The golden rule of makeup is to take it off before bed. While it may feel like a pretty tedious exercise, it can be improved with the best cleansing balm.
“A cleansing balm is an oil-based cleanser that’s more of a solid consistency,” says triple-certified dermatologist Dr. Mama Turegano. “Not only do the oils in cleansing balms help break down makeup, they also help remove dirt, sunscreen, and other products of the day.” and waxes is able to cleanse skin without drying it out – on all skin types (yes, even oily skin!).
As a reminder, removing makeup before bed offers an opportunity to eliminate build-up of any type of product, chemical, dirt or oil that can damage the skin, as Turegano puts it. In fact, she’s admittedly a fan of a good double cleanse to remove – often opting for a cleansing balm as the first step for dry skin.
“First massage [the balm] in your palms and then massage it on your face for 30-60 seconds,” she explains, then rinses it out. “I would then use a cream-based cleanser (for dry skin) or a gel-based cleanser (for normal to oily skin) on top of that.” From there, she might reach for a silicone cleansing brush to help remove blemishes, followed from a curated nightly skincare routine: Think a hydrating toner or serum, then retinoid and moisturizer.
And with that, you have skin that’s not only incredibly clean, but doesn’t lose its natural balancing oils—the best formulas even improve skin softness, minimize the appearance of pores, or lighten skin over time. Ready to try it yourself? Below are 14 of the best cleansing balms to consider.
True Botanicals Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm
Whether you’re removing makeup or double-cleansing, True Botanicals Cleansing Balm combines nutrients (yucca extract, turmeric, and mango butter) with exfoliants (lactic and azelaic acids) for a covetable, multi-tasking formula that’s safe for sensitive skin and pregnancy-safe therapies.
Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm
Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm is a top pick from Turegano because it comes in a convenient tube — considering most formulas come in jars. “He also does an excellent job removing makeup. I would follow this with a regular gentle cleanser.”
Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm
Naturopathica’s Cleansing Balm is a sensitive skin care ointment enriched with Manuka Honey, Probiotics and Sweet Almond Oil to provide long-lasting hydration and restore the skin’s barrier.
Youth To The People Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm
Enriched with Hyaluronic Acid and a blend of Maqui, Acai, Goji and Prickly Pear Seed oils, Youth To The People’s Cleansing Balm works like a dream to quickly dissolve unwanted build-up on the skin.
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
If you haven’t tried Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, you really are missing out. A classic formula known for melting away even the longest-wearing makeup—from that pigmented eyeliner to sunscreen layers—and for good reason.
Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm
Even the toughest of makeup can’t stand up to Farmacy’s Green Clean Balm – a cleanser formulated with turmeric, moringa extract, papaya enzymes, and sunflower and ginger root oils to melt away residue for hydrated, smooth skin.
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser
A cleansing balm with exfoliating properties? Yes, please. Drunk Elephant’s cleanser can not only remove oil and make-up, but also gently remove dead skin thanks to the bamboo and charcoal powder it contains.
Belief Aqua Bomb cleansing balm
Belief knows hydration, as demonstrated by the acclaimed Aqua Bomb moisturizer. Here, however, the cleansing balm combines lotus blossom, marshmallow root and lady’s mantle to make the skin more radiant after a single application.
Juno & Co. Clean 10 cleansing balm
As the name suggests, yes – Juno & Co’s cleansing balm contains only ten ingredients. Powered by Japanese Pearl Barley, expect this balm to transform from solid to a milky cleanser that washes away impurities without stripping your skin’s natural oils.
Then I met you Living Cleansing Balm
Then I Met You Cleansing Balm has a light but fragrant scent and a creamy texture. The fact that it’s loaded with strengthening antioxidants and fatty acids is an added bonus.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
Infused with a blend of brown seaweed, elderberry and starflower oils, the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm effectively dissolves makeup while remaining soft, toning and restoring skin’s elasticity. Basically a well thought-out addition to any maturing beauty care product.
Augustinus Bader The cleansing balm
Those who are fans of Augustinus Bader’s rich moisturizer should consider incorporating the cleansing balm as well, as it’s powdered with the same potent TFC8 amino acid complex. So you can expect this to deeply nourish the skin while removing makeup and debris.
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup Cleansing Balm makeup remover
“This is another makeup-removing cleansing balm that I love,” says Turegano. “It comes in a jar, but the consistency of the balm is comparable to a light, fluffy cloud, which makes it a pleasure to use.”
Oak Essentials Cleansing Balm
Jenni Kayne’s Oak Essentials Cleansing Balm helps remove dirt and oil with a soft, nourishing formula made from safflower seed oil, sesame oil, avocado oil and vitamin E. It is gentle on the skin, locks in moisture and feels refreshing with every cleansing. It will be your secret to a spa-like ritual every time you use it.