Self-tanning drops reciew

What happens when a pale girl tries self-tanning drops

Thinking of trying Tan Luxe self-tanning drops? You might want to read this honest review first…

[This post contains affiliate links]

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 tanning drops on my Amazon wish list 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 (BUY THEM HERE). 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

So! Meet Tan Luxe – THE BODY and THE FACE. (I totally feel like those names deserve to always be written in ALL CAPS, don’t you?)

travel beauty bag

(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 Tan Luxe, 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.

Is this the best self tanner? 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 Tan Luxe 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:

Tan Luxe drops on a pale-skinned redhead

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:

bad fake tan on 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 Tan Luxe 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:

stripe midi skirt summer outfit

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:

After using Tan Luxe drops on my face

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…

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

books by Amber Eve
  • Nikki


    I’m with you 100%. I’m very pale and have tried every product anyone has ever screamed, “This self-tanner works! It really does!” Epic failures every single time. Even if I start to get a teeny tiny bit of color on my skin (Just like you, no one notices but me.), I look down and my feet look horrendous – completely giving me away. I have never, ever, ever, ever been able to find a self-tanner that makes my feet look “normal tan”. Blotches and streaks everywhere! I’ve begun to think that self-tanner really isn’t made for very pale people. It’s made for people who normally tan in the sun (I wonder what that’s like!) and just want a bit more color. I’ve already had the self-tanner disaster for this summer and it has barely started. From this point on, it’s pale me forever. If I blind people with these legs of mind, well, they’re just going to have to get some sunglasses. I’m over trying self-tanner after self-tanner only to find out they’re not for me. (I forget this at the start of each summer and try the latest, “greatest” self-tanners of the new year.) I keep trying to remind myself that I’d rather be pale and normal looking than to be covered in uneven, blotchy fake color and look like a freak. It’s a daily struggle.

    July 12, 2019
  • Mary Katherine


    Howling laughing…
    Your blog posts are the written equivalent of the best stand-up!

    July 12, 2019
  • Joanne Oleary


    I am the same…. so white I’m see through lol or orange & patchy no Inbetween, I guess there’s more to life than a tan :-/ as long as we are healthy & take care & protect our skin will should learn to love it ❤️

    July 12, 2019
  • Anna


    I found this really funny because my real forehead looks during the summer just like yours with fake tan 😀 It’s like some kind of strange freckles that appear when it’s sunny. So, you know, it actually looks natural to me 😀

    July 16, 2019
  • I’m rubbish at fake tan. I try so hard to rub it in evenly to avoid any streaks but feet are always the giveaway!

    July 18, 2019
  • I’m super pale too, but Island of Paradise in the mousse is a dream. I got the light version, so as not to go overboard, and it brings out a really nice colour. I’d defintely recommend that 😉

    July 19, 2019
  • Cat


    I’m a fellow pale skinned Scot who has had my fair share of tan disasters. I have used these drops though and love them. I have tried Tan Luxe gradual lotion and Tan Luxe The Butter to and both are fab. They give me a pretty natural colour. It’s not a dark tan, but it takes the blue off. I did however try their oil that comes in a roller ball and it was a disaster.

    What I would say for anyone wanting to try the products though is to order them from QVC. That way if you hate them you can return them for a refund. QVC are great for that.

    July 23, 2019
  • Stormi


    Oh dang I’m sorry you had a bad experience. I have to use self tan mousse. But I have to have lotion on first and let it dry because my skin is extremely dry. If I don’t, the self tan comes out looking patchy. I’m a redhead with pink undertones and no tanning ability. I use minetan. But everyone has something different that works for them.

    January 20, 2021
  • Hayley


    Thank you. Saved me a small fortune ????

    June 3, 2021
  • Prue


    I’m a fellow fair skinned gal and this happens to me every time I go on holiday! When I put the tan on it looks amazing but later I go into natural light and get a rude shock. My feet also look like yours and besides looking patchy I end up with radioactive looking freckles! It seriously drives me crazy so I end up masking it with body makeup.

    June 13, 2021
  • Ally


    Loved your story, you are a riot, thank you! Now for my two cents if you’ll allow… I think the tan luxe products work best when you mix them with oil not “moisturizer”. I have never used Body (I stick to Jergen’s natural glow and it’s knockoffs, it’s pretty impossible to mess up and super cheap!), however I use Face 1-2 times per week. I always mix it with a facial oil, like herbivore orchid oil, and aside from forgetting to wash my hands thoroughly once I’ve never had any lines, streaks, or unevenness. I honestly think occasional applications look better and are sufficient for my face to have a nice healthy glow (I’m a neutral/warm complexion with freckles and hyperpigmentation) and help my face match my sun kissed chest and shoulders.

    July 31, 2021
  • Sian Webster


    That made me laugh as I have just applied some tan luxe drops after my bath and wishing it didn’t smell so bad. I use it to camouflage my blue veiny and lily white legs which take forever to go brown naturally – I feel as though they have built in sun block! I am going on holiday soon and feel so self conscious- especially as my husband and friends are all olive skinned. I don’t have the streaking problem but only do my body and am fastidious about rubbing all the cream in. I rather wish it was ready mixed as it is not easy mixing the two evenly in your hand. I once put the face drops on my face and ended up with orange eyebrows so have never used it again. Good luck! If only we could all accept our lovely fair and freckled skin as it is.

    April 11, 2023
  • Jackie


    I used it for 6 months and perfected applications on hands face and feet using a large beauty blender. Of all things, right? And wham, allergic reaction. Started and stops 3 times just to make sure. I have fibromyalgia and this could mimic a flare. Just fyi, I had a similar reaction to the Isle of Paradise drops. If you use the Tan-Luxe website, you will get emails of 20% off periodically

    September 27, 2023