Woman Washing FaceHint: It’s not just a fancy name for your face soap. Though, it’s easy to think that some company slapped “balm” at the end of their cleanser, to try and differentiate it from the 108 other face soaps for sale. However, cleansing balms aren’t the result of a clever marketing scheme, nor are they identical to your regular face wash.

Cleansing balms have a thicker, almost solid consistency, similar to caramel. They’re too thick to come in pump bottles, so they’re available in jars, pots and regular squeeze tubes.

Unlike some industrial strength face washes, cleansing balms are made from a lot of natural ingredients. They are usually oil or mud-based and contain a lot of minerals, plant oils and antioxidants. Some are even safe to use on your eye area. (FYI: Don’t try that with your regular cleanser, unless you enjoy stinging eyes.)

Ren Cleansing Balm

In addition to their unique formula and different application (we’ll get to that in a second), cleansing balms are known for the dual-cleansing properties. They remove makeup, in addition to regular dirt and grime.

Who Is It For
Cleansing balms are also perfect for those with sensitive skin because of the aforementioned natural ingredients and lack of harsh chemicals. A lot of cleansing balms are formulated for those with normal to dry skin, but other works on all skin types. If you run on the oiler side, you might find oil-based cleansing balms too greasy, so a different formula may work better for you. Though as an oily-skinned person, I find a cleansing balm brings my skin back from the brink of dryness in winter and imparts a dewy I-look-like-I-just-had-a-facial glow.

Why You Should Use It
Cleansing balms are similar to BB creams because of their multi-functional properties. They clean your face, moisture dry patches and remove makeup. As I mentioned before, they won’t upset sensitive skin because of their gentle ingredients.

Cleansing balms are the first step in your skincare routine. Most cleansing balms are warmed up in your hand, then applied to dry skin. You  can add a bit of water as you massage it on your skin. To finish, you rinse it off with warm water.

A lot of cleansing balms come with a muslin cloth to remove the product. If you just use water, you’re sometimes left with an oily residue on your face. If you don’t have a muslin cloth, a regular wash cloth would work just as well.

After you dry your face, you can continue with your toners, moisturizer or a CC cream.

1. Clinique Take Off The Day Cleansing Balm
This balm starts off as a solid, then through the magic of your fingers, it transforms into an oil that removes dirt, makeup and sunscreen. Did Harry Potter have a spell that could do all that?

2. REN Rosa Centifolia No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm
If it has “number 1” in the name then surely it must be a decent product, right? This rose-infused cleansing balm isn’t as fragile as a flower. It protects your skin against free radicals and can even remove waterproof mascara.

3. No 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm
If you suffer from dry skin, this cleansing balm contains a special blend of multivitamins and minerals to moisturize you so-dry-it-hurts-to-smile face. It may be gentle to your dry skin, but it still effectively removes dirt and makeup.

(Photo: CandyBox Images/Shutterstock)