There are different reasons why you’ll want to try the best cleansing balms. For instance, maybe your current face wash isn’t doing a good job at removing makeup. Or maybe you’re tired of having dry skin. Cleansing balms solve both of those problems.
They melt waterproof makeup and cleanse dirt and oil, plus they leave the skin soft and smooth. Many cleansing balms don’t even need water to work, they simply wipe off. Most are mild enough for sensitive skin, even acne-prone complexions.
So, are cleansing balms worth it? You betcha. Here are our top picks:
|The best cleansing balms||Why we love them|
|ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm|
|Farmacy Natural Makeup Remover - Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm|
|BANILA CO Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm|
|Neutrogena Makeup Remover Melting Balm|
|SKINNY & CO. Cleansing Balm and Makeup Remover|
|Pond's Makeup Remover Cleansing Balm|
We’ll take a closer look at each one in the reviews below. In the meantime, here are some tips for getting the best cleansing balm for your needs.
Table of Contents
- How to choose a cleansing balm that gets you the results you desire
- How to use a cleansing balm
- Best Cleansing Balms in 2021
How to choose a cleansing balm that gets you the results you desire
You don’t need alcohol in a cleansing balm as it will strip the skin of moisture. It doesn’t hurt to avoid artificial fragrances or dyes as they may cause irritation. Likewise, if you have acne-prone skin, stick to plant oils and avoid balms with mineral oil (like Pond’s).
Instead, for oily skin, pick a cleansing balm with lightweight oils like grapeseed or safflower. And for dry complexions, choose extra conditioning ingredients like olive or jojoba oil and shea butter.
Many cleansing balms contain wax, and that’s not a bad thing. They will feel thick at first, but they will melt into the skin. Just a little dab can do your whole face. Think how nice it will be to look in the mirror and not see flaky cheeks.
If cosmetics tend to make your eyes burn, look for a cleansing balm that’s been tested by ophthalmologists. Otherwise, scan the reviews to see what other users are saying. It can be difficult to find a waterproof mascara remover that doesn’t sting, but you should have good luck with most cleansing balms. Moreover, the moisturizing formula will take good care of the delicate skin around the eyes.
How to use a cleansing balm
Most balms have a buttery texture. They may start hard, but soften when exposed to warmth. Scoop a small amount from the container and warm it in the palm of your hand before massaging it into the face.
Use gentle circular motions to work the balm into the skin. Then use a soft cloth to wipe away the residue. Some balms emulsify with water so you can rinse them.
Afterward, you can double-cleanse if desired and use your regular foaming face wash. On the downside, that may cancel out the hydration provided by the balm, so if you’re not getting the benefits you expected, try skipping the second cleanser for a week.
Best Cleansing Balms in 2021
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
This is a luxury cleansing balm. We know not everyone is going to blow their budget on it, but we wish everyone could try it. It’s a treat to use, and it works extremely well.
ELEMIS describes it as a three-in-one cleanser because it removes makeup like an oil, nourishes like a balm, and moisturizes like a milk. Yes, it delivers on all three points.
The first thing you’ll notice is the spa-like aroma. Scoop it up and it begins to melt in your hand. You only need a pea-size amount.
You may find yourself taking a little longer than usual to get ready for bed because the balm is delightful to massage into the skin. Talk about pampering.
In fact, the first ingredient is sweet almond oil, frequently used as a massage oil. There are nine essential oils like chamomile, lavender, and eucalyptus. Then, there are some unique ingredients like elderberry and starflower oils, too.
But there are no cheap fillers like mineral oil and no chemicals like parabens. Instead, the formula is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids to keep the skin young and healthy. That’s not surprising since it comes from a wellness brand.
This is definitely the type of cleansing balm that you won’t want to wash off. Don’t worry, your skin will feel clean anyway. After you wipe away makeup residue, let your skin absorb the nutrients and relax.
By the way, the balm comes with a spatula and a soft cotton terry cloth.
- Premium cleansing balm with luxury ingredients and a relaxing aroma
- Removes waterproof makeup in seconds
- Melts into the skin, delivering nutrients from botanicals and plant oils
- Leaves the skin soothed, softened, and strengthened
- No rinsing needed
- The price makes it less accessible
- Contains wheat germ oil, putting it off-limits for those with celiac disease
Farmacy Natural Makeup Remover – Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm
Besides makeup, you know what else is hard to remove? Sunscreen. Stop wasting time and face cleanser. Switch to a creamy balm like this one. It melts into a cleansing oil within moments. As you massage, the balm also exfoliates, getting rid of dead skin and pollution.
Once you add water, the oil becomes lather that sweeps away cosmetics, grime, and skincare products. It will leave your face silky soft and won’t bother the eyes.
The formula features all sorts of goodies that work magic on the complexion. For example, there’s moringa purifies the skin and papaya to renew it. There’s even a patented version of echinacea called GreenEnvy which evens out skin tone. It’s an excellent blend of science and nature.
Fortunately, there are no artificial dyes, parabens, or sulfates needed. It’s also cruelty-free.
It’s no surprise that it’s an Allure Best of Beauty award winner.
- Allure Best of Beauty award winner
- Removes waterproof makeup, sunscreen, and grime without causing irritation to the eyes
- Packed with anti-aging nutrients to perfect the complexion
- Melts into oil and emulsifies into lather upon contact with water
- Cruelty-free and contains no artificial color, parabens, or sulfates
- Jar holds only 3.4 ounces, and it’s so agreeable to use it may go fast
BANILA CO Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
Which is the best Korean cleansing balm? Now, that’s a tricky question as there are so many good options. But we love the Banila Co. original balm as it has everything we need and nothing we don’t.
For starters, it’s made with hot springs water, botanicals, and vitamins. But it contains no phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, alcohol, artificial colors, or parabens.
It’s an all-in-one face wash as it removes makeup, cleanses the skin, and moisturizes. Use it alone or follow-up with a second cleanser for the double-cleansing routine. After you massage it, rinse with water. It will emulsify and rinse clean.
That’s one of the nicest parts about it – it never feels heavy or greasy. A small amount goes a long way, and it won’t sting the eyes if you use it to take off mascara. It doesn’t even have a strong scent.
Here’s an interesting statistic: a jar of Clean It Zero cleansing balm is purchased every 3.1 seconds around the world. Try the original or one of the variations, like Revitalizing, Nourishing, or Purifying.
- Best-selling Korean cleansing balm
- Transforms from balm to oil to lather, sweeping away makeup and dirt
- Infused with botanicals, vitamins, and hot springs water
- No parabens, mineral oil, alcohol, artificial colors, sulfates, or phthalates
- No strong scent and gentle to the eyes, not greasy
- It’s tempting to try all the different versions
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Melting Balm
Trusted brand Neutrogena has also created a cleansing balm that melts into makeup-removing oil. It performs just as well as we hoped, making light work of long-wear and waterproof makeup. Moreover, it’s mild enough to use on the lips and eyes.
True, it’s not as flashy as some brands, but that’s not what’s important. Take it from beauty influencer Hyram Yarbro, it’s an answer to prayers if you have sensitive skin and eyes. The formula works in seconds and never requires scrubbing. It’s not greasy, either.
We checked the ingredients and were pleased to see no perfume, parabens, or alcohol.
- Mild for sensitive skin and eyes, not greasy
- Easily removes waterproof makeup of all types
- No perfume, parabens, or alcohol, and no scrubbing needed
- Travel-size container
SKINNY & CO. Cleansing Balm and Makeup Remover
Can just a balm with just five ingredients actually clean the skin? This one can, and it’s even chemical-free. It has no parabens, latex, phthalates, sulfates, or additives of any kind.
To the contrary, it’s based on natural plant oils like coconut, patchouli, jasmine, Ylang Ylang, and sandalwood. Just imagine the heavenly aroma.
Furthermore, it doesn’t just clean your face and take off makeup, it can also double as shave cream or moisturizer. They say it’s even safe enough to eat.
On the downside, since it’s based on raw coconut oil, it will liquefy above room temperature. Once it hits about 78°F, it will be oil not balm. But there’s no harm in keeping it in the refrigerator as it will melt quickly in the palm of your hand.
- Melts away makeup and rejuvenates the skin
- Heavenly aroma from pure essential oils
- Only five ingredients, all natural, no additives
- Doubles as shave cream and moisturizer, does not need to be rinsed
- Liquefies in warm environments, so it’s best to store in the refrigerator
Pond’s Makeup Remover Cleansing Balm
Several beauty sites agree that the best drugstore cleansing balm is Pond’s. We concur as this classic hearkens back to Pond’s Cold Cream. But we still have a couple of reservations.
One issue that we saw is that it contains an artificial fragrance and mineral oil. But if you don’t have sensitive skin, these may not be problematic. The other issue is that we heard that may be irritating to the eyes. That’s a big negative if you plan to use it to remove mascara.
On the upside, even though it feels a little greasy at first, it melts quickly into a cleansing oil. Then, it rinses clean with warm water and leaves the skin soft. Plus, it works well enough to have earned a Best of Beauty Award in 2018, and it’s cheap.
- Best of Beauty Award winner with a discount price
- Dissolves makeup and leaves the skin soft
- Based on the classic Pond’s Cold Cream
- May cause eye irritation
Cleansing balm is the solution for easy makeup removal without irritating the skin. It hydrates and soothes, often providing anti-aging benefits and nutrients just like a moisturizer.
We’d love to know if our reviews helped you find your new favorite cleansing balm today. Feel free to tell us about it in the comments below.