If you aren’t already dabbling into the art of double cleansing, WYED? Trust me when I say it’s basically the missing puzzle piece to getting cleaner, softer skin—and it all starts with investing in the right cleansing balm. Here’s how it works: Instead of taking off your makeup with a wipe (which, IDK about you, kinda irritates TF out of my skin), you gently dissolve your foundation, mascara, eyeshadow, etc. with a balm—just smooth it over your dry face, add a little water, and it’ll melt into a creamy, milky texture that takes your products right off. You’re then left with a totally clean foundation for the rest of your routine (think: your regular cream cleanser, serums, treatments, the works).
And now that you’re fully convinced you need one in your routine (sry in advance to your makeup wipes), you’re in luck, because I rounded up the 15 best cleansing balms that will leave your skin super clean every time. And bc I love you, I even found an option for every skin type and budget (including an under-$10 formula!), so you’re bound to find one that makes the cut.
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Best All-Around Cleansing Balm
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm Makeup Remover
This is the first cleansing balm I ever used and I haven’t stopped purchasing it since. It dissolves all my makeup—full-coverage foundation, concealer, and five coats of mascara—without stripping my skin dry or irritating my eyes. Take a dollop, work it into dry skin, add water to emulsify it, and lastly, rinse. Just be sure to follow up with your favorite cream or foam cleanser after.
Best Cleansing Balm for Waterproof Makeup
Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm
With a powerhouse combo of good-for-your-skin ingredients (sunflower, ginger root, and turmeric oils), this two-in-one cleansing balm from Farmacy breaks through your many layers of sunscreen and makeup, even if it’s waterproof. It’s also got a healthy dose of papaya extract that helps lightly slough off dead skin cells, leaving you with softer and smoother skin every time you cleanse.
Best Cleansing Balm for Sensitive Skin
Deviant Skincare Cleansing Concentrate
If you fancy yourself a spa-worthy experience (hi, me), you’ll love this luxe balm-to-milk cleanser. Its super-rich formula helps decongest pores and buffs away oil and grime (thank you, hemp and camellia seed oil) without needing to tug or pull at your skin. The best part? It’s free of alcohol, fragrance, and essential oils, which makes it great for sensitive skin types. Plus, the packaging alone is *chef’s kiss*.
Best K-Beauty Cleansing Balm
Banila Co Clean It Zero 3-in-1 Cleansing Balm
This brightening K-Beauty balm melts your day away in seconds, without robbing your skin of its natural oils. You know what that means? Your skin won’t feel tight afterwards. This one uses hot spring water and vitamin C-rich cherry and it never leaves you with a heavy, greasy film. The brand also has four other formulas (Nourishing, Revitalizing, Purifying, and Pore Clarifying) that you can grab for your specific skin type and concerns.
Best Vegan Cleansing Balm
Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm
Confession time: I miiight have bought this cleansing balm because of the pretty packaging (don’t judge me!), but after only one use, it’s become the main character in my P.M. routine. It’s packed with sea buckthorn (that’s where the formula gets its bright color), persimmon extract, and antioxidant-filled vitamin E, which all come together to hydrate your skin and control your oil production. And as an added bonus, it’s also vegan and cruelty-free.
Best Drugstore Cleansing Balm
Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm
Massage this drugstore balm onto your dry skin at the end of a long day and I swear its soothing eucalyptus oil scent will put you on cloud nine. Scent aside, it’ll also destroy heavy-duty eyeliner and matte foundation with little to no effort, while its vitamin E adds a nice shot of moisture.
Best Cleansing Balm to Splurge On
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
I know exactly what you’re thinking: 64 bucks for a balm is a lil bananas, but this isn’t just any ol’ cleanser (and it’s got plenty of five-star reviews on Ulta to prove it). It can function as a makeup remover, moisturizing face mask, or standalone cleanser, and once your nose gets a whiff of the botanical oils swimming around in the formula (think: lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile), you’ll never want to put it down. Not a fan of fragrance? There’s even an unscented version with your name written all over it.
Best Cleansing Balm for Beginners
The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm
New to the double cleansing life and have no idea where to start? The one from The Inkey List is your best bet. Ultra-calming ingredients like oat kernel oil and colloidal oatmeal get to work in this bad boy to help restore your damaged skin barrier and minimize redness, all while leaving your skin squeaky clean. And thanks to the fact that it comes in a squeezable tube, you don’t have to worry about constantly dipping your fingers into the formula (bless).
Best Cream-Based Cleansing Balm
Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm
You’re in for a big surprise once this bb touches your hands, because it’s nothing like your typical thick balm. Smooth a dollop over your skin and you’ll notice it looks and feels exactly like your everyday lightweight face cream. With omega-rich jojoba and meadowfoam seed oil, this one helps leave your skin soft (I can vouch for that!), comfortable, and hydrated to the max. And how about that easy-to-use tube packaging? We love to see it!
Best Cleansing Balm for Dull Skin
Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm
This fruit salad, I mean, cleanser-meets-exfoliator, calls on papaya enzymes to fine-tune uneven texture and blueberry extract to help shield skin from outside aggressors (think: sun exposure, pollution, and heat). Even better, it smells so freakin’ delicious (like, don’t be tempted to eat it, k?).
Best No-Frills Cleansing Balm
Juno & Co. Clean 10 Cleansing Balm
You’ve probably come across this balm on your For You page and let’s just say the reviews are not lying. It immediately softens into an oil from the warmth of your hands and when combined with a little water, it rinses off every speck of makeup. As for the formula, you’ll really appreciate how simple yet powerful it is, because it only has 10 ingredients (‘sup, pearl barley and vitamin E) and it’s gentle enough for most skin types. Seriously, just take TikTok’s word for it and you won’t regret it.
Best Cleansing Balm for Dry Skin
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser
True to its name, this cleansing balm does in fact melt off makeup and grime like no other. With antioxidant-rich fruit extracts and an African oil mashup, dry skin types are sure to fall hard for this cleanser. That’s not all though, bc you can take it up a notch and add in its sidekick, a little vial of bamboo and charcoal powder for the moments you want some physical exfoliation (but, pro tip, those with sensitive skin types should avoid).
Best Cleansing Balm for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
Peace Out Blemish Balm Cleanser
The only thing better than a plain old cleansing balm is one with acne-fighting ingredients. Niacinamide and salicylic acid team up to treat zits and lighten stubborn dark spots, while hyaluronic acid and ceramides help keep your skin from drying the hell out. And unlike some of the other balms out there, you can actually use this one on damp skin.
Best Natural Cleansing Balm
Nyakio Sweet Almond Cleansing Oil Balm
The superstar ingredient in this balm is, you guessed it, sweet almond oil, but it’s also combined with shea butter and baobab seed oil to help give the skin a solid dose of hydration. And if you’re dying to know, there’s no harmful irritants, like parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, in the formula. Side note: Expect this one to last you for months, because a little can go a veryyy long way.
Best Probiotic Cleansing Balm
Beekman 1802 Buttermilk Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm
Turns out probiotics aren’t only great for your gut health—they’re also super popular in the skincare world. This cleansing balm calls on goat milk to keep your microbiome in tip-top shape, while its sunflower butter helps wash away any eyeshadows or lipsticks you have hanging around on your face. It also comes with a very cute yellow spatula for easy scooping.
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