Experts Agree This One Skincare Product Is the First Step to a Healthy Glow

April 10, 2022 at 08:00AM

If there’s only one beauty lesson that everyone should know, it’s that you should always remove your makeup. Leaving makeup on or even *shudders* sleeping in it can cause a whole host of skin problems, from breakouts and dryness to inflammation and irritation. Not properly cleansing your face to remove makeup is a situation you really don’t want to find yourself in.

And I’m not talking a quick pass with a face wipe or micellar water, either. Makeup should be properly removed with deep-cleansing formulas. But honestly, I get it. Taking off your makeup every night with a proper cleanser feels like a lot of effort, and it can be all too easy to slip into bed with the promise to yourself that you’ll totally do a mask in the morning, right? The truth is taking makeup off after a long, hard day seems like such a chore because it’s a really boring, time-consuming thing to do. Luckily, the humble cleansing balm is here to save your face.


That’s right. Makeup removal no longer needs to be such a chore. You can wave goodbye to having to remove your eye makeup with a specific formula in order to keep heavily fragranced, soapy cleansers out of your eyes. The cleansing balm can be used all over (with some exceptions—always read the back of the product), tackling every last trace of makeup on your face to leave a glowing complexion. Plus, on top of all of that, it really helps put the luxury back into your skincare regime. With beautifully scented formulas and rich textures with slip so great you won’t be able to help giving yourself a little facial massage, you’re never going to want to skip your evening cleanse ever again.

Interested? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about cleansing balms and to shop the best balms out there.

Simply, a cleansing balm works to cleanse your skin, but unlike a gel or cream formula, a balm tends to be slightly oilier with more slip. Celebrity facialist and skin expert Michaella Bolder explains, “Cleansing balms offer a nourishing deep clean, helping to feed and nurture the skin while the oily balm acts as a magnet to attract dirt and grime, drawing it to the surface.”

What truly sets cleansing balms apart from other forms of evening cleansers is that they usually come jam-packed with nourishing, skin-loving ingredients. “Cleansing balms are a world away from oil-stripping facial wipes or basic micellar waters, both of which offer no nourishment or hydration to care for and maintain a healthy skin condition. Short-term benefits of using a balm are a healthy, clean and hydrated skin condition,” says Bolder.

Using a cleansing balm is actually quite different in comparison to other, more traditional cleansing methods. Unlike gel or cream formulas, balms are usually applied to dry skin, massaged in and then removed with a damp muslin cloth or flannel. (This also helps with a gentle exfoliation, by the way.)


Bolder says, “Cleansing balms are made to be used as often as needed, but twice daily is what’s recommended. You should be cleansing your skin both in the morning and evening, and a double cleanse in the evening is a bonus to keep your skin super clean and free of congestion build-up. A balmy texture allows enough slip to massage this product into the skin to stimulate blood circulation and tone the facial muscles.”

While I absolutely love a cleansing balm (I use one every single night to remove my makeup and haven’t touched a face wipe in years), it is worth highlighting that, just like all beauty products, balms aren’t for everyone. 

“Some skin types (oily and acne-prone in particular) may find a balm cleanser too rich and sticky for their skins needs, and this can result in congestion and leftover, unwanted residue,” warns Bolder. If you find that your cleansing balm is causing unusual congestion, try adding in a second cleanse using a gel, cream or foaming cleanser that will help remove any excess oil or residue that could be causing breakouts.

This rather uninspiring tin actually houses my desert-island beauty formula. I can never be without a tub of this stuff. It melts away makeup and grime in no time at all, smells divine and leaves skin feeling the best it can. It’s the absolute perfect product for sensitive skin. And have you seen that price?

If you worry about cleansing balms being full of potentially irritating essential oils, here’s one for you. This simple but oh-so-effective balm is a go-to for makeup removal. This lightweight, non-fragranced balm gets to work in a matter of seconds.

Quite possibly one of the most well-loved cleansing balms around, this rich formula from Elemis is one of the best introductions to cleansing balms there is. Not only does it feel and smell amazing, but it’s also full of Padina pavonica, a particularly powerful skin-firming algae.

If luxurious skincare if your thing, listen up. This super-rich balm is jam-packed with nourishing (and amazing-smelling) oils. Besides the fact it leaves skin feeling beyond soft and supple, the blend of aromas makes for the most uplifting of regimes.

Along with Elemis Pro-Collagen, this cleansing balm is one of the most well-loved out there, having won multiple awards. Not only does it smell absolutely divine (and I mean it), but it also seems to calm, hydrate, smooth and plump all in one. It’s like beauty wizardry.

You might not have heard of this one before, but that’s not to say it’s not an absolute winner. It’s loved by celebrity facialists (and myself) because of its ability to not only melt away dirt and makeup wonderfully but also leave the skin totally calm and properly plumped. I like to think of it as a spa in a jar.

Unlike other balms, this clever stuff actually helps to decongest and purify. Formulated with Hungarian moor mud and different clays, it actually works to clear congested pores while strengthening the skin barrier at the same time. I swear by this if I have a special event that I want to be looking my glowiest for.

What’s fabulous about this balm in particular is the fact it promises to work for almost every skin type. And while I suggest it’s never a great idea to reach for a balm if you have sore, acneic skin, I know a huge number of people with varying skin types who swear by this balm. It’s a little expensive, sure, but the luxe formula makes it the ultimate treat for your skin.

For £27, this cleansing balm is seriously impressive and rivals some of the others double its price. Once you start massaging it into the skin, it turns into a super-nourishing oil that helps to break down makeup and dirt. As soon as you add water, the oil turns into a skin-soothing milk, leaving skin looking plump and glowing as soon as you wipe it off.

With the majority of cleansing balms containing a hefty number of essential oils to give them that luxury, spa-like edge, Drunk Elephant believes essential oils are troublesome for the skin and therefore formulate without them. In fact, the brand also formulates without potentially drying alcohols, silcones, fragrances/dyes and SLS. This cleansing balm is no less effective for it, though, dissolving makeup and dirt with ease while leaving skin baby-soft. For a deeper cleanse, it also comes with a Bamboo Booster, which acts as a physical exfoliant.

While most experts do advise a double cleanse, especially when using a cleansing balm, in order to give skin a truly deep clean, unless we have a constant reminder, it can be tough to find the motivation. This nifty cleanser, however, houses both a non-irritating balm and a cream cleanser to use afterwards.

This stuff might not be labelled as a balm, but it’s about as close to a cleansing balm as you can get without actually being one. Dispensed as a super-thick, balm-like gel, it melts into a silky oil when massaged in and works to rid skin of makeup and impurities. On top of that, it also uses enzymes and vitamins to slough away dead skin cells for next-level radiance.

I know this stuff is very expensive, but trust me when I say this luxury brand knows a thing or two about feel-good skincare. This balm sits somewhere between a jelly and balm texture, meaning it massages into skin effortlessly with maximum slip. It contains a concoction of oils, butters and waxes to leave skin almost impossibly soft.

This stuff is rich.It contains a bunch of antioxidants to really leave skin glowing. The texture is thick, meaning it requires a bit of elbow grease to work in (this really helps get blood flowing and helps to plump), but it’s sumptuous and totally beautiful. You could probably use it on your eyes to help remove mascara, but I prefer to go for something a little gentler.

This is a cleansing balm you can most definitely use on your eyes. It doesn’t have a scent, but that doesn’t make it any less luxurious to use. With prickly pear and hyaluronic acid to soften, hydrate and plump skin, it’s an absolute dream to use.

Next up, I speak to dermatologists every day—these are the products they always recommend.

Author Shannon Lawlor | Whowhatwear
Selected by CWC