My Easiest Self-Tanning Routine (Seriously!)

Today’s the day! The sun is shining, the tank is clean (name that movie…) – and it’s time to tan! But of course, ain’t nobody got time for skin cancer and tanning beds haven’t been vogue since, well, ever. Fake it ’til ya make it is our 2021 self-tanning motto, and today, I’m sharing the easiest self-tanning routine I’ve tried thus far – although I haven’t tried too many, since your girl is still practicing her application methods to not resemble a carrot. 😉 

I’d been hearing every blogger and her mother rave about the brand Isle of Paradise, so I decided to give that one a go.

Mind you, before this, my self-tanning experience was about slim to none. I had experimented with some probably-expired L’Oreal self-tanning lotions back in the day that turned me a nice shade of Oompa Loompa, and I’d played around with some self-tanning Jergens creams. Beyond that…nada. Avoided self-tanners like they came with a side of UV rays or humiliation, which for me, they basically did.

So, this is my second seasonal foray into the world of fake n’ bake.

Below I’ll share some before/after shots since my favorite, easiest self-tanning products thus far take 4-6 hours to marinate, as well as some FAQ’s from Instagram. Also got some input from the self-tanning experts in da house who dropped more than two cents worth of tips for a streak-free self-tan (bless up). 

I use this Isle of Paradise body butter for all over, and these Isle of Paradise tanning drops.

In general, the brand has a few shades: peach is light, green is medium, and purple is dark.

Beyond the body butter and tanning drops, I want to review the Isle of Paradise tanning mouse and self-tanning water – since I like the color that develops with this brand, I’m gungho and open to trying others in their product lineup to see how they compare. BUT, I have heard that the tanning water mists less controllably, making it more likely to get where you don’t want it (like the walls – ha!). 

The Isle of Paradise body butter comes out white-ish and applies with a hint of golden glow. I use approximately one pump per limb – make sure you’re applying as evenly as possible to obviously not be streaky. The supersized tub lasts awhile for me – this is the same big bottle I had last year, and it’s goin’ strong. If you want/need to stock up or try it, it’s currently $45 here, and you can get an addtitional $10 off with code OFFER or HELLO10 at checkout!

While some folks mix tanning drops in WITH the body butter for an even deeper tan, I prefer just inching my way towards my ideal color since less is more is my mantra. I’ve been applying once a week but will up it to twice/week as the weather warms up even more!

EASIEST SELF TANNING ROUTINE - Isle of Paradise Review on Coming Up Roses

EASIEST SELF TANNING ROUTINE - Isle of Paradise Review on Coming Up Roses

For application, again, I use approximately 1-2 pumps per limb (typically 1 pump per arm, 2 pumps per leg), and then another pump for the my torso and a pump for my back. I don’t use the butter on my face – I mix about a half-dropper of the Isle of Paradise tanning drops in shade Dark into my regular nighttime moisturizer and let that sit on overnight. The first time I tried that, I used a full dropper – mistake. I also forgot some key areas, which was an obvious rookie mistake. 😉 Some hot tips for you so that you don’t make my same mistake twice…

  • Don’t forget the bridge of your nose!
  • Moisturizer all the way to your hair line, under your eyes, and a quick swipe over your ears.
  • Bring it down under your chin and meet at your neck where your self-tanning body butter starts so that you don’t have any gaps in your tan

This is the easiest self-tanning routine on the planet for me because I don’t have to worry about mitts, stains, or weird smells. I apply the Isle of Paradise body butter with my hands, just like I apply regular body lotion! (Just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly when you’re done!). It doesn’t have a weird smell (you know how some self-tanners smell SO BAD and distinct??? Bleck!) – it actually has a blend of coconut, eucalyptus, + peppermint oils inside! And it doesn’t rub off on my clothes or bedsheets! Although I will say, I try to wear looser-fitting clothes on self-tanning day to avoid any color mishaps or any streaks caused by friction, and I apply in the morning or right after work to avoid self-tanning right before bed. 

Here are some Before/Afters of my Isle of Paradise self-tanning routine – first up, some shots from before I applied ANYTHING this season. Nice and pasty. HA. (No filters, color editing, etc so you can see the progression of the tan!)

EASIEST SELF TANNING ROUTINE - Isle of Paradise Review on Coming Up Roses EASIEST SELF TANNING ROUTINE - Isle of Paradise Review on Coming Up Roses

Next was exactly one week after my first application: 

EASIEST SELF TANNING ROUTINE - Isle of Paradise Review on Coming Up Roses EASIEST SELF TANNING ROUTINE - Isle of Paradise Review on Coming Up Roses

I applied again immediately after snapping these shots, about six hours later:

EASIEST SELF TANNING ROUTINE - Isle of Paradise Review on Coming Up Roses EASIEST SELF TANNING ROUTINE - Isle of Paradise Review on Coming Up Roses

(My shoulder looks white from where the light is hitting it – ha!) Again, I JUST used the Isle of Paradise Body Butter for this – hence why it’s the easiest self-tanning routine ever! One product, no mitt, voila!

Next, some side-by-sides! After Application #1…

EASIEST SELF TANNING ROUTINE - Isle of Paradise Review on Coming Up Roses

And after Application #2…

EASIEST SELF TANNING ROUTINE - Isle of Paradise Review on Coming Up Roses

FAQ’s on the easiest self-tanning routine:

  • Do you feel like it gets on bedding or your clothes?

Nope! But again, I’m aware of when I’m self-tanning and have never done it right before bed or before wearing skin-tight clothing. 

  • What happens if I mess up? How can you fix it?

They actually make this stick that supposedly helps with blunders – I bought it last year but for the life of me can’t find it since moving. BUT, I did figure out a little trick myself after being too heavy-handed with the tanning drops on my face last week! This clarifying lotion actually removes it. It’s a pretty strong toner, so I figured it would work pretty well to remove anything that was sitting on my face – and sure enough, it did! A few strategic swipes definitely helped even the tan out, and after a few applications it basically had me back to baseline.

I also found a simple trick online that said to mix lemon juice + baking soda to make a paste; rub the paste on your tan, let it sit for a few minutes, and VOILA – the lemon’s acid strips the tan and the baking soda naturally exfoliates whether you need a fresh start of just to even out a few patches.

Best self-tanning tips from the CURowd:

  • Stand in the shower if you’re doing a mousse or spray so you don’t get your walls or floor! – Rachel
  • Moisturizer your elbows, knees, and heels first with regular lotion! – Kanani, and Allie agreed – she said, “I apply lotion to my elbows, knees, and knuckles before I tan so they don’t absorb!”
  • Exfoliate before, but don’t exfoliate or use a harsh scrub after to elongate the last! – Katie


I hope this was a helpful + comprehensive Isle of Paradise review and the easiest self-tanning routine you’ve come across if you’re relatively rookie like I was – ha!

Do you self-tan?

For more easy beauty hacks, here’s my easy everyday no-makeup look that takes – I kid you not – 3 minutes max.

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