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First things first: before you all start yelling at me for instantly going back on my promise to steer clear of fake tan from now on, I promise I haven’t. And, I mean, OK, there is a bottle of Isle of Paradise self tanning drops on my ASOS wishlist right now, after a couple of people recommended it to me on Insta last week, but… well, just because it’s there, it doesn’t mean I have to buy it, right? RIGHT?
But I’m not here to talk about Isle of Paradise, as much as I secretly want to. No, today I’m here to talk about Tan Luxe self-tanning drops. Which seem like pretty much the same kind of thing, really, only with a heftier price tag. Who’s wishing she’d heard of the Isle of Paradise version before she splashed out on Tan Luxe, now? THIS GIRL, THAT’S WHO.
Anyway, as I was saying, I promise I haven’t been out buying fake tan again so soon after declaring that life is too short to smell like feet all the time: it’s just taken me six full months to get round to writing a review of a product I first tried during our holiday to Tenerife last winter, and then took with me to Florida back in May. Yes, I am totally ON FIRE with my blogging schedule right now, for sure. #GIRLBOSS #LIAR
(Meet also a bunch of my other cosmetics, pictured here purely because I no longer have the products, so I can’t take a new photo of them. <FORESHADOWING >)
Now, the idea here is simple: each of these products consists of a self-tanning oil, presented in a bottle with a medicine dropper. To use them, all you have to do is add a few drops into your regular moisturiser or body lotion, then apply it as usual, et voila: you now have an awesome, natural looking tan, without all of the faff that usually goes along with that process.
I, needless to say, was very much taken with this idea, because, as I mentioned in this post, I am totally DONE with the faff of self-tanning. DONE WITH IT. Back when I bought these, though, I was definitely NOT done with the idea of getting myself a nice, fuss-free tan, so I tracked down a couple of the travel-sized versions of each product , because I might have liked the idea of these drops, but I wasn’t nearly so keen on the price tag. I got both bottles as part of a gift-set during the Black Friday sales: I wasn’t able to find a similar deal when I was writing this post, but, if you are thinking of trying these, I would definitely recommend getting the travel sized versions first, so you can decide whether you like them or not. Yes, they’re still expensive, but they’re not nearly as much as the full-sized bottles, and, as you only need a few drops for each application, I found they lasted a long time, too.
Anyway. I got my drops, as I said, and, because I obviously hate myself, I decided the perfect time to start using them would be during our trip to Tenerife, back in December. I decided to do this by adding a few drops of THE BODY to my sunscreen every morning, and a couple of drops of THE FACE to my moisturiser each night. In this way, I would surely achieve the sun-kissed glow I’d always dreamed of, and my life would be forever changed.
It started off pretty well, really.
The tanning drops come in two different shades: light/medium and medium/dark. As my natural shade is probably best described as ‘pale blue’, I went for the lighter of the two versions, and, just as I’d hoped, I found the product really easy to apply. It was way more convenient than a regular fake tan, too: I mean, I’m putting on moisturiser/sunscreen every day anyway, so adding a few drops of tanner quickly became part of my routine. Then adding a few MORE drops became part of my routine – because, at first, I didn’t really notice much of a difference. After a few days, though, I was definitely starting to look tanned:
Honestly, I realise this probably doesn’t look like much of a “tan” to those of you who don’t look dead without makeup, but I was pretty happy with it at first. It’s not too orange, it’s not too fake looking, and it made me feel a whole lot happier about getting my usually pasty legs out in public, without worrying about blinding someone in the process. Then I got Terry to take a photo of Max, who had just started taking his first steps at the time, and, when I looked back at it, I basically just wanted to apologise to everyone who’d had to look at me over the past couple of days:
THE FEET, PEOPLE. LOOK AT THE FEET.
Now, to be fair, feet have always been a problem area for me when it comes to fake tan. Even if I somehow manage to get the rest of my skin to remain streak-free, my feet will generally give me away. I don’t know, it’s like I get to my toes and just give up on life or something?
(Oh yeah, and my hands remained mostly white, too. I DID put the tanning lotion on them, I swear, but, I guess because I wash them so often throughout the day, it maybe doesn’t last as well?)
(I don’t have OCD about hand-washing, btw: I just have a baby who needs frequent nappy changes, in addition to all of the other messes he likes to make for me to clean up…)
In this case, I suspect the main problem was the fact that I was applying the tanning drops, then immediately putting on shoes/paddling in the sea/walking on sand… doing anything possible to guarantee a really patchy tan, in other words. Would it have been better if I’d applied the drops at night instead, I wonder? No, seriously: I really DO wonder that – because I didn’t actually try it, but now I’m thinking it would probably have been a better idea?
It got worse, though: because, not only did my feet remain patchy, my legs started to look kind of orange:
Yeah. That’s a nice tan you’ve got there, Amber: been somewhere nice, then? Said no one ever: because all anyone had to do was glance down at my feet, and know beyond doubt that I should not be allowed to use fake tan, because I AM NOT GOOD AT IT.
Then it got EVEN WORSE. On the last morning of our trip, I took these selfies in the car, on the way to the airport:
Check out that tanline at my hairline, and just above my eyebrows/bridge of the nose. Dontchya wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Dontchya?
I would like to say here that I learned my lesson from this experience, and never used those Tan Luxe drops again. I mean, I’d LIKE to say that. I can’t, though, because, yup, I took THE FACE on holiday to Florida with me, too. Go me!
In my defence, when I’d looked back at the Tenerife photos, the conclusion I’d come to was that the multiple fake tan disasters could really only be chalked up to user error. I obviously hadn’t blended it in properly when I was applying it, and that was totally on me. So I’d give it another go, and this time I’d take my time with the blending and the application: I’d make sure I got it all the way up to my scalp, and rubbed it in around my eyebrows and nose, and all would be well with the world.
All was not well with the world, folks. Hands up if you’re surprised?
I honestly thought it was all going OK… then, one night, we were all sitting chatting after dinner, and I noticed my mum looking at me strangely. “That stuff you’re using on your face,” she said, leaning in to take a closer look. “That’s not working out for you.”
And no, it wasn’t. On closer inspection, it turned out that my nose was white, but my cheeks were brown. My forehead was tanned, but there was a thick brown line down the side of my jaw. In all honesty, I STILL think the problem is most likely to be me: I mean, most people absolutely RAVE about this product – which is the reason I bought it, after all. They can’t ALL be wrong, can they? No: it just can’t possibly be the case that this product is streaky on everyone – which leaves me with the unavoidable conclusion that it really IS just me. Because it’s not just Tan Luxe, either: even my favourite tanning products will have a tendency to leave me with patchy feet now and then, so if this was a really bizarre episode of Love Island, say, I think this is the point where I’d have to be saying, “Look, self-tanner, it’s not you, it’s me.”
It’s just not meant to be, is it? No matter how hard I try, I can’t do fake tan – I just can’t. And it took two bottles of Tan Luxe, and two “sunshine” holidays for me to realise that. This, you see, was the product that finally prompted my decision to go pale, or go home. I don’t want any more of my holiday photos ruined by patchy feet and a tide-mark around my forehead, so – for now, at least – I’m just going to let them be ruined by me looking a ghost, instead.
About that Isle of Paradise product, though…