best cleansing balms

17 best cleansing balms: gentle formulas that melt away make-up and dirt

Posted by for Skincare

Cleansing balms are a firm favourite across Stylist’s beauty team. Here are our favourite ones on the market.

Be honest: how long do you spend on your cleansing routine?

Throughout the day, our skin is exposed to multiple daily stressors, such as pollution and free radical damage. Add to that the dirt and sweat that builds up over the course of the day, bacteria from touching our faces, SPF and make-up (suddenly feel the urge to wash your face?); it’s fair to say that cleansing is one of the most important steps in any skincare routine.

As well as cleansing your skin to get rid of grime, a good cleansing regime will also provide you with a good base for the rest of your skincare products to work even harder. Because what’s the point in applying retinol if your face hasn’t been cleansed properly?

Across the Stylist team, we’ve tried countless types of cleansers, from foams and creams to milks and gels. While your preference can differ depending on your skin type and personal preference, there’s one type we all unanimously love: a nourishing cleansing balm.

These solid-to-oil formulas are highly effective at breaking down even the most stubborn of make-up formulas. Plus, their slippery textures are perfect to aid a nightly facial massage – which is handy, as dermatologists stress you should take at least one minute to really clean your face per cleansing session. Not to mention that fact that we should all double cleanse at night.

Thankfully, cleansing balms only continue to grow in popularity, meaning there’s a wide range of clever formulas. Here, we round up the options that leave skin clean but not stripped, nourished but not greasy and feeling incredibly soft (just don’t touch it after).

  • Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm

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    A booming K-beauty brand from South Korea, Glow Recipe has released multiple products that have gone on to become viral winners. 

    This tangerine-coloured cleansing balm is packed with active ingredients like vitamin A, vitamin C, papaya seed oil, enzymes and extract to increase the suppleness, softness and brightness of the skin. It’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin and people who wear contact lessons. They really did think of everything.

    Shop Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm at Cult Beauty, £29

  • UpCircle Cleansing Face Balm with Apricot Powder

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    An award-winning cleansing balm, UpCircle created it as an ideal first cleanse, meaning you use it to remove sweat, make-up, SPF and environmental pollution from your skin. 

    Finely ground almond powder helps to repair and refine the skin’s appearance and texture while sea buckthorn oil, blue tansy and blackcurrant seed soothe, calm and moisturise. 

    Shop UpCircle Cleansing Face Balm with Apricot Powder, £18.99

  • Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm

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    One of skincare expert Caroline Hirons’ favourite products, this vitamin E and fatty acid-rich formula works to improve the healthy functioning of the skin barrier, lift away particles of pollution and make-up and mitigate damage caused by free radicals in the environment. 

    Shop Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm at Cult Beauty, £37

  • AlphaH Melting Moment Cleansing Balm

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    An Australian-made cleansing balm that helps with dryness, dehydration, oil regulation and excess shine, Alpha H has blended Australian wild orange leaf extract, sandalwood seed oil and grapeseed oil to thoroughly cleanse the skin without compromising the health of the skin barrier.

    Shop AlphaH Melting Moment Cleansing Balm, £34.95

  • Youth To The People Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm

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    With a heavy emphasis on superfoods and the benefits they can provide when used in skincare, Youth To The People created a whipped velvet-textured cleansing balm enriched with hydrating and plumping hyaluronic acid, as well as soothing, reparative prickly pear extract

    Shop Youth to the People Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm at Cult Beauty, £31

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