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I love makeup just as much as the next beauty writer, but I sincerely hate taking it off at night. Knowing that my friendly dermatologist would verbally eviscerate me for sleeping with mascara on, I decided long ago that on the days when I knew I wouldn’t have the energy to scrub away a full face of makeup, I just wouldn’t wear any. No makeup, no problems, right?
Problem is, I love makeup. So I had to find a middle ground. What I needed was a simple, everyday solution to remove my waterproof mascara and concealer with an ease reminiscent of Mulan wiping off a full face of makeup with her sleeve. And that’s how I found out about cleansing balms. They are somewhat similar to bar soap, but softer and more nourishing to the skin—the texture is like a tub of cleansing oil that has solidified. When rubbed onto a dry face, cleansing balms instantly melt away all traces of the beauty products you slathered on that morning. With a little water, that oil transforms into a milky texture, leaving you with a fresh, impossibly clean face.
I don’t know what kind of sorcery is behind cleansing balms, but they work. For someone like me, who also has pretty dry skin, cleansing balms never leave my skin feeling stripped and tight like other daily cleansers do. Below, find 15 of the best cleansing balms on the market that effortlessly clear away everything from mascara to sunscreen.
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Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm
The beauty world is obsessed with Youth to the People’s Superfood Cleanser, but I believe this cleansing balm should be elevated to the same cult status. Made with a blend of moringa, jojoba, and sunflower seed oils, in a few swift strokes, this hydrating balm dissolves even the most stubborn makeup.
Living Cleansing Balm
With sea buckthorn oil as its base, this sorbet-colored cleansing balm will dramatically reduce the time spent on your nighttime routine. Not only does it remove all traces of makeup and skincare, but it also dissolves excess sebum from your skin, which can lead to breakouts and an oily-looking complexion.
Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser
For the severely dehydrated, cleansing your face can feel like you’re stripping off the teeny bit of moisture you’re desperately clinging onto. After using this balm, you’ll be left with skin that feels so hydrated, you could probably skip the moisturizing step altogether—but don’t.
Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm
Inside this formula is The Holy Trinity: peptides, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. Together, they work to make sure your skin stays hydrated and plumped before you go to bed. The cleanser doesn’t skimp on cleansing either. When your makeup is gone, what’s left behind is dewy, younger-looking skin.
Touted as the first-ever cleansing balm on the market (it launched 25 years ago, no biggie), Eve Lom’s version is best used as a dual makeup remover and aromatherapy experience. Each tub comes with a muslin cloth that you can use to expertly wipe away makeup, and create a spa-like experience in your own bathroom.
Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
If you’re a fan of stay-all-day, no-smudge makeup, you need this cleansing balm. No matter how stubborn your products are, this formula will remove them like it was never there. Even the toughest waterproof mascaras don’t stand a chance.
Juno Skin Clean 10 Cleansing Balm
There are only 10 ingredients in this cleansing balm. For oily or acne-prone skin wary of oils and balms, this product doesn’t leave a residue. Instead, skin is left with a juicy glow that your friends will envy.
Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
When you wash your face at night, the goal shouldn’t just be to remove your makeup. This balm also gets rid of leftover skincare, and environmental pollutants that can cause premature aging and skin concerns, like acne. Plus, it smells like an absolute dream.
OMZZZ Acai Nightly Cleansing Balm
Not only does this product remove all your makeup and skincare at the end of the day, but it also uses healthy antioxidants and super rich oils and butters to dramatically soften your skin. You’ll wake up to skin so supple, everyone will think you just got a facial.
Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
If your skincare goals include brightening your complexion, this cleansing balm is the right choice for you. In addition to hydrating vitamin E, the formula also includes vitamin C, which can help give your skin a radiant glow that says, “I just came back from vacation.”
Multi-Miracle Glow Cleansing Balm
On days when you’re experiencing multiple skin woes at once, you’ll want a product that does it all. This balm is a triple threat: It acts like a three-in-one makeup remover, a hydrating face mask, and a spot treatment for dry areas.
Makeup Remover Melting Balm to Oil
Swap out your Neutrogena face wipes for this balm. It’s just as effective at removing stubborn makeup, without you needing to toss out a wipe after every use. The tub is also great to store in your bag on trips since it’s absolutely spill-proof.
Rose de Mai Cleansing Balm
A bouquet of roses for your face? Say no more. This cleansing balm smells like the best flower shop, due to the rose water it’s infused with. Made with phytic acid to gently exfoliate and moisturizing raspberry stem cell extracts and hyaluronic acid—this is a great everyday cleanser to remove all your makeup and skincare products while replenishing skin with nutrients.
Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm
No doubt you’re obsessed with Estēe Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair serum, but this cleansing balm should be just as essential in your P.M. routine. It’s a lightweight but effective product, that melts away makeup and gently removes impurities without stripping the skin.
Omega Complex Cleansing Balm
Don’t be fooled by the tube, this balm is just as effective as its tubbed counterparts. Plus, the formula has fatty acids to deeply moisturize the skin as it cleans.
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