Beauty: Self-Tanners Review

Hello loves! Recently I have been exploring the world of self tanners. I have never really been interested in self tanners or being tan all year round, or ever really. But before quarantine I got a spray tan for the first time (because the salon was running a special on them) and I LOVED it. I loved looking tan, I felt slimmer and more toned and it just made me feel like summer! So I started to get curious about the self tanner lotions and drops. I have tried a few different products and want to share my thoughts on each one.

My Review

I want to share with you my thoughts and products I will continue using. All products are linked in the titles.

1. Kora Organics:

What it is: This is a lotion that you apply directly to the skin, like a regular moisturizer. It is supposed to be a gradual build tanner, so you use it a few times to build up the tan. Price is about $48 at Sephora.

My Likes: I love that Kora Organics is a clean beauty line, both according to Sephora and the Think Dirty App*. I thought the color of the tan was great! Some of the reviews on Sephora said it was an orange color and not the best for fair skin. I am fairly fair and I didn’t think it gave me an orange color. It doesn’t rub off on clothes or anything like that (of course you have to wait a few minutes after application). And I didn’t have any streaks or odd marks.

My Dislikes: Sometimes it left me feeling a little sticky right after the application, but the next day I felt just fine. Again some of the reviews said it gave an orange color, but I disagree and think the color is great! I have even gotten complements on it! I will say it is called a gradual tanner, but after the first application I notice a fairly dark tan the next day. So I tend to just apply the product once or twice a week rather than a few days in a row to build the tan. To me that is totally fine and actually better because I can do the application less often.

2. Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops:

What it is: These are drops that you mix in with your regular body moisturizer. They come in light, medium, and dark colors. I tried both the light and medium. You can put 2 to 12 drops in your moisturizer. The more drops the darker the tan. They are rated an 8 on the Think Dirty App* because they have fragrance. On Sephora they are considered clean. The drops are about $29 at Sephora.

My Likes: I like that you can use them with your regular daily moisturizer because I love the moisturizers I use and don’t like not using them. I also like that you can control the darkness of the tan by adding more or less drops. There was no streaking or odd marks and it didn’t rub off on clothing. The price is reasonable! No sticky after feeling.

My Dislikes: It might take a few tries to get the amount of drops right, but that comes with any tanning product, it takes a few tries to get it right. That is why quarantine is the perfect time to try it out! I don’t love that it has fragrance in it, which results in the high rating on the Think Dirty App*. I like to try and keep my beauty products as clean as possible.

3. Tan-Luxe THE FACE Illuminating Self-Tan

What it is: This is a self tanner but for your face. You shouldn’t be using the body self tanners for your face! This product won Allure’s Best of Beauty award in 2018. You put a few drops in your regular face moisturizer and apply to your face. According to Sephora it is formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. It is $49 at Sephora. It is not on the Think Dirty App.

My Likes: I love the color is provides to my face. When I apply it at night the next morning my face has that sun kissed looked as if I had been in the sun all day...but didn't get burnt! No streaks an super easy application.

My Dislikes: As I mentioned before I try to keep my products as clean as possible and this is not marked as a clean product at Sephora .

4. Tropic Skincare Sun Drops Gradual Tanning Facial Serum

What it is: Tropic Skincare is a skincare line made and sold out of the UK. They are clean beauty and are very eco-conscious. This product was about $27, but I had to order it from the UK so shipping and handling was also about $20, yikes! I will say it came super fast and easy in the mail. Similar to other products, put a few drops with your daily moisturizer for you face and apply 2 to 3 drops for light colors and 4 to 6 for darker color. This product won a Beauty Bible award in 2020 and a Beauty Shortlist award in 2019. The Think Dirty App* rating is 0.

My Likes: I love that it is clean and has a great rating on the Think Dirty App*. It worked well and was truly gradual, so you could build a tan over a few days. Easy to apply and use, and the color is great and not streaky. My face didn't feel sticky after application.

My Dislikes: The only bummer is the only place I could find to buy it was online out of the UK, so shipping and handling was expensive. But if you compare it to the products from Sephora you are paying about the same, even a little less.

My Routine

Overall I really did like a lot of these products. My routine will be using the Kora Organics lotion once a week to get a good base and then using the medium Isle of Paradise drops in between to maintain and build more if I want. As for the face, I like the Tropic Skincare drops and I use it once a week. I don’t really need a self tanner for my face, I just get a foundation that matches my tan. However if you are going on a beach vacation where you won’t be wearing a lot of makeup, then I would recommend using the face self tanner more regularly. As a pro tip and speaking from experience avoid your lips and eyebrows when applying the face self tanner. The product can dry our your lips or cause irritation and the product could color or dry out your eyebrows as well.

As for application I recommend wearing a mitt. I use this one and this one. This prevents your hands from looking blotchy and orange. I don't use a mitt when applying the drops, but I make sure and wash my hands well after application. Be careful when applying to ankles, knees, and elbows as well. I just use whatever is excess on my glove and go over those areas.

Also as part of my routine I make sure I am exfoliating 1 to 2 times a week to get rid of any tan build up. I use a dry brush for my body (which feels amazing) and an exfoliating scrub and mask for my face. They also sell exfoliating mitts like this one, I just prefer the dry brush.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions or any other tanning products you enjoy that I didn’t mention here! I’d love to hear your thoughts as this is new to me and I am still learning as well!

*The Think Dirty App (linked) I refer to is an app that rates and ranks products based on their ingredients on a scale of 0 to 10. A 0 rating means the products is 100% safe and has all clean ingredients and a 10 means the ingredients are not the best and not clean. They provide research and full disclosure of how they come to their conclusions. I like to use it as guidance to select my products.


Amanda B.

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