When I first took the leap into the skincare world, I had no idea how many types of each routine step there could be. The more research I did and the more brands I explored, the more excited I got about the journey I was on. One of my favorite parts of this never-ending journey is discovering my favorite types of products and steps in my routine. For example, when I first heard the term “double cleanse,” I found it unnecessary and sort of confusing. Can’t I just use a makeup wipe? I mean, yeah the wipes sting my eyes but eventually they get everything off. As a now self-proclaimed Cleansing Balm Enthusiast, the thought of this makes me cringe nowadays. In comes the most important skincare lesson I’ve learned: Ditch the makeup wipes. Taking off your makeup shouldn’t be an irritating event (literally or figuratively)--your eyes shouldn’t burn, and you shouldn’t be using wipe after wipe merely spreading everything around your face.
Fast forward a few months and I’ve now racked up few cleansing balms and am constantly researching others. Taking off my makeup has honestly become one of my favorite parts of my day. After trying a cleansing balm for the first time, they quickly became almost therapeutic to me. The whole experience--from the scent (depending on the balm) to the texture, to breaking down my mascara, to rinsing away the concealer, spf, etc.--is one that allows me to stop and relax and literally wash away the day. No irritation. Just cleansed, balanced skin.
That being said, here is a round up of some of the cleansing balms I’ve tried, am using, and have on rotation:
I really really like this stuff. Made up of a number of citric oils (such as lime and orange) and relaxing rose and lavender oils, this balm is hypoallergenic and paraben free. A little goes a long way with this stuff, and it removes makeup effortlessly as it emulsifies from balm to oil. I massage a single scoop onto damp skin and can feel the makeup breaking down. After rinsing with lukewarm water, all that’s left is my skin--neither stripped nor sticky. What makes this balm a favorite is the packaging. It’s a flip-top lid, which makes it super easy to use if I’m using it in the shower. It’s also budget friendly at $19 USD for 4 ounces !
This has to be my current favorite. I’m obsessed with the hint of citrus/lime scent this balm has (thanks to the blend of lime, orange, and bergamot oils in the formula). It makes me feel immediately relaxed and renewed. I find that this balm emulsifies the quickest (which at first I was apprehensive about), but packs a punch when it comes to its makeup removing ability. I’ll sometimes use smaller scoops to address certain areas of my face (like my nose, under eyes, and forehead) where I use the most concealer, and then go in with a larger scoop for my eyes, cheeks, and chin. I love that this formula has papaya extract, which naturally exfoliates and brightens. Like the Heimish balm, this leaves my skin feeling balanced and toned. $34 USD for 3.2 fl. ounces
I had really high hopes for this, but unfortunately it just wasn’t for me. My favorite thing about cleansing balms is feeling my makeup breaking down and easily rinsing away. Although the ingredients are great (including squalane, cucumber extract, and olive oil), the formula doesn't emulsify easily, and left a heavy film/residue on my skin, which also made it difficult for clearing away mascara and concealer. The few times I used this I ended up using a washcloth to wipe away the excess. I know a lot of people do this regardless of the cleanser they’re using, but I love the feeling of rinsing my face clean with lukewarm water. I felt like it was just wiping the product off my face, and it took away from the experience I’d fallen in love with. $32 USD for 3 ounces.
The very first cleansing balm I tried. The door to my obsession. The beginning. OK, back to the review: An ideal formula for dry or sensitive skin, this balm is 100% fragrance free and super nourishing. Not irritating or drying, it’s an overall quality cleansing balm. Removes even stubborn waterproof makeup quickly and nourishingly. Clinique also makes a Take the Day off Cleansing Oil and a Take the Day off Cleansing Milk, but I think the Balm is an ideal 3-in-1 since it transforms from balm to oil to milk as it’s massaged onto the skin and emulsifies. $29.50 USD for 3.8 ounces.
This Balm quickly became a favorite for two reasons: 1. Its sensory experience (thanks to the Camomile extract) and 2, It’s budget friendly at $16 USD for 2.7 ounces of product. While it does contain fragrance, it still removes eye makeup without any irritating or stinging. It leaves my skin feeling incredibly smooth without any residue. If you’re looking for a good cleansing balm but don’t want to spend too much, this is your go-to.