​I usually hate self-tanning products, but these bronzing drops changed my mind

I usually hate self-tanning products, but these bronzing drops changed my mind

Confession time: I’ve never been a huge fan of self-tanners. Given my skincare obsession and extremely fair skin, it’s incongruous for me not to buy self-tanner. I’ve always felt that self-tanners are too much effort and too much upkeep for me to really commit to them—not to mention that I’d rather revel in my paleness than look orange or have telltale signs of self-tanner.

After hearing rave reviews about Isle of Paradise’s products over the past few years, my interest was piqued, and the release of their new Sunny Serum Instant Face Bronzer finally made me give in. Would it finally convince me to use tanning products? I tested it out to find out.

About My Skin

Between two rounds of Actuate in high school, battling stubborn redness, and all-around sensitive skin, my skin has been through it all. It wasn’t until three years ago that I finally experienced a breakthrough in my overall skin texture and appearance. I’m very grateful that my oily skin has calmed down quite a bit over the past few years. Now, at 25, my once oily skin is on the dry side – at least that’s what my esthetician tells me. Products with moisturizing and soothing ingredients that calm my redness are my bread and butter.

Review of Isle of Paradise's Sunny Serum Instant Face Bronzer

Unlike their other self-tanning products that are meant to leave a color that develops over the course of several hours, Isle of Paradise’s Sunny Serum is a little different. Similar to the viral Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops, Sunny Serum is a liquid tanning serum that instantly brightens and leaves a bronzed, glowing complexion, and contains ingredients that nourish the skin.

When I feel the need to tan myself, I swear by Isle of Paradise’s body butter and tanning water because they can create a seamless tan when I need it (never streaks!). This product is meant to provide instant results and can be used in four ways: as a primer, makeup base, highlighter, or body tanning product.

First Impressions

For a product line sold at Sephora, I’m always amazed by the quality of Isle of Paradise’s products at their affordable price. At just $24, I was confident that if I liked the tanning serum, it would be far worth the price. For my first application, I mixed one pump of the tanning serum into my favorite everyday moisturizer from La Roche Posay. I really wanted this product to play an integral role in my daily skincare routine, so it was imperative to add it to my current product lineup.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t thrilled with how it blended into my moisturizer. It took some vigorous rubbing to achieve an even complexion. However, after leaving it on for three minutes, I was pleasantly surprised by its ability to blend into my skin and give it a natural glow.

On the second day of testing the Isle of Paradise Sunny Serum Instant Face Bronzer, I decided to mix it into my sunscreen instead. This method blended much better—no aggressive rubbing required. I applied some mascara, added a touch of concealer under my eyes, and my GRWM routine was complete within 10 minutes.

I’ve since tested the bronzer as a primer and highlighter on my cheekbones and forehead, but my preferred method is mixing it into sunscreen as it blends more easily up to my collarbones and gives an all-over glow.

Wearing it

As someone with redness-prone skin, I rarely dare leave the house without foundation or tinted sunscreen. However, after mixing a few drops of the Isle of Paradise Sunny Serum into my plain SPF 50 sunscreen, I felt confident enough to go out to dinner and drinks without full makeup. The differences I noticed with the tanning serum are subtle but impactful. As you can see from the before and after photos, the serum simply enhances my natural complexion without making me look like an overly tanned disco ball like other tanning drops do.

After about two weeks of consistent wear, I’ve found that my tanning serum/sunscreen mix gives me just as much confidencelike foundation – a real win in my eyes. Even after 15 hours, the tanning effect is still there on my face.

I know what you’re thinking: isn’t this just a DIY tinted sunscreen? Yes and no. I’ve tested several tinted sunscreens (Colorscience is my favorite) and my only downside is that they always feel too much like foundation. A serum-like consistency like Sunny Serum melts into my skin, blends in easier, and gives me a natural, glowy complexion without that telltale heaviness. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than wearing foundation in the blazing summer sun, and Sunny Serum is the perfect halfway point for perfecting skin.

Final Thoughts

I’m not exaggerating when I say Isle of Paradise’s Sunny Serum has cut my morning routine in half. It integrates my makeup routine into my morning skincare ritual and eliminatesthe need to apply 10+ products before I’m ready to take on the day. Plus, it revives my redness-prone skin and makes it a radiant, even-toned masterpiece. If you need me, I’ll be using this “no-makeup makeup” product in place of heavy foundation all summer long.