Elemis Marine Cream and the Silky SPF

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30 review

A surprise entry into my “favourite SPFs” category: the new Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30 from Elemis. I’m a bit dithery about the original Marine Cream; I like the silky, fast-absorbing feel, but at the same time it doesn’t have quite the moisturising “oomph” that I want from a high-end cream.

And it is high-end, price-wise; I always expect it to be in the realms of fifty or sixty-ish quid, about the same as a pot of Lauder’s anti-wrinkle cream – but it’s £80 for 50ml. Twenty pounds more than Sunday Riley’s brilliant Tidal Cream, and twice as expensive as Elemis’s own Hydra-Balance Day Cream, which I think is a bit nicer than Marine.

But I don’t think that my opinion is by any means the norm – Marine Cream is hugely popular, and on virtually any consumer feedback section, be it Amazon or QVC or Makeup Alley, it has hundreds of positive reviews and five star ratings. My own mother is a big Marine Cream user because (she says, and I quote) “it’s creamy to apply but absorbs quickly. I like that it becomes a part of your skin rather than coating it and turning you into an iced bun. Also,” says Mother, “it has a gorgeous smell.”

I’ve always been a bit dithery about the smell personally – you have to really, really like a scent to want it on your face.

And so weirdly, because it has exactly the same smell as the original, when it came to the new Marine Cream SPF30 it was “love at first wear”. What a beautiful sun cream! So light and fresh-feeling, such a silky-slip to the application – you would never, ever in a million years guess that this contained SPF. It’s as hydrating as the original cream (so not rich or buttery, but does the job) and there’s absolutely no greasy residue. It absorbs quickly, it glides over the skin, there’s no chalky feeling or that weird sense of grubbiness† that you can sometimes get… I’m so impressed.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30 review

Marine Cream SPF30 makes all of the same promises as the original cream (that it reduces fine lines and wrinkles, increases hydration, gives a toned, firmed appearance) but ticks an extra (massively important) box in terms of keeping skin healthy and youthful, and that’s the broad spectrum sunscreen box. Admittedly, the cream is in a jar and so you’re never going to be taking this to the beach to reapply throughout the day (it would be a pit of grit within seconds) but for those who apply their SPF in the morning and don’t spend a large proportion of the day outdoors, it’s a lovely option. Luxurious in feel and quick to apply.

Browse more sunscreen reviews…

I can see that the Marine Cream SPF30 will have huge appeal to Elemis customers who perhaps don’t currently use an SPF on a regular basis – the fact that it’s pleasant to use might capture the beauty hearts of a whole group of people who have previously hated the textures and finishes of the sunscreens they’ve tried. I shall be interested to see the reviews on this, as and when they start to appear!

Elemis Marine Cream SPF30 is as pricey as the original – £82 for 50ml – but at the time of writing, I can see it on Amazon for £67.15*. (That’s Amazon luxury, “sold and dispatched by” – it’s a bona fide product.) You can also find it at Feel Unique* and Elemis* online.

†grubbiness: please tell me that other people get this? You know when you apply a sunscreen and an hour later you just want to claw it all off with your fingernails because it feels as though you’ve spent a day cleaning out your attic and your face is covered in dust and dirt? Maybe it’s just me. Ugh. SPF grubbiness. I’ll have none of that here.

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. May 24, 2017 / 8:45 am

    I prefer a separate spf to make sure I really apply enough, so the added one here will not make it more desirable for me personally. But in generla it sounds nice texturewise.

    • May 24, 2017 / 10:58 am

      Interesting point: I must do some research on this idea of separate SPF. Because I’m pretty sure that this, with SPF30, would be the same protection as a “standalone” SPF with SPF30. It’s just one is marketed as a moisturiser with SPF and the other is marketed as a sunscreen. Might still have moisturising ingredients, so could be exactly the same formulation-wise, but we still perceive it to be better protection if it’s labelled sun protection. I wonder how they differ? x

      • B
        May 24, 2017 / 1:21 pm

        It’s recommended to use half a teaspoon of sunscreen for the face (excluding the neck)… so it might be a stretch to use that amount with a moisturiser + SPF…
        I do like this cream for travelling – really comforting!

  2. Alice
    May 24, 2017 / 9:21 am

    SPF grubbiness is real – I hate it! Off to buy my Effaclar Duo with it’s new SPF and my fingers crossed, but the sound of this Elemis bad boy makes me want to throw my money at it instead!

    • Brendan
      May 25, 2017 / 12:13 pm

      Grubbiness > sun damage. Every time.

  3. Rachel
    May 24, 2017 / 9:48 am

    Grubbiness: Yes. I hate this! As well as looking like ‘an iced bun’. I am on the lookout for non greasy, non grubby SPFs. This one sounds great — thank you. Any recommendations for ones with higher SPFs for those of us prone to sun spots?

  4. Victoria Perolls
    May 24, 2017 / 10:51 am

    YES! I wear a high SPF religiously as I have significant long-term melasma and I CANNOT WAIT to wash my face at the end of the day. I sometimes treat myself to a mid-day face wash and total reapplication of SPF and makeup if I’m at home. Melasma sufferers are also often steered towards physical sunscreens (minerals such as zinc oxide and the like) and those feel even worse to me. Additionally after a few hours, they all seem to develop a signature ‘zinc oxide smell’, which I detest. And what’s with the sheer volume you have to try to get on your face to actually be effective; prior to melasma, I needed the merest dab of moisturiser to make my skin comfortable and provide a nice base for makeup, now it’s like I have to get trowels full of SPF to stick around on my skin, plus the plethora of treatment serums underneath and makeup over the top. It’s quite an effort, I tell thee. Grrr to grubby sunscreens! Though presumably not a physical sunscreen, this Elemis one sounds like a dream. Rant over :) Thanks for continually testing this stuff out Ruth, I’ve purchased a few of your recommendations now and really enjoy waiting for your next post to pop up in my inbox. P.S. Brevity is not my strong suit, obviously ;-)

    • May 24, 2017 / 10:53 am

      Haha! I love a meaty comment Victoria, never apologise! : )

  5. Niki Price
    May 24, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    Hi Ruth, thanks for another great review (I really like the way you don’t simply ‘repurpose’ or repeat the company blurb, which is normally available for us to read anyway).
    I’ve never been completely convinced by moisturiser-SPFs as it often seems to be a token gesture and the SPF is something random like 10% or 17%, which is rather pointless. I must admit this new Elemis offering sounds more tempting but unless I could get my hands on a sample first to road test it, I wouldn’t purchase the full size. Nb, I also love SR Tidal cream – isn’t it the most refreshing feeling when you apply it, like a long, cool drink for your face! I am scraping the bottom of my current pot and trying to decide whether to switch to the new SR CEO cream. I suspect this product might be a bit rich.
    In terms of my favourite facial SPFs to wear over skincare and under makeup, I completely love and stand by Omorovicza Mineral UV Shield SPF30. I have repurchased it twice and although it is pricey – £75 for 100ml – i would rather invest in this than something else if I had to make a choice. Also, Omorovicza often offer it in a sample sachet (3 samples per order) . And they do often have quite generous discount codes and sales. I received an email today about a 30% off bank hol promotion ( and no I promise I don’t work for the company!!). The reasons I love it so much is that it is very light, non-greasy (in fact, I find it slightly mattifying), it doesn’t cause make up to ‘pill’ over it, it smells wonderful and it also contains skin-friendly ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C. I read a review of it once where it was described as an ‘elegant’ formulation and I think that’s spot on.
    Anyway, for what it’s worth, that’s my top tip for SPF satisfaction! x

    • Lizzie
      May 24, 2017 / 7:04 pm

      CEO and Tidal are very different. CEO is much more “buttery” and it doesn’t have the watery coolness you get from Tidal. I’ve been known to layer one over the other (while setting fire to £50 notes), but… I’d say try to get a sample of CEO before making the leap, basically. It’s nice enough but I wouldn’t buy it again the way I would Tidal.

      Ruth, I always love your reviews; thank you. This is possibly a silly question, but are there likely to be extracts of marine creatures in the Elemis marine products? I’ve struggled to establish this from Googling alone. (By creatures I think I mean krill, etc- bit vague!)

      Thanks very much.

      • May 24, 2017 / 9:18 pm

        I’ve never thought of that! I’ll try and find out.

      • Niki
        May 26, 2017 / 8:56 am

        Hi Lizzie, haha love your comment “while setting fire to £50 notes”…yup, I know exactly what you mean! thank you for the mini review of CEO, that’s really helpful to know re. the texture. I don’t like “buttery” for daytime, and especially not in the summer, so I expect I’ll pass on it then. However, my local SpaceNk in Winchester is very nice, and they are happy to provide samples whenever I’ve asked, so perhaps I’ll do that anyway.

  6. Mary
    May 24, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    Re the SPF grubbiness, I totally get you Ruth! That’s why I never wear sunscreen. Quelle horreur I know​, but I just can’t stand the claggy greasiness an SPF always brings.

    Thanks for the post. Brilliant as always!

    • Lizzie
      May 24, 2017 / 7:05 pm

      I HAVE to wash my face when I’ve got major sunscreen on. I hate it so much.

  7. Caley Clarke
    May 24, 2017 / 3:58 pm

    I’m a lover of Elemis products but have to say this is awful! I was wearing it the other day when I had a late outdoor lunch and ended up with a burnt face. It doesn’t seem to have any actual sun protection at all. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t feel at all sticky?
    My sister was wearing a product I previously used and was fine. I will buy that in future as less than a 10th of the price!

    • May 24, 2017 / 5:33 pm

      They wouldn’t be able to claim an SPF30 if it wasn’t, I don’t think? I’m doing quite a bit on SPFs at the moment, so I’ll look into it! Wore it today in blazing sun and worked very well for me! x

      • Suzi
        May 24, 2017 / 6:25 pm

        I like a wee sunscreen in moisturiser for every day(I’m Scottish, we rarely see the sun) but apparently sunscreen in moisturisers tends to be UVB only and only protects against superficial sun damage whereas the product has to include UVA protection to protect against the deeper sun damage, ageing etc.
        *an NHS worker who does sun awareness told me this

        • May 24, 2017 / 9:16 pm

          Hmm, interesting. This one is broad spectrum. I think maybe that used to be the case more, but I definitely see more broad spectrum than UVB-only moisturisers these days.. x

          • Suzi
            May 24, 2017 / 10:35 pm

            Oh good to know, thanks. Definitely interested in hearing about any other SPF products you’ve been trying out!x

          • May 24, 2017 / 10:46 pm

            The level of UVA protection can be low and confusing!
            Personally I prefer to use a separate mineral suncream Dr Dennis Gross has one that doesn’t have the ‘grubby’ feeling or a white cast.

            I thought Omorovizca was too expensive until I read the reply above as I didn’t realise it was 100ml. Dr Gross is only 50ml approx £36 I might use the bank holiday offer to try Omorovizca

            I am not even out that often but would prefer not to use a combined one. SPF in foundations is another area that confuses if the correct amount was applied for sun protection, it would be layers of foundation.

            Further reading about the UVA star rating http://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/skin-cancer/sunscreen-fact-sheet

  8. Samantha
    May 24, 2017 / 7:17 pm

    Grubiness is a big factor for me with SPF especially on my face and neck….ugh!

  9. Kate
    May 25, 2017 / 12:21 am

    Would love to try this but too expensive on my wage. I was recently in boots and saw Hawaiian tropic factor 30 face and neck SPF. It’s actually amazing! No spots, no greasiness, no claggy pores and none of that weird grey rub off. I have dry and dehydrated skin that gets spotty with a lot of SPFs, but for the past month a layer of hyaluronic acid followed by a layer of nuxe dry oil, let that sink in while I have my coffee, then the Hawaiian tropic… great as a primer for make up and I slather it on without worrying about the cost. £6!!! None of the mascara migration that usually happens too…

  10. Liv
    May 25, 2017 / 3:51 am

    I agree with the grubby feeling you can get sometimes, particularly with waterproof sunscreens! I swear by Aussie brand “Natio Daily Defence Face Moisturiser SPF 50+” it’s lovely & creamy, sinks in quickly leaving satin smooth skin under makeup but also has high sun protection. Only costs $AU17.95 for 100ml. The perfect combination! (In fact that whole brand is quite lovely, would encourage you to try some of it out).

    • Coral
      May 31, 2017 / 9:53 pm

      I live in one of the sunniest places in Australia (the Sunshine Coast!) and have tried a lot of sunscreens. I recently bought Natio Daily Defence Face Moisturiser 50+.on recommendation from a friend and I also find it to be light, non-greasy and great under make-up. Suncreen is one of the best anti-aging strategies so it’s good to see so many lighter and wearable formulas on the market.

  11. Johnny
    May 25, 2017 / 10:23 am

    I loved this product. Dont think any other brand has managed to have such a high SPF and not compromise on the texture and smell. Worth the money!

  12. May 25, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    Combining a cream with an SPF factor can give you a false sense of confidence that you are protected from harmful UV rays, particularly if you just apply the cream once a day. SPF 30 offers only 4% more sun protection than an SPF 15 while an SPF 45 offers only 2% more than an SPF 30. The higher up you go, that percentage lessens. The real secret to protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is to use the right sun care product and reapply often. At the end of the day, the SPF number does not really matter.

    Skin Aspirations | Latest blog post

  13. Lindsey
    May 25, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    Grubbiness is the worst! I have actually scraped it off my face with my fingernails and what you get is a disgusting gray layer of gook. I wear spf 365 days because I’m a redhead with a history of skin cancer. I’ve tried dozens, hundreds…. things really changed for me when I discovered Asian and European sunscreens and started ordering on Amazon. I’m in the US and our options for active ingredients are limited. Here’s my current thinking: I prefer sunscreens that are a combo of chemical and physical; they have elegant textures and the (for me) stronger and longer lasting effects of the physical blockers without the thick disgusting texture. I do have some that are all chemical and all physical. I have about 6-8 sunscreens in rotation throughout the year – I think of them as a wardrobe just like I have for clothing. Some of mine are combo moisturizer-spf, some are stand alone spf. I don’t get wrapped around the axle about the difference. I wear various serums underneath and sometimes a moisturizer in cold weather, then the spf on top, in different combinations depending on how my skin feels and the weather. In hot weather or if I know I’ll be sweating I wear a light alcohol based sunscreen that feels like nothing. I know all about the issues with alcohol in skin products and am super cautious, but I decided to try one after reading reviews on ratzillacosme.com. Much to my surprise I loved it and have purchased several others. I wear it with layers underneath so it doesn’t feel like it is drying me out or causing irritation. Ruth I love your reviews! Huge fan!

    • May 25, 2017 / 8:12 pm

      The SPF is tested the same way in a moisturiser and sunscreen, so the actual protection is the same – I suppose it’s HOW you use the product, ie whether you use enough, whether it’s water resistant etc… and how often you reapply! Also, the alcohol thing, I’ve been doing a LOT of research. It depends how the product has been formulated – it’s not as though you’re wiping pure alcohol over your skin and nothing else! x

  14. Mansi
    May 26, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    Neutrogena is the most greasy, grubby sunscreen I’ve ever used- including random spf I bought at the Pharmacist.
    La Roche Posay- the fluid one- works well on my skin, and it’s cheap!

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