Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops Review: Clean Beauty or Unhealthy?

Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops Review: Clean Beauty or Unhealthy?


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Drunk Elephant is a cosmetics brand that sells one of the most popular bronzers called “D-Bronzi.” The brand describes this product as “anti-pollution” and claims it can help users achieve a bronzy glow without any negative health consequences. 

But does D-Bronzi contain research-backed ingredients for improving skin quality or are these just marketing claims? Can a bronzer really protect skin against pollution? Does the product contain any questionable additive ingredients? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of D-Bronzi?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in D-Bronzi based on medical studies to give our take on whether it’s likely to be effective for improving skin quality and protecting against pollution, or if it’s a waste of money.

We’ll provide a cost comparison of D-Bronzi retailers, and highlight real, unsponsored user reviews of Drunk Elephant bronzing drops.

Ingredient Analysis

Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops ingredients

The ingredients in D-Bronzi are shown above.

There are a number of research-backed ingredients in this formulation.

Sclerocarya birrea (marula) seed oil was shown in a 2015 clinical trial to moisturize and hydrate the skin, as well as to optimize skin barrier function.

Since the skin barrier protects against environmental toxins and irritants, this suggests that this ingredient may have an “anti-pollution” effect as the brand suggests.

Cocoa may have an antiwrinkle effect when applied topically, according to a clinical trial published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Camellia sinensis leaf extract is clinically shown to have “pronounced moisturizing effects” as we documented in our Jergens Natural Glow reviews article on another cosmetic product containing this ingredient.

Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, which was described in a 2018 medical review as a “skin-rejuvenating biomedicine” and shown to reduce wrinkles significantly.

Sodium hyaluronate has a lower molecular weight than hyaluronic acid, so it may penetrate deeper into skin and have an even more potent effect.

Ribes nigrum (black currant) seed oil was shown in a 2018 clinical trial to protect skin cells from UV damage.

Linoleic acid was shown to reduce acne by 25% after one month in a 1998 clinical trial.

While there are a number of potentially effective ingredients in D-Bronzi, there is also one additive we consider questionable.

Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative shown to be toxic to human cells in a 2020 clinical trial. It’s worth noting that this was an in vitro (test tube) study, which is a weaker standard of evidence than a trial with human participants, but it’s still somewhat concerning in our opinion.

Sodium benzoate is another synthetic preservative.

Overall, we consider Drunk Elephant bronzer drops likely to be effective for reducing wrinkles, improving skin hydration, and helping repair the skin barrier. From an efficacy perspective, this is one of the most impressive cosmetic products we’ve reviewed.

We don’t currently recommend this product due to the inclusion of the two synthetic preservatives.

A YouTube video published by Drunk Elephant goes into more detail on the active ingredients:

But how do real users rate and describe the effects of D-Bronzi? We’ll review in the next section.

Real, Unsponsored D-Bronzi User Reviews

A TikTok creator named Kylie Larsen did a live product demo of D-Bronzi and shared her thoughts:

@kyliekillzzzz

first impression DRUNK ELEPHANT BRONZING DROPS ✨

♬ original sound - Kylie Larsen

A TikTok creator named Noelle shared a tip suggesting that many users of the product may be using it wrong and wasting their money:

@noelleglammua_ Do whatever you want but don’t say I never told you nothing- my favorite no makeup day combo @drunkelephant @colleenrothschild ##fyp##drunkelephant##drunkelephantskincare##drunkelephantbronzedrops##bronzedrops##foryoupage##beautyhacks ♬ original sound - Noelle

Where to Buy D-Bronzi for the Best Price

Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops are sold at a variety of online retailers. Here’s a price breakdown at the time of publishing this article:

Brand website: $38 (plus shipping, link)

Sephora: $38 (free shipping, link)

Ulta: $38 (free shipping, link)

Amazon: $38 (free shippinglink to official Amazon listing)

D-Bronzi is 10-20% cheaper at select third-party retailers than on the brand's website when factoring in shipping fees.

What’s the Best Dupe?

A TikTok creator named “jamie van slooten” has a video with over 1 million views suggesting that a L’Oreal product makes an effective dupe for Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops:

@jamievanslooten say goodbye to your d bronzi drops and say hello to the loreal lumi glotion 904 deep glow 🤩🤩🤩 #drunkelephantskincare #loreal #drunkelephantdupe #drunkelephantdbronzi #lumiglotion #makeupdupe #skincaredupe #dupe ♬ original sound - jamie van slooten

A YouTube creator named Cassandra Bankson has a video with nine different Drunk Elephant skincare dupes:

Real Customers Review D-Bronzi

Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand’s website in our opinion.

D-Bronzi has been reviewed over 2,800 times on Amazon, with an average review rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Molly A.” who likes the aesthetic effect of the product:

“I’ve tried all bronzing drops. Rather than a gradual glow like most drops on the market, four drops of these mixed with my daily moisturizer give me an all day glow. Love them! Mix with sunscreen and lotion but be sure to wash your hands after.”

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Ty Hawk” who claims to have experienced side effects:

“While I like what it does (adds a little color for a lovely “glow”), I really hate the after effects. It made my face break out horribly! I thought it was strange that after having a mostly clear face for months, I was starting to break out shortly after adding this to my morning skin routine.”

Drunk Elephant fails to respond to the majority of customer complaints on the brand’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) page at the time of publishing this article.

One customer claims to have experienced severe side effects, and we find it concerning that the brand hasn’t bothered to respond:

“The items i bought made me so allergic my eyes swelled shut for 3 days.”

Pros and Cons of D-Bronzi

Here are the pros and cons of D-Bronzi in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Highly effective formulation
  • One of the healthiest bronzer formulations we’ve reviewed
  • May reduce wrinkles
  • Should improve skin hydration
  • May protect skin against UV damage
  • Fragrance-free
  • Free of artificial dyes
  • Positive Amazon reviews

Cons:

  • Doesn’t appear clinically tested
  • Contains two synthetic preservatives
  • Brand doesn’t respond to some serious customer complaints
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Drunk Elephant’s bronzing drops should not only impart a skin tone that has aesthetic benefits, but is also likely to actually improve skin quality.

This product contains a number of research-backed, naturally-derived ingredients that are shown in medical studies to improve skin quality and help protect the skin against environmental pollution and irritants.

From the perspective of potency and potential effectiveness, this is the best bronzer formulation that we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health to date.

We don’t currently recommend this product due to the inclusion of two synthetic preservative ingredients, but it doesn’t contain any ingredients like fragrance that we consider seriously unhealthy.

Most online user reviews of this product that we came across while researching this article were favorable. 

For consumers interested in purchasing D-Bronzi, it’s worth noting that the price is exactly the same, even including shipping, on all major retailers at the time of publishing.