I Was Skeptical of Self-Tanner Until I Tried These TikTok-Famous Drops That Are Basically Foolproof

They gave me such a natural-looking glow, people keep asking if I went on vacation.

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Woman with tan, glowy skin wearing a sunhat
Photo: Pexels / Alexander Stemplewski

Around this time of year, I look in the mirror and have to admit: I'm one pasty girl. New York winters drain the life from my skin like a color-leaching vampire. Tragically, with the sun coming out more and more, all I want is to wear shorts and pack on the bronzer, knowing fully well that with my current complexion, I'll look like a sickly-pale ghost with brown smudges on her face. And yet, the urge persists.

So, when the TikTok-famous brand Isle of Paradise reached out to me to test their Self-Tanning Drops (Buy It, $32, sephora.com), I was intrigued but intimidated. After all, the last time I officially tried self-tanner was minutes before my high school prom when I smeared a lotion down my arms and crossed my fingers (the end result was not cute). However, after a brand rep walked me through the super-easy process, I decided even I could give it a go. (and spoiler: I am living for how good my skin looks).

Isle of Paradise Tanning Drops Review

Buy It: Isle of Paradise Medium Self-Tanning Drops, $32, sephora.com

Here are the basics: Made from an ultra-hydrating blend of coconut oil and avocado oil, this clean formula is dry-and-sensitive-skin friendly — a must for this writer. Plus, it contains chia seed extract, which supports your skin barrier. But of course, the real magic of this product is how it delivers an even, natural-looking tan from just a few drops. Colorless carbon sugars glide over skin, creating a darkening effect when put in contact with your outermost dermal cells. What's more, a little goes a long way, making the price of the bottle totally worth it.

Armed with the Medium Self-Tanning Drops and an Isle of Paradise Tanning Applicator Mitt, I gave myself a quick pep-talk and got to work on my arms, neck, and face. Per the brand's directions, I added 12 drops to my moisturizer and (with the mitt) rubbed a thin layer onto my forearms, careful to avoid getting any on my palms. Not being able to see the translucent tanner-moisturizer combo on my skin was a little scary at first, however it was clear which patches I applied the product to because of how soft and hydrated they felt. (Speaking of hydration, these are the best moisturizers for dry skin, according to dermatologists).

The result? Not at all the orange mess I feared. In fact, after six hours of waiting, I was stunned by my own glowy, golden tan. It's so subtle and natural, people keep asking if I went on vacation, and I cannot stop taking selfies. While there's no real cure for the winter skin blues, these tanning drops definitely put me in the mood for spring. Shop it on Sephora for $32 a bottle.

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