Why You Should Add A Cleansing Balm To Your Routine, According To An Expert

There's a reason these have gone viral on TikTok...
Bella Thomas.

While our TikTok FYP was once full of videos showing creators painstakingly perfecting their makeup routine, these days, social media has been favouring a slightly different, though equally fascinating, kind of video. 

In ‘get unready with me’ formats, creators show the fascinating steps they take to, you guessed it, remove their makeup, often enlisting a very interesting product formulation in the process. 

Enter: cleansing balms.

Hailey Bieber. (Credit: @haileybieber)

Gone are the days of rubbing at your skin with harsh makeup wipes. This mesmerising product literally melts away the day, leaving skin looking plump, nourished, and clean.  

So what exactly is a cleansing balm, how does it differ from typical gel cleansers, and is it worth the hype? Let’s investigate.

What Is A Cleansing Balm?

Somewhere between a balm and a cream, these rich cleansing formulas work to remove the day’s grime, while nourishing the skin in the process.

As for how they differ from gel or foaming cleansers, according to MECCA Skincare Education Manager Giorgi Strachan, it comes down to formulation and application. 

“Foaming or gel cleansers generally contain surfactants and light cleansing agents that create a lather when mixed with water. They are more commonly used to remove impurities, excess oil, and makeup from the skin’s surface and can provide a more thorough cleanse,” she told marie claire Australia.

“On the other hand, cleansing balms are oil-based, semi-solid cleansers that transform into a silky oil upon contact with the skin. They are specifically designed to dissolve makeup, dirt, and sunscreen without stripping away the skin’s natural oils.”

Bella Thomas. (Credit: @bellathomas)

Where Does A Cleansing Balm Fit In Your Skincare Routine?

Cleansing balms are a luxe addition to your evening skincare and, according to Giorgi, should form the first part of a double cleansing routine.

“Begin by massaging a small amount of the balm onto dry skin, allowing it to dissolve makeup and impurities. Then, emulsify the balm by adding water and continue massaging. Rinse thoroughly or remove with a damp cloth,” she explains.

Next, Giorgi recommends following up with a gel, milk, or foaming cleanser for an even deeper clean, followed by the rest of your usual skincare routine.

Sofia Richie. (Credit: @sofiarichiegrainge)

How Does A Cleansing Balm Benefit The Skin?

“Cleansing balms can be a game-changer for your skin,” says Giorgi.

One of the chief benefits of cleansing balms are their emollient properties, which, she explains, “help dissolve the dirt and grime on your skin’s surface without stripping away natural oils.”

Plus, Giorgi says, “We are now seeing formulations become multi-benefit and extend beyond the function of cleansing, with the use of enzymes and mild exfoliants promoting skin radiance and glow in addition to effectively cleansing the skin.” Win win!

What Skin Types Are Best Suited To A Cleansing Balm?

Every skin type can benefit from the addition of a cleansing balm.

For dryer, more sensitive complexions, cleansing balms are particularly beneficial, thanks to their ability to cleanse without dehydrating.

But, Giorgi says, cleansing balms shouldn’t be overlooked by those of us prone to oilier skin. 

“Oily and combination skin types can also benefit from cleansing balms, as they effectively remove excess sebum without leaving the skin feeling stripped or tight. It’s always a good idea to choose a cleansing balm specifically formulated for your skin type to ensure the best results.”

7 Cleansing Balms To Add To Your Cart


Alpha-H Melting Moment Cleansing Balm with Wild Orange Leaf Extract, $69.95 from ADORE BEAUTY.

Ceramide Cleansing Balm, $55 at Endota


Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, $65 from ADORE BEAUTY.


Estee Lauder Advanced Night Cleansing Balm, $85 from SEPHORA.


Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, $106 from MECCA.


Augustinus Bader The Cleansing Balm, $116 from MECCA.

Dr Lewinn’s Daily Cleansing Balm, $54.95 at Adore Beauty

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