As a cleansing fanatic (I believe it's essential for clear and radiant skin), I have a lot of cleansers in my arsenal, and will reach for different textures depending on how much time I have and how much makeup I need to remove. Balms are one of my favourite cleansing textures for days when I'm wearing more makeup than usual, as they help to emulsify and dissolve it all away quickly (although I sometimes use a separate eye makeup remover first). I also like to use them when I have time to do a facial massage, in which case I'll do one cleanse with the balm to remove makeup, then apply again for massage. Balms are great for this as they stay slippy on the skin whilst also giving slight grip, so you can gently stimulate your skin without pulling or dragging. They're also easy to use (massage onto dry skin, add a little water to emulsify and remove with a damp cloth - which gently exfoliates, too) and work really well on most skin types as they cleanse and nourish without stripping skin.
I made a film about some of my favourite cleansing balms a while ago and had a few requests for recommendations of balms without mineral oil. I won't go into the mineral oil debate again here (I did talk about it a little bit at the end of my video - so if you want to hear my stance on it you can take a look), but if you prefer to use a cleansing balm that's mineral oil free, here are some that I've been trialling recently and have really enjoyed using...
My All-Round Must-Have -Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm This cleansing balm is pretty close to perfect for me - it washes absolutely everything away and doesn't leave any residue on my skin. The formula contains an effective cocktail of skin cleansing and moisturising ingredients - elderberry, sweet almond, coconut, geranium, chamomile and jojoba seed oils, plus omegas and shea butter - and the texture is velvety and super-luxe (great for lymph draining massage!). Some people find that shea butter can cause their congested skin to break out, but I find that in a cleanser - that's not left on the skin all day or all night - this is less likely. My skin feels soft, plumped, hydrated and perfectly clean whenever I use this. It's on the pricier end of the scale but, as I said above, I tend to keep balms like this for heavy makeup removal and whenever I have time to sit down for a good, deep-cleanse, so the tub lasts ages. Available here.
Luxuriously Rich -Trilogy Makeup Be Gone Cleansing Balm
This cleansing balm has a beautiful rich texture which I personally find a little bit heavy for my combination skin (even though I still enjoyed trialling it), so it's a good option for dry skin types for whom extra moisturisation is a good thing. The all-natural ingredients list reads like a delicious cookie recipe and includes mango seed butter (anti-inflammatory and highly emollient), antioxidant vitamin E and coconut, certified organic rosehip oil and sunflower seed oils. You only need to use a teeny amount, 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon is plenty. Available here.
Fresh & Lightweight - Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel Although this is called a gel, it's got a light, balm-like texture - think 'jelly balm'! It's fresher and lighter than the two balms above, so perfect for oilier skin types or morning cleanses - it emulsifies quickly to a milky texture with water, so you could just rinse it off if you're short of time, though I still like to use a cloth. Again, it's on the more expensive end but, as with all balms, a little really does go a long way and the vitamin and nutrient-packed ingredients list has something for everyone - pore-clearing pumpkin enzymes (if you're feeling a bit congested or in need of a brightening boost, you could use it as a treatment and leave it on for a couple of minutes), brightening vitamin C, soothing and hydrating starflower oil, collagen-boosting MSM and vitamin A palmitate, good for dry, mature and sun-damaged skin. Available here.
High Street Buy - Boots Botanics 97% Organic Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm I know I've mentioned this balm before, but it's a really effective makeup remover, has good slip for facial massage and a great price point - it's one of the only really good cleansing balms I've tried for under £10 (if you've used any others, I'd love to know which ones you rate - tell me in the comments). It has a luxe, buttery texture and a formula rich in shea butter, rosehip, sweet almond and jojoba oils, good for all skin types. I find it can leave a little bit of moisture film on skin after rinsing, so if you're oily or combo you might want to follow up with a face wash or sweep of micellar water/toner afterwards. Available here.
Click below for more info and buying options on the products I have used in this film. Some of the links provided are affiliate links for which I will receive a small percentage payment for any purchases made.