Key Takeaways:

  1. Deep Cleansing: Cleansing balms penetrate deeply to remove dirt, makeup, and oil-based impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
  2. Hydration and Nourishment: Most cleansing balms are infused with natural oils and essential fatty acids that help maintain the skin's moisture barrier and nourish the skin.
  3. Versatility and Efficiency: Suitable for most skin types, cleansing balms can effectively remove even waterproof makeup and are an excellent first step in a double cleansing routine.

Understanding Cleansing Balms

Cleansing balms have gained significant popularity as a cornerstone in skincare routines, particularly among those who wear makeup regularly. But what does a cleansing balm do exactly? Essentially, a cleansing balm is an oil-based cleanser that starts in a solid or buttery form and melts into a silky oil upon application. This transformation allows the balm to dissolve makeup, SPF, and sebum effectively.

Unlike traditional cleansers like foaming or gel cleansers, cleansing balms provide a gentler alternative that does not disrupt the skin's natural pH balance. They are designed to be used on dry skin, where they bind to impurities and make them easier to wipe away.

Composition of Cleansing Balms

The efficacy of cleansing balms can largely be attributed to their rich composition. Key ingredients typically include natural oils such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil, which are known for their hydrating properties. Additionally, components like vitamin E and essential fatty acids help nourish the skin and maintain its elasticity.

what does a cleansing balm do

Most cleansing balms also contain fruit extracts and other loving ingredients that offer a range of benefits, from antioxidant protection to soothing inflammation. This combination of ingredients ensures that the skin remains hydrated and nourished after cleansing, without any oily residue.

Application Technique

The correct application of a cleansing balm can significantly enhance its benefits. Start by scooping out a pea-sized amount with dry hands and gently massage it onto your dry face. The warmth of your hands helps the balm melt, making it easier to spread. Use circular motions to lightly massage the balm into your skin, focusing on areas with heavy makeup or congestion.

After thoroughly massaging, remove the balm with a damp cloth or muslin cloth. This step not only lifts away the dissolved impurities but also provides a gentle exfoliation, leaving the skin soft and clean.

Benefits for Different Skin Types

Cleansing balms are a boon for dry skin types, thanks to their moisturizing properties. However, their benefits extend to oily and sensitive skin types as well. For oily skin, using a cleansing balm can help remove excess oil effectively without prompting the skin to produce more oil, which is a common reaction to harsh cleansers.

Sensitive skin types will find the soothing properties of balms beneficial, particularly because they contain natural ingredients and lack harsh chemicals that might trigger irritation. Moreover, the gentle massaging action required during application helps improve circulation without causing stress to the skin.

Role in Double Cleansing

Double cleansing, a method popularized by Korean skincare routines, involves using two different types of cleansers to ensure the skin is thoroughly clean. A cleansing balm is the perfect first step in this routine. It breaks down oily impurities and makeup, paving the way for a second, water-based cleanser (like a foaming cleanser) to remove any residual dirt and water-based impurities.

what does a cleansing balm do

This method ensures a deeper clean and is particularly beneficial at the end of the day, ensuring that all pollutants and makeup are effectively removed, allowing the skin to breathe and regenerate overnight.

How to Choose the Best Cleansing Balm for Your Skin Type

When selecting the best cleansing balm, it's crucial to consider your skin type. For those with normal skin, look for balm cleansers that are enriched with hydrating ingredients like avocado oil, which nourishes without causing excess oiliness. These balms often contain a blend of essential oils that provide a soothing sensory experience while effectively removing impurities.

For individuals with more specific skin concerns, such as oily or dry skin, the choice of a cleansing balm should be tailored to address these issues. Oily skin types might benefit from a formula that includes lighter oils and can be emulsified easily with warm water, ensuring a clean finish without residue. Dry skin will be better served by balms rich in moisturizing agents that help to maintain the skin's natural barrier. Always look for products that specify their suitability for your skin type to optimize the benefits of your skincare routine.

Effective Removal of Eye Makeup with Cleansing Balms

Cleansing balms are excellent for overall facial cleansing and are particularly effective at removing stubborn eye makeup. The best cleansing balm for this purpose should have a smooth, rich texture that can dissolve waterproof mascaras and eyeliners without the need for harsh rubbing. Ingredients like avocado oil enhance the efficacy of the balm, ensuring that even the most persistent makeup melts away gently.

To use a cleansing balm for eye makeup removal, apply a small amount of the product onto a dry cotton pad and gently press onto the eyelids and lashes. This method allows the balm to break down the makeup, making it easy to wipe away. Follow up with a double cleanse using a gel cleanser or cleansing oil to remove all traces of makeup and impurities, leaving your skin fresh and clean.

Comparison with Other Cleansers

Compared to other cleansers like micellar water or cleansing oils, cleansing balms offer a more nourishing alternative. While micellar water is great for quick makeup removal, it might not be as effective at removing thickly applied SPF or heavy makeup. Oil cleansers, while similar in dissolution power, often lack the hydrating and soothing ingredients found in balms.

Moreover, the texture of balms makes them more luxurious and enjoyable to use, which can enhance the overall experience of your skincare routine, making it feel more like a pampering session than a chore.


Cleansing balms are multifunctional skincare products that cleanse, nourish, and hydrate the skin. Their ability to effectively remove heavy makeup and SPF makes them ideal for the first step in a double cleansing routine. With natural ingredients that benefit various skin types, cleansing balms are a worthy addition to any skincare regimen.


Q1: Can cleansing balms clog pores? A1: No, most cleansing balms are formulated to be non-comedogenic, which means they do not clog pores. However, it's important to thoroughly remove all traces of the balm with a cloth or second cleanser.

Q2: How often should I use a cleansing balm? A2: Cleansing balms can be used daily, especially in the evening to remove makeup and accumulated impurities from the day.

Q3: Are there any specific ingredients to look for in a cleansing balm for acne-prone skin? A3: For acne-prone skin, look for cleansing balms with ingredients like salicylic acid or tea tree oil, which can help combat acne while cleansing the skin.

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