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Isle Of Paradise is changing everything you know about self-tanning

January 1 | 6 minute read

Isle Of Paradise Founder Interview Hero 16x9

Words by Alexandra Whiting

Originally published on | January 1

Isle of Paradise founder Jules von Hep is reinventing the tanning game with his colour-correcting formulas and body positive principles.

Discover the new way to get glowing, feel-good skin.

What stops you from self-tanning? It might be the memory of a streaky disaster, the unpleasant scent associated with some tanning products, or perhaps the unfortunate orange shade you’ve been left with before. Isle of Paradise is intent on reinventing the entire tricky process. Created by London-based celebrity tanner Jules Von Hep, the brand offers easy-to-use colour-correcting formulas that deliver an unbelievable bronze glow. The fact it uses vegan, cruelty free and organic ingredients makes it even more appealing.

“Not everybody tans the same way,” says Von Hep. “I believe in a wardrobe of tan choices. Isle of Paradise is for people who haven’t been comfortable tanning before.” The range launched with three different shades: peach (for a sunkissed glow), green (to counter redness and create a medium tan) and violet (to instil deep colour and nix any orange tones). They’re all available in three different formulas too: a water, drops and a foam. Naturally, we had a few more questions for the effusive founder on his revolutionary brand.

Isle Of Paradise Founder Interview 16x9 1

You’ve spent the last decade tanning bodies, including celebrity ones. How did you get into the industry?

“I tried different roles in the beauty industry and nothing clicked. Then I met Nichola Joss (celebrity facialist whose clients include Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow) who encouraged me to try tanning. It wasn’t the tan that got me hooked, but I fell in love with people’s vulnerability. Clients came to me to feel better, and it was my job to make people feel good naked and give them this cloak of confidence. I loved knowing I’d made someone feel good in their skin.

“I built a good reputation and the makeup artist for The X-Factor asked me if I’d like to do the tans for the show, to which I said ‘Hell yes!’. When we wrapped, I started touring with Little Mix, and got poached by Dancing With the Stars. In the UK that show was known for bad, orange tans. I’d become known for natural-looking tans, so I changed that whole show. Then, I was going around the world doing Versace campaigns, Michael Kors fashion shows, more TV productions – I did the tans for the first season of The Crown – and I spent more time educating people on how to tan.”

I had to make sure Isle of Paradise was a brand that embraced all bodies.
Jules von Hep

Was your idea for the brand something that grew over time or a total ‘aha’ moment?

“It was definitely an ‘aha’ moment. Through my career I’d heard clients saying the same thing over and over – they wanted to look ‘glowy’, ‘brighter’, ‘less tired’ or ‘bronzed’ and always the best version of themselves, rather than just ‘tanned’. With the products I was using, it was difficult to really do that. I’m a Virgo and a total perfectionist. I’d see my clients the next day and it wouldn’t be the result that I wanted, so I started mixing my tan with colour-correcting makeup. After doing it for a while, my kit was huge, two suitcases. I just thought, there has to be a better way. I never wanted my own brand, but I felt like it was my duty. If I didn’t do it, people would be left tanning with the same products that left dull, lifeless results. I had to help them.”

Isle of Paradise is strongly tied to a message of body positivity and inclusivity. Can you speak to that?

“Body confidence has been a massive pillar for me. Every single body is different, but when I was tanning, every single person was apologising for taking their clothes off. Victoria’s Secret model or otherwise, the moment that robe came off it was, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry about my cellulite/thighs/arms/back/this old tattoo/oh I haven’t waxed’. I’d say, ‘Honestly babe, I don’t care, and neither should you!’”

“I had to make sure Isle of Paradise was a brand that embraced all bodies. I wanted the bodies in the campaigns to represent the bodies we see everyday; all sizes, shapes, skin tones and textures. People say it’s amazing that we were the first tanning brand to use a curvy model, and it is great, but I also think it’s sad that it hadn’t been done before.”

Isle Of Paradise Founder Interview 3x4 2a
Isle Of Paradise Founder Interview 3x4 2b

We love that there’s a tanning primer in your range. How does it work?

Prep It Self-Tan Priming Spray lowers the pH level of your skin, meaning your tan does not smell as much and it gives you up to three days more out of your tan, which is a gamechanger. I came up with that concept when I was doing body makeup. Makeup primer is obvious, it makes the foundation sit better and last longer. And then I thought, ‘why don’t we have one of these for tanning?’. It makes such a noticeable difference using it.”

You once said there’s an art to tanning pale skin. Please elaborate for all those pale skin tones who equate tanning with turning orange.

“Many people forget that when you tan, it doesn’t have to be this whole colour change. I have clients who are pale with reddish hair and they have silky skin with red-pinky undertones. When you give them the lightest possible coat of tan, it removes that unevenness in the tone and texture of their skin. But it’s not like painting a white wall brown, it’s about giving it the lightest kiss of colour. If you’re pale and use the peach range, it has a high level of oxy-glow complex, which boosts oxygen in the skin, so you’ll glow more as opposed to be tanned."

Self-tanning water is still quite a new concept. What are your top tips for using it?

Self-tanning water is one of the most hydrating ways you can tan. It can seem a bit scary because it doesn’t have a guide colour, but actually, the fact that you will have no colour transfer onto clothes or sheets is a gamechanger. I exfoliate with the Over It Magic Self-Tan Eraser because it’s a glycolic exfoliator, so you get the evenest surface possible. Then, moisturise hands, elbows, knees and feet, and if you’re fair, moisturise eyebrows and hairline too.

“Prime your skin with Prep It, then holding the tanning water 15cm from your skin, lightly mist until skin is visibly wet, then rub it in using your palm or a tanning mitt. Wash your palms and moisturise your hands again and it will just blend that whole area. Your tan will develop in four to six hours, but because there’s no colour transfer you can put on all white and go to work, or go to bed in it and wake up with no transfer on your sheets.”

Jules’ pro tips for IOP Tanning Water

  • Use your tanning water to set your makeup and it will tan you through your makeup, and when you take your makeup off, you’ll be tanned underneath.
  • If you’re in a rush, you can spritz the water then dry the area with your hairdryer on cool and then set it using a translucent powder.
  • If you’re nervous about streaks, check your tan two hours after you’ve applied and you’ll be able to see the tan developing, so if you’ve missed anything you can correct it.

Which product do you use the most?

“I swap and change all the time, but the green 'Self-Tanning Water in 'Medium’. I spray that on my face every other day because it hides redness and makes me look not exhausted.”

How do you recommend using the tanning drops?

“I love the drops, and I always say, don’t be shy with them. You can add six to 12 drops into a dollop of moisturiser, so you’re really in control of what shade you go. To use it on your body, put your moisturiser in the palm of your hand, make a little well with your thumb, add the drops and then rub your palms together and moisturise as normal. Your moisturiser is now a tanner! The drops contain avocado oil, coconut oil and chia seed oil, which are all extra hydrating. On the face, I say two to four drops, and if you are a girl on-the-go, just put them in your foundation. A lot of people keep them in their makeup case. They are great to take to the gym, you can take them on holiday and fly with them in your carry-on.”

Related topics and brand tags

Isle Of ParadiseBrand interviewFounder interviewBody care

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