to guides, for print and online. Her passion for Black beauty, textured hair, and the ways beauty interacts with culture, society, identity and relationships, quickly took over her writing career and led her into beauty journalism. Following an MA in Magazine Journalism in 2017, she cut her teeth across various roles at Stylist Magazine, before taking on a Digital Writer role at Good Housekeeping. It was here that beauty took centre stage and she launched and ran the site's first stand-alone beauty section. Remaining at Hearst, she joined the Cosmo beauty team in 2022. Find her on LinkedIn.

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (14)

Lia Mappoura

Beauty Assistant

Lia Mappoura (she/her) is the Beauty Assistant at Cosmopolitan UK. Covering everything from viral celebrity hair and makeup news to the latest trend predictions, she’s an expert in recognising the season’s next big beauty look (before it ends up all over your social media feeds). You’ll usually find her putting TikTok’s recent beauty hacks to the Hype Test, challenging the gender-makeup binary and social stereotypes, or fangirling over the time Kourtney Kardashian viewed her Instagram Story (yes, it’s true). Find her also on

All the best face bronzing drops for a fake-tan-free glow (tried and tested) (2024)

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