This cream is available in two shades: Suntanned and Sunkissed. Even with self tan applied up to my neck, I still found Sunkissed quite dark and needed less than a full pump to cover my face and blend into the tan line. As the cream is worked into the skin the pigment is released, so initially it produces quite a shocking colour that worried me slightly until it was completely spread across the skin. I think blending really is key with this product, as it provides sheer coverage but a lot of colour that needs to be distributed evenly. I found the best way to achieve a natural look was to apply with my fingers, and then blend outwards towards the hairline with a dry cosmetic sponge, diffusing the colour and helping to soak up any excess product. Although Time Bomb state that this product is suitable for pale complexions, my skin tone is the lightest that would benefit without it starting to look unnatural and obvious; it's a shame that more 'just-been-to-the-beach' style products don't cater for fairer skins that would also enjoy a healthy summery glow.
Despite having such little coverage, this 'liquid sunshine' disguises the redness around my nose and cheeks in a way that I wasn't expecting - I think my complexion definitely looked healthier. The actual colours of each shade are very similar, but Suntanned is a more intense and more pigmented version of its lighter counterpart, seeming to provide more pigment in the same amount of product than creamier textured Sunkissed. Both shades behaved similarly to wash off self tanners, in that they slightly clung to and deepened any dry or dark areas, so I found moisturising healing blemishes and avoiding undereye dark circles a definite must. The formula is paraben and oil free, and I must say I really liked the finish - matte but sheer enough to let the natural brightness of skin show through. It also lasts well on oily areas without being at all drying, and with a touch of powder it stays in place all day. Honestly though, I find the micro-pigment technology a little bit gimmicky; while it is fun to watch the colour change on application, I can't really see much benefit from a usability point of view.
The packaging of these products is very discreet which I appreciate (for some reason I would rather pretend that my tan is natural than admit to faking it,) and these stylish tubes could easily contain any product. The care taken in creating a fancy formula and pretty packaging are definitely reflected in the price, which at £28 makes this one of the most expensive products I've used on my face that doesn't actually contain any skincare benefits. To answer my earlier question - in my opinion, and despite it's fancy formula, this product is a wash off self tanner. Is it a good product? Definitely. Is it worth the price tag? I'll let you be the judge of that one...
The Time Bomb Holiday in a Bottle is available from QVC priced at £28.
Written by Kirsty Paterson