Elemis Cleansing Balm to remove make up on Oily, Acne-prone Skin – full disappointing review

Hi, welcome to my beauty blog. I am Rachael, and this is my beauty blog Written by Rachael on  9 October 2022, edited: 30 April 2023

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I recently decided to try a new makeup remover from my usual Body Shop camomile cleansing butter – Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm.

A nourishing cleansing balm that melts away makeup, daily pollutants and impurities for a soft and glowing complexion.

I’m extremely wary of new products like this, especially ones where reviewers describe them as ‘melts in your fingers’ as I have very oily skin, so the last thing my skin needs is more oil.

Elemis Cleansing Balm for oily, acne prone skin
A close up – Elemis Cleansing Balm for oily, acne prone skin

With a face full of makeup, I went in. I used about a large-pea sized amount then rubbed it together before gently rubbing it all over my face. I always start with my skin first, then move to the heavier makeup areas, such as my eyes. I don’t want to rub mascara all over my face if I scrubbed my eyes before my skin.

Elemis Cleansing Balm for oily, acne prone skin
half way through after some gentle rubbing in

The smell is gorgeous – I’ve been to spas that use Elemis and it completely took me back to that calm, tranquil state. It’s a beautiful smell but not overpowering – I don’t like strong smells in face products.

Elemis Cleansing Balm for oily, acne prone skin
distracted by the smell – it’s so nice

How much does the Elemis balm cost?

I bought it from for £15 for 50ml. This price is £12 down from the usual £27 (yes I was ‘forced’ into purchasing by a tiktok video).

Is the balm cruelty-free and vegan?

Nope to both questions unfortunately, so I won’t be repurchasing.

Honest review?

I love it – really impressed. It took off my waterproof mascara and heavy foundation easily, left my skin feeling super smooth, smelling gorgeous, and the next day I didn’t notice a change in my skin’s oiliness or acne.

Elemis Cleansing Balm for oily, acne prone skin
my skin afterwards – clean, not red or irritated at all
Elemis Cleansing Balm for oily, acne prone skin
a close up of my skin after using – not red, just lovely smelling skin

UPDATE 26 March 2023 – had to stop using the balm!

I originally bought this and started using it in October. In December on my holidays, my skin turned for the worst:

Sore skin 6 weeks after using Elemis
Elemis caused me acne
Elemis caused me acne

My skin turned sore and very spotty. This was on holiday. I did a lot of research and found out that I probably had (undiagnosed but 99% sure I’ve got it) fungal acne.

Ingredients – so much oil!

I won’t include the ingredients list (as it’s really long and will make my blog huge) but I’ve copied them into a website I’ve been using since December, called You copy and paste the ingredients into the website, and a checker tells you if any are bad for fungal acne. Find the full ingredients list here:

Elemis balm has 13 triggers of fungal acne. This is not good news. The below screenshot shows 13 ingredients are a trigger for fungal acne, starting with Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis on the left (in red). shows how many ingredients of the Elemis balm trigger fungal acne shows how many ingredients of the Elemis balm trigger fungal acne – this is just a few, in total it has 13 triggers

I’m still using it on my eyes to get mascara off, but not putting it anywhere near my skin and it’s improved SO MUCH.

Skin after not using Elemis
This is my skin mid-January after using a mask. You can see the difference in only 6 weeks from not using Elemis anymore

I’ve also started doing skin cycling which has helped my skin routine by simplifying the products I’m using, and restricting how often I’m using them.

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By Rachael

Hi, I'm Rachael, the owner of this site! I hope you're finding my articles useful. Let me know by email at

I'm a normal 35yo makeup-obsessed gal just trying to find the right products for my oily and acne-prone skin. I'm always on the look-out for new products - I've recently succumb to several from tiktok.

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My photo, hi I'm Rachael

Hi, I'm Rachael.

This is my beauty website where I review lots of different products, from make up, to CBD coffee and vegan moisturiser. I've been using products for over 20 years, so I hope I've gathered some tips and tricks to share, plus I'm always learning so I'll be sharing them too. I have oily-skin, that's acne prone, so join me as I navigate this new age being a millennial!