I Tried TikTok’s Favorite Self-Tanning Drops, and They Made My Winter Skin Glow

Updated: Mar. 11, 2024

Look no further than Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops for an effortless glow.

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Rd Editor Tested Isle Of Paradise Self Tanning Drops Andrea Carrillo/rd.com

Every year it feels like winter arrives too soon. Classic dresses are replaced with layers of fall sweaters, and I can no longer leave the house with nothing but sunscreen and mascara on my face. By the time February rolls around, my skin inevitably settles into a crumbly sugar cookie complexion. As a Mexican woman, I only need a few hours under the sun to enhance my naturally tan skin tone. But when sunshine is scarce, I’ve turned to Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops for a confidence boost. Thanks to these magical drops, my skin glows year-round.

What are Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops? 

Similar to a mousse or lotion, self-tanning drops help mimic a tan. Most sunless self-tanners have an active coloring agent that pairs with amino acids in the skin to create a darker complexion. Each product’s application is different, and tanning drops are a more concentrated form of tanning.

The Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops are stored in a clear dropper bottle, but the drops themselves are tinted green. This may be off-putting since the bottle promises a medium tan—not green! Upon further research, I discovered it’s actually a color correcting activator that cancels red tones, typically seen in some concealers. I was eager to put these self-tanning drops to the test, as I have irksome red bumps (aka keratosis pilaris) on my arms.

Faux tanners typically carry an artificial scent, making you smell like you spent the day at a cheap salon rather than a tropical resort. Isle of Paradise drops have a scent, which can trigger sensitive noses, but it’s not overbearing.

Isle Of Paradise Self Tanning Drops Ecomm Via Amazon 2via merchant  

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Why are the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning drops viral? 

Isle of Paradise is one of TikTok’s favorite tanning brands. They offer a variety of ways to self-tan, including mousse, oil mist and spray tan kits. Need help with application or removal? They also have mitts and removers

TikTok videos about the self-tanning drops have amassed over 34.9 million views on the app. Compared to other self-tanners on the market, like Tanologist or St. Tropez, Isle of Paradise’s drops have the aforementioned green color correcting effect while its competitors do not. 

Many people turn to sunless tanners because that means less harmful sun exposure. By letting the drops oxidize indoors and out of intense UV rays, there’s no risk of sunburn or sun poisoning.


Self-tanning school is now in session! Take notes!✍️ #isleofparadise #selftan #tanningdrops #beforeandafter #skincaretips #beauty

♬ original sound – tomlinsonchrry 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩

How we tested it

According to the bottle’s instructions, the drops shouldn’t be applied directly onto dry skin. Instead, mix the solution with moisturizer. The finished look depends on how many drops you use. For a “radiant” look, use three drops; six drops for “sunkissed;” nine drops for “golden” and 12 drops for “bronze.”

The bottle calls for a patch test 24 hours before full application. This is a smart idea, but as an avid risk taker (and all-around impatient person), I decided to dive straight in.

There’s no mention of rinsing anything but your hands, so once showered and exfoliated, I was ready for application. Using two pumps of moisturizer as my base, I added four self-tanning drops and created a mixture in my palm. Once the tan-infused lotion was distributed to my arms, chest and neck, I washed my hands twice with soap.

The next morning, I was happy to see there was no transfer on my fresh, white bed sheets. I may just be inexperienced in the self-tanning department, but I did wake up with some light splotching on my wrists. If not for the streaks, I might not have noticed a difference in my skin color.

Determined for someone other than me to notice my tan, I decided to go another round. This time, I added eight drops, let it set overnight and woke up looking like I had just landed from a week-long vacation. My wrist splotches were still visible—if not more so—but the rest of my arms and chest were definitely more tan.

Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops features 

Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops come in a 30-milliliter (about 1.01-ounce) bottle. The volume meets TSA liquid limits, and it’s small enough to stow in your toiletry bag. Some reviewers noted that their dropper leaked during travel, so when possible, store the bottle upright and in a cool space.

The formula is made with grapefruit extract, as well as oils from avocado, chia seed, coconut and eucalyptus. Although it’s packaged in an oil dropper, the drops themselves don’t feel oily. Given that it mixes with your favorite moisturizer, these self-tanning drops don’t leave your skin feeling tight or dry.


  • Allows for a customizable tan
  • Vegan and cruelty-free formula 
  • Results can last up to a week
  • Can build on coverage 
  • Doesn’t leave skin looking orange


  • May not be ideal for very fair skin tones
  • Takes time to perfect the right drops-to-moisturizer ratio


Isle Of Paradise Before And AfterAndrea Carrillo/rd.com (2)

How long do Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops last? 

According to the brand, all of the Isle of Paradise tanning products are designed to last and fade like a natural suntan. The drops, without reapplication, should last up to one week. To maintain the glow, reapply a few drops every couple of days.

How long do Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops take to work? 

The tan will fully develop in six to eight hours. It’s not recommended to shower as the tan is setting, but if you find that you’ve achieved the right color sooner, hop in the shower to stop the development process. Some users also self-tan before bed. The good news is—in personal experience—the color won’t transfer to bed sheets!

How often should I use Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops? 

There’s really no limit! The drops can be used only for special occasions, or reapplied every two to three days to maintain a desired shade. In between sessions, exfoliate with a facial scrub and body scrub to make sure the tan is even.

How many drops of Isle of Paradise should I use? 

It’s easier to build a tan than to scrub it off if you’ve put too much. Fair-skinned reviewers found that starting with too many drops made them look orange. Start with only a few drops and work your way toward more coverage.

What other shoppers had to say  

In the last stretch of winter, self-tanning drops are a way to boost confidence and bring some color back into your skin. Whether tanning for an event or for an everyday glow, just read why these shoppers love their drops.

“I’m very wary of self-tanners, because they can look so fake and either too dark or too orange,” writes Rick Brown, a five-star reviewer. “This is the best self-tanner I’ve ever used. I put four drops in a tiny bit of my moisturizer and it gives me a natural sun-kissed look on my face and neck, not a fake orange. I highly recommend.”

A. Leverette, another five-star reviews, found that other self-tanners irritated their cystic acne and caused breakouts and rashes. “I have used this for eight months and it has not caused any breakouts!” they write. “I use this everyday with my lotion. My daughter is very fair-skinned and she uses the light. She also has very sensitive skin and has had no issues with it. Love this stuff, this is the best way to beat the winter washed-out look!”

Final Verdict  

You don’t need to be an expert tanner to enjoy the benefits of the Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops. It’s surprisingly user-friendly and saves you a trip to the tanning salon. I love that it doesn’t make my skin sticky for more than a minute, and there’s no potent salon odor. Best of all, the final color made me glow with confidence! Just remember to apply these self-tanning drops as evenly as possible, and thoroughly wash your hands after use so you don’t look like a total beginner. (Like me!)

Where to buy the Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops

 Isle Of Paradise Self Tanning Drops Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

 If you want a tan without planning a trip or splurging on airfare, the Isle of Paradise drops can be found on Amazon, Sephora and QVC for around $32. Turn on some soothing ocean sounds and it’s almost as good as a tropical getaway.

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