It's three thirty on Monday, and Elle Ferguson's new tanning product Elle Effect has just landed on my desk. By "landed" I mean I've just nabbed it out of my senior editor's deliveries. She's away and first in, best tanned, right? OK, I'm kidding, she told me I could take it because she's in the UK doing cool things without me, so getting to try this tan is my consolation prize.
So, the product is Elle Ferguson's first foray into beauty. And to mark the occasion I've decided to do a real-time review, so you can really get a feel for the Elle Effect experience. After all, there's been a lot of hype around the release of this tan, so I'm pretty sure it's worthy of a moment-by-moment investigation.
3:50 PM OK, I've tried to distract myself with work, but really my attention span is wholly focused on the nice white bag next to me. It really wants to be opened. I comply (obviously), as it's the only polite thing to do in this circumstance.
3:52 PM Initial thoughts. The packaging is very cool. I'm getting real Kim K vibes from it. Didn't Elle go to her house (God, that is so cool). I really rate the packaging. Super simple and chic. Inside you get a mitt, the tan and some stickers (cuuute). Hmm, I wonder where the instructions are?
3:53 PM Ok, no need to panic. Instructions are on the back of the resealable bag. Which, come to think of it, will actually be really handy for storing the tan for travelling. OK, I really have to get some work done now . . . But not before standing up and showing the rest of the team what the product looks like *insert ooohing and ahhing here*.
5:45 PM FINALLY it's home time. And although I can't wait to try this tan, it's now fallen below "food" on my hierarchy of needs. BRB, snack first, tan later.
6:30 PM OK, I've eaten my weight in Savoy biscuits, and I'm ready to tan.
6:31 PM Have just realised I wasn't planning on tanning tonight, so haven't done my normal pre-tan routine (shave, exfoliate etc). But that's not going to stop me. I'll shower, shave and exfoliate now. And then hope that having a really cold shower will close all my pores in time. Yes, I'm a genius.
8:30 PM OK, I'm pretty sure my pores are closed (hopefully?). I promise I won't hold any mistakes related to my lack of preparation against the tan. Although, this is probably a more realistic reflection of how most people actually tan (does anyone really shave in advance?). The instructions say "a little goes a long way" but I choose to ignore this and am proved immediately wrong. I manage to cover my entire left leg (and a bit of my bum) with the four pumps I'd normally use to do my lower leg. Impressive! Also, the texture of this product is so weird (in a really good way). It's like nothing I've ever used before I'm trying to think of a sophisticated way to describe it, but all I can think to say is feels like a mousse tanner, that kind of morphs into a soft, whipped spread thing. Basically, it's really smooth. And again, a little bit goes a long way.
8:38 PM Body is done. Which was surprisingly quick thanks to the soft, spreadable whipped stuff. The look of the product on the skin is also really interesting, despite the fact that I've definitely gone overboard with the application I could happily walk outside after applying this without looking terrifying. Personally, I'm a night tanner, but if you're the kind of person who likes to wear your tan out this would work.
8:40 PM For the sake of this review I'm going to put the mouse jelly all over my face. Nothing like living life on the edge. Normally I'd use a specific face tan (I like St Tropez Luxe Face Oil or Charlotte Tilbury's Overnight Bronze and Glow Mask), but I'm keen to see how it performs. The colour guide is definitely less subtle on my face . . . but still not terrifying (although I probably wouldn't leave the house looking like this).
8:45 PM Hands washed (carefully) and dried. And so far, so good. This stuff dries down pretty fast. I'm already feeling like I could put clothes on, instead of doing my post-tan nudie time (side note: If I can see my neighbours, can they see me?). To be safe I'll give it another five minutes before popping on some PJ's and settling in for the night.
9:30 PM Update. Thought I'd do a stickiness check-in. It's a very warm night in Sydney in my non air-conditioned apartment, and despite being one of those people who can't deal with feeling "stuff" on my skin, I'm actually feeling fine. There's a slight tackiness under my arms and behind my knees, but nothing that would stop me from applying this tan before bedtime again — even on a hot night. In other news boyfriend says I smell like Turkish Delight, which I feel is very apt, considering the product is said to smell like "roses from LA". Either way it's definitely better than smelling like biscuits.
11:00 PM Checking out now with the hopes I'll wake up looking like Elle Ferguson in the morning, or at the very least have her legs? I'll be back in the morning to let you know how it fairs, or in this case, "develops".
6:00 AM I've been cooking all night long, and have high hopes that I'll look like a Bondi local this morning. Looking in the mirror I'm disappointed to see the tan hasn't managed to change the anatomy of my legs, but it has managed to make them look significantly better — and more tanned. Success! I only did one coat, and I'd say I'm at least three shades deeper than my normal light-olive skin tone. So an extra coat would have definitely left me looking like a Sardinia mermaid. Boyfriend also didn't laugh at me like he normally does when I wake up wearing tan, so we're off to a good start.
6:10 AM I've rinsed off in the shower, and the colour guide has washed off leaving me looking olive all over. My face did require a little buff with a face washer to get all the colour guide off, but I catch myself in the mirror and can't help but think I look surprisingly good (Is this Elle's secret?!). I really rate the colour, and considering the limited amount of prep I did pre-tan, I haven't yet spotted any mistakes. My skin looks smooth all over, and feels surprisingly hydrated (normally I find tan can be pretty drying on my skin).
9:00 AM Finally I'm in the office and have some external validation to add to this review. The girls at work said the colour is "really nice", and I have to agree. Apparently, I just look very "glowy", and I think if you didn't know that I'm not normally this tanned, you'd be hard-pressed to know it's a fake.
My final verdict? I'm really impressed. It's a unique formula, cased in some seriously chic packaging that isn't going to throw off your bathroom decor vibes. I'll certainly be using this again, and will update this review in a few days with how the tan has worn. It seems Elle has managed to bottle her signature tan, and although it might not give you limbs like Elle Ferguson (a bottle of tan can only do so much), it really can deliver on giving you an incredibly similar look.