April 15, 2024

I tried Isle of Paradise’s best-selling Tanning Water

When leading celebrity tanner, Jules Von Hep, decided to funnel over a decade of experience in the beauty industry into creating user-friendly at-home tanning products, we took notice.

He is, of course, the man behind bronze skin so seamless, it’s stood up to scrutiny on the red carpet when worn by his A-list clients. So it’s unsurprising that when he bottled his own self-tan infused with colour correcting actives to bestow the most natural-looking glow, we all wanted to get in on the action.

A little over a year and a half since it launched, Isle Of Paradise has already built up a formidable fan following, cementing itself as the fake tan brand to know.


Isle Of Paradise Self-Tanning Water, £18. 95


I am not good at fake tan. Much as I try, I always end up stripy when I use it, with wotsit knuckles, ultra dark knees and a scuff of colour round my ankles. I love the effect a “faux glow” gives – I’d be tanned year round if I could – but I also can’t be faffed with the upkeep, the orange sheets, the biscuity-smelling limbs and the tideline in between my fingers. Anything that makes tanning easier and idiot-proof would get my vote. But can it ever really be ultra simple? Hmm…


I like to make a rod for my own back. Despite not being the world’s most competent tanner, I decided to opt for the clear tanning water. Being clear, it mercifully saves my poor white sheets from a murky ending and means that my clothes won’t suffer from any transfer. It does, on the other hand, make plotting the tan across your body a bit more difficult, since it’s invisible. Application-wise, I prefer a mist waaaaaaaaay more than the tanning mousses I’ve tried. The spritz nozzle is more forgiving than mousse (which, on me, always, always goes streaky and is difficult to spread without creating joins or lines between one swipe and the next). The mist covers a wider surface area more quickly, too, making it a faster option.

Getting it on my back remained tricky business (I called on my boyfriend for that bit, but found he was happier to just spritz this on than don a mitt and buff like a champ – he hates that). That said, I wouldn’t always bother with my back in winter, since it’s mostly tucked up in a jumper.

Once on, I gave it a quick once over with a mitt (nothing as strenuous as usual) just to mesh everything together nicely. Then I used the residue left to swipe it over the drier skin on my hands and feet so they didn’t end up 8 shades darker than the rest of my body. For my face, I just spritzed it on like a face mist.

If I’m completely honest, I did miss half my arm out, so when it developed, there was a fairly decent chunk that remained stark white (whoops). That’s the risk you take when you prize clean bedsheets over an even application. But, rectifying it was much easier with the spray – I just spritzed it over the area I’d missed before going to bed the next evening and found that it settled in fairly seamlessly.

Colour-wise, there are three options – Light, Medium and Dark – each of which has a particular colour correcting function. Light has a faint peach tint which helps to brighten, Medium has a green tinge which cancels out redness and Dark is slightly violet to counteract yellow and sallow tones.

I was happy with my choice of Medium which gave a beautifully natural sunkissed bronze (no oompa orange at all) that made me feel very smug indeed poking out from beneath my chunky knits and jeans. Honey-coloured feet will always put me in a good mood.


All in all, it did a good job, was fairly idiot proof and didn’t take too long to apply. I did still have to stand starkers in my bathroom for a good five minutes to give it time to dry – enough to put me off doing it weekly – but for the times I need a little bronze lift, I’ll be calling on this again. Top work, Jules.

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