Let’s talk removing your makeup. It’s arguably one of the most important steps of your skin care routine. Even if you don’t wear makeup, that PM cleanse at the end of your day needs to remove sunscreen, sweat, dirt, and grime that accumulates on your skin every single day. Depending on what that day looks like, I reach for a micellar water, cleansing oil, or cleansing balm as part of a double cleanse method. Cleansing balms feel like a luxurious skin care step and they are particularly effective at removing stubborn makeup and heavy grime. I’ve tried many over the years and I wanted to share the best cleansing balms and how to use them.
How To Use Cleansing Balms
- Scoop a small amount of cleansing balm using a small spatula or just your finger
- Blend product between fingertips and spread on dry face, massage around
- Add warm water gradually to emulsify cleansing balm into milky oily texture
- Use warm water to rinse away melted makeup and product
- Use warm wash cloth to wipe away excess product
- Complete double cleanse process by following your cleansing balm with a cleanser of your choice
Cleansing balm pro tip: wet your wash cloth with hot water, wring out, place on your face, and let the warm steam heat your skin. It’ll help the cleansing balm loosen up makeup and dirt without any tugging or rubbing. Repeat this a few times for longwearing eyeliner, lash glue, and waterproof makeup that is stubborn to remove.
The Best Cleansing Balms
Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm
Paula’s Choice makes my current favorite cleansing balm for a few different reasons. It melts effortlessly into the skin, melts off makeup, rinses away clean, and contains no fragrance. This is the best cleansing balm for sensitive skin!
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
For a more spa-like experience, ELEMIS is the first cleansing balm that comes to mind. This luxuriously scented cleansing balm melts into a thick moisturizing oily balm that feels amazing on the skin. It’s heavily scented, so it’s not for everyone. I really like the rose scented version, but sometimes it can be a bit much. This now comes in a fragrance free option as well, although I haven’t tried it yet!
Colleen Rothschild Radiant Cleansing Balm
Colleen Rothschild makes an incredible cleansing balm as well if you’re looking for a luxurious and hydrating experience. It’s a touch less oily than ELEMIS and more creamy. This formula can be a little clingy so be sure to rinse and wipe thoroughly. Also comes in a deliciously scented cocoa bean version which is so fun!
$65, buy on Colleen Rothschild
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup Cleansing Balm
The cleansing balm by IT Cosmetics is another one of my all time favorite cleansing balms. It looks like a solid coconut oil and upon contact with skin it melts into a medium texture oil that feels nice and hydrating. Has a nice light citrus scent that’s refreshing and satisfying.
$38, buy on Sephora
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
One of the OG cleansing balms and still one of the best! Melts into a silky oil that melts away that dirt, sweat, and makeup. I love that Clinique’s cleansing balm is also sensitive skin friendly and fragrance free. Trying it for the first time? Grab the 1 oz travel size for only $10!
In terms of cleansing balms I haven’t tried yet, Farmacy, The INKEY List, and Glow Recipe are on my wish list. I also recently got the Derma E Universal Cleansing Balm so that’s the one I’ll be testing out next. It’s vegan, cruelty free, and available for a drugstore price point at under $15.
What’s your favorite cleansing balm? Do you like them on the thicker side, or do you prefer something more simple and unscented?