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Tested and Approved: My Self-Tanner Journey

Taryn Lowman
ByTaryn LowmanJul 15, 2021 | 3 comments


Summer is in full swing, which means vacations, picnics, weddings, and so much more! Many of us want that healthy summer glow, but can't break away from work to hang poolside, or just don't want to risk that extra sun exposure. No matter where you fall, self-tanners have improved over the years, making it easy for you to get that glow at home without being a streaky orange mess. I decided to embark on testing two self-tanners, St. Tropez and Isle of Paradise, to see if I could enhance the glow I already have, while evening out my intense tan lines. Do they live up to the hype? Let's find out! (But if a natural sun tan is more your thing, make sure you keep your skin protected!)

I ordered everything right from Sephora. Their site is super user-friendly and I can browse reviews to hopefully help allow me to feel confident with my purchase. My order came quickly and everything was packaged well so nothing broke in transit. Let's dig into this test run of self-tanners!

St. Tropez

The Product: St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse Mini

The Cost: $19.00

The Product: St. Tropez Double Sided Luxe Tan Applicator Mitt

The Cost: $7.50

After reading a lot of reviews, I decided that purchasing the applicator mitt was going to be my best option. I am honestly so happy that I did, but more on that later! The mitt is lined, double-sided, waterproof, and has a velvety soft texture to give you a streak-free finish. The mousse is a 100% natural DHA (tanning agent), has no transfer, is streak-free, and is quick drying. It is an extremely lightweight formula that allows you to control the level of tan you like. After you apply, you can wait one hour before showering for a light sunkissed glow, two hours for a medium golden tan, or leave on for up to three hours for a deeper, darker bronze. It mentions that your tan will intensify over a few hours and will last for days. I haven't tried a product like this since high school so I was really excited to give it a try, especially with the mitt.

Isle of Paradise


The Product: Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops

The Cost: $29.00

I have tried a few tanning drops over the years that I've never really liked, but I was really impressed with the reviews for this brand. These drops are made with coconut oil, avocado oil, and chia seeds to smooth, hydrate, and protect your skin's barrier function. They are color-correcting to help brighten, even your skin tone, and reduce redness all while creating a custom glow. The formula is also said to not stain or leave any unwanted streaks. These drops were created to mix with your moisturizer. All you have to do is apply anywhere from 1 to 12 drops on top of your moisturizer and then rub it into your skin. Sounds easy enough!

First things first: let's see if the St. Tropez mousse would help with my tummy tan lines! As you can tell, I wear a high-waisted two-piece that has left me with two very different shades on my stomach. If I ever wanted to switch my swim style, I would be in trouble. Maybe that is where self-tanners come into play?

The formula is super light and foamy. I started with just a few pumps onto the mitt, and just kept applying and adding more as needed. I probably did around 15 total pumps to cover that whole area of my stomach.

Here are the photos right after I applied the mousse, an hour after application, and the next morning. I don't really think that I got darker by the next morning in the lighter areas, but I do think my upper stomach looked a bit darker. Overall though I was really impressed with the results! If you compare it to the before photo, this mousse really did help to even out the difference on my stomach. I was nervous to apply too much on this first go, but the next time I use this I think I could do a lot more, and get an even bigger difference in clearing those tan lines. The formula went on smoothly without any streaks. I did feel pretty sticky at first, so I wouldn't recommend doing this right before an event, but within 20 minutes or so I was dry and no longer sticky. The formula didn't rub off on my clothes or bedding, which is a huge plus!

Now for the mitt, it really made all of the difference! Having this to apply the mousse made the process simple and not messy- another plus! It allowed me to really control what I was doing, and created a smooth finish that I don't think I could have gotten with my hands. The mitt would be perfect if you want to do larger areas like your arms and legs as well. Honestly, if you take anything away, it should be that you need a mitt to apply a self-tanner like this one! I honestly didn't think I would love this product as much as I do, but I can see myself using this again and again, either to even out my tan lines, or come the fall when I'm not outside as much, but still rocking dresses without tights.


Next, I moved onto the Isle of Paradise drops. I decided to try this on my chest area to see if it would even those tan lines. The more drops, the darker the glow, so I decided to start small. I applied 5 drops to my body moisturizer, and rubbed it onto my chest shoulders and down my arms. The application was quick and easy; just add the drops and go! With this product, you really aren't going to get any sort of deep coverage that is going to help even tan lines like the mousse would do. Instead, you are going to enhance your skin with this deeper glow. I thought that the drops really brought out my tan, and made my skin looked newly sun-kissed and refreshed. I could see myself using this for an evening out or an event to really deepen my glow. Plus, I mean I am totally loving how dewy and fresh my skin looks here! This really is more of a natural way to get your skin glowing, and I am here for it!

Again, since this was my first time trying this product, I didn't want to use too many drops. I just got back from vacation, so I do have some tan on my face, but not as much as my body since I really lather on the sunscreen on my face (I do my whole body, but my face I try to always just keep covered). I decided to start with just 2 drops at first, just to make sure it wasn't going to make me too dark. I will say that 2 didn't really do much for me. Now in the winter, that much would probably be perfect for me.

I'd opted to try the drops again the next day, this time using 4 drops. That made a much bigger difference for me! Using more drops allowed me to enhance my current tan, while giving me a similar glow that I saw when I used the drops on my chest. I just look fresh and dewy and natural, which I love! This is another product that I can see myself continuing to use as we push into the fall when I still want to hold onto those last bits of my summer tan. I also really loved that it was so mess-free and simple to use.

And there you have it, I think I am now a self-tanner fan! After so many years of bad self-tanner streaks and dripping after getting caught in the rain, I thought I would never touch a bottle of tanner again. I am so glad that I tried these products though! Self-tanners really have come such a long way, and whether you want to go big or just add a little glow, there is a product out there for you! If I learned anything, testing the product first is key-- don't go big right away, you can always add more, and a mitt is always the way to go!

Do you swear by self-tanners? What is your favorite brand? Let me know in the comments if you self-tanners are a love it or leave it beauty product for you! Also be sure to check out some of our best beauty subscriptions of 2021!

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Taryn Lowman
Taryn Lowman
Taryn's passion for subscription boxes started when she was gifted a monthly Birchbox. She is excited to discover more Mom and baby boxes to share with her family!

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Jody E

Hi Taryn. These two were my favorites until last month I discovered the Tan-luxe The Butter!! It is unbelievable easy. It worked better with my hands then a mitt. It is like just putting body butter/lotion on your skin. So natural looking.I didn’t use on my face. Not much scent. Dries quickly too. I never thought of these products until the sub. boxes. Thanks for letting me share.

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hmmm, I may try that.

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Taryn, I am really loving all of your recent reviews. You are very thorough. Love the 4 drop look for your face. I have a tiny bottle if that. I received as a sample. Should be just enough for my face.

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