Something that’s come as a bit of a skincare epiphany to me in the last couple of years is the world of balm cleansers. They seemed terrifying at first, as if I was smearing grease all over my face, but once I felt the real effect of how thoroughly they actually cleanse the skin, I don’t know if I could ever not use one in my routine. So here are five different types of balm cleanser that get my approval, and which I reach for when…
So firstly you might be thinking, ‘What the heck is a balm cleanser?’ – the answer to that is that it is a cleanser that has thicker, balmy texture to it that actually breakdown the products we put on our skin like makeup, sunscreen etc for easy removal. Generally you would massage on it, and it would turn into an oil on the skin, and then with some you can add a touch of water to emulsify like you would with an oil cleanser. Of course then you would wash off with a warm wet wash cloth or muslin. Unlike a foaming cleanser that can alkaline the skin and disrupt the pH, oil and balm cleansers are gentle and nourishing to the skin whilst effectively removing the grime. Ususally, you would use an oil/balm as a first cleanse to remove makeup/grime, and then an actually skin cleanser to treat your skin. Some of these can be used as both, some work better in one regard than the other.
So, which ones do I like, and why?
The Morning Balm Cleanser
When it comes to a nice balm cleanser that is light and refreshing feeling (ie, a little less heavy on the greasy feel and more on the balmy texture side) for morning use I like the NUDE Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly. This has a jelly-like look to it, that gets more liquid in texture (though not to an oil consistency) as you work it into the skin, and does a great job of cleansing away the sweat and dead skin cells and grime we can accumulate during the night. I don’t love particularly find this one removes my makeup well for night time (though it makes a nice second cleanse!) but would be great for someone who wears minimal (but no eye) makeup.
The Morning and Night Balm Cleanser
The Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel has been raved about plenty on beauty blogs, and for good reason. It smells heavenly, feels fantastic on the skin and comes in a handy pump. Thicker in texture than the aforementioned cleanser, this one gets makeup moving a little easier (though it still struggles with my waterproof mascara) and turns into an oil on the skin giving you plenty of ‘slip’ to get in the nooks and crannies of the face.
The Every Skin Type Balm Cleanse
Speaking about well raved products, Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm has to be one of the most talked about after Caroline Hirons wholeheartedly recommended it. It’s thicker in texture (think Vaseline) which promotes a good massage to get rid of everything and get the blood flowing. I don’t care for the scent on this (its almost smells like dead flowers to me) but it gets off everything including waterproof makeup without a trace. Unlike the first two mentioned, this emulsifies with water to turn into a milky texture, and I would only use this as a first cleanse in the evening and follow up with a skin cleanser after.
The Get it Off and Get it Off Quick Balm Cleanser
When it comes to removing my makeup at lightning speed (including waterproof) or if I’ve gone full glitter or something, nothing gets it moving faster than The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. This feels like the texture of solid coconut oil at first, but instantly breaks down to an oil on the skin (as well as will emulsify with water to create a milky texture) and gets to work on stubborn mascara and makeup like nothing I’ve used. I’ve recommended this to so many friends who are looking for an affordable option and have gone through 5-6 tins of it myself. This is definitely a makeup removing cleanser that needs to be followed up, since it does include Shea Butter, it could be troublesome if left on acne prone skin without proper removal.
The Spa Balm Cleanser
If you’re looking to treat your skin, perhaps give yourself a little facial massage or spa night, then the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm is the way to go. Now I will warn you, it smells a bit like dirt – it has a very strong mineral scent to it due to the Hungarian Moor Mud used in this black coloured balm. Unlike the previous two balms, I would never use this to remove makeup. This is more of a skin cleanser, or a treatment to detoxify and calm that you want to focus on massaging in and then taking off with warm cloth. I like to use this once a week or when my skin is looking particularly stressed.
In the case of all of these there is one common thread and that is: No splashing with water to remove like you see in commercials! These cleansers use oils and butters to gently cleanse and need to be removed from the skin – something a splash or two of water just isn’t going to do. Get yourself some wash cloths and warm it up in some warm water, wring out and remove. Your skin will thank you.
I know what you’re thinking too, “they will make me break out!!” – on the contrary, my skin improved 100% after I added a balm cleanser into my routine. No more blackheads, clogged pores and hormonal breakouts because I wasn’t messing with the healthy balance of my skin, stripping it, and leaving residue behind. Hallelujah!
Have you tried a cleansing balm? If so which is your favourite and why?
Jaime Pickering | 30-something, makeup hoarding (I prefer to call it "collecting"), classic rock loving, jeans and t-shirt girl - who just happens to love a little gloss from time to time.