Do you follow me on Instagram? If you do, you’d have seen my excitement when one of my all-time favourite skincare brands, Esse, launched a foundation! I adore foundations made by skincare brands, as they have the benefits of makeup, yet they treat your skin as opposed to clogging it – they always have fabulous additional benefits. I was lucky enough to be sent a bottle of the all-new Esse foundation by the team, to put to the test, and put it to the test I did.
If you’ve read any of my previous foundation reviews, you’ll know that I put any new foundation through a rigorous test run. I try it without primer the first day, and then every day after that I’ll try it with a different primer that I own (and I own a good few). I’ll also try it with and without powder (using different powders), and with and without setting spray. Whenever I’m testing a new foundation, you’ll invariably see me having a couple of bad makeup days, as I won’t touch up during the day.
Yes – this may seem ridiculous, but I do this for you! This way I can give you honest feedback on the product, and which skin types it may be more suited for.
So – let’s get into this then!
99% natural, 58% organic, vegan, cruelty free.
Contains an SPF 30, 30ml of product.
The ingredients include: –
- aloe to soothe and even skin tone
- jojoba for it’s anti-inflammatory & anti-acne properties
- squalane to improve the skin’s barrier
- an array of prebiotics
- an array of probiotics
- various oils with different properties
- titanium dioxide
You can see the full ingredients listed below –
If you check out the page on the Esse site and read the ingredients, any of them in bold you can hover your mouse over. It’ll then pop up with what that ingredient it is and how it’s beneficial to your skin! I really liked this touch.
The Esse foundation comes in a good quality, heavy plastic bottle with a silver cap. It is an airless pump – you can see the level of product from the bottom, through the dark brown bottle.
I like the idea of an airless pump – all of the goodness inside won’t get tainted by external germs, and the bottle being dark means that light won’t affect it either.
The pump also dispenses a good amount of product. I find that 1 and a half pumps is enough for my whole face.
The formula is a thick liquid foundation that offers even coverage.
As it contains a decent amount of oils and no silicones, it is quite rich and nourishing.
The brand says that the foundation is suitable for all skin types, and I agree with this – to a point. While any skin type can use it without irritation (so perfect for more sensitive skins), I think it might be too rich for oilier skins.
I have a combo skin, and I found that I needed to set it with powder, as by lunchtime it would be not just glowy, but VERY shiny, particularly on my T-zone. If I set it with powder, it would last much better on my skin and I could get through a full day with one touch up in the afternoon.
HOWEVER – I have been trialling this in winter. In summer, I don’t think this would work for my skin, unless I go through a badly dry or dehydrated spell, or if I have a peel or resurfacing facial. Being as nourishing as it is, it works like a gem when your skin is feeling dry, tight or irritated, as the ingredients work to strengthen your skin’s barrier and keep it hydrated and comfortable.
Honestly, I think the Esse foundation would be an absolute gem for mature skin types and any age group with a normal to dry skin, all year round.
I also found it to be a very easy light to medium coverage foundation. I could use a small amount to just even out my skin tone and make it look fresh and glowy, or I could use a little more (ideally 1 and a half pumps for me) to get a good medium coverage. Paired with a concealer – just for those dark under eyes and the occasional blemish – my skin looked radiant and flawless.
The Esse foundation comes in 10 shades.
While this is far from an extensive shade range, for a skincare-based foundation I find this fantastic, as skincare foundations are usually just a small handful of shades.
Even with only 10 shades, I feel that Esse did a great job when it comes to making the range diverse. It goes from very light (I’m fair and I can wear shade 3, as it blends out and into the skin nicely), and the darkest shade is decently dark.
Hopefully if the foundation is a success, they can extend the shade range, but with how easy it is to blend, and how it melts into your skin, I’d imagine most skin tones and shades would be able to find something that would work well for them.
I think the fact that I have combo skin did rule against me in this.
While the foundation remained feeling comfortable on my skin all day, it did get very oily and break apart slightly around my nose and chin. This was mostly on the first day when I used it with no primer, no powder and no setting spray.
Various primers worked better than others (my Smashbox Pore Minimising and my Filorga Pore Express* were among the ones that worked well), and I found that I really did need to set with powder if I wanted it to stay looking fresh. If I primed, set with powder and used a setting spray, I’d only need to touch up around 1/2pm and then it was just to blot away excess glow.
Another little trick would be to tap a little powder on the skin BEFORE applying the foundation. I learnt this little trick at makeup college, and it helps to keep your foundation looking and feeling less shiny for longer!
For winter, this was fab for me, as my skin has needed the extra benefits that the Esse foundation provides, but for summer I don’t think I’d be able to reach for this, as my skin will potentially look like an oil slick. It might be nice to pop a little on for a pool or beach day though, when I don’t need my makeup to last for hours and hours.
If you’re KwaZulu Natal based, you can purchase your foundation from the Esse Concept Store in Ballito. I have yet to visit the store, but I really want to – who could resist being surrounded by anything and everything Esse?!
Otherwise, any salons that stock Esse will have the foundation in stock. My closest and preferred is Simply Tipped, where I get my nails done. You can find a list of salon stockists HERE.
You can also order online from Faithful To Nature HERE.
The Esse foundation retails for R595 for 30ml.
WOULD I REPURCHASE?
I think I would repurchase, as if I apply and set it correctly, the foundation works beautifully for me. The most important aspect is that it feels so COMFORTABLE on my skin, not mask-like and it’s not cakey. It feels like skincare, plus it has skincare benefits to it. If I were to repurchase, it would be purely as a winter foundation though, as with our Durban summers I don’t think I’ll be able to wear this unless I’m headed to the beach or by the pool.
I have, however, recommended this to my mom who has dry skin – I think it would be a fabulous everyday foundation for her, and I think her skin would just lap up the added skincare benefits.
Would you give the Esse Foundation a try?
You can read some of my other foundation reviews here (and I have more planned!): –
*DISCLAIMER – the Esse foundation was gifted to me by the brand, however all opinions are honest and my own.