The best cleansing balms of 2023, according to dermatologists



Cleansing balm helps remove makeup, dirt, and debris from your skin without leaving it feeling dry or saggy. Similar to moisturizing and applying sunscreen, cleansing is also considered an important prerequisite to establishing a skin care routine. 

Why? Because it's essential for removing buildup from your skin (whether it's makeup, sunscreen, excess oil, etc.) so that your pores don't get clogged and your skin can breathe and repair itself properly. 

However, with the endless options of cleansers on the market, it can be difficult to find the right one for your skin. If you're looking for a product that effectively cleanses your skin while nourishing and soothing it, a cleansing balm might be your best choice. 

"Unlike traditional face washes, which either lather or lather, room temperature cleansing balms have a more solid base formula," says Dr. Pooja Sodha is a board-certified dermatologist and director of the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine. 
"Because it's a blend of oils and emulsifiers, it glides on smoothly and removes dirt, grime, and makeup while moisturizing the skin without stripping it or changing its pH." 

According to Dr. Unlike traditional cleansers, cleansing balms tend to have a thicker consistency than lotions or foam formulas, and are often oil-based rather than water-based, says Dr. Sejal Shah, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology in New York. 

Below, we highlight the best cleansing balms on the market that dermatologists recommend, along with their expert insights into how they work, their benefits, and how to buy them. 

How we choose the best cleansing balm. To help us find the best cleansing balms on the market, we talked to board-certified dermatologists to get their top recommendations, as well as tips on what to look for when shopping. 

When choosing the right cleansing balm for your skin, keep the following in mind: Skin type: Shop based on your specific skin type and know what to avoid. For example, if you have oily skin, avoid formulas that contain ingredients that may clog pores. 

Also, if you have sensitive skin or suffer from inflammatory conditions like rosacea, avoid potentially irritating ingredients like fragrances, dyes, and alcohol. 

Ingredients: While all cleansing balms contain a variety of oils and butters, most also contain other ingredients that are good for your skin. So look for a solution that works for your specific problem. 

For example, if you have sensitive skin, you should look for a balm that contains soothing ingredients like aloe or niacinamide. Consistency: Some cleansing balms are very rich and buttery, while others are lighter. 

Dry and sensitive skin types should look for richer textures as they provide more moisture, while normal, combination and oily skin types should look for lighter, creamier textures. However, ultimately it comes down to personal preference. 

The Best Cleansing Balms of 2023: Our experts recommend a variety of cleansing balms that contain mild surfactants (the ingredients found in all soaps and cleansers that break down oil and allow it to be washed away) as well as nourishing ingredients that cleanse your skin while hydrating and soothing it . Their recommended formulas are suitable for all skin types, including oily or acne-prone skin as well as dry and sensitive skin. 

1. Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway: This formula was used by both Shah and Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell University, recommends and serves as an all-in-one makeup remover and cleanser. 

"It's really nice, lightweight, and contains antioxidants and papain to provide a natural, gentle exfoliation," says Shah, who recommends it for normal to oily skin types. In addition to papain, it also contains skin-soothing turmeric extract and hydrating glycerin. 

According to Farmacy, it smells like a blend of lime, bergamot, and orange essential oils. So if you don't like the presence of fragrances in your products, you may want to consider other options. 

It's also a favorite of NBC Select editor-in-chief Leah Ginsberg and NBC Select Updates editor Mili Godio, who suffers from rosacea. "I find it's very gentle on my skin and doesn't give me that dry tight feeling that's common after cleansing," says Goddio. "Plus, it does a great job of removing all the dirt and makeup from the day, even stubborn mascara and liquid eyeliner." 

2. E.l.f. Holy Water Moisturizing Makeup Remover Cleansing Balm. Shah is a big fan of E.l.f.'s formula. Because it's so moisturizing. "It contains many ingredients that strengthen the skin barrier which is really good for dry and sensitive skin," she says. In addition to sunflower oil, it contains skin-strengthening ceramides, peptides and hyaluronic acid, leaving skin soft, hydrated and plump, the brand says. 

3. Elemis Collagen Cleansing Balm: According to experts, the formula combines cleansing balm, oil and milk in one. As Garshick explains, this nourishing formula contains a blend of oils and waxes that help dissolve makeup seamlessly while leaving skin hydrated and smooth. 

Key ingredients in the formula include elderberry oil, rich in essential fatty acids, which helps regulate sebum and maintain optimal skin hydration; star flower oil, a natural source of gamma-linolenic acid, which reduces moisture loss and inflammation ; and Padina pavonica , a Mediterranean brown algae that Garshick says helps hydrate. "My makeup comes off right away, and I love how a little goes a long way," says Bianca Alvarez, associate reporter for NBC Select, who uses the formula once a week under her makeup. three times. 
4.Andalou Naturals Deep Hydrating Nourishing Cleansing Balm: You can start by applying this cleansing balm to dry skin, and it will melt into a gentle cleanser that removes makeup and dirt while nourishing the skin, says Garchik. 

She says it contains biodesigned collagen (a vegan form of collagen that plumps and smoothes skin) and hyaluronic acid, which adds moisture for hydrated, refreshed skin. The formula also contains coconut oil, which can be comedogenic, so people with oily and acne-prone skin should avoid it. 

5. Clinique Makeup Remover Cleansing Balm: While Clinique's formula is suitable for all skin types, Shah says she's particularly fond of it for people with acne-prone skin. 

"It's not very abrasive and doesn't feel greasy on the skin," she says. In my experience, it removes stubborn makeup and sunscreen without leaving my skin feeling heavy or greasy. 

6. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

Shah loves this formula because of its blend of ceramides (which help strengthen the skin's barrier), antioxidants, and vitamin C. The brand says vitamin C and other antioxidants can brighten dull skin and protect against free radical damage. You can use it three ways: as a makeup remover (just massage into skin, no need to add water), as a cleanser (add water), and as a mask (leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse or wipe off). It cosmetics says. 

7. Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm
Another option from Garshick, this formula contains antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins A, C, and E. Garshick says papain gently exfoliates and cleanses skin while removing residue and buildup. The vitamin-rich formula is made with three forms of papaya, including papaya oil, extracts and enzymes, to simultaneously smooth, brighten, moisturize and soothe skin. Despite its exfoliating properties, its other soothing ingredients make it safe for daily use, and according to the brand, it's been tested on sensitive skin. 

8. Natural purple ginseng cleansing balm
Garshic recommends this formula with purple ginseng, linoleic acid, and plant esters for all skin types because it dissolves makeup, oil, and hard-to-remove sunscreen well. She also says it's lightweight and non-comedogenic, so it won't clog pores and feels very luxurious to use. 

Reviews say it's gentle, fast-acting and calming.

Benefits of cleansing balm
Cleansing balms are very effective at removing makeup and dirt without leaving your skin feeling dry or saggy. "There's this idea that two things that are more similar will attract each other. "So when we think about makeup, a lot of the formulas are oil-based, which is why it can be beneficial to use an oil-based cleanser because it will attract It's the same kind," says Shah. "It removes makeup more effectively. "

The cleansing balm is also highly nourishing and soothing, making it a great choice for those with sensitive, dry and reactive skin. "Unlike some other more traditional cleansers, especially those that foam, cleansing balms are truly non-irritating and won't dry out the skin or damage the skin barrier," says Shah. "It's really suitable for all skin types, especially dry, sensitive skin types." 

Additionally, for oily and acne-prone skin, cleansing balms can help remove excess oil. "Some people with oily skin think they shouldn't use cleansers because they're oil-based, but the truth is, oils actually help remove some of the excess oil from the skin that can clog pores without stripping the skin ," Shah said. “Oil attracts oil.”
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