how cleansing balms work

What if you could double cleanse in one step?

I do it all the time. Call me lazy, but I can’t be bothered to use an oil-based cleanser to melt away my makeup and follow up with a water-based cleanser to remove the residue the oils left behind.

I want it all: a cleanser that removes everything without leaving anything behind. Is that too much to ask?

Enter cleansing balm: they’re the cleansing cheat you’ve all been waiting for. The easiest way to double cleanse in one step. The lazy skincare’s BFF.

Here’s how they work:

How Do Cleansing Balms Work?

Cleansing balms are like solid cleansing oils – but with a surfactant/emulsifier thrown in the mix.

Oils work because like attracts like. The oils in cleansing balms may come in a solid form, but that makes no difference. When you massage them on your skin, they attach to the oils on your makeup and skin and take them on a trip down the drain.

Oils are great at melting away even the most stubborn of impurities. Like waterproof makeup. But as I’m sure you know if you’ve ever tried to wash a greasy pan with water alone, you can’t rinse off oils with water. If you try, they’ll leave a residue behind.

FYI, this residue isn’t bad. On the contrary, it’s pretty moisturising. But not everyone likes that greasy feel on their skin. Besides, some skin types can find oils so moisturizing, they get a breakout. Ugh.

That’s where surfactants/emulsifiers come in. These two families of skincare ingredients have one superpower: they allow water to mix with oils and dirt so they can be rinsed away. Effortlessly.

You know what this means? A cleansing balm is an oil-based cleanser AND water-based cleanser in one product. That’s double cleansing in one step!

Related: All You Ever Wanted To Know About The Oil Cleansing Method

Don’t know which skincare products you can mix and match together and which ones deactivate each other? Download your FREE “How To Layer Actives Like A Pro” cheat sheet to get the most out of your skincare products:

How Do You Use Cleansing Balms?

I love using cleansing balms. It’s quick and less messy than using a cleansing oil.

First, you massage the cleansing balm on your face to dissolve your makeup and all the other impurities that have settled on it throughout the day.

Then, you rinse the balm off with water. Because the balm has surfactants/emulsifiers built in, the cleansing oils end up down the drain together with your makeup and dirt.

What Are The Best Cleansing Balms?

The Bottom Line

Cleaning balms are an oil-based cleanser AND water-based cleanser rolled into one. They’re the quickest way to remove your makeup at night – without compromising on results.