When it comes to European skincare, the UK may not be as well-known for beauty products as, say, France. Indeed, for a long while, French brands dominated the market worldwide, with a few German brands such as Dr. Hauschka or drugstore giant Nivea taking a smaller chunk out of that big, juicy cake that is the beauty industry.
One UK-based skincare brand, however, managed to shoot to prominence in the 2000s thanks to its superfood-infused, plant-based formulas and clever marketing. Meet Elemis, a wellness-focused, holistic skincare brand with a truly fascinating founding story!
Elemis co-founder Noella Gabriel was studying to become a classically trained singer when she lost both her parents at a young age. This personal trauma changed the course of her life forever, as the grief made it impossible for her to continue singing professionally. Instead, she opened a health food store with her sister at a time when the wellness industry was still a tiny dwarf compared to the giant it is today.
When it comes to European skincare, the UK may not be as well-known. But Elemis managed to shoot to prominence thanks to its superfood-infused, plant-based formulas.
Intrigued by the connection between health and diet, Gabriel studied nutrition and trained as a beauty therapist, combining her love for skincare with her passion for healthy living. She went on to receive training in a number of holistic health therapies such as shiatsu and aromatherapy. After managing the beauty section of a large department store in London, Gabriel connected with Jan Kusmirek, a well-known aromatherapy specialist.
Elemis was developed as a consciously holistic lifestyle brand, a “feel-good” type of skincare that offers a spa-like experience with every use. This doesn’t mean its beautiful packaging and luscious textures are merely for show—on the contrary, Elemis products are formulated based on cutting-edge scientific research. Even though today Elemis is probably best-known for their face care products, the brand actually started out with mostly body and bath care. I still really love their body care range, and their holiday sets make for amazing gifts.
Here are five of the bestselling products from UK’s number one luxury natural skincare brand!
Elemis Superfood AHA Glow Booster
The Elemis Superfood range is all about protecting and supporting the skin’s natural microbiome, the sum of all microorganisms living on the skin’s surface. When the skin microbiome is in balance, our skin barrier can work at an optimal level, thus keeping our skin supple and healthy. Probiotic and prebiotic ingredients are at the center of the Elemis Superfood skincare line, feeding the good bacteria on our skin’s surface so that they can work more effectively.
For the Superfood AHA Glow Booster, fermented pumpkin fruit and antioxidant-rich acerola fruit extracts are joined by green tea oil and rice water in a bi-phase oil-water ampoule that also contains low doses of exfoliating, skin-smoothing AHA. Use this one to improve a rough, dull skin texture and to boost your skin’s antioxidant levels to combat premature aging. You only need a few drops with each use—dispense them on the tips of your fingers and gently massage them onto a damp face.
Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads
Peeling pads are such a great invention; I love them for their ease of use and gentle exfoliation power. The Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads are a fantastic choice if your skin reacts to stronger acids, as they aren’t as highly concentrated in this formula. Apart from lactic acid—a gentle AHA and natural humectant usually well tolerated even by sensitive skin types—this features Elemis’s patented Tri-Enzyme Technology, a blend of papain, protease, and micro-capsulated subtilisin. The enzyme mix gently polishes rough skin and gives your face a lovely subtle glow.
You can use these exfoliating pads in the morning and/or evening—Elemis says to use them twice a day, but I would advise caution to avoid overexfoliation. Start slowly when introducing a new exfoliating product to your routine; twice a week is enough to get started and see how your skin reacts. The soft cotton pads have a textured and a smooth side, so you can first slough off dead skin cells with the embossed side and then wipe away any “skin debris” with the smoother surface.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream Ultra-Rich
The Elemis Pro-Collagen line is one of the brand’s ultimate bestsellers, very popular among people with mature and dry, dehydrated skin. It features a marine extract won from brown and green algae, said to help boost hydration levels in the skin. Algae is also packed full of potent antioxidants and has recently become a trending ingredient in Asian skincare.
The ultra-rich version of the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream is a thicker, more intensely moisturizing product compared to the gel texture of the original, enriched with emollient cocoa butter to protect dry skin from dehydration. This smells delicious and feels so pampering and nourishing on the skin, a real treat for anyone who is kind of tired of the “bland skincare” trend of the past years. I also think this makes a great gift for moms and grandmothers and works well for dry skin no matter what age you are!
Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Facial Oil
Out of all four facial oil serums from Elemis, the Pro-Collagen Rose Facial Oil is probably my favorite—I just have a thing for rose-themed skincare products! This oil blend isn’t just rose-scented, it also contains rose extract won from English roses harvested directly in the UK plus rosehip oil, an excellent facial oil that potentially can fade acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Brown algae provides hydration and antioxidant supply, while safflower oil adds to the moisturizing benefits.
This has a light, runny texture and glides smoothly onto skin. I dislike face oils that feel sticky or thick, but all Elemis oils have that pleasant “dry oil” texture I usually associate with French brands, formulated to be readily absorbed by the skin and not just sit on top like an oil film. The Pro-Collagen Rose Facial Oil works great for combo and normal skin—dry skin should consider reaching for the Elemis Superfood Facial Oil, which is overall richer and more nourishing.
Elemis Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen Aqua Infusion Mask
This is a wash-off mask with anti-aging benefits and moisture replenishing superpowers! Elemis really packed all sorts of exciting skincare technology into this one jar: Their Aqua Shuttle Technology uses a mix of encapsulated algae extracts to provide intense hydration, while the Hydra-Infusion Complex uses hyaluronic acid and sea water to plump up the outer layers of the skin. This also features Chondrus crispus or red algae, which is said to be particularly rich in antioxidants and minerals. K-beauty brand Missha has actually dedicated a full skincare range to this marine beauty treasure!
When you open that mask jar for the first time, make sure to take a minute to just stare in awe at that dreamy-smooth, bouncy gel texture. After that, apply a thin layer to a clean face and enjoy the cooling sensation for a good 20 minutes while your skin soaks up all the hydrating goodness. After removing the mask, your face will look smoother, plumper, and less fatigued.