I’ve Got the Pallor of a Victorian Ghost, But Isle of Paradise’s Sunny Serum Gives Me a Bronzy Glow

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TOTAL: 91/100

My skincare routine is minimal—as in, I want to exert the most minimal effort to get out the door, reserving my energy to overanalyze Taylor Swift lyrics or obsessively test hacks for fudgier brownies. This is why I love Isle of Paradise’s tanning oil drops, which I mix in with my moisturizer to give my face and collarbones a subtle glow, allowing me to forgo makeup altogether on most days. So when the brand launched their Sunny Serum Instant Face Bronzer earlier this year, which combines liquid bronzer with a hydrating oil, I got my hands on a bottle and started using it right away. One less step? Sign me up. It’s been a great timesaver, but it has come with a (tiny) learning curve. Here’s what you should know.

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What’s in the Isle of Paradise Sunny Serum Instant Face Bronzer?

candace davison

Beyond bronzing pigments, the serum features jojoba oil, an anti-inflammatory that’s meant to reduce redness; niacinamide, which can brighten skin, also reduce inflammation and prevent acne; and squalane, a mega-moisturizer. With those ingredients combined, the serum’s goal isn’t to simply fake a dewy glow—it aims to even out your skin tone and leave your skin feeling nourished. At $24 a bottle, it’s a bit pricey for a bronzer, but if it can achieve everything it sets out to do, it’s well worth it.

What Were My Results?

Isle of Paradise touts that the serum can be used four ways—on its own, as a base under your makeup, as a highlighter afterward and as a body bronzer (particularly for your collarbones and shoulders). I tend to layer it, using half of one pump to coat my entire face, then the other half to highlight my nose, cheekbones and chin.

candace davison

The serum itself has a deep, coppery hue to it and is about as thick as standard moisturizer or face lotion. At first, I feared it’d be too dark for my skin or would look streaky, but it quickly blended in. In fact, it creates such a discreet finish that I found myself needing a second (and sometimes third) layer to really make my skin glow. Once I got into a rhythm though, it was faster to apply than my usual tanning drops alchemy. (And, better yet, it dried without feeling sticky or leaving a film on my skin, which I’ve found with some liquid bronzers or all-in-one moisturizers.)

What I Liked:

  • Easy to apply

  • Non-streaky

  • Moisturizing

  • Skin appeared less red/blotchy after applying

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Must wash your hands thoroughly after applying

  • Bronzer may be too subtle for some

The Bottom Line:

Honestly, it’s a pretty effective moisturizer with the added bonus of reducing redness and providing a subtle glow. I really like using it as a highlighter, and highly recommend it for that use. If you’re looking for a fake a week-in-the-Bahamas tan, this is not the bronzer for you (maybe go with the tanning drops instead). But if you want a light, natural-looking boost, you can’t go wrong with it.

$24 at Sephora

$24 at Isle of Paradise

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