I'm just going to level with you: I actually really like my skin. I've never really had to deal with acne breakouts (you know, aside from the occasional hormonal pimple on my jawline), and I look forward to my freckles (er, dark spots?) after being out in the sun—on the rare occasion that I'm actually out in the sun for an extended amount of time. That said, when summertime rolls around, I'd kind of prefer not to look like I spend all day behind a computer during the week (which, again, I definitely do).
Enter: self tanners. I've used them before—mainly because I had a short-lived but intense relationship with indoor tanning in high school, so now I am downright miserable laying outside in the sun and heat. And, you know, there's also skin cancer to worry about. But no matter how many self tanners I'd tried over the years, I couldn't quite find one that was right for me. They all seemed a little too intense: One minute I'd be pale and nearly translucent, the next, I'd have an unnatural orange tinge. I really just wanted something that could develop gradually and make me look like I'd been out in the sun (without actually having to be out in the sun).
Then, by some miracle of fate, I found the solution: Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops ($29; sephora.com). I came across them while swiping through Instagram Stories (I'm not going to name the beauty editor who recommended them—I follow way too many people who don't know who I am and I'd like to spare a shred of dignity). The drops sounded like a perfect solution to my self-tanning woes: They're gradual, subtle, and can be added to any lotion or moisturizer—that means you can use them on your face and body (typically, you need to buy separate self-tanners for both).
I was so dead-set on buying these drops that I went to three different Sephora stores to find them. I finally snagged a small bottle in the lightest possible shade, and was probably a little too excited to get home and try them out.
After my shower that night, I added two drops everywhere that I apply my moisturizer—if you want to get really technical, that means two drops to each arm and leg—eight drops total, for my body—and added one drop to my facial moisturizer. Then, I just rubbed in my moisturizer as normal. That's legitimately all I did (you do have to wash your hands after applying, but that's also NBD). The best thing? The tan didn't show up overnight—it took a few days of a daily routine to notice a gradual, natural-looking tan starting to form, which is exactly what I'd hoped for.
The drops also smell really great (kind of light and fruity), and they're colorless, so there's no transfer to other materials (which is key, since I apply before bed and have white sheets). Another bonus? My skin feels super smooth…but honestly, that's probably just because I'm actually using moisturizer regularly for once in my life.
It's been two weeks since I started using the drops and I can absolutely see a noticeable difference in my skin—but you know, not too noticeable. I'd definitely describe my skin as having a sun-kissed glow, without having to sweat it out on a towel in direct sunlight (and risk skin cancer, obv). I've also taken to religiously recommending them to my friends (sometimes unprompted; sorry, guys!) who feel like they need to at least look like they've spent some time outside this summer.
Overall, 10/10 would (and do!) recommend.
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