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Formulation concentré bronzant.

Bronzing drops: What is it Formulated With?

An ally for risk-free tanning, the bronzing drops ensures an easily adjustable golden complexion. Various types and formulations are present in the cosmetic market. However, the components of bronzing drops are often very similar from one product to another. Let's discover them together.

Published April 28, 2024, updated on July 17, 2024, by Kahina, Scientific Editor — 6 min read

What ingredients can be found in a bronzing drops?

The bronzing drops aim to provide a natural tan to the skin of the body or face, without the need to expose oneself to the risks of the sun's UVB rays. They offer a customizable tan, dependent on the amount of product applied and must be subsequently removed during the makeup removal step in the evening. This is indeed one of the major differences with self-tanners, whose effect lasts between 5 and 7 days.

Liquid bronzing drops come in the form of an emulsion, in which the fatty phase is in the minority. The main ingredients are the pigments, suspended in a so-called "dispersing" aqueous phase. These pearlescent pigments give the bronzing drops its characteristic hue. They are generally of mineral origin and their INCI name begins with the term "CI" for Colour Index, which is presented in this way: CI 77XXX.

  • White pigments such as the CI 77891 (titanium dioxide). This is a metallic oxide that, in addition to coloring the skincare products, opacifies the formulas to make them less transparent. Moreover, CI 77019 (white mica) adds a pearlescent effect to the white base, allowing for a glittery shine without plastic. It's important to note that white mica can also be synthetic.

  • Red pigments such as the CI 77491 (iron trioxide). This is a red mineral pigment in powder form that, when mixed with white and black pigments for example, produces the expected bronze color.

  • Sometimes black pigments. The CI 77499 (iron tetraoxide) is the most commonly used black pigment in these treatments. Derived from the mixture of iron II and III oxides, it contributes to achieving the golden color of bronzing drops, but it also helps to intensify the final color.

Other substances are essential to the composition of bronzing drops, such as the solvents (water, pentylene glycol). Their main function is to dissolve the active ingredients and components of the product. You can also find moisturizing agents, such as glycerin, and emollients (heptyl undecylenate, isododecane) in bronzing drops to enhance skin hydration and give the skin a silky and dry finish.

Furthermore, bronzing drops are formulated with stabilizing agents (sodium phytate), molecules that enhance the stability and effectiveness of products by chelating metallic ions, for example. Chelation is a chemical reaction that forms stable complexes between ligands and metallic cations.

Finally, we find preservatives (benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid) in the formula of bronzing drops. They neutralize the proliferation of microorganisms in skincare products and extend their shelf life. These can be antioxidants like the vitamin E. In addition to stabilizing the formula, antioxidants target photoaging and prevent the harmful action of free radicals on the complexion, through promoting cellular renewal and thus a more radiant complexion.

Analysis of the INCI list for Typology's bronzing drops.

The bronzing drops from Typology allows for a healthy tan. Thanks to the numerous pearlescent pigments it contains, its bronze color gives a beautiful glow to the skin. Moreover, it contains β-carotene derived from apricot oil (INCI: Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil) which acts as a photoprotector to shield the skin from UVB rays and their skin damage. Lastly, the vitamin E found in the bronzing drops helps to trap free radicals responsible for skin aging.

Aqua (Water)/Solvent
C13-15 AlkaneVegetable (derived from fatty acids of palm, coconut, soy, or canola oils)Solvent
Heptyl UndecylenatePlant-based (derived from castor oil)Emollient
MicaMineralMother of Pearl
GlycerinPlant-based (derived from vegetable oils)Moisturizer
PropanediolPlant-based (derived from the fermentation of corn sugar)Moisturizer
Tocopheryl AcetateVegetable (derived from vegetable oil of sunflower seeds)Antioxidant
Synthetic FluorophlogopiteSyntheticViscosity Control Agent
Pentylene GlycolPlant-based (derived from sugarcane)Solvent, skin conditioner
Benzyl AlcoholSyntheticFragrance, preservative, solvent, viscosity control agent
Prunus Armeniaca Kernel OilPlant-basedSkin Conditioner (Apricot Oil Enriched with β-Carotene)
Sphingomonas Ferment ExtractMicrobiology (produced by the fermentation of the Sphingomonas hydrophobicum bacterium)Thickening agent, stabilizer
Sucrose DistearatePlant-based (derived from sugarcane)Emulsifier
Sucrose StearatePlant-based (derived from sugarcane)Thickening Agent
Dehydroacetic AcidSynthetic (derived from pyrone)Preservative
Sodium PhytatePlant-based (derived from phytate)Chelating Agent
CI 77491SyntheticRed Dye
CI 77891MineralWhite pigment
CI 77499MineralBlack dye


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