When I get home from work the first thing I do after making a cup of tea is take off my make-up. I do a pre-cleanse with micellar water to remove my mascara and lipstick and then go in with a balm to get rid of the rest (base, concealer, blush, SPF).
Balms are my preferred evening cleanse because they are thorough yet feel good for the skin. There is also a therapeutic aspect to them; you literally feel like you’re wiping the day away.
I used to use micellar water to take off all my make-up because it felt easier than messing around at the sink with water. However, I found that it dried my skin out and using a balm is actually quicker as well as more effective.
I spread a blob between damp hands and apply it all over my face. I then run a fannel under the hot tap, wring it out and use it to wipe off the cleanser. They are more pricey than cream cleansers or face washes but last ages.
There are a few balm cleansers around but I like the ones that are solid rather than cream-like. Clinique’s Take The Day off Cleansing Balm is a cheaper alternative to those below, but the lack of scent makes it rather joyless. I normally askew heavily scented products in skincare but cleansers are one of my exceptions because they don’t stay on the skin.
Here are my two favourites: –
Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm
Two of the reasons I love this cult cleansing balm are that it’s oily and has a fabulous orange scent. It contains essentials oils of orange, neroli, mandarin, jasmine and rose in addition to moringa seed extract which has numerous skin benefits. The base is grapeseed oil and sweet almond oil, however unlike the next balm, it is not all-natural.
I’m not sure how it does it but this balm manages to act as a deep cleanse as well as a skin conditioner. I use it on those occasions when I have a full face of make-up or am purely craving that uplifting scent. As suggested by Emma Hardie, I sometimes use it as a mask while in the bath so the oils can sink in. It’s available from Marks and Spencer but there are often deals online. It comes with a nice cleansing cloth.
Jane Scrivner Nourishing Cleansing Blam
Someimes I want something simple which isn’t heavily scented. This Nourishing Balm fits the bill but is still a pleasure to use. It’s more waxy with a lighter consistency than the Moringa Cleansing Balm. It has the refreshing scent of an essential oil blend; the type you often get in all-natural products such as this. It contains organic jojoba oil, beeswax and essential oils of ylang ylang, elemi, eucalyptus, frankincense, lemongrass, lavender, myrrh, sandalwood and sweet orange.
As the name suggests, this balm feels really nourishing rather than stripping. I use it on days when my skin feels dry/delicate and it leaves it feeling soft and plump. Again, it comes with its own fluffy cleansing mit.
Please let me know if you have tried either of these or your thoughts on other cleansers.
26 responses to “Two Favourite Balm Cleansers”
I like the EH cleanser a lot and use it when I am wearing proper make up, which I not often do. My other cleanser is from Aurelia. Probiotic, but I don’t care much about that. What I love is the scent. Some people describe it as Wick Vaco rub, but I disagree. It is rather herbal and fresh, has a bit a bit of campher, yes, but it makes me feel clean without being harsh.
Yes, the EH cleanser is so thorough. it’s great for a full face of make-up. I did look into the Aurelia balm but it seemed like it had a creamy consistency and I prefer solid. It’s a big plus if you like the scent. Cleansing can be a bit of a chore so added sensory enjoyment really helps.
I’m an absolute “cleansing balm person” – I feel the same clean-away-the-day therapeutic effect like you. Plus I have a dehydrated skin, especially now, when the heating season started. Back then, ages ago, I started with the one by Eve Lom and I quite like the latest version of it – it’s lighter, less fussy to use The EH balm is very nice, feels so luxurious.
I used to remove my make-up with cotton pads for so long but now I really don’t like the idea of it. Not environmentally friendly, time-consuming and ineffectual in comparison to balm cleansing. I’m a total convert.
Agree that the EH balm feels luxurious which is rare for a cleanser. I’ve heard good things about the new version of the Eve Lom.
I only recently discovered the existence of balm cleansers, having very slowly migrated from ‘any old product that purports to remove makeup’, notably in the form of wipes!!! I am that guilty soldier, and they may well have been the trigger of my eczema, along with a cream cleanser from Clarins (of all surprisingly high end brands). I tried micellar waters, and agree that they are best for eyes rather than the rest of my face (but only twigged to that the other day in fact!), and cream cleansers can be heavy and claggy or overly stingy / scented (Liz Earle, much as I like her for non-sensitive areas. I agree that Clinique is ‘joyless’, haha, also I got a pool of water in mine accidentally and it developed black mould(!). Even I decided it needed to be chucked. Take the Day Off is the only balm I know and to be honest I would class that as expensive. Have vowed to myself I will not buy any more toiletries (have tons to finish up), and the best cleanser for eczema-prone skin – hands down – is La Roche-Posay (tall white one, whatever it is called). Mild as all get-out, as the Americans say.
PS These two do sound lush, with beautiful scents. Sadly I find products with essential oils can be tricky on sensitive skin, though it is all a case-by-case thing, and I would definitely try them. Paula of Paula’s Choice will bear me out here! 😉 Oh, and Liz Earle needs her end bracket, sorry.
Yes, I normally keep my skincare products fragrance-free and have found a facial oil with a lot of essential oils too much for me – I cut it with Marula Oil from The Ordinary which is fantastic. I find I’m okay with essential oils in cleansing balms but it may not be worth the risk for you.
Really surprised that Clarins cream cleanser caused you trouble, V. I used that for years too. Are you rinsing off or patting dry after using the micellar water on your eyes? Not doing either really created problems for me. The dryness was terrible.
Emma Hardie recommend using a 5p sized amount so it really does last forever but you can’t beat LaRP for gentleness. I have some Toleriane cleanser for when my skin is feeling sensitive. I want to try the CerVe one I think you’ve also used.
The Clarins cleanser was one with gentian in it? Even the shop assistant said that it wasn’t ideal for sensitive skins. It turned out to have an ingredient I am allergic to quite high up in the list (though I didn’t know it at the time), and some other things that Paula considers irritants. If the SA says as much, that should have been a sign! Yes, I am rinsing off after the micellar water as it feels horrid otherwise, agreed. Toleriane cleanser, that’s the one I use, but am game to try the lovely balms you suggest, especially as one is available in M & S. A 5p sized amount sounds concentrated indeed, yet the thing about it lasting forever means going well beyond the use by date, and though I am usually okay with doing that – nay, defiant! – I am more careful near eyes. I wish the brands would do travel sized things of these lotions and potions, as we wish of perfume houses! Then there is a fighting chance we would use them in a timely manner.;) The CeraVe product I use is just the evening moisturiser, called ‘pm’. With peptides in it.
Yes, it’s quite a sign if counter staff admit to one of their products causing an allergic reaction in some people.
You can get a travel size of the Emma Hardie at M&S but obviously it’s expensive for the amount you get.
Thanks for clarification of the CeraVe product you use.
I don’t understand how a balm cleanser that you wash away with water is different from a face wash – other than in the name.
For cleaning I use Paula’s Choice Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser. It is supposed not to dry out skin. I don’t know if it’s true: right after washing I usually apply moisturizer 🙂
It’s all just personal preference. I use a face wash in the bath or shower in the mornings but like to use a balm at the sink in the eventings. It doesn’t drip and feels more thorough even if it isn’t. If anyone can make a foaming cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin you’d hope it would be Paula’s Choice!
🙂 I wasn’t arguing – I was actually wondering if you knew, what was the difference, what product is called balm vs. wash vs. cleanser vs. milk, etc. All products that I used for these purposes over the last, let’s say, 10 year were just creamy substances that you make into foam with water and then wash away.
Got it. Well I would say a balm is solid (or near solid) and needs to be removed with a cloth, a milk you tissue off and a face wash (the most runny) you rinse it off with a splash of water. They are all cleansers but only face washes should foam 🙂
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A-ha! I start getting the difference 🙂
I’m sorry for a silly question, but do you remove a balm with the cloth AND water? And what do you do with the cloth? Is it disposable or reusable?
There are no silly questions. I hold the face cloth under the running hot tap (not too hot though) and wring it out before removing the balm on my face with it. I use the same cloth I used that morning and then put it in the wash. I like white fluffy face cloths – we call them flannels, but I know that can cause confusion over the pond 🙂
I checked – I don’t see any US retailers selling that balm (with orange scent) but I can order it to my friend’s UK office – do you order it from Amazon? Or are there any better places to order it from?
I’d recommend Cult Beauty. If you sign up to the newsletter, you should qualify for free shipping. Really hope you like it.
Thanks for the link! I’ve ordered it – I will let you know how it works for me but I’m excited! 🙂
Oh great! I’m excited too 🙂
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While TTDO is, as you say, joyless, it’s also bloody effective, even without a cloth. I am also easily amused by making giant panda eyes from melted mascara and eyeliner when smooshing it around my face. Though, it’s also going to have to go on my no fly list. My ever-worsening sensitivity to all things coconut now seems to be tripped by the omnipresent capric/caprylic triglycerides (yep, derived from coconut oil).
Damn it. i thought it was just the cold that was making my skin flare up, but nope. I’ve stopped every product that has these in them, and as if by magic, I’m not red and lumpy. (Bye bye perfect foundation stick from Hourglass, and bye bye gorgeous Zelens 3t moisturiser, too…)
Looks like it’s back to Lush Ultrabland for a while–which is hard work–and lot more reading of ingredients lists.
grumpily, and missing the nice balms
I’m so sorry about your sensitivity to coconut oil and its derivatives! How heartbreaking to have to get rid of expensive, lovely products like the Zelens and Hourglass. I guess a consolation is that you know what to avoid now and your skin should improve greatly. I know Val loves Ultrabland though I’m yet to try it. I hope you can find a new routine that works for you.
The foundation is the biggest annoyance–I’m sure you know what a pain it can be to find a good color match. Probably the very definition of first world problems, though…
Oh no I feel your pain. Finding a good foundation is the hardest when it comes to make up.
Hi Tara, have never used or even considered a balm and it sounds so good. It would be good in winter time for me as my skin tends to dry out! I love your skincare posts xx
I really appreciate the feedback!
I have become quite addicted to balm cleansers. They are really satisfying to use at the end of the day and don’t leave your skin feeling stripped. Definitely worth a try next winter.