There’s a newbie in my current skincare routine – the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm.
If you’ve been following me for a while you’d probably know I can’t live without my Evelom Cleansing Balm (reviewed here), but I’m glad I’m able to finally try the Elemis.
I’m now torn between the two – both are so freaking amazing, but the Elemis has been highly praised, even more than the Evelom, because of its safer and much more environmentally friendly ingredients, better scent (ooh yeah!) and cheaper price (although still considered expensive).
Read on to read my in-depth review and makeup removal demonstration pictorials.
Disclaimer: These products were generously provided for consideration, however all opinions expressed are unbiased and of my own. No monetary payment was received for this review. Post may contain affiliate links.
There are so many cleansing balms out there these days, but ones that have been making the headlines are the Evelom, Emma Hardie, and Elemis balms. The Evelom and Elemis were listed as one of the best cleansing balms on The Guardian, and the Emma Hardie has taken the YouTube beauty world by storm.
I can now confirm that the Evelom and Elemis are certainly worth the hype.
I would describe this as a crossover between a cleansing balm and a cleansing oil because you’re supposed to emulsify the balm with wet fingers after massaging the balm on the skin.
The Elemis balm is highly praised for their safe and environmentally friendly ingredients. It’s mineral oil, paraben and SLS free!
Even though the controversial ingredients in the Evelom cleanser didn’t bother me much, I was honestly a bit skeptical about leaving it on the skin for too long, so I’ve never really used the Evelom as a mask, whereas with the Elemis, I’ve been loving it as a cleanser and as a mask. I have no concerns about leaving it on the skin for 10-15 minutes as none of the ingredients will irritate the skin.
So here are the main ingredients explained:
- Sweet Almond Oil: Base of the balm and has been deemed one of the best (and natural!) emollients in the cosmetics industry. It is a “non-volatile, non-fragrant oil extracted from the seeds of almonds and used as an emollient.” (Source: Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary) It is a rich source of skin-repairing ingredients.
- Padina Pavonica: Key ingredient in Elemis’ Pro-Collagen range and is renowned for its anti-ageing properties. It bosts the skin’s defences, firmness and elasticity.
- Elderberry Oil: Contains over 80% essential fatty acids and micronutrients. It has anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects. (Source: Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary)
- Starflower Oil: Richest source of GLA and helps maintain the skin’s optimum metabolism and improve its barrier function. (Source: Pampered Prince)
- Optimega Oil: Prevents water loss.
- Mimosa & Rose Flower Wax: Softens the skin and restores elasticity and tone.
Shea Butter: There are honestly no bad ingredients in this balm. However, they do contain shea butter and although there’s nothing bad about shea butter, I’m not sure how acne prone/oily skin types will react to this. Some people have reported that shea butter may cause clogging, but I personally have never experienced it. People with dry skin will certainly benefit from this though!
I honestly have no complaints about the packaging. Even the box is very clean and sleek-looking. So nice to look at 🙂
The tub is a bit shorter than the Evelom 200 ml tub, and just as a reference, here’s a MAC lipstick (I’m pretty sure everyone has at least one MAC lippie?!) beside the tub – it’s about 3/4 the height of a MAC lippie.
It is shallow but it’s a good thing because I hate products that come in very deep tubs, it’s so difficult to scoop the product out when you’ve gone through half of it.
The packaging is also very sturdy. I don’t think I’d have trouble travelling with this tub because the screw-on cap is so secure.
It also comes with a spatula so you won’t have to worry about hygiene.
This is probably where most of the debate revolves around – it’s just a matter of preference but, although soft, some people prefer muslin cloths over flannels (cotton washcloth).
The Elemis balm comes with a cotton washcloth, not a muslin cloth, and I personally like muslin cloths better because I find this to be a bit too scratchy, although soft. I just like the flatter surface of muslin cloths, especially the Evelom one (softest muslin cloth EVER!).
Above is an image of a MAC lipstick on the cloth, just so you can imagine how big the cloth is, and below is a close up of the cloth.
It isn’t like other cotton washcloths in general, it’s super gentle and soft!
The texture is what I find to be very unique. It’s more like a creamy gel than a thick “balm” – very similar to the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Gel. Once you apply it on to the skin, the thick texture immediately softens and turns into a very soft gel-like, but oily, consistency. It’s very smooth and doesn’t contain tiny little exfoliating grains like the Evelom.
Since you’re supposed to emulsify the balm with wet fingers after massaging the balm on the skin, the balm will actually transform into a cleansing oil texture – very milky and runny. This is why I said earlier that it’s a crossover between a balm and a cleansing oil.
There is also no greasy residue when removed. LOVE!
The directions are provided on the bottom of the tub, and also on the box. One thing to note is that there is a warning to “avoid contact with eyes” – and most people have reported that if they tried removing eye makeup with this balm, their eyes will sting once it turns into a milky texture. Will discuss this more in the next section.
What makes this different from the Evelom and Emma Hardie is that after massaging the balm into the skin, you’re supposed to continue massaging it with moistened/wet fingers to turn it into a milky/cleansing oil texture, and then remove it with the provided cloth.
The makeup removing process is most effective when the balm is emulsified with moistened fingers as you’ll see in the demonstration below.
Oh and btw, that’s seriously how much product you need to cleanse the whole face!! A tiny amount goes a looooong way, I swear! This is because the texture is much thinner and runnier than other balms in general.
Makeup Removing Test
Although you’re not advised to remove eye makeup with this, I’m still going to demonstrate removing eye makeup anyway because if it can remove waterproof eyemakeup, it sure would remove all types of face products with no difficulties.
Here are the eye and lip makeup products I used for the demonstration:
From left to right, in the swatches below, are the Maybelline Rocket Waterproof Mascara, Stila waterproof eyeliner, BrowLash EX Slim Gel Pencil Liner (hardcore, long-lasting pencil liner!!), Lancome Artliner, a Bobbi Brown cream shadow stick, Rimmer Apocalips, MAC Dare to Wear Lipglass (super long-lasting liquid lipstick) and a Bite Beauty lip crayon.
- Step 1: After scooping out the product with a spatula, gently spread and massage the product all over the face (eye area optional).
- Step 2: Continue massaging the product into the skin for 10-15 seconds. As you can see here, the lip products are all dissolved. The eye products are still in tact, though.
- Step 3: Moisten/wet fingertips and continue massaging the skin. The balm will turn milky and most, if not all, makeup will be removed by this stage.
- Step 4: Saturate washcloth in warm/hot water.
This is optional but you can leave the cloth on your face before removing the balm for a few seconds to let the heat open up the pores. This is actually very therapeutical!
Then thoroughly remove everything with the warm cloth. As you can see everything is removed except little bits of waterproof mascara.
Overall, I’ve been VERY pleased with the performance of this product.
If you’ve read my latest skincare routine post, you’ll know that my usually dry skin is currently very greasy and oily because of pregnancy-related hormonal changes. (9 days to go, thank God!!) I’m so glad this cleanser did not clog my pores, or cause acne eruptions, because I was afraid the shea butter in this balm will irritate/clog my oily skin.
Pros (Compared to Evelom):
- Safer to be used as a mask (less irritating ingredients)
- Smells so, so much better (kind of a fruity, spicy scent – it was seriously love at first sniff!)
- Less product needed for the whole face because of thinner consistency
- Cheaper ($89 full price for 100ml, whereas the Evelom is $100+ for 100ml)
- So much easier to remove because of the milky consistency the balm turns into
- As for the softening effects, both products leave the skin just as soft!
Now, I’ve never tried the Emma Hardie (really want to!) but from the research I’ve done, some of the benefits that people have said the Elemis has over the Emma Hardie is, firstly, the packaging. A lot of bloggers have complained about how the Emma Hardie easily leaks, and that its deeper tub makes it more difficult to get product out.
Also, for a similar price, you get a washcloth/flannel with the Elemis, but the Emma Hardie does not come with any – the cloths are sold separately, which makes it a bit more expensive. This confuses me though because on Feel Unique, it’s actually sold with the cloth, so maybe this is a new thing?
Another point people make is that the Elemis is softer and has a lower melting point – making it melt easier and faster before it turns into an oil. Thus, less product is needed. As I mentioned above, a tiny bit goes a long way. However, since the Emma Hardie is slightly thicker and melts slower, most people tend to overuse the product.
One thing that I’m honestly disappointed about is that the Elemis does not remove eye makeup as effectively as the Evelom. I personally have only tried removing eye makeup with this once, and even then I skipped the part where I had to massage it with moistened finger tips – I was afraid it’ll sting my eyes once it turns milky! So I just removed it with the cloth straight away while it was still in the form of a balm/thick oil. Not so effective though 🙁
The Evelom and Emma Hardie are both suitable for the eyes – I really wish this is too!
The only thing that disappointed me was the fact that this cleansing balm is not ideal for eye makeup removal. It would be so perfect if it’s safe for the eyes!
While this balm may not ideal for people looking for an all-in-one product like the Evelom, which is an excellent eye makeup remover and skin exfoliator, this is nevertheless an excellent face cleanser, and is considerably cheaper too.
If you’re going to remove your eye makeup separately anyways, and love using cleansing oils, you will love this! This is an excellent face makeup remover and is much more moisturizing than cleansing oils. I personally will keep using both – the Evelom on nights when I’m wearing a full face of makeup, and the Elemis when I’m wearing minimal/no makeup, also on nights when I want to wear it as a mask.
If you’ve tried this cleansing balm and other cleansing balms out there, let me know what your verdicts are, I’m always curious to try new things!
Hope this review was helpful!
AVAILABLE FROM: Amazon (US$60), Look Fantastic (US$52.48/£41)
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