Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops vs Versed Glow Drops: Which Delivers a Better Sun-Kissed Look?

Does D-Bronzi Live Up to the Hype?

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drunk elephant bronzing drops vs versed glow drops
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I am a no-makeup makeup person. Truthfully, before 2023, I used no makeup, period. As I’ve begun to play around with the plethora of products (foundation, concealer, lipstick, you name it, I’m trying it), I’ve also realized just how much time it takes to put on a full face. (To all those I’ve ever judged in the past for taking hours to get ready, I’m sorry.) Thus, I am always on a quest to find products that help me achieve the look I want (in this case, an even complexion) in the shortest amount of time. And it doesn’t get much quicker than adding a few drops of bronzer to my moisturizer. Here, I tested the viral Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Bronzing Drops vs Versed Mood Lighting Glow Drops, a popular (and less expensive) alternative. Read on to see how they stacked up against each other—and if they gave me the lazy makeup look I’m searching for.

drunk elephant bronzing drops vs versed glow drops before and after
Marissa Wu/Left: Before; Right: After, Drunk Elephant on left, Versed on right side of face.

How I Tested the Versed Glow Drops and Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Drops

Over several days, I tested the bronzing drops by following the product directions: mixing a drop (or three) with moisturizer and applying it to my face. (I ended up using two of each.) I also tried using them as conventional bronzers, swabbing them only onto my cheekbones and jawline to see if they would give a “sculpted” look. And to really put them head-to-head, I spent a day wearing one brand on each half of my face. All the while, I was assessing texture, ease of use, longevity, transfer, scent, pigment and aesthetics.

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drunk elephant bronzing drops vs versed glow drops drunk elephant results
Marissa Wu/Left: Applied in moisturizer; Right: As bronzer.

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Bronzing Drops Review

  • Value: 18/20
  • Quality: 19/20
  • Ease of Application: 20/20
  • Finish: 20/20
  • Longevity: 17/20
  • Total: 94/100

The Drunk Elephant bronzing drops are a viral phenomenon, averaging over 100,000 internet searches per month. At nearly $40 for a one-ounce bottle, would they live up to their hype?

First things first: packaging. As someone with a deep appreciation for aesthetics (I write a newsletter about beauty, in all its forms), I concede that the bottle is, indeed, a pretty thing on the vanity. Sleek, rectangular, with a bronze cap sitting like a crown atop the milky white bottle. 

The formula itself shares the warm, metallic hue of the cap. The suggested use is to add a drop (as many as you’d like) to a cream, serum or oil and then apply the concoction to your face. The formula contains cocoa extract (a soothing antioxidant) and peptides (promotes elasticity). Straight out of the bottle, I found it a bit viscous. It mixed easily with my face cream, and two drops gave me a bronze shimmer on my face. Surprisingly, it also evened out my skin tone.

After allowing it to absorb, my face didn’t feel much different from days when I only apply moisturizer. Slightly tackier, but not sticky or greasy. (Word of warning: The bottle instructs you to shake before opening, and you should, because the formula can separate.) Before trying, I was afraid the drops would make me look Oompa-loompa-esque, but three drops were just the right amount to give me a soft, “sun-kissed” look. Or, at the very least, make me look more awake. Bonus: it doesn’t transfer. I verified this by patting my hands on my cheeks and pressing my white (!) sweater sleeve against my face. If anything, it’s an extremely faint shimmer that comes away.

While it’s advised to use a moisturizer or other vehicle to apply the drops, I wanted to see how they’d do if I used them as a traditional bronzer. After applying one drop under each cheekbone and blending the excess into my jawline, I was pleased to see that there was a gentle contour. Overall, testing the D-Bronzi drops was a fun, easy experience and convenient way to do “no makeup” makeup.

drunk elephant bronzing drops vs versed glow drops: versed results
Marissa Wu/Left: Applied in moisturizer; Right: Applied as bronzer.

Versed Mood Lighting Glow Drops Review 

  • Value: 18/20
  • Quality: 18/20
  • Ease of Application: 20/20
  • Finish: 18/20
  • Longevity: 18/20
  • Total: 92/100

Versed Mood Lighting Glow Drops are a popular dupe for Drunk Elephant. And at nearly half the price of the latter, they’re hard to beat. Versed’s formula isn’t as viscous and features a moisture-locking polyglutamic acid peptide, blackberry extract and vitamin E (combats free radicals). It promises a “skin-smoothing, soft-focus glow” and that’s what I got. The pigmentation is very light, so after rubbing it in with moisturizer, I was left with a shimmery glow, but not much coloring. Though, similarly to Drunk Elephant, I thought it evened out my complexion. My skin did feel plump and hydrated, with a similar tacky feeling. It didn’t transfer, either.

I did the bronzer test with these drops, too, but didn’t see the same results. Instead, I just got a soft glow—which I’m not mad about. Contouring isn’t usually something I do in my makeup routine, so for half the price, I’m content with a wisp of color and sparkle. I’d liken this more to highlighter than bronzer, and it does a marvelous job of adding a little boost to the complexion.

In terms of packaging, the formula shines through a clear bottle partially made from post-consumer recycled plastic. I appreciate Versed’s commitments to sustainability in their packaging and products (they track and mitigate emissions through a third-party climate auditor), so that was a plus, too.

drunk elephant bronzing drops vs versed glow drops: line of each bronzer on editor's arm
Marissa Wu

How the Versed Glow Drops and Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Drops Compare

While both claim to be bronzing drops, I would say that the Drunk Elephant formula is definitely more pigmented with a true “bronzing” effect. It also worked as a subtle contour. The texture of the liquid was more viscous and, as seen in the photo above, much more saturated in color. However, I give Versed points for sustainability and value. It’s half the price of Drunk Elephant, and the formula is less pigmented, so it’s ideal if you’re looking for a soft, filtered glow.

Ultimately, I think your complexion will influence the effect—if you are fair, the pigments in both may give you a more bronzed effect than someone with medium or darker skin.

So, Which Is the Better Bronzing Drop?

Whether you’re trying to evade the etiolated complexion of winter or want to hype up your summer tan, both bronzing drops have their merits. It's really about the look you’re going for. If you want a super sun-kissed, just walked off a private jet from Maui look, Drunk Elephant should be your go-to. And if you just want a soft shimmer, Versed delivers.

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