If your skin is dull and you’re breaking out despite your 10-step skincare routine, you might want to take a look at the way you’re cleansing your skin.
Believe it or not, when it comes to removing makeup, sunscreen, and pollutants from the day, a single cleanse just doesn’t cut it. Leaving any trace of foundation or sunscreen on your face post-cleanse can cause clogged pores and skin congestion, which eventually leads to pesky breakouts.
So, what do you do? Simple: You double cleanse.
Using an oil cleanser to break down your makeup and sunscreen before your foaming cleanser is a must. Not only does it help you get your skin as clean as possible, but cleansing balms also tend to contain additional nourishing ingredients that fortify your complexion against dryness.
NOTE: You can double cleanse with any cleanser—micellar water and cleansing foam; two cleansing oils in a row; two foaming cleansers paired together—this is just our recommended method.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up the best cleansing balms for every complexion and skin type, from Glow Recipe’s cult-favourite exfoliating balm to Elemis’ fragrance-free formulation for sensitive skin:
READ: Everything you need to know about oil cleanser and how to use them
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Micro Cleansing Balm, RM218
Perfect for: All skin types
Dirt, makeup, and pollution on the skin are no match for this soothing cleansing balm. Simply rub into the skin at the end of the day to transform the balm into a luxurious oil that easily loosens makeup, then emulsify into a hydrating, milky cleanser with just a few drops of water.
PS: Avoid using the balm around the eyes as it is not ophthamologically tested.
Sunday Riley Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm, RM264
Perfect for: Irritated skin
This gentle cleansing balm is made up of a soothing blend of nourishing cocoa butter and anti-inflammatory azulene-rich oils from blue tansy and German chamomile, plus an anxiety-reducing blend of vanilla and orange. It works to cleanse every last trace of makeup—yes, even on the eyes— and pollution left on the skin after a long day.
Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm, RM145
Perfect for: Textured skin
Struggling with dry, flaky skin? Glow Recipe’s cult-favourite cleansing balm harnesses the power of papaya enzymes to gently smooth and resurface skin while blueberry extract protects against environmental stressors. Plus, the smell… ahhh.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Naked Cleansing Balm, RM260
Perfect for: Stubborn eye makeup and sensitive skin
The brand’s classic Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm now comes in an eye-safe, fragrance-free formulation! It applies as a nourishing balm, melts into a cleansing oil, and finishes off as a cleansing milk with just a little water. Sweet almond oil features front-and-centre for a deep cleanse that hydrates at the same time.
Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm, RM158
Perfect for: Ageing, dry skin
Sunflower and ginger root oil work together with moringa tree extract to purify and refresh the skin while papaya extract gently exfoliates dead skin. Further, echinacea purpurea harnesses its powerful antioxidant properties to protect skin against premature ageing. Oh, and it works pretty well against even the fullest face of makeup—cake face, begone!
Dermalogica Pre Cleanse Balm, RM254
Perfect for: Normal to dry skin, acne-prone skin and stubborn eye makeup
This non-comedogenic cleansing balm by Dermalogica is the perfect companion for blemish-prone skin. Harnessing the power of their Natural Biolipid complex, the balm-to-oil formula locks in hydration while apricot kernel oil works to nourish and clear the skin. Further, the gentle balm is also safe to use around the eyes.
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, RM143
Perfect for: Acne-prone, dry, and dehydrated skin and stubborn eye makeup
If you’re in search of a cleansing step that packs a punch with just a little product, Clinique is here for you. A little goes a long way with this cleansing balm—enriched with safflower seed, taking the day off is no problem. In fact, while you take the day off, you can protect your skin against breakouts, dryness, and environmental aggressors. Neat!
Eve Lom Gel Balm Cleanser, RM250
Perfect for: Oily skin
If you struggle with particularly greasy skin, allow us to introduce you to the ingenious, world-famous gel-balm cleanser by Eve Lom. Unlike most gel cleansers that leave your skin overly dry and cleansing balms that leave you too oily, this novel formulation works to keep you squeaky clean without the excess grease. Plus, the brand’s signature blend of clove, eucalyptus, hops, and chamomile oil work to brighten and soften tired skin with every use.
Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser, RM 148
Perfect for: All skin types, stubborn eye makeup
This biocompatible cleansing balm is a cult favourite for a good reason—the balm’s blend of marula, baobab, Kalahari melon, mongongo, and Ximenia work to remove oil, grime, and makeup while nourishing the skin. Further, the fragrance-free formulation makes it perfect for use around the eye.
TIP: Add a shot of the included Bamboo Booster Exfoliant to polish your skin as you cleanse!
Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm, RM340
Perfect for: Oily to normal skin
Transport yourself to the thermal waters of Budapest with Omorovicza’s nightly cleansing balm. Made with Hungarian Moor Mud and thermal water, this balm is rich in impurity-clearing clay and collagen-boosting minerals, to leave your skin barrier happier and protected.
The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm, RM46
Perfect for: Acne-prone, sensitive, and irritated skin
This no-nonsense, oat-powered cleansing balm helps to soothe, cleanse, and hydrate skin, calming redness and skin irritation. Say goodbye to sad skin, and hello to your happiest complexion yet!
REN Rosa Centifolia No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm, RM138
Perfect for: All skin types and waterproof makeup
Softer, smoother, and brighter skin—does that sound good to you? If so, allow us to introduce you to the Rosa Centifolia Purity Cleansing Balm by REN. Thanks to the brand’s potent blend of chamomile, almond oil and rose flower water, this balm removes even the slightest traces of waterproof mascara, leaving you perfectly clean yet nourished.
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