So it’s another Australian Summer and two things are on my mind. One of those things is how to prevent myself from turning into a bright red tomato by inevitably getting burnt from three seconds of incidental (and accidental) sun exposure. Another is how I’m going to prevent my pasty white legs from blinding people when I wear shorts because it’s just too hot to be considerate of the retinas of others. Consequently, I was pretty stoked when the summer range from Ella Baché turned up on my doorstep. Today I’ll be reviewing their Active Lotion Great SPF50+ sunscreen, their Great SPF30+ Sunbase Foundation, the Great Tan Without Sun and Great Tanning Mitt. As a hint, these products are pretty aptly named.
Ella Bache Great SPF30+ Sunbase Foundation in Light Beige
I’m starting with this foundation because I wanted to start with the product that surprised me most. Ella Baché is well-known for quality skin care, so the fact that they could make a great tanner or sunscreen didn’t particularly surprise me. However, as we’ve witnessed with other brands in the past, sometimes good skin care doesn’t translate to good makeup (and vice versa). This foundation consequently surprised me because it made good on everything it promised. The coverage is sheer, which is intentional because it makes it easy to reapply as you might sunscreen without the potential disaster that’d come from layering foundation on top of more foundation. I find it goes on best with fingers or a brush and then evened out with a sponge as this gives the highest coverage with the nicest finish. If you can’t be bothered though, this looks fabulous with a sponge (you just might soak up a bit more of the product and get sheerer coverage). This has become my all-time favourite “lazy day” foundation. I have the colour light beige, which is the lightest available, and my only criticism would be that even this colour is a little on the dark side for me and suits me better when I’ve got fake tan on. For reference, I’m slightly lighter than Estée Lauder Double Wear 2N1 Desert Beige normally, and more spot on to 2N1 during summer with no fake tan on. Mind you, because the Sunbase Foundation is sheer coverage I can make it work either way so it’s a mild complaint.
The finish of this foundation is stunning on my skin. It gives the most beautiful healthy glow without feeling heavy, oily or greasy. It also looks great whether or not you choose to set it with powder. I’ll usually set it personally because I’m combo and don’t intend to be out in the sun long enough to need to reapply it. This won’t be your go-to if you’ve got big concerns with your skin that you want to cover heavily, but as a natural looking product this is incredible. Your skin looks evened out without hiding your actual skin. When I wear it, I can still see my blemishes but they just blend into the background and I’m left with healthy, radiant skin even AFTER powdering. I absolutely love it and I really didn’t expect to.
What’s so interesting about this foundation though goes beyond its lovely finish. I’ve worn this quite a few times now and every time at the end of the day I notice my skin is so much softer. I’m assuming this is because of the presence of lanolin in the formula, which I personally think is an awesome touch.
I’m a little lost on the availability of this product. It doesn’t appear on Ella Baché’s website, though the medium coverage version does. The medium coverage version of the SPF30+ is being discontinued and being replaced with an SPF50+ version, which leads me to believe that this is possibly discontinued (if I hear otherwise, I’ll let you know!). In saying that, I think having an SPF50+ alternative is a great move and reflects the current advice around sun protection, so it’s awesome that Ella Baché is taking this step. I’m really hoping the formula is similar on the new one though because I love this and I’d be sad to see it go, but I’m trying to remind myself that if they did so well on this foundation then the medium coverage and 50+ version is bound to be just as good! I can’t wait to try it.
Ella Bache Great Tan Without Sun and Great Tanning Mitt
$40 AUD and $9.90 AUD
I’m putting these two in together because I always used them together so I can’t speak to how they’d be on their own. I’m always a little hesitant trying out new fake tans because I’m so scared of turning myself into an oompa loompa. Fortunately, this one is beautiful. It doesn’t have that green base I find some tanners do, but it certainly won’t turn you orange either. I’m pretty pale and left it to develop for four hours. This gave me the perfect medium tan. I was quite a bit darker than I originally was but without looking crazy. More importantly, it felt great going on. It wasn’t greasy or heavy and felt moisturising and smelled great. The mitt and tan combo is pretty fool proof, as I’m a fake tan amateur and still managed to come out with a full body tan that was even without patches (and as an aside, the mitt feels soft and lovely on your skin too). More impressive though was the lasting power of this. I applied it two weeks ago and I’m still looking lovely and bronzed with no patching. I’ve noticed it’s faded off my body and chest, but my arms and legs are still looking fab. It’s also faded in such a way that I don’t have any odd tan lines or harsh changes in colour. For example, even though my chest has faded, the fade between my arms and my chest looks natural and even. Honestly, it doesn’t really look like I have fake tan on at all – it just looks like I’ve seen a few hours of sun. This is brilliant because I really do find fake tan a chore, so the fact that this fades so well and lasts so long has made it catapult up to my new favourite tanner. I’m also super lazy with tan maintenance and remembering to moisturise, so the fact that this has withstood my abuse gives it an immediate check in my book.
Ella Bache Active Lotion Great SPF50+
If you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll already know this, but in case you’re new here, I suffer the very unfortunate condition of being allergic to most sunscreens. I have no idea what the key ingredient is that sets me off but I seem to be okay with face products containing SPF (like the foundation), but when it comes to body I tend to react immediately and severely with a rash. In saying that, sunscreen formulas have been changing a lot in recent years so I’ve been slowly trying to try some of the new to market options and seeing if I have more luck.
This sunscreen is designed for those with active lifestyles, particularly those of you into water sports. It’s water resistant for four hours and contains a range of great skin care ingredients to help moisturise while it protects. I loved the smell and feel of this. It applied easily and absorbed quickly without leaving any greasy icky feeling behind. You could certainly still feel it on the skin, but more in the way you might feel a body moisturiser rather than a traditional sunscreen. I love that this is water resistant and I can attest to it also being sweat resistant. I tested this out on a stinking hot day where I had no choice but to be in the open sun. I was in and out of a pool, though not in the water for extended lengths of time. I was out for about four hours with no reapplication and I’m pleased to say that I did escape totally sunburn free. I was stoked, as I’m usually pretty prone to burning quickly.
As for the allergy? Sad to say I did still have a mild reaction to this. I suspect if I’d had a shower and washed it off once I got home and out of the sun I probably would have been okay, but I wanted to see if I could get away with it and after being on my skin all day I did start getting a rash. In saying that, it was a very mild reaction compared to what I usually get and frankly worth the trade off. It went away as soon as I’d showered so if my options are a bit of an itch that’s easily managed and removed or a full on sun burn, then I know which I’d pick on days when I have no choice but to be in the sun. And if you don’t have my sensitivities, then frankly this is a no-brainer. It goes on great, lasts well, smells nice, moisturises your skin and, best of all, protects it from the sun despite how hot and sweaty you might be getting.
Overall, this was my first contact with Ella Baché products and I’m genuinely impressed. I knew they had a good reputation for quality but I’d always known of them more for salon treatments than for their everyday use line of products. Now that I know, I’ll definitely be trying more of their range (I’m looking at you, Spirulines Eye Lifting Patches). I can’t wait to try the SPF50+ version of the foundation and if it’s as good as the SPF30+ then it’ll be a regular summer purchase. Likewise, I look forward to no longer blinding bystanders with my pasty white legs. It’s a win in my book.
What are some of your favourite summer products?
Note: these products were gifted to me to try. These are nevertheless my honest opinions free of bias, because we all know I happily throw my money around on beauty products anyway so it’s not really going to tempt me into changing my mind. See Disclosures and Disclaimers for more information.