Review - Ella Baché Defence+ Charcoal Micro Exfoliant & Antioxidant Radiance Cream
Updated: Feb 22
This is the first time that I am invited to do a pre-launch review by Ella Baché West Lindfield and I am really super, super, duper excited to let everyone know what I think of these two incredible products from the new Ella Baché Defence+ range, consisting of one exfoliant and one moisturiser. This range highlights the anti-pollution function to defend, strengthen and renew.
Pollution & skin
Pollutants, particularly air-borne pollutants, have long been proven to have detrimental skin effects. In the city, pollutants are pretty much everywhere (vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke etc etc), and can be gaseous (such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide) and nongaseous, i.e. particulates, or more often they are called nanoparticles. Pollutants put skin under oxidative stress and can break down the skin's natural protective barrier, or get trapped in pores which in turn cause congestion-related problems.
Anti-pollution in skincare
"Anti-pollution" is an unregulated term in the sense that it does not really have any pharmaceutical or therapeutic meaning. Put it simply, products do not need to do a certain thing (or anything at all) to be able to claim that they are "anti-pollution". Therefore, it is important to understand what the products actually do rather than relying on the "anti-pollution" labelling. That said, broadly speaking, anti-pollution in skincare can mean three different things:
Clears pollutants from skin (cleaner / exfoliant)
Forms a physical filter or "shield" which stops pollutants such as nanoparticles from penetration
Contains antioxidants to neutralise oxidative stress, and/or soothing ingredients to repair damage to the skin barrier.
Defence+ Charcoal Micro Exfoliant
"A deeply cleansing black charcoal exfoliant that removes dead skin cells, impurities, and particle pollution while delicately polishing the skin. Leaves skin refined and smoothed, and the complexion revitalised and radiant."
This exfoliant is different from anything that I have used before. It is a physical exfoliant but the granules are gel particles. The gel particles are not abrasive yet very effective. The granules are made from sodium polyacrylate - the same chemical that is commonly used in nappies to absorb water (yup!) This is such an effective exfoliant, I wonder why it is not more widely used.
Activated charcoal has been used for many years to purify drinking water (e.g. Brita filter). Activated charcoal can be used to treat poison ingestion due to its absorption power. Use of activated charcoal in skincare is not new, but the traditional use has been confirmed by studies suggesting activated charcoal has the ability to draw microparticles, such as dirt, dust, chemicals, toxins, and bacteria, to the surface of the skin, to make removing them easier.
Application & results
I have used the charcoal micro exfoliant 3 times and given that it is an exfoliant, I allow about 3 days in between uses. It can be used in the evening after removing makeup, or first thing in the morning before applying makeup. It needs to be used on dry skin for maximum impact. Because it polishes skin very well, it makes the absorption of my subsequent skin care layers better, and if I use it in the morning, makeup goes onto skin smoother.
Honestly, I am really enjoying this and constantly looking forward to use it again. It makes my skin so smooth that I cannot stop touching it.
The one tip that I have is to use it in the shower. When massaging the exfoliating gel onto dry skin, the gel dries up and does not stick to skin; instead, it crumbles and falls. It can get a bit messy.
Defence+ Antioxidant Radiance Cream
"A smooth antioxidant action cream with a matte finish that protects skin from atmospheric pollutants, reduces signs of fatigue and promotes long lasting hydration."
Defence+ Antioxidant Radiance Cream contains an extremely comprehensive list of emollients, soothing and hydrating ingredients. Some of these also double up as antioxidants. There are a few crowd pleasers such as vitamin C (in the form of ethylated ascorbic acid), vitamin E, rice germ oil and squalane.
I do not see any ingredient that I can immediately identify as a film-forming agent that is often found in "anti-pollution" creams (say, an example would be silicone acrylate polymers). I am actually quite pleased because I generally don't like the film-forming idea. A few of these ingredients break me out (to think about it, if pollutant particles cannot get in, how do other substances like sebum and dead skin cells get out?)
Application & results
This cream is quite viscous, but is very easy to spread. I was expecting a completely matte finish, but actually it gives my skin a rather dewy look! I feel that it has a slightly sticky residue which does not seem to get fully absorbed, but it does not feel greasy, does not make my face look oily, and does not affect how I apply my makeup either.
Having used this twice a week for 10 days I am very happy with how it feels on my skin and how my skin looks. It gives my skin a very comforting feeling. Counter-intuitive to the "anti-pollution" concept, I quite like it as a night cream because of the slightly thicker consistency. Despite that consistency, this cream does not have any pilling or balling up problem. I have been using it very generously, layer after layer, on top of my essence and serums (plural emphasis intended) and have been able to use, on top of it, primer, foundation and the whole lot of makeup without any issue. 10 days is probably too early to call, but I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes my go-to mosituriser from Ella Baché.
Thank you for reading my preview/review on Ella Baché Defence+, and I hope you like the new range as much as I do.
The products were gifted to me by the wonderful girls at Ella Baché West Lindfield for review. I am a regular paying customer at the salon. My opinion is honest. Referral link to receive $10 off any Ella Baché purchase: http://ellabache.refr.cc/stellal
Makeup artist and hair stylist based in Sydney. Founder of the well-known award-winning bridal specialist team Faces Makeup & Hair. Beauty junkie with an obsession for skincare.