A common misconception about my job as a beauty editor is that I have the knowledge to cure skin problems. I do not, and no beauty editor without extensive medical or aesthetic training does. Instead, my job is to equip people with the right knowledge and tools to help them shop smart. We beauty editors try a huge number of products. There are few skincare launches, from cleansers and toners to serums and gadgets, that slip past us.
By testing every product that comes our way, we are able to separate the wheat from the chaff, and this makes us go-tos for product recommendations. While our day jobs involve writing up stories to share on the internet for all the world to see, a huge amount of our spare time is also consumed by people grilling us for advice and recommendations. And out of all of the questions I get asked every single day, the most frequent is, without a doubt, Is Elemis really worth it?
You see, besides being a beauty editor, I am also likely in the top 1% of Elemis fans. I'm a sucker for efficacious luxury skincare that has a spa-like, sensorial aspect that just makes you feel great whenever you use it. The best skincare product, after all, is the one that you actually use. So needless to say, I love Elemis, and I'm not alone. With every fan of Elemis singing its praises all over social media, it's no wonder that so many people are intrigued.
However, it's worth noting here that I am also someone who fervently believes in honest and open conversations around skincare, and that is hard to come by when it comes to luxury products. When we part with a lot of cash for something, we become determined to make it work. And this is where I come into the conversation.
As someone who is hard-pressed to name a single Elemis product I haven't tried and as someone who has also tried just about every other luxury skincare product out there for comparison, I'm in a pretty good position to say which products are (and which aren't) the best of the best. So to answer my most-asked question definitively, this is my honest review of the 13 best Elemis skincare products out there, from the brand's cult cleansing balm to the Pro-Collagen range that ticks all of the boxes.
1. Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
Who should use it: Anyone with normal, combination or dry skin.
Who shouldn't use it: If you have acneic skin or very sensitive skin, proceed with caution. It won't cause heaps of damage, but you might not reap the intended benefits.
I challenge anyone to try this product and not instantly fall in love. It's like a spa in a tub. With a number of essential oils to soften and soothe skin, it removes every last trace of makeup and grime while leaving the skin glowing and hydrated. My only gripe is that, because of the fragrance, it can't be used on the eye area without causing some major stinging.
2. Pro-Collagen Marine Cream
Who should use it: Anyone and everyone.
It's not often that I condone spending £89 on a beauty product, but here we are. Seriously, this stuff is worth every penny. It smells divine, yes, but it is also a treat for the skin, providing just the right level of hydration to keep skin looking and feeling its very best. With mimosa to take down inflammation, rose to calm and the brand's iconic padina pavonica marine algae to deliver some serious hydration, it really is god-tier. I have a tiny issue with it being dubbed an anti-ageing cream, though. It does help to plump fine lines and boosts elasticity, but it won't make you look 10 years younger. (But then again, no cream can.) There is also a version that contains SPF 30. However, I'd recommend sticking with this one and applying a broad-spectrum SPF over the top.
3. Pro-Collagen Tri-Acid Peel
Who should use it: Those who want to lessen the appearance of fine lines quickly and anyone who wants a serious glow boost.
Who shouldn't use it: Anyone with very sensitive or reactive skin.
When this first launched a year or so ago, I wasn't crazy on the idea of it. My skin is reactive, and any at-home product dubbed a "peel" usually equals turmoil. However, I was really pleasantly surprised, and now, it's a mainstay in my routine. Containing a trio of glow-boosting acids (lactobionic, asiatic and mandelic), it lifts away dull skin cells to reveal new, glowing ones underneath. And while it might sound overly aggressive, the inclusion of padina pavonica and chlorella helps maintain balance and hydration to minimise the risk of severe reaction.
4. Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads
Who should use it: Those with congestion-prone or dull skin who would benefit from a gentler daily exfoliant.
Who shouldn't use it: Those with easily irritated or redness-prone skin.
If I remember correctly, this was the first Elemis product I ever used, and I fell in love straight away. As someone with oily, breakout-prone skin that is also reactive to any super-strong actives, these peel pads screamed out for my attention. Containing lactic acid to smooth and exfoliate, they also contain a probiotic ferment complex to support skin renewal and boost that all-important glow. My only wish is for Elemis to bring out a less wasteful alternative!
5. Peptide4 Eye Recovery Cream
Who should use it: People who want to inject some vibrance into tired, puffy eyes.
This is one of my favourite eye creams around, and I get a little sad that it doesn't get more hype. It is jam-packed with fatty acids and vitamin E to help nourish and plump the eye area, taking down puffiness as it works. If you're short on a few hours of sleep, this is a guaranteed way to make you look and feel more awake.
6. Pro-Collagen Energising Marine Cleanser
Who should it use it: Anyone and everyone in the market for a new daily cleanser.
I'd go so far as to say that this is one of my favourite cleansers of all time. It has the iconic Pro-Collagen Marine scent, so using it feels like a total luxury. As for results, it leaves skin looking plump and glowing but also helps to refine the appearance of pores. It offers a really deep cleanse without stripping the skin of essential moisture.
7. Superfood Kefir Tea Mist
Who should use it: Those who like a fresh, dewy finish to their skin.
Who shouldn't use it: If you're loathe to spending money on skincare products that provide emotional joy rather than high-impact results, keep scrolling.
No, you don't need a skin mist. However, if you're going to buy one, I'd make it this. Kefir ferment extract and aloe vera soothe and calm the skin, while rooibos delivers antioxidant benefits to help protect skin against ageing aggressors. It's inexplicably invigorating.
8. Dynamic Resurfacing Peel & Reset
Who should use it: Anyone with dull, lacklustre, oily or congested skin.
Who shouldn't use it: Those prone to reaction and sensitivity.
Remember when I said that I wish Elemis would deliver a less wasteful version of its peel pads? Well, this is the closest thing the brand has offered. On one side, you have the peel, containing three enzymes to resurface and exfoliate, as well as phytic and mandelic acid to boost cell turnover. On the other, you have a post-peel hydrator to help restore moisture and leave skin supple and glowing.
The results are unrivalled, but you don't want to use it any more than once or twice a week—it means business.
9. Superfood Facial Oil
Who should use it: It's suited to pretty much all skin types, but those with dry or dull skin will benefit the most.
Who shouldn't use it: While it's certainly not the greasiest face oil out there, if you have active acne or very oily skin, I'd give it a miss.
It's no secret that I don't like facial oils. However, I will make an exception for this one. It contains a blend of nine super-nourishing oils that leaves skin looking unbelievably healthy and radiant. The thing I like the most is that it feels sumptuous, rather than greasy, and doesn't leave you looking slicked.
10. Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser
Who should use it: Anyone whose skin needs an extra boost of radiance.
Who shouldn't use it: Those who like a matte finish.
I think I have gone through about seven bottles of this stuff. It's dubbed a priming moisturiser, as it can be used as a base under makeup to boost the glow of your foundation. However, it's silicone-free, so I'm mostly a fan of using it on its own. It delivers sufficient nourishment to use as a daily moisturiser but also contains illuminating minerals to blur and illuminate. It's like summer skin in a bottle.
11. Papaya Enzyme Peel
Who should use it: Those who like gentle exfoliation.
Who shouldn't use it: If you prefer acid exfoliators, this one isn't for you.
Personally, I tend to stay away from strong acid exfoliants as much as possible, as they can really upset my reactive skin. This enzyme cream sloughs away at dead skin and smooths the skin's surface without causing any inflamed redness.
12. Soothing Apricot Toner
Who should use it: Anyone whose skin would benefit from some soothing post-cleanse.
Who shouldn't use it: If you don't already use a toner, you won't miss out.
I don't typically use a toner, but whenever I have a bottle of this stuff on the shelf, I use every last drop. That's not to say it's a must-have, mind you, but it's really nice. With apricot extract, which is rich in fatty acids, this toner helps to restore any hydration lost during cleansing and calm irritated skin while it's at it.
13. Pro-Collagen Renewal Serum
Who should use it: Anyone and everyone.
I want to caveat this by saying that I don't believe this to be a "retinol alternative" as marketed. Unless a skincare product contains retinol, it won't deliver the same supercharged, line-diminishing results. However, this is a really great serum. It doesn't have any side effects in terms of irritation and really does help to hydrate, plump, smooth and boost glow. I love this stuff so much that I use it twice a day, every day. It's especially great for those who find a thick moisturiser too rich for everyday use.