An honest review of Elemis Pro-Collagen

It's been awhile since I've done an honest review of any skincare, for several reasons. I got a series of IPL facials earlier this year, which I would not entirely recommend because they've made my already reactive skin sensitive AF, and literally every new product I've tried since then has given me a rash. This bummed me out on many levels, because, one, no one wants to go through life with splotchy, irritated skin, and two, I really enjoy finding skincare products I love and telling you about them. So it was with an understandable amount of trepidation that I cracked into a box that Elemis sent me earlier this year. Elemis is a high-end British skincare brand that's been around for years; while not impossible to find in the U.S., it's a little more under-the-radar, e.g. not in Sephora or most department stores. But it turns out that, like many foreign brands, Elemis feels like a little secret that Britain has been keeping for themselves. In other words, this is a really good skincare line. Here are my honest, unfiltered thoughts about the three products I've been using nonstop lately.

This is my actual skin, in good lighting, with no filter. I am wearing only mascara and lip gloss.  

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream $138 for 50ml 

My skin is very dry and pretty fair, and now that I'm solidly in my 40s, really starting to lose its former fullness (in other words, I have wrinkles). I thought the solution to that was to restore my skin's barrier with more and more active ingredients. I've become so used to slathering multiple essences, serums, and oils on my skin that the thought of using just one cream made me somewhat skeptical. Turns out, maybe I was stressing my skin out by doing too much. (It's me, hi, I'm the problem it's me.) After just a few days of using this cream, my redness diminished, my peeling stopped, and now after several weeks, my skin feels plumper and bouncier than it has in awhile. The cream itself is deceptively lightweight and absorbs almost immediately, and my skin feels well hydrated all day (even though it's a day cream, I use it overnight too). What makes it gentle yet effective is a series of botanicals: rose for calming, mimosa for anti-inflammation, and algae for hydration—no buzzy ingredients like niacinamide, peptiedes, or hyaluronic acid here. The cream does have a very light scent that fades quickly; supposedly the SPF 30 version is completely unscented (I have not actually tried it but am very curious now). I've been using this cream for about a month and still have a lot left in the jar, however I will gladly repurchase once I run out. For one, it has greatly simplified my skincare routine. More importantly, this is the best my skin has looked in a month. Who knew that you could do more with less? 

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm $68 for 100g

If you had told me two years ago that I'd be washing my face with a washcloth, I would have laughed at you; I have eczema and usually any kind of facial cleanser that I have to rinse off with water leaves me covered in red scales. Turns out I just needed something that cleanses my skin without stripping away what little moisture I've got. I warm this up in my fingers, massage it directly onto my (dry) face, then remove it with a damp washcloth. It literally melts away my makeup and amazingly does not leave any residue, nor does it irritate my eyes. It even removes my tubing mascara without a trace. One thing to note: this balm does have a rather strong scent at first, I'm assuming because it contains 9 essential oils. Thankfully it does not linger, and I like this formula so much, I'm willing to overlook it. I never thought I'd encounter a cleanser that would make me completely reconsider my ideas about washing my face, but this one did. Everything about it, from the buttery texture to the way it somehow soothes my skin, is a game-changer. 

Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads $64 for 60

I am going completely out of order here, but this is actually the 2nd step in the process—after the cleansing balm, I use one of these pads on my face, wait for my skin to dry, then put on the cream. These pads totally remind me of Stridex from the '80s (remember those?), except the key ingredient is lactic acid versus benzoyl peroxide. They perform a similar function, which is to exfoliate your skin and encourage cell turnover without damaging your moisture barrier; in layman's terms, they help clear the dead skin cells so your skin looks glowier. As far as active ingredients go, my skin tends to tolerate lactic acid pretty well; these do not irritate me whatsoever, and I feel like they're actually making a difference in my pores (which are notoriously large and deep). I also appreciate the convenience of pulling them straight out of the jar, versus the bottle-and-cotton-pad routine that comes with a regular toner, however I wish they came in a container that wasn't so large and plastic (thankfully it is recyclable). I will most likely buy these again too; brands design the products in their regimens to work together, and I do appreciate how gentle yet effective these are. 

My honest review

After years of layering on every active ingredient known to man, I think my skin has had enough, as evidenced by my recent outbreak of redness, dryness, and peeling. I know aging is something I can neither reverse nor stop—in spite of products being called "anti-aging"!—and yet I still want to look and feel my best. (Don't we all?) The prospect of using fewer products never crossed my mind until I tried Elemis, and after a month, I am fully embracing the less-is-more ethos. You don't need to chase every buzzworthy new proprietary chemical in pursuit of the fountain of youth; you just need a quality cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF (and a little gentle exfoliation doesn't hurt). Thank you, Elemis, for teaching me this valuable lesson!

Where to buy Elemis

Elemis is considered a luxury skincare brand and is priced accordingly (worth it, in my opinion!), however you can often score it at a slight discount at many of the following sites. 

Elemis (official site; get 15% off your first order) 





Disclaimer: While I received these products for free, the above opinions are 100% my own. 


Gail Is This Mutton? said...

Interesting re the IPL facials! I've simplified my routine a lot. Have always loved Elemis. They have a sublime spa in London (and on many cruise ships I believe). Thanks for linking!

Hungry Mountaineer said...

Great info! Eliminus is one of my favorite brands although I have not bought anything from them in a few years now. Have you ever tried their cleanse? One of my all-time favorites. Visiting from the blog hop. Have a lovely week.

Penny said...

Thanks - an interesting review!

I had an Elemis facial on my latest cruise (got back2 weeks ago) and oh my word it did wonders for my skin. Then bought the Elemis eye cream and serum which I really think have had some impact on the lines under my eyes.

Elemis is very pricey but I think I might well buy some more products.

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