How Much Would You Spend On A Face Cream?

Author: Lauren Coleman

Today’s feature is an extension of Charlotte’s premium make-up feature last week and also a post we have way back in the archives focusing on extremely expensive face creams.

I’m going to come right out and say it. Today’s post is about an anti-ageing moisturiser that costs £125. Did you wince when you read that? I sure as hell did when I wrote it. This is probably three times the amount I’ve spent on any beauty product I’ve ever owned.

The inconspicuous glass jar you see above is today’s topic of conversation. Come and say hello to Zelens Marine Complex Deep Restorative Cream. I have to point out this post is in no way sponsored as Charlotte gave me this product to try when she had an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients.

The Ingredients

In a nutshell the product is a very gentle skin cream with collagen-boosting ingredients which no doubt contribute to it’s very slightly elastic consistency. Zelens can explain this product better than I can so hold tight here’s a wordy bit of science and blurb:

This ‘gentle giant’ of a skin cream packs a punch when it comes to plumping wrinkles and fighting free radicals, while working hard to heal and soothe irritated, damaged complexions and prevent future flare-ups (with continued use). Among its ‘star’ ingredients are collagen-boosting fucus serratus (a vitamin-rich seaweed from the Atlantic coast), and skin-plumping marine exopolysaccharide (a sugar molecule that works in a similar way to hyaluronic acid, drawing moisture into the skin for a youthful glow). Chondrus crispus (Irish moss) then forms a protective film over the skin to lock in hydration – making this the perfect potion for cold weather – while alteromonas ferment (a potent anti-inflammatory) works to repair and fortify stressed-out complexions. With a clinical study showing a 25.6% reduction in wrinkles over the course of a month, it’s your one-stop-shop for a ‘plumped’ and contented complexion.

Before joining RMLtd full time earlier this year I worked in the beauty industry for a global cosmetics giant. I understand the high mark-up we all pay on the majority of lotions and potions; once a formulation goes into mass production the profit margin can be phenomenal. However on the flip side of this I also understand that the research and development that goes into initially creating these products can be immense. While ingredients and packaging may total a few quid, millions may have gone in to the R&D.

So is Zelens Marine Complex worth £125?
Well my number one skin complaint would always be my imperfect complexion after years of acne scarring, the second would be my open pores and the third would be fine lines appearing around my eyes.
Is Zelens the right product for me? Well realistically no – as this is a cream for aged and dry skin, not a combination epidermis but my God did I see a difference.

My Six Week Trial

I returned home from Sardinia with clearer skin than usual due to a combo of sun, sleep and religious double cleansing. I would have given it a week before my pore size increased and my complexion dulled however Charlotte handed me the pot to sample. I’ve now been using Zelens for a little over six weeks, applying morning and night to double cleansed skin and so far I’ve managed to maintain the post-holiday glow.
The formulation absorbs quickly and instantly leaves soft and hydrated skin. I haven’t even felt the need to use the acids I had been using previously as my facial skin looks more even and considerably plumper. Since I changed my skincare routine earlier this year my pores have begun to shrink however with Zelens the biggest difference is that my pores have visibly reduced even more and my lines are noticeably finer. On certain days I’ve been able to give up the primer all together. A friend came round recently and told me my skin looked ‘amazing’ and I didn’t even have to pay her.

So now I’m getting slightly concerned about what will happen when the 50ml jar runs out.
Beauty guru Caroline Hirons recommends it to counteract the drying, flaking side-effects of retinoids and I’ve also read other reviewers suggest this is a winter saviour for dehydrated skin so I’m considering carefully hiding away until it gets colder and then really putting it to good use.

I probably have a facial once a year so even if I ditched the treatment I wouldn’t have enough funds leftover to purchase another jar. However if I can give up the primer and the acids then there’s a big saving there. Whether or not I can live without it remains to be seen but at over ten times the price of my usual Nivea Q10 it’s a tricky decision to make!

Any other spendy skincare items you’ve tried that you have to remortgage to continue to get your beauty fix? Has anyone else tried this Zelens pot of wonder? Before I go, the shot in the header was taken in Rebecca’s (rvk_loves) boot room. You are in for a treat very soon when we share all the details of her renovation.

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
This post may include affiliate links.
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51 thoughts on “How Much Would You Spend On A Face Cream?

  1. Skincare is my biggest weakness, I suffer similar issues to yourself (acne scarring dryness especially after using a retinol) still searching for the perfect product to smooth out my skin texture, if it works i would buy it even if it costs £125 but if it just hydrates the skin I prob would just stick to my current moisturizer as that does the same thing. Let me know if you find said miracle cream above I use a by a daily but still no luck but at least my blackheads have gone down

    1. Emma, yes you’ve made me think that if a product that isn’t suited to my skin can make such a difference, imagine if I spent £125 on something that was suitable? It might have miraculous results!

  2. Couldn’t justify the cost I’m afraid. I believe that the majority of that cost is due to the huge costs incurred in marketing such a product. We seem to think that with some things we have to pay more to get more and it simply isn’t true but this belief keeps the prices of some things artificially high.

    1. It’s a tricky one Siobhan – I definitely agree we are often conned into thinking we have to pay more for things but I am impressed by this.

  3. I LOVE Elemis marine cream and often its on offer online for 100ml- 99quid, I’ve used it since getting married 5 years ago and believe it is worth the cost as it lasts ages and leaves my face velvet soft. The only problem is really can’t afford to re stock at the moment so I’m on the hunt for a cheaper alternative/dupe if any of you lovely lot have any suggestions?

    1. If you like Elemis, try QVC. Generally it’s good value and every couple of months Elemis is one of their ‘today’s special value’ deals – typically you get a pot of this in with the selection for a ridiculously low price.

  4. I’ve been using Environ, recommended by the consultant at SKIN clinic in Cheltenham, instead of my usual Clarins. I’ve been using it a couple of months now and that combined with the Alpha H Liquid Gold is working great for me. You can’t buy Environ online, you have to get it from a stockist. It costs about £35. However, my younger sister swears by Elemis and has been using it for years now.

    1. Interested to hear about the SKIN clinic Kate. Have you been having consultations? I’m really tempted to get someone to diagnose exactly what my skin needs!
      Alpha H Liquid Gold was really effective for me too x

  5. This is so interesting, it’s making me want to purchase! I get awfully dry sensitive skin in the winter and I have tried so many moisturisers. The only one which I have ever actually seen a difference with is my cheap as chips Aveeno moisturiser! Completely un-sexy but totally does the trick! I have seen a lot about Avene products recently so I might give those a whirl this winter. Keep us updated as to whether you do repurchase as I think that would be the decider for me! x

  6. I couldn’t bring myself to spend this much on a moisturiser. When I was in my early twenties I would regularly spend £35 on a Lancome moisturiser, but when I had to buy an Olay one as pennies were tight one month I just carried on buying Olay. My skin is generally quite good but this month it feels a bit dry while my nose can sometimes feel slightly oily. I used travel sized day and night creams by the Sanctuary while on a recent holiday and they seemed to work quite well (and they smell gorgeous) so I think I will give them a whirl soon. I think they are around £15 each and that is level of cost I am comfortable paying every 6 weeks or so.

    1. I’ve heard excellent things about Sanctuary Claire. Really good you can get travel sized products too.

  7. I really couldn’t justify the cost of this… My current moisturiser is £10 (but I try to get it on offer!) and even that makes me feel a bit uneasy given that it’s quite a small pot 🙈However it’s the only ‘budget’ moisturiser that doesn’t bring my skin out in a rash – It’s the phase 1 moisturiser from Superdrug’s B brand. I highly recommend the whole range – their gel/oil cleanser has changed my life!

        1. That’s the one! So I take off my make up with micellar water and then use that cleanser – it goes from gel to oil as soon as you start rubbing it into your skin. And then take it off with a warm flannel. Using it morning and evening and it leaves my skin so soft, it’s lovely! I haven’t had any breakouts since using it (about a month now).

          1. Jo I was so pleasantly surprised to see this wasn’t full of a million essential oils, it has very few ingredients in it at all. VERY tempted to give this a whirl myself, which micellar water do you use? x

            1. I use one from Superdrug’s Vitamin E collection. To be honest, I don’t really rate it that highly – it’s good for taking off foundation and lipstick but around the eye area I find it a bit too strong and it can make my eyes sting. I did use Garnier which was really good, but I’ve decided over the last few months to switch to cruelty free brands so I’m starting all over again with both skincare and make up and it’s all a bit trial and error at the moment!

  8. I have received sample sizes of the Elizabeth Arden Prevage serum and moisturisers before when buying EA products and noticed a difference from just the little use of the samples. I also won a facial with them via instagram and as part of the prize was given a pack of the cermaide capsules which I’m working my way through. Not quite as impressed with them, I think they are more suited to someone with dry skin and mine is quite oily.
    I have toyed with the idea of purchasing the serum but the price is similar to the Zelens (in fact I think the EA is even more!) and like you I’m just not sure I could bring myself to do it! Its just hard to bring yourself to spend that much. Zelens is a pricey brand, but if you are finding its really working it could be worth considering. Another thing Caroline Hirons says is that if you can afford to spend that amount on a handbag you should spend it on your face – because although you can have many handbags you only have one face! I had to save up to buy my handbag so maybe instead I should have a face cream savings pot?

    1. I read the same post by Caroline 🙂 And I agree with her, I’m always arguing the corner of investing in looking after your skin, if you can find something budget that works then great, but if you try a spendy cream that makes a noticeable difference/improvement then it is definitely worth it. IT’S YOUR FACE!

      Lauren, re-purchase the bloody Zelens.

  9. This is so interesting! Is it worth the cost… I have been buying Shu Uemura for years and I am LIVID that L’Oreal has just pulled the brand from the UK in its entirety so I am now hunting high and low for all sorts of replacements. So far I am quite liking the Bioderma Hydrabio Serum (pretty sure I sourced that from RMS – thanks!!) and I am investigating Aesop face things too. I have been very intrigued by a new line of skincare called Orveda at Harvey Nichols though. Anyone heard of it/tried it?! It is eye wateringly expensive (the Zelens looks cheap by comparison) but if it is truly a miracle cream then I might possibly consider it to help with fine lines etc. Although I think one product from the line would have to be enough, I am not a millionaire!!!

    1. I didn’t know they had done that Annie?! Hmm. How annoying. It was me that recommended the Bioderma Serum, I love to discover I’ve enabled 🙂

      Not heard of Orveda but off to check it out immediately.

      1. Well quite. I would have bought up a year’s supply to give me time to find replacements if I had known. Grrrrrrr….. xx
        ps if you find a great replacement for their stuff let me know pretty please?!

  10. The recently changed to the Oskia range after having a wonderful spa treatment at the Pig in the Forest where they use it. I had lots of samples and bought nutri-active day cream which is £60 but so worth it… I actually treated myself to almost the entire Oskia range; at nearly £400 it hurt but it has been so worth it! It is amazing and my skin looks fantastic; clearer and more luminous. I am not using much foundation at all now… I have never had bad skin, just dry, but being a nurse a combination on long shifts/nights/eating on the go/coffee etc my skin just could have been better…. well even my boyfriend has noticed. The night cream, facial oil, perfect cleanser, mask and exfoliator are all to die for. It has been about 2 months now; the product goes along way and I won’t be looking back. After all, it is your face.

    1. Ouch £400. However like you say, is it your face. Kate, you’re pushing me in the repurchase direction here. 😉

  11. I started using THE ORDINARY following one of your blog posts here. It was really confusing to figure out, but I ended up watching a guy on Youtube who recommended a range of their products to come up with the ultimate treatment plan. I still don’ really understand what each product does, but I think my skin is less oily during the day and it’s definitely clearer, and i think my pores are getting smaller as well, although not sure about the acne scarring. I’m going to play with a stronger Retinol next time (if there is a stronger one) and also figure out what BUFFET is for, as i’m using it twice a day but just not sure. I’m using one of the Oils as my moisturiser but it ‘balls’ on my skin a bit. not that it bothers me that much. i would never have introduced such an intense skin regime but the price of the ORDINARY makes it doable for my wallet, and having had low self-esteem from my skin since I was a teenager, it’s time I think.

    1. I still need to give The Ordinary a whirl Jen. Great to hear a recommendation from here worked for you.

  12. Honestly Lauren it is worth it. I am a sucker for premium brands anyway, but if it does actually work for you…. 😁x

  13. The most expensive moisturiser I’ve used was Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Moisturiser last year for 70 earth pounds. I was in two minds – it bloody better be magic at that price and what if I can’t live without it and have to always buy this product. I wasn’t impressed I have to say – nothing magical happened 🙁

    I went back to my usual Olay but my skin was quite dry. I’d dabbled with a Kiehls eye cream (avocado one) and liked it so I bought their Ultra Face Cream which I just love as my skin feels lovely and soft. My only bug bear was it didn’t have an SPF but hey presto they brought one out with SPF30 this summer. It’s £24 so doesn’t break the bank either. I love that you get samples with every purchase online or instore. For night times I can’t recommend a face oil enough – I’ve tried a few but keep going back to L’oreal Extraordinary face oil – it just feels so lush on the skin!

    On a final note I read in a mag (Grazia? Vogue? who knows I was at the hairdressers recently) and a girl tried out a face cream for…… £1000!!!!!!!!!!!! What.The.F….? Apparently, it was ace! (insert eye roll emoji)

    1. I didn’t rate CT magic cream either Lynn, yet my sister loves it. And I love her make-up in general. I guess it just goes to show no one cream suits all.

      I’ve heard LOTS of good things about the Kiehls Ultra Face Cream, it’s beauty blogger Kate Lavie’s favourite apparently.

  14. Any product which lives up to the hype, boosts your self confidence, makes your skin look lush and generally gives you a bloody good feel good factor is priceless as far as I’m concerned. I get so fed up buying product after product that makes no difference to anything so if you find something ace I would stick to it. Plus your face has served you well over the years and is rather beaut so it deserves a treat 😉 Xx

    1. I just wonder though Han should I find something that’s for combination skin instead? It could be amazing!

  15. Is this cream really good when it comes to “expression lines”?? Whether I am smiling, frowning or just talking I raise my brow and have lines coming there {seemingly more prominent since I hit my 30’s}.

    Overall, I have very good skin which isn’t greasy or dry and I rarely have spots. My current face care extends to {please don’t judge} dove soap and water. I kind of want a one potion does everything cleansing, toning moisturising – sounds very time consuming and bit a confusing… {seriously what order am I meant to put them on in??}

    H xx

    1. Can I be honest? it sounds as if you have lovely skin already, so I wouldn’t start messing with lots of different lotions and potions. I like Aveeno cream as it’s plain and simple (you can use it around the eyes) and Bobbi Brown do a few different ones that are supposed to be gentle/good all rounders – it might be worth taking a trip to a counter x

  16. Wow my eyes did water at the price of it!
    But if it really works, and makes you feel better in your skin, and you can do away with or reduce how much of your acids/primer/other products you use I say go for it. If I found a wonder product that really dealt with my skin issues I would pay that much.
    On that note if anyone has any product recommendatioms for redness and keratosis Pilaris (the chicken skin bumps you tend to get on the tops of your arms and thighs) on my face in the line of my eyebrows (not fun!) that would be amazing!

  17. I have very ordinary skin. A little dehydrated, a little oily, nothing major either way. I use Clinique moisturiser and night cream and it seems to do the job. I’m 38 (! how the hell did that happen!) next month and this year I’ve still been ID’ed buying booze.

    What I’m trying to say is if your skin is difficult go right ahead and use *all* the products. Mine is quite “normal” and really doesn’t need the kitchen sink thrown at it (tired acids and they make little to no noticeable difference!) although I probably spend about £200 a year on my face day cream.

  18. I spend a slightly silly amount on the Tata Harper cleansers but I don’t use it for both cleanses and it does last forever… and it’s good for the environment.. and uh.. you usually get a Space NK incentive/reward thingy if you buy it from there. Also really good for my easily offended skin!

  19. These days – no I wouldn’t. Been through phases of buying extortionate products but honestly, my skin is best when I stick with Aveeno. Although I do use Bobbi Brown eye cream. Xx

  20. Whichever moisturisers I try, I always end up going back to the Extraordinary Oil ones in the gold jars. It feels just rich enough and leaves my skin feeling soft and plumped. 🙂

  21. For me it’s not about the marketing or hype of the premium brands, if it makes your skin feel and look good I would buy it. Not all products are created equal or work for everyone’s skin type regardless of price so if you find something that works stick with it until it doesn’t work anymore (or you find something cheaper that’s just as good ;-))
    I have dry/dehydrated skin and I’ve found what works best for me is an oil based cleanser, a spritz with a facial mist, a serum with Hyaluronic acid followed by moisturiser and finally a BB cream. The stars in my routine as far as having dry skin are the cleanser (£39) and serum (£6) so the price of the product doesn’t always reflect the impact on your face. Having said that my BB cream is £80 and hands down it is the best BB cream I have ever used! I will always find the money for it even when I am on a tight budget because it makes my skin look great which in turn makes me feel more confident 🙂

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