Product Reviews

​I Usually Hate Self-Tanning Products, But These Bronzing Drops Changed My Mind

written by MADI KOETTING

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

isle of paradise sunny serum"
isle of paradise sunny serum
Source: Isle of Paradise
Source: Isle of Paradise

Confession time: I’ve never been big on self-tanner. Considering the fact that I’m obsessed with skincare coupled with having extremely fair skin, not buying into self-tanner is off-brand for me. I’ve always felt that self-tanner is too messy and too much maintenance for me to really commit to—not to mention I’d rather bask in my paleness than look orange or have telltale signs of self-tanner.

After hearing rave reviews about Isle of Paradise’s products over the past few years, my interest was piqued, and the release of their new Sunny Serum Instant Face Bronzer made me finally cave. Would it finally sell me on tanning products? I put it to the test to find out.

About My Skin

Between two rounds of actuate in high school, combating persistent redness, and being all-around sensitive, my skin has experienced it all. It wasn’t until three years ago that I finally saw a breakthrough in my overall skin texture and appearance. I’m extremely thankful my oily skin has calmed down quite a bit in recent years. Now, at 25, my once oily skin now leans on the dry side—or so my facialist tells me. Products with hydrating and soothing ingredients that help calm my redness are my bread and butter.

Review of Isle of Paradise’s Sunny Serum Instant Face Bronzer

Unlike their other self-tanning products, which are meant to leave a color that develops over the course of several hours, Isle of Paradise’s Sunny Serum is a little different. Much like the viral Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops, Sunny Serum is a liquid bronzing serum that instantly illuminates to deliver a bronzed, glowing complexion and is formulated with ingredients that help nurture the skin.

If I do feel the need to self-tan, I swear by Isle of Paradise’s body butter and tanning water for their ability to achieve a seamless tan when I need to (no streaks, ever!). This product is meant to deliver instant results and can be used in four ways: as a primer, makeup base, highlighter, or body bronzing product.

Isle of Paradise
Sunny Serum Instant Face Bronzer
Shop now

First Impressions

For a product line sold at Sephora, I’m always amazed by the quality of Isle of Paradise’s products for their affordable price. At just $24, I felt confident knowing the bronzing serum would be far worth the price if I liked it. For my first use, I mixed one pump of the bronzing serum into my favorite everyday moisturizer from La Roche Posay. I really wanted this product to play an integral role in my everyday skincare routine, so incorporating it into my current product lineup was essential.

isle of paradise sunny serum

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t in love with how it blended into my moisturizer. Some aggressive rubbing was necessary to achieve an even complexion. After letting it marinate for three minutes, though, I was pleasantly surprised by its ability to melt into my skin and offer a natural glow. 

On day two of testing the Isle of Paradise Sunny Serum Instant Face Bronzer, I opted to mix it into my sunscreen instead. This method blended much better—no aggressive rubbing necessary. I swiped on some mascara, added a dash of concealer to my undereyes, and my GRWM routine was complete within 10 minutes. 

I’ve since tested the bronzer as a primer and highlighter on my cheekbones and forehead, but my preferred method is mixing it into sunscreen, as it makes it easier to blend down to my collarbones for an all-over glow.

The Wear

Before using Sunny Serum
After using Sunny Serum

As someone with redness-prone skin, I rarely feel confident to leave the house without wearing foundation or tinted sunscreen. After incorporating a few drops of the Isle of Paradise Sunny Serum into my bare bones SPF 50 sunscreen, though, I felt confident enough to go out for dinner and drinks without a full beat of makeup on. The differences I’ve noticed with the bronzing serum are subtle yet impactful. As you can see from the before and after photos, the serum simply enhances my natural complexion without making me look like an overly bronzed disco ball the way other bronzing drops do.

After two-ish weeks of consistent wear, I’ve found my mixture of bronzing serum and sunscreen makes me just as confident as with foundation—a serious win in my book. Even on hour 15, the bronzing effects are intact on my face.

I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t this just a DIY tinted sunscreen? Yes and no. I’ve tested several tinted sunscreens (Colorscience is my favorite), and my one con is that they always feel too similar to foundation. A serum-like consistency like Sunny Serum melts into my skin, takes less effort to blend in, and gives me a natural, glowy complexion without that telltale heaviness. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than wearing foundation in the blazing summer sun, and the Sunny Serum is the perfect in-between product for skin perfecting.

Final Thoughts

I’m not exaggerating when I say Isle of Paradise’s Sunny Serum has cut my morning routine in half. It fuses my makeup routine into my morning skincare ritual, eliminating the need to apply 10+ products before I’m ready to tackle the day. Plus, it revives my redness-prone skin into a glowing, even masterpiece. If you need me, I’ll be opting for this ‘no-makeup makeup’ product over heavy foundation all summer long.

Isle of Paradise
Sunny Serum Instant Face Bronzer
Shop now