Best skincare products with collagen: Top creams and more reviewed

Is this the key to a supple, firm appearance?

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Ellie Davis9 June 2023
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Much to Cher’s disappointment, we can’t turn back time. But we can do our utmost to preserve and maintain our youthful complexions for longer - and the not-so hidden secret to achieving this is collagen.

Beauty’s most talked-about buzzword, collagen is an essential protein preventing skin from sagging. It is a building block and is responsible for elasticity, firmness and plumpness. Dr Hiba Injibar, consultant dermatologist at Harley Street’s Dermasurge Clinic explains “collagen makes up approximately 80 per cent of skin’s structure, providing elasticity, strength and support to the pores and skin. It can help improve skin hydration, cell turnover, the appearance of wrinkles and protects the skin from sun damage”.

She adds, “From our mid-20s onwards, we lose about 1 per cent of collagen per year”. Cue the panic.

Our collagen levels may start diminishing, but there are things that we can do to rejuvenate our complexions - so no panic necessary. There are both topical and dietary treatments. We’re talking collagen supplements in every shape and size; be it in powder, tablet or drink form and derived from either marine, bovine or vegan sources as well as creams, lotions and potions to give resilience to our skin.

Here’s the thing though: collagen is a big molecule that is hard to absorb, especially in skincare. The most effective way to incorporate it into your daily routine is through formulations that stimulate its production rather than directly layering it onto the complexion. It is still helpful though as Dr Emma Craythorne, Founder of KLIRA explains: “Application of topical collagen in skincare does not cause an increase in the collagen in the skin. It does however form an excellent base that allows distribution of active ingredients”.

Want to know more? We’re deep diving into the world of collagen skincare, but if you’re already convinced and you’re looking for a way to speed up the checkout to slathering it onto your face process, scroll down for our pick of the best products. If not, read on.

What does collagen do in skincare?

“Collagen skincare can be bought as creams, serums, lotions, and masks” says Dr Injibar. “If you apply it on the skin, it won’t penetrate. Collagen is built in the skin. So, you will need a medical skin treatment to build up collagen production in the skin. Medical skin treatments, such as microneedling, are more effective than topical collagen products in reducing the effects of ageing. This creates tiny micro-channels into the skin, which can increase your natural collagen production, new cell turnover and the appearance of wrinkles”.

Does collagen in skincare work?

Dr Injibar reveals that “There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that collagen creams and serums can actually penetrate the skin and stimulate collagen production. Collagen molecules are too big to pass through the skin’s epidermis (its outer layer). As a result, topical collagen products can only provide a temporary moisturising effect”.

Does collagen skincare dry out skin?

Beware says Dr Injibar as “some topical collagen skincare products may dry out the skin as they contain skin aggressors like alcohol or essential oils”. She suggests that “these additional ingredients for fragrance can strip away the skins natural oils and leave the skin feeling tight, dry, and irritated”.

Look out for collagen products that also feature hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane and ceramides. “Hyaluronic acid is humectant that draws water into the skin. This ingredient can add lightweight hydration to the skin without feeling heavy or greasy. It both attracts and holds onto moisture, rejuvenating dull, dehydrated skin to give it a plump appearance” Dr Injibar adds.

She continues that “Ceramides are a type of lipid that is naturally found in the skin. Ceramide-rich moisturisers help to keep the skin hydrated by forming a barrier that prevents water from evaporating. They also help to protect the skin from damage caused by the sun, wind, and other environmental factors”.

Shop the best collagen-based skincare products below

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF 30


The definition of a cult product, if you want pillowy plump and soft skin, incorporating Elemis’ cream into your routine should be your first order of business. This is one of Elemis’ bestselling products and has been so since the brand’s inception over 20 years ago - a testament both to its efficacy as well as its luxury feel.

The rich gel-cream texture expertly balances two opposing qualities, providing science-led formulations, while pampering your skin. It combines the likes of padina pavonica, chlorella and ginkgo biloba to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as intensely hydrating ingredients that are a treat to thirsty complexions.

Buy now£94, Cult Beauty

FaceGym Active Blast Instant Release Collagen Booster Spheres


Bring your skincare routine into hi-tech realms with the help of FaceGym. The brand has created this treatment as a seven or 28-day boot camp that will encourage you to be consistent with your application. Each booster contains fermented yeast collagen that is designed to be mixed with your current water-based serum (you can use the brand’s Hydro-Bound or the one that’s currently sitting in your bathroom cabinet).

They take the form of a sphere that “activated” when combined with the serum, dissolving into liquid form, ready to be applied directly onto your skin. It then gets to work filling fine lines, brightening the complexion and evening out texture.

Buy now£55, lookfantastic

Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Superfusion Facial Oil

Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury may already dominate your makeup bag but we’re encouraging you to let the expert makeup artist’s eponymous range enhance your skincare routine too.

The collection was created to provide the optimal base for makeup application. In that vein, the serum minimises the look of fine lines and winkles, reduces redness and injects moisture into the complexion so you are ready for anything, whether that’s minimal base products for work or all out for a black-tie event.

The product harnesses the power of plant extracts and essentials oils that are firming, plumping and form a shield on the skin to prevent moisture loss.

Buy now£62, Space NK

Sarah Chapman Skinesis Morning Facial

Sarah Chapman

Facialist to the stars Sarah Chapman created her Skinesis skincare range to offer products that will enhance the treatments at her Sloane Square flagship clinic.

The Morning Facial is made up of a blend of 16 actives, one of which is called Collageneer. No points for guessing what this component has been designed to recreate but it’s paired alongside additional trademarked ingredients known as Juvinity and Kalpariane that offer triple duty firming of fine lines.

The trio also works to refine tone and texture with the added bonus of vitamin A, while skin-loving vitamins are brought to the fold with rosehip oil for plumping.

Buy now£62, lookfantastic

Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Collagen Eye Cream

Peter Thomas Roth

This is a results-driven eye cream where the before and after pictures almost speak for themselves. The lightweight cream contains not one but seven different forms of collagen and actives that encourage collagen production in order to combat crow’s feet and encourage a plumped appearance.

The trademarked complex EyeFective also gets to work on dark circles, while hyaluronic acid and squalane provide the moisture. The tub may appear small but a little goes a long way and it gets to work fast.

Top tip, store in the fridge for the ultimate cooling effet.

Buy now£60, lookfantastic

The INKEY List Collagen Peptide Serum

The INKEY List

If you’re looking for a specific ingredient, you are bound to find it as part of The INKEY List’s curated collection of supercharged serums.

Each spotlights a different buzz ingredient with the focus of this product for boosting collagen. It is made up of a peptide known as Matrixyl 3000 that was created to mimic the benefits of collagen, namely encouraging firming and elasticity. The brand suggests that this works to stimulate collagen production.

While that’s hard to measure, it is a silky smooth lightweight product that can be slathered on with no sticky residue and feels hydrating and moisturising as soon as it’s applied.

Buy now£12.99, lookfantastic

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Firming Collagen Cream

First Aid Beauty

This cream from First Aid Beauty can play the moisturiser role in your skincare routine aka the last step before SPF. The anti-ageing formulation will encourage a youthful complexion by firming and leaving a supple finish. It is powered by a combination of collagen and peptides that are chosen for their plumping properties and enhanced by the inclusion of niacinamide to even out the appearance and provide balance to stressed skin.

This is a richer texture than some of the other products on this list and if you, like us, find heavy creams make you sweat excessively in summer, you may want to reserve it for winter.

Buy now£40, lookfantastic

Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen


When you start to notice sagging, fine lines and wrinkles, it can be all that you see when you look in the mirror. Enter the Algenist treatment. What sets this apart from the crowd is that first and foremost, it is vegan. This is unusual as collagen is typically bovine or marine sourced.

Instead, it is powered by a unique combination of protein fibres from corn, soy and wheat protein that is designed to mirror the structure of collagen in order to revive your complexion to its youthful glory. The product absorbs quickly into the skin without clogging pores, encouraging a brighter complexion and a visible reduction in the depth of wrinkles.

Buy now£108, Space NK

Beauty Pie Youthbomb Biologic Collagen Peptide Cream (J001)

Beauty Pie

It may not have the same earworm quality as Tom Jones’ number one hit but Youthbomb more than makes up for it in its ability to layer the skin in cutting-edge ingredients. The moisturiser was created in tandem with Consultant Dermatologist Dr Andrew Markey to provide the dewy finish that this product type is supposed to do - but it takes it further than that. The rich cream needs only a little amount to make a big impact.

In a lab in Japan, Beauty Pie created the Biologic Collagen Peptide Cream with a trademarked C18 Complex that combines a cocktail of peptides, fruit extracts, flower fermet, niacinamide, leaf/stem extract and more plant-powered goodness that are designed to give a smoother, softer, healthier and soothed complexion in just four weeks of use.

Buy now£175, Beauty Pie

Absolute Collagen Boosting Serum

Absolute Collagen

The bright yellow packaging of this serum will make a striking addition to your bathroom cabinet. It was created to support the inside-out benefits of Absolute Collagen’s hugely popular supplements (one of the ES Best top collagen supplements on the market). There are two specialised Matrixyl complexes included, the clinically proven 3000 and Synthe 6 that were created to fill and firm fine lines. Placed alongside bakuchiol, a plant-based alternative to anti-ageing retinol and hyaluronic acid for hydration, it’s a small bottle that will do a lot in the plumping, smoothing department.

Buy now£26.99, Amazon