Cleanse, tone, moisturise, repeat. It feels like these three products have been drilled into our psyche since our first spots appeared in secondary school. So when we came across makeup artists raving about the best cleansing balms, we had to find out what all the fuss was about.
The majority of us are probably used to using cleansing milks or other liquids, but a balm, sometimes referred to as a butter, seems to resemble a moisturiser more than a cleanser. So what’s the deal?
A cleansing balm is quickly becoming the number one choice for a lot of women due to a number of skin benefits,” Dr. Lucy Glancey, founder of Dr Glancey Clinics, told mamabella. “Cleansing balm is easy to use and most skin types can use it.”
She continued that cleansing balms get rid of all remnants of pollution on the skin, which lead to congestion and premature ageing.
“After using a balm, skin will look dewy and well-moisturised, which makes it a better canvas for other skin products such as moisturiser and SPF to penetrate into the skin,” she said.
Although most cleansing balms are suitable for all skin types, there are some products that help specifically with sensitive or dry/damaged skin.
Different brands seem to have different schools of thought on this but Cydney Beasley, makeup artist and an advanced skincare specialist, believes that a cleansing balm works best in a “double cleanse” routine.
You should always use a two-step cleansing routine as this suits all skin types,” she told us. “Start with an oil or balm-based cleanser as a first step as this takes makeup off by dissolving the product on the face.”
She then advises to use a water or gel-based cleanser second, once the skin is clean and free of makeup. Without the balm, the product won’t actually cleanse the skin. Beasley also said to not use makeup wipes: “This can be the equivalent to putting sandpaper on your skin.”
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£11 | Buy from The Body Shop
Why we love it: One of our favourite cleansing balms, this butter from The Body Shop is so easy to use. It’s suitable for sensitive skin and contact lens wearers, but this doesn’t impact its effectiveness. It removes all types of make-up and leaves skin feeling clean and silky-soft.
This balm includes ingredients such as chamomile, which is highly effective for soothing sensitive skin due to its anti-irritant properties. It also smells amazing.
£12 | Buy from M&S
Why we love it: Natural, vegan and effective. Its tagline says it all. The natural rose balm from the brand’s Pure range offers a deep cleanse with a rose scent. The paraben-free cleanser leaves skin nourished, moisturised and radiant without the bank balance taking a big hit.
For the best results, wipe away the product with the cloth, which is provided. M&S recommends that this product be used every morning and evening.
And if you’re worried about your eye makeup, don’t be. It effectively removes that too — though you will have to wipe away the remains.
£43 | Buy from Amazon
Why we love it: There were many luxury cleansing balms to choose from but we couldn’t pick any of them over Elemis. This powerful cleanser will dissolve makeup, daily grime and pollutants, while making your skin smell of elderberry and rose.
It’s also great for anti-ageing. The Pro-Collagen formulation works to smooth and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, with skin looking plumped and younger. According to Elemis, this formula is supposed to improve skin firmness, tone and hydration in just 15 days.
To get the best from this product, apply a pea-sized amount onto hands and warm together.
Then gently smooth over the face, neck and décolleté, using upward stroking sweeping motions when applying to the face. Use every morning.
£18.99 | Buy from Upcircle
Why we love it:This everyday balm is gentle and perfect for daily use.
The ingredients have been reused, repurposed and reloved made with finely-ground apricot stones powder, which is a by-product of the apricot oil industry (yes, that’s a thing apparently).
It’s rich in Vitamin E, leaving skin deeply cleansed, soothed and hydrated and is combined with blackcurrant seed, blue tansy and sea buckthorn oils.
The product is best used as the first cleanse, as it breaks down makeup, SPF and any oils such as sebum and sweat.
FURTHER READING: What is SPF and why is it so important?
Why we love it: A new beauty brand from the tiny island of t. Martin’s, Isles of Scilly, you’d be forgiven if you haven’t heard of Phoenix and Providence. This hidden gem is a rich balm made from organic, plant-based ingredients and is made in small batches — so you know it’s made with care.
It can be used to soothe and protect dry and eczema-prone skin. Ingredients include seaweed — which has been foraged from the island’s shores, dried in the Scillonian sunshine and infused with organic jojoba oil (for a full lunar cycle) — organic shea butter and coconut oil, sea buckthorn oil and beeswax.
It’s also free from essential oils and fragrances and it can be used on the face, hands and body.
Sophia is an international journalist covering technology, healthcare, culture and lifestyle. Her words appear in outlets such as Newsweek, Forbes, Metro UK, New Scientist and more