MY search for the perfect cleanser began in my teens.

Looking back, my skin was absolutely fine - nice, even - but all I ever saw in the mirror were flaws.

The role call of cleansers I've tried (and I shudder at the cost) include Eve Lom, Dr Frances Prenna Jones, Perricone MD, Bliss, Lush, Sunday Riley, Murad... and on and on.

So I know a thing or two about washing my face and it takes a good product to impress me.

But impressed I am with Elemis's Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm.

The morning after I used it for the first time ever, a colleague commented that my skin was looking lovely.

Fragrant and nourishing, the powerful balm - a solid oil texture - smells of rose and mimosa and made with elderberry and starflower oils.

It also includes Elemis's own Optimega oil, a blend of wheatgerm and oat oil.

Elemis claims the balm is also anti-ageing and includes an algae, Padina Pavonica, for this purpose.

A tiny amount goes a long way and, while I don't wear foundation, it melts through lipstick and mascara thoroughly.

The balm is designed to be massaged into skin before being removed with a special cloth. Similar hot cloth cleansers - such as Eve Lom's classic cleansing balm and Liz Earle's cleanser - come with a muslin.

Elemis provides something more like a terry cloth and I find the texture works more effectively to exfoliate and remove the balm.

The ritual of massaging on a balm and then removing it with the hot cloth is lovely and soothing but the product really works too.

My skin is soft and smooth and feels almost like I don't need a moisturiser afterwards.

If you have problems with blackheads and clogged pores then this is unlikely to be powerful enough to dissolve them.

Any other skin type, however, will be in for a treat.

Coupled with the Pro-Collagen Cleanser is the Pro-Collagen Marine Oil, made with a trio of seaweeds - Padina Pavonica, Golden Seaweed and Roaring Water Kelp.

The delicate oil also contains White Poppy seed oil for added moisture.

A little goes a long way and the oil comes in a bottle with a dropper so it's easy to control the amount you need.

Elemis recommends warming some drops in your palms before smoothing and massaging it over the face.

Again, it's a lovely evening ritual but I'm not sure I saw much benefit from the oil.

It absorbs very quickly and is non-greasy but my skin didn't feel moisturised after using it. Instead, it felt slightly dry and I wasn't aware of any visible benefits as I was using the cleanser alone.

For such an expensive product, I'm not convinced, but the balm I'll definitely be buying again.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Oil £65


Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm £41


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