Hi girls! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Sorry for the radio silence – the last few months have been a whirlwind of the unknown and I’m so happy to be getting back to some form of normalcy again. I’m absolutely gagged about this recent improvement in the weather as well – as a summer baby, and also a bit of a smorgasbord of nationalities, I think I must have drawn the short straw when it comes to skin type – I’m fair on a good day, pasty at my worst; freckly, mildly combination, too dark for porcelain yet too pale for beige (whatya gonna do though).

Personally, I would much rather pay a premium for somebody to make me look good, than to risk doing it myself and ruining it. My hairdresser dyes my hair, and my beautician sprays on my tan. I do it maybe three times a year, it costs me around £24 and lasts about a week. Yes, you do have to stand in a plastic booth wearing nothing but paper knickers and a hairnet, contorting in to various poses. Sometimes though, you just want to be sun-kissed for no occasion, and that’s fine. A lot of my friends fake tan regularly and have no issues. Surely it’s not as scary as I think?!

I recently decided to try some new tanning products so that I can go on holiday and not be a small round ghost on a sun lounger. Previously I have used gradual tan moisturisers from Garnier, Palmers and Dove, but I love to spend my monies so went a little upmarket. I chose ISLE OF PARADISE because their bottles were holographic and they called it Happy Tan, and I am easily drawn to cheerful, sparkly things. It’s also organic, vegan and 100% cruelty free, which are things I am slowly incorporating in to my shopping habits.

The first product I tried was a trusty Gradual tan – I always feel a little more safe with them because if you don’t like the way your tone is going, you can stop and start as you please. I exfoliated in the morning and applied the gradual tan in the evening (you are supposed to leave at least 24 hours between exfoliation and application but I threw caution to the wind…). As a maiden voyage, I only applied to my legs, using a tanning mitt because sometimes even gradual tans can leave your hands a bit discoloured.

Overnight the colour developed really nicely – be aware that this product does have a bit of that distinct fake-tan smell, but you can’t have it all! You want to be tan? Deal with it. The day after first application there was no streaking, and only minimal touch ups around the toes and backs of the ankles required. The gradual tan has a lovely shimmer to it, so in the sun you have a really subtle sparkle! Its lovely, and so easy to apply: I did small top ups over the next five days. Hardly any came off in the shower and required exfoliation to fade out. I highly recommend that if you want to take the plunge in to self-tanning, that this is a great place to start!

I decided after a few days of gloriously bronzed legs that I would quite like to be this brown on my upper body, too! Which posed something of a dilemma: yes, an experienced self-tanner could apply gradual tan cream to their arms, chest and face and probably get a decent coverage. However, I am NOT in any capacity, experienced. And frankly, the face thing made me nervous.

With that, I popped back to Boots and purchased the Self-tanning water in fair. Nervous but optimistic, I applied the product that evening to my arms, chest, neck and face. You have to spritz the product on to your skin until you’re saturated, then use a tanning mitt in ‘sweeping motions’ until it’s absorbed and you are just sticky and mildly uncomfortable. Unlike the gradual tan, this develops over 4-6 hours, and because I am lazy, I just slept in mine as always.

Incredibly worried about waking up with tiger stripes over my face, I was pleasantly surprised to wake up at 6am (not pleased about this part) to a pretty even tan! My arms and chest in particular looked great, and my face looked more like that of someone who had just got back from holiday – a little patchy in places, but overall, yes a tan, definitely not a skin disease. Great!

I did manage to mess up my hands, which is pretty normal behaviour for me as I also do this with my feet. One hand came out very dark, the other very patchy. It definitely brought a few laughs to my coworkers, and despite very thorough hand scrubbing it took two days to match. Absolutely my fault though- in future, moisturise the skin to prime it, like with elbows and knees.

I didn’t do any touch-ups on my upper body, and the tan lasted for a full week before I experienced any fading. There was no streak as my skin tone returned to normal, but the product lingered around my ankles, so I used the Over it self-tan eraser, which is applied the same fashion as the tanning water, then washed off in the shower. So easy!

Having had a really successful run with my first experience self-tanning with Isle of Paradise, I feel really confident about events I have coming up this summer and being able to look bronzed and sun-kissed without using a sun-bed or whipping out my boobs for my beautician (life is grand isn’t it?). If you’ve previously been like me and a bit nervous about using fake tan, ease yourself in slowly – start with a gradual tan and get the hang of the product, then work your way up!

(This is not a sponsored post. I just found a product I liked and wanted to share my experience with you all. I’m very kind.)