This Elemis Cleansing Balm Pampers and Soothes Skin

We put the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

I’m a newbie to double cleansing, but what I’ve learned in a short time is that there are so many options available for that crucial first skincare step, whether it be a balm. I’ve also learned that the same bevy of expectations we place on a traditional cleanser should also be applied to said balm or oil. In other words, expect a lot more beyond the mere washing away of dirt, oil, makeup, etc. Some have ingredients that benefit oily skin, while others prove better for dry. Some are better suited for sensitive complexions over normal ones. There are a lot to choose from.

While some cleansing balms are fine in their simplicity, some are known for being the crème de la crème, the whole nine yards…you get the picture. Enter one of the most famous cleansing balms on the market: Elemis’ iconic Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. Elemis is a brand known for going above and beyond, and this pick is no exception. The Elemis cleansing balm can be used as a cleanser as well as a nourishing face mask, thanks to its composition of ingredients known to effectively cleanse, hydrate and help skin feel revitalized. With such a reputation at hand, did the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm live up to its fame? Keep reading to get my full, honest review.

About My Skin: Oily and sensitive

Like most of us, my skin has good days and bad days. Luckily more good than bad, but because I use retinol and vitamin C regularly, I can go from zero to sensitive at a moment’s notice. I don’t wear a ton of makeup on the daily, but I do wear a tinted SPF without fail, which can be a bit difficult to remove with a regular cleanse, so upping my routine to include a double cleanse makes sense. But to give this Elemis cleansing balm a run for its money, I added some foundation and a light dusting of powder to my morning routine.

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The Feel: Silky and luxurious


The first thing you’ll notice about the Elemis cleansing balm is how “soft” it is—it doesn’t require much effort to scoop a little out and spreads on your face like butter. It’s thick and rich and feels so good as it warms on your skin. I noticed instantly that all the color I had on my face was melting with the balm, turning it a brownish color—a good sign that it was working. I especially loved the enclosed wash cloth, which I ran under hot water and let sit on my face for a minute, adding to the whole experience.

The Scent: Gorgeous, like a trip to the spa

The scent of Elemis cleansing balm is what convinced me I should be doing this every day. It’s an elegant and uplifting blend of lavender, chamomile and eucalyptus that’s herbal and very spa-like, but not overpowering. The eucalyptus feels cool and warm at the same time and slightly tingly on the skin, which I loved. It smelled so good I didn’t want to wash it off, and spent extra time massaging it all over my face.

The Ingredients: Plant-based cleansing power

Here’s where the Elemis cleansing balm truly shines and what gives it its extra oomph as a potential weekly facial mask.

Sweet Almond Oil: At the core of the balm formula is almond oil, known for being excellent at dislodging long wear makeup and oil from the surface of the skin while exuding a number of skincare benefits including helping to calm irritation. It also contains vitamins D and E, which help to soothe and hydrate skin while supporting barrier function.

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Elderberry Oil: This rich oil contains a high concentration of essential fatty acids that keep skin healthy by helping to enrich its natural barrier function.

Padina Pavonica: This star ingredient plays a lead role in many other Elemis products, especially in the Pro-Collagen range. It’s a brown algae from the Mediterranean sea which contains a number of polysaccharides that studies suggest can help boost moisture retention in skin.

The Results: Perfectly clean, soft skin


Although it was only the first step in the double-cleansing process, the Elemis cleansing balm left my skin feeling decidedly clean, yet soft to the touch. Not in a greasy way, just not squeaky clean. The cleanser I followed with foamed up nicely, leaving my skin overall feeling clean and nicely balanced.

The Value: Pricey, but worth it

The Elemis cleansing balm isn’t cheap, but I’m convinced the experience you get from it totally justifies the price. As beneficial as the double cleanse is, doing it with the wrong products can leave skin feeling stripped and uncomfortable, so the extra measure of emollient and hydrating ingredients in this cleansing balm does a great job of keeping skin in check.

Similar Products: You have options

Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm: For a touch of luxury with a slightly lighter price tag, head to Then I Met You’s cleansing balm ($38). Fortified with grape seed, olive and seaberry oils, it deeply cleanses away makeup, dirt and oil and indulges the senses with a zesty scent.

elf Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm: Even elf’s back to basics cleansing balm ($10) still manages to pack in several skin-loving ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides and peptides to ensure it does the job without going too far.

Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm: Specifically developed to protect skin’s barrier while stripping away makeup and grime, this Paula’s Choice cleansing balm ($28) contains jojoba and meadowfoam seed oils that help calm and balance skin.

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