Drunk Elephant’s New Bronzer Serum Is Self-Tanner For Dummies
07.11.18

As a fair-skinned person interested in tricking people into thinking I just came back from a restorative vacation every single Monday, I’ve always been drawn to the idea of self-tanner. Or at the very least, a good bronzer palette. Unfortunately, I’ve never mastered either. My desire to appear bronzed and glowing has always superseded my fear of looking orange or streaky, which is why I typically just slap on some sunscreen and hope my natural, underlying rosiness will pass for a subtle tan.

It doesn’t really, though, which is why the whiskers on my chin stood excitedly at attention when I received a press release from Drunk Elephant about their newest product launch: D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Serum. Billed as “sunshine in a bottle, without the damaging effects,” this fancifully-named serum promised to mimic the benefits of vitamin D and deliver a glowing bronze finish. Most importantly, the application process sounded easier than slurping down an iced coffee. All you have to do is add a pump of the serum to your moisturizer or sunscreen and apply as usual. Slurp!

I was very eager to see it in action, and I figured I might not be alone. After all, the pursuit of looking and even smelling like you just spent some time at the beach appears to be a widespread pursuit when it comes to summer beauty, hence the popularity of sea salt spray and Monoi Tiare Tahiti oil. In the interest of providing some serviceable insight into the performance of a product that seems both simple to use and effective (based on the numerous rave reviews on Sephora), I asked a couple other Man Repeller team members to help me give it a test-drive. Below, see what Drunk Elephant’s D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Serum looks like on three different skin tones (mine, Crystal’s and Nikki’s), plus some application tips.

On Harling (a.k.a. me)

Team Man Repeller test-drives Drunk Elephant's new bronzer.

Do you ever wear bronzer or products marketed as “self-tanner”? 

As I explained above, I am extremely wary about using bronzers and/or self-tanners. I’ve had nice outcomes with the St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing mousse in the past, but even that requires some application finesse. When it comes to beauty products, I typically don’t keep up with something unless it’s utterly low-maintenance and mistake-proof.

Tell me about trying this one — how’d you use it and how did it go? 

After applying some SK-II Facial Treatment essence in lieu of face cleanser (which is something I often do in the morning when I’m not wearing any makeup and my skin isn’t looking particularly oily), I squirted a few pumps of Glossier Invisible Shield sunscreen into my palm and mixed it with one pump of D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Serum. I then gently massaged this mixture into my face. The entire process took all of 60 seconds, and left me with a complexion that was ever-so-slightly tanner and glowier than it was pre-application. I was delighted by how easy it was, and how it visibly evened out my skin tone, though I resolved I would add more Sunshine Serum to the recipe next time for a (less subtle) post-vacation oomph.

Do you think you’ll keep using it?

Yes! It fulfills both of my criteria (low-maintenance and mistake-proof). However, I’m definitely adding at least two pumps of the serum next time for a more obvious bronze.

On Crystal

Do you ever wear bronzer or products marketed as “self-tanner”? 

I LOVE a good self-tanning product, especially in the wintertime when my skin turns a not-so-appealing shade of sallow.

Tell me about trying this one — how’d you use it and how did it go? 

Drunk Elephant markets this product as a sort of super potion that only requires a dab, but I think those instructions are more applicable for people with fairer skin tones. That said, once I found the optimum amount for me (a pretty large dab, and I didn’t need to dilute it at all), I really loved it! I also liked how it doesn’t stain you hands like some self-tanners. I’m excited to see how this product will look on my skin once I lose my summer tan.

Do you think you’ll keep using it?

I for sure will. I’m obsessed with Drunk Elephant products and this one stands up to all of my other faves, I just had to play around with the amount to achieve my desired effect. I would also love to see a richer color option for us folks with warmer skin tones!

On Nikki

Team Man Repeller test-drives Drunk Elephant's new bronzer.

Do you ever wear bronzer or products marketed as “self-tanner”?

I don’t ever use self-tanners because I tan pretty easily, but I LOVE bronzers and was a little sad when I heard “bronzer is out.” (Good thing that was a myth.)

Tell me about trying this one — how’d you use it and how did it go?

It felt more liquid-y than I expected, but it did not feel messy to apply when I combined it with some Drunk Elephant Marula Oil per the directions. Once I got a sense of how much color it added to my face, I applied some to my neck as well to even everything out. It was a little jarring to see my face look instantly tanner, because even though I tan easily, I wear sunscreen on my face every day and always wear hats when I know I’ll be in the sun for extended periods of time.

I was secretly hoping the product would provide a little bit more coverage and that I wouldn’t have to put on foundation, but after taking the “after” selfie I was still inclined to put on the rest of my face. I played around with pseudo-contouring (i.e. attempting to define my features without going full Kardashian) and applied a little extra Drunk Elephant serum around my hairline, on the sides on my nose and under my cheekbones. It was more orange in color than the bronzer-type products I normally use, but when applied lightly and carefully, I think it’s a nice addition.

Do you think you’ll keep using it?

HARD YES. At the very least, I think this is the perfect product for my neck, chest and arms to get some quick color and lightly cover up any blemishes. I’m also going to play around with using this under my makeup to see if I can get a nice glowy undertone, because I’m always drawn to the super-glowy, reflective highlighter looks that are all over Instagram. I feel like a toned-down version of that could be fun.


Okay! Now meet me in the comments to discuss: a) whether or not you would use this product and b) whether you have any similar bronzing or self-tanning product recommendations that you swear by.

Disclaimer: Leandra is an investor in Drunk Elephant, but her connection to the brand had no bearing on this pitch, the story or the opinions expressed in it.

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