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Best Bronzing Drops for Women Over 50 + Why They’re the Hottest Trend in Makeup

These formulas work for all skin tones and skin types

One of the biggest trends in makeup right now: bronzing drops. These drops are changing the game when it comes to getting that perfect sun-kissed glow, no matter the season and no matter your skin type. They’re like sunshine in a bottle, giving you that youthful and radiant, just-back-from-vacation look without the damage of spending hours in the sun. And they are also incredibly versatile and offer a customizable approach to achieving your desired level of bronze. Whether you prefer a subtle hint of warmth or a more intense sun-kissed glow, these magic potions allow you to tailor the level of bronze to your desire. But maybe you’re not familiar with bronzing drops — if so, we’ve got you covered. Here, beauty pros share why you should use the drops and the best bronzing drops that will make you shine.

What are bronzing drops?

swatch of bronzing drops

Bronzing drops are concentrated liquid bronzer that’s designed to give skin a sun-kissed glow when added to complexion products like moisturizers, foundations and tinted moisturizers. “Bronzing drops are a semi-sheer liquid that deepens your overall skin tone by a couple of shades,” says celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder. “They are usually pretty sheer and are designed just to add darkness to your skin, almost like a temporary fake tanner before applying makeup.” These drops mimic the appearance of a natural tan, providing a radiant, healthy-looking complexion without the need for sun exposure or self-tanner. They also contain light-reflecting particles that leave skin with a healthy, luminous glow.

The benefits of bronzing drops

These drops don’t only make skin look gorgeous, they are also filled with skin-loving ingredients like antioxidants and moisturizers — providing skin care benefits while wearing makeup. And as mentioned above, they leave skin with a skin-kissed “tan” without actually exposing skin to harmful and damaging UV rays.

woman applying bronzing drops to face

Dani Kimiko Vincent, celebrity makeup artist, brow expert and founder of KIMIKO, says that bronzing drops are the perfect beauty staple. “They allow you to broaden the use of your existing products and gain some depth of color to products that may be too light.” And they are especially great for women over 50. Why? “Our skin tends to lose color as we age, so bronzing drops can be a great way to add more color to the skin,” says Blunder.

In addition, Vincent adds, “They are a great way to pick up the overall complexion, instead of doing so with a full coverage foundation, which can settle into lines.” More and more makeup artists are using less full-coverage products and leaning into more of a clean look with subtle products, making bronzing drops the perfect multitasker.

Cosmetic dermatologist Heidi Prather, MD, explains why bronzing drops are the perfect replacement for self tanner: “Dihydroxyacetone is the active ingredient of self-tanners that causes an immediate oxidative effect on the skin, creating a brown pigment in the top layer of skin and can accumulate in thick, dry, skin creating unwanted excess pigment.” Bronzing drops on the other hand, have a very low percentage of dihydroxyacetone providing, “a safer delivery with less oxidative damage and more natural, gradual results.”

How to use bronzing drops

beauty blender with bronzing drops dripping down

Bronzing drops can be applied directly to skin or mixed with moisturizers, foundations or body lotions. They offer a convenient and customizable way to enhance the complexion and achieve a luminous, healthy glow.

Blunder says to “apply bronzing drops after skincare but before any other complexion product like foundation or concealer.” Rub a pea-size amount (add more if needed) all over the face; let dry for one minute before applying makeup. Bonus: “You can also DIY your own bronzing drops by mixing a tiny bit of a deeper shade of foundation or concealer with a serum or face oil to create a similar effect,” she says.

Vincent emphasizes the importance of continuing the use of sunscreen while wearing bronzing drops. “No matter how you use bronzing drops, I recommend still using a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily,” she says. “Adding bronzing drops to any of your regular complexion products will help you achieve a healthy glow without tanning, which we know damages skin.”

For an in-depth tutorial on using bronzing drops, watch the below video from @yanairbe on YouTube.

The 11 best bronzing drops

Here, the product recommendations that make it easy to get bronzy, glowing skin in no time.

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi™ Bronzing Drops with Peptides
Drunk Elephant/Sephora

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

These bronzing drops are TikTok famous and for good reason. The dewy formula’s peptides boosts skin’s elasticity, hydration and supports its healthy barrier function all at the same time.

Jones Road Gel Bronzer
Jones Road

Jones Road Gel Bronzer

“Jones Road Beauty Gel is fantastic,” says Blunder. The formula contains shea butter that softens and hydrates skin. Plus, this product comes in three shades (light, medium and dark) to work with many skin tones.

Versed Mood Lighting Glow Drops

Versed Mood Lighting Glow Drops

These glow drops feel like a serum and even act as one too. Available in two buildable shades, the product glides on seamlessly, enhancing skin’s natural glow and evening out the complexion.

Indeed Labs Nanobronze Drops
Indeed Labs

Indeed Labs Nanobronze Bronzing Drops

What we and Vincent love about this product is that it gives you an immediate glow. Best of all, it contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and blue light-protecting cacao seed extract to keep skin healthy.

L'Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer
L'Oreal Paris/Ulta

L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer

Available in four shades, you can wear this product alone, under or over makeup and it even works as a tinted moisturizer. Its glycerin content moisturizes and brightens skin so it looks luminous even after makeup is off.

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops Sun Glow Serum
Glow Recipe/Sephora

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops Sun Glow Serum

This product is actually a serum that evens skin’s tone and brightens the complexion over time. While you get the benefits of a glow from its bronzy tint, you are actually applying skincare simultaneously.

Tarte Key Largo Glow Bronzing Drops

Tarte Key Largo Glow Bronzing Drops

Our favorite part of these drops is that they don’t transfer! It also includes two key ingredients: oil-nixing Amazonian clay and skin-pluming squalane that keep the complexion looking youthful.

Live Tinted Hueglow Liquid Highlighter Drops

Live Tinted Hueglow Liquid Highlighter Drops in Dusk

If you’re looking for a bronze with some extra shine, this is the product for you. With added micro-shimmers, the complexion is left a gorgeous lit-from-within glow.

Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop'lit All-Over Glow Enhancer
Fenty Beauty/Sephora

Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop’lit All-Over Glow Enhancer

This product comes in four shades to choose from. Whether you want a super dark bronzed look to more of a bronze-like highlight, these drops will do just that.

Chantecaille Radiance Gel Bronzer

Chantecaille Radiance Gel Bronzer

For a splurge-worthy options, try this gel bronzer that creates a beautiful glow lasting up to 12 hours. The bronzer has a luminescent effect and looks very natural on skin.

Colourpop Sol Glow Oil in Golden

Colourpop Sol Glow Oil in Golden

This formula can be applied on the body for luminous skin from head to toe. Or apply it to specific areas like the legs, arms or chest.

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