B&B! Q&A: Emer Gillen, and Ten Years of Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream

EMER GILLENEmer Gillen is originally from Sligo; based in London for the last four years, she trained as a beauty therapist in the Georgina Price College of Beauty Therapy in Galway. Having had an equal passion for spa therapy and travel, she pursued the opportunity to work on a cruise ship with Steiner Leisure Ltd. “This was my first introduction to Elemis products and treatments, and was where I made such a strong connection with the brand,” she explains.

She was part of the management team that launched the Spirit One Spa when it opened in the Radisson Blu, Galway, and considered it a natural progression to join the Elemis training team 8 years ago as an International Trainer. “I have such a varied spectrum of responsibilities with my role,” Emer says, “from spa, salon and retail courses, alongside working with our Elemis Day Spa, SpaSpecialist and British Airways Travel Spa teams. Globally, I work closely with our distribution teams developing their training divisions and I also present Elemis on QVC UK.”

Emer took some time to talk about a mainstay of the Elemis brand, followed by my review of the Spirit One experience…

It’s the 10th anniversary of the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, and I think it says it all in the name. Can you talk about the properties of both the collagen and the marine aspect, and how they are so effective in anti-ageing?
Pro-Collagen Marine Cream is about working with the skin’s natural functions to assist in improving collagen and elastin production, which leads to stunning long-lasting results.

The results really speak for themselves: the Marine Cream has been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkle depth by up to 78%, and increase hydration and moisture levels by up to 45%.

The composition of the cream challenged traditional anti-ageing skincare by combining ground breaking natural marine ingredients Porphyridum and Chlorella seaweeds along with Padina Pavonica, which is central to the cream’s activity; a fan shaped brown algae, it is handpicked daily by scuba divers from the temperate waters of Malta, and left to dry under the sun’s warming rays. This dynamic anti-ageing cream gel helps to dramatically increase skin elasticity, suppleness, firmness and hydration levels.

How does the new cult fave Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm complement the cream, and how does it work?
Make-up, sweat and pollution build up in the layers of the skin. Oils and waxes are naturally compatible with sebum, easily breaking down excess pore blocking oils. Theses oils and waxes protect the skin from being stripped of its natural lipid layer and essential skin protection. Make-up micro particles left in the skin result in a long-term dulling of the complexion and may also lead to other skin problems.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm is a beautiful texture for an exceptional treatment experience, preparing the skin brilliantly which complements Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and enhances its anti-ageing effectiveness.

Cleansing balms seem to be all the rage at the moment. What are your top tips for using a balm?
Scoop a small amount of Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm with dry fingertips, and massage directly into the skin. Then, wet the fingertips and continue to massage as the balm transforms into a beautiful milk. Remove with a very warm cleansing cloth, both morning and evening.

For a special treatment, smooth a generous amount over the face, neck and décolleté with dry fingers. Massage to warm the skin and loosen the balm. Leave for 10 minutes. Hold a very warm, damp cleansing cloth over the skin, practice abdominal breathing and inhale the exquisite aroma. Gently wipe away.

The Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift facial in Spirit One Spa was gorgeous. How do people go about designing facials, and what are the specific benefits of this one?
The Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial for fine lines and wrinkles was designed by Noella Gabriel, Director of Elemis treatment and products development. Through Noella’s vast industry expertise, and therapy background, this treatment was developed to deliver a results-driven sensory experience for the client.

The Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial allows you to experience the ultimate in scientific skin therapy. It’s an advanced anti-ageing facial, clinically proven to reduce the number of wrinkles by 94% and improve skin firmness by 57% after just one treatment. This anti-aging face and eye treatment helps to protect against the signs of ageing, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face and restructuring the eye contour. Specialised lifting massage techniques are combined with Elemis anti-ageing products for maximum treatment efficacy.

Looking over the protocol for the facial, I notice that there are loads of essential oils used — lime, rosewood, tea tree, to name a few. Can you talk about the brand’s use of such ingredients, and what the benefits are?
Each Elemis product and treatment takes you on a sensory journey and the Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial is no different. The use of Lime, Lavender and Rosewood Essential Oils which are anointed onto luxuriously warm mitts or facial compresses are used to enhance the aromatic experience of the Elemis facial. We understand the emotional and physiological response that aromatics have on our wellbeing, and so essential oils, herbs and fruits play an integral role in the fragrance pyramid of each unique product.


So, how was it?

Spirit One Spa is like a little fairground of therapeutic possibilities: you’ve got your sauna and your steam room, and your bowl of ice to really get those pores breathing, but there are also loads of marble beds upon which to recline, and the Sabia Med, a beach room in which you can lie on sand and relax, from a simulated sunrise to sunset. The spa is also very popular, and was rather busy the day I was there to avail of its benefits — benefits that were somewhat diminished by the chattery hen parties that were roaming about the place. Save it for the pub, ladies, seriously. Manners! One would encourage the staff to gently enforce the rule of silence. It’s only fair.

Once the hens went on their way, the place achieved the kind of serenity it aims to provide. And once I was lead away to enjoy my treatment, it was like being transported to another world. A world of seemingly endless double-cleansing, toning, exfoliation, massage… and every Elemis product known to woman. Okay, not every, but all the best ones.

As mentioned above, the use of essential oils in tandem with the glorious signature scent of the products was almost enough to send me into bliss, just on their own. It all started off with a  Hot Lime Foot Cleansing and Thai Foot Ritual, and progressed through the use of Japanese camellia oil, rosewood, more lime, and lavender, this last in the form of an eye pillow that did its work whilst I received a hand, arm, and décolleté massage.

It’s amazing how relaxing it can be for the face when your hands are getting a good going over…

Amongst the products used were, of course, the piéce de resistance of the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, but also in play was the Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Serum, the Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Peel Off Mask and the Pro-Collagen Lifting Treatment. And the Eye Renewal. And the Wrinkle Treatment. And the Rehydrating Ginseng Toner! This too is like a little fairground, a little fairground of renewal and utter, utter relaxation.

The best thing was that, even after a night of gorgeous food and plenty of bubbly, my visage was not ravaged. In fact, the glow lasted the guts of a week, and as ever, my make up looked all the better for having had the canvas primed, as it were. Nothing like several hours wrapped in a spa robe and a fab facial to put all things right in the world.


The Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial is 1 hour 10 minutes, €95.00. See spiritonespa.com for details

spirit one spa, Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Galway, Lough Atalia Road, Galway, Ireland
T: +353 91 538 462 


ALSO: Some of the best sushi ever is available at the Radisson Blu’s Japanese restaurant, RAW: sushi in the sky. SERIOUSLY. And I have enjoyed sushi in both NYC and LA (admittedly not in Japan) and both of those places have the best sushi, but this sushi in Galway not only holds its own, but also beats the competition! Seriously!


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