These 9 Cleansing Balms Truly Melt Off Every Single Bit of Makeup
No rubbing, no scrubbing, no problem.
Think long and hard: When was the last time you looked forward to washing your face?
Even though cleansing your skin is the most important step in your skincare routine, since it creates a clean slate for your treatments and moisturizer, removing your makeup is not exactly a good time — especially if you're wearing waterproof eyeliner or mascara.
Rubbing and scrubbing your skin with a makeup wipe or washcloth eventually gets every trace of product off, but there are better options out there that don't cause redness and irritation, and dare I say, make you look forward to washing your face at night.
Enter cleansing balms.
Made with high amounts of hydrating ingredients like butters and oils, these cleansers effectively and effortlessly break up and melt off makeup, dirt, and sunscreen while simultaneously moisturizing your skin.
"They typically come in a tub and you only need a little bit to use," says Dr. Shari Sperling, New Jersey-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of Sperling Dermatology. "A cleansing balm can be used in a double cleansing regimen with the balm being the first step to cleanse your skin from makeup or sunscreen."
After using a cleansing balm to start off a double cleanse, it's recommended to follow up with a water-based cleanser to further clean pores and ensure all of that makeup and gunk gets rinsed away.
Below, we've rounded up our 8 favorite cleansing balms for very skin type and budget.
- Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm
- Pond's Cold Cream Cleansing Balm
- Holifrog Kissimmee Vitamin F Therapy Balmy Wash
- Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm
- ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
- Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm
- Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser
- Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
- Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm
Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm
While the sole purpose of this oil-based K-beauty cleansing balm is to break down any makeup, dirt, and sunscreen on your face, it's also packed with nourishing antioxidants and fatty acids to promote a healthy glow. Persimmon extract is another noteworthy ingredient that it works to minimize hyperpigmentation to even out skin tone.
To buy: $38; sokoglam.com.
Pond's Cold Cream Cleansing Balm
You don't need to spend a ton of money to get a solid balm that effectively — yet gently — cleanses your skin. Pond's took its classic Cold Cream formula and transformed into a solid face wash that turns into a hydrating, makeup-removing oil as you massage it onto your skin.
To buy: $10; amazon.com.
Holifrog Kissimmee Vitamin F Therapy Balmy Wash
Ideally, you would use a spatula to scoop out cleansing balm from the jar. In reality, you're probably using your grubby fingers. That's where Holifrog's balm comes in. The squeezable tube prevents the balm from getting contaminated and makes it easier to distribute the exact amount of product you need for your cleansing session. The non-foaming balm is infused with a mix of nourishing antioxidant oils and fatty acids, making it a great choice for dry skin types.
To buy: $42; dermstore.com.
Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm
If you have acne-prone skin or texture concerns and want to get into cleansing balms, this royal blue jar is your best bet. The star of this Naturopathica balm is manuka honey — a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredient that can minimize redness from acne while simultaneously reinforcing the skin barrier — which is key for a balanced, hydrated complexion. It's cliché to say, but a little bit of this thick balm goes a long way. Expect the jar to last you months.
To buy: $62; dermstore.com.
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
Made with an extensive list of botanicals that offer skin-firming and collagen-boosting benefits, washing your face with ELEMIS' is the next best thing to treating yourself to a facial at your favorite spa.
To buy: $64; amazon.com.
Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm
This universal pick works across a number of skin types and concerns. The oil-based balm removes all traces of makeup (yes even waterproof makeup) without stripping your skin. Instead, the mix of moisturizing vitamin E, moringa and rosehip seed oils maintain skin hydration.
To buy: $60; dermstore.com.
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser
The mix of nourishing oils and fruit extracts is strong enough to get rid of makeup, dirt, oil, and sunscreen, but what makes Drunk Elephant's balm a standout is just how soft and smooth your skin feels after rinsing it off. Bonus: The balm comes with a vial of a bamboo and charcoal booster. Add a few drops to the balm once a week for a gentle physical exfoliating treatment.
To buy: $34; sephora.com.
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
The OG of cleansing balms, Clinique's Take The Day Off transforms into a silky oil that melts off eye makeup, sunscreen, and dirt. Since this balm is more lightweight than other waxier formulas, oily skin types can feel comfortable including it in their double cleanse.
To buy: $30; sephora.com.
Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm
Glow Recipe's latest fruit cocktail — ahem, skincare product — is a makeup-dissolving, brightening, hydrating cleansing balm. Papaya enzymes and seed oil exfoliate and hydrate skin, while blueberry extract provides antioxidant protection.
To buy: $32; sephora.com.