When it comes to washing your face, chances are you’re in one of two camps. Either you grab the nearest thing to you – be that a bar of soap or just a splash of water – give your face a quick rinse, and consider the job done. Or, you’ve got that one special cleanser you’ve been using forever and can’t bear to part ways with. If either of those sounds like you, then it’s time to seriously change the way you wash your face. The best way to do that? Invest in a cleansing balm.
One of the oldest traditions in beauty, cleansing balms have long been used in Asia thanks to their oil-rich, glow-boosting formulas, which melt off oil-based impurities such as makeup, pollutants, sunblock, and surface grease. They also attract greasy particles and dissolve them without stripping skin of its own hydrating oils, which means they won’t make oily skins oilier (that’s a big beauty myth). Products that strip your skin of oils stimulate sebum production, which in turn means oilier skin. “Cleansing balms are great for troubled, acne-prone skin”, celebrity facialist Joanna Czech tells us. “They dissolve the excess sebum (oil dissolves oil) and protect the skin without stripping it. They are also great for makeup and sunscreen removal.” Hey, if they’re good enough for the expert behind Bella Hadid and Kim Kardashian West’s glows, they’re good enough for us.
Unlike foaming formulas, balms do all this without stripping the epidermis, making them great for sensitive and drier skins too. As the seasons change and we enter cooler months, they’ll help keep skin healthy and hydrated, but they’re great all year round – particularly when you’re being blasted by the A/C. They also couldn’t be easier to use. Simply apply the balm to dry skin, gently massage in (great for boosting that blood flow), and mix with water before rinsing off.
So, remember – keep calm and use a balm. You’ll be left looking fresh-faced and fabulous in no time – especially if you make yours one of these top 10 Savoir Flair-approved picks.
111Skin 'NAC Y2 Restorative Cleansing Balm'
To call this a high-tech cleansing balm would be an understatement. It was developed by space scientists, after all. Its gentle balm-to-milk formula is packed full of whizzy ingredients including soothing enzymes (great for reducing redness and flushing), anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich green tea, clarifying and soothing honey extract, and CM-glucan granulate (to encourage cell recovery and boost the moisture barrier). Not forgetting its unique ‘NAC Y2’ complex, which uses three antioxidant boosting ingredients to protect against environmental aggressors and promote collagen and elastin production. Read: younger-looking, balanced, beautiful skin.
111Skin ‘NAC Y2 Restorative Cleansing Balm’
Sisley 'Triple-Oil Balm Make Up Remover And Cleanser'
Boasting not one, not two, but three different textures – Sisley’s balm is a treat for all the senses. A rich, creamy complex of oils, butters, and plant-based actives — including Shea and macadamia oils, mango butter, and peony — its solid texture melts into skin like butter to become a silky, lightweight oil that turns into a soft, milky emulsion upon contact with skin. Gently dislodging the most stubborn of makeup (waterproof mascara, we’re looking at you), it effectively rids skin of impurities and traces of pollution while protecting against the drying effects of hard water.
Sisley ‘Triple-Oil Balm Make up Remover and Cleanser’
Wishful 'Clean Genie Cleansing Butter'
A cruelty-free, paraben and sulfate-free balm – developed by the world’s most cutting-edge skincare labs and packed full of natural ingredients – may sound like wishful thinking (we couldn’t resist), but Huda Kattan’s clever cleanser ticks all the balm boxes. Its super-soft butter-to-milk formula is infused with malachite, green tea, and cherry blossom to unclog pores, protect against external aggressors, and maintain the skin’s moisture barriers while drawing out impurities and conditioning the complexion. It even visibly clarifies and removes excess oils without drying. What more could you possibly wish for?
Wishful ‘Clean Genie Cleansing Butter’
Augustinus Bader 'The Cleansing Balm'
When one of the world’s leading stem-cell pioneers adds a new product to his skincare arsenal, you know it’s going to be nothing less than incredible. And that’s exactly how we’d describe Augustinus Bader’s balm. Using his patented scientific breakthrough ingredient ‘Trigger Factor Complex – TFC8’ and backed by 30 years of research, it does so much more than cleanse. “’The Cleansing Balm’ works to nourish and protect the skin’s integrity while encouraging its natural renewal cycle”, Bader explains. “[It’s] designed to bind with oils and pollutants without causing harm of inflammation to the surface, which can accelerate signs of aging. It replenishes the skin’s natural oil balance and eliminates harmful microbes that stimulate the overproduction of sebum to maintain a healthy and clean complexion.” Sold.
Augustinus Bader ‘The Cleansing Balm’
Elemis 'Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm'
Elemis’s ‘Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm’ established itself as one of the best in the business a while ago, with beauty editors, facialists, and celebrities all swearing by its collagen-boosting blend. But just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the brand released a rose-scented version – and we were hooked. Its elderberry oil and algae-enriched formula loads skin with fatty acids, micronutrients, and hydration, while its soothing rose scent brings the spa straight to your bathroom.
Elemis ‘Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm’
Sunday Riley 'Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm'
Don’t be put off by this balm’s blue hue, because although it may not look like your usual cleanser, its pop of color is exactly what makes it so, so good. Brimming with azulene-rich oils of blue tansy and German chamomile – hailed for their healing, redness-reducing, and anti-inflammatory properties – it helps calm complexions while gently cleansing. It’s also an amazing natural exfoliant thanks to its slightly gritty texture (courtesy of natural sugars), and the addition of vanilla and sweet orange oils promotes a sense of calm and well-being. Just the ticket after a long day.
Sunday Riley ‘Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm’
Emma Hardie 'Moringa Cleansing Balm'
A facial in a tub, Emma Hardie’s decadent cleansing balm has remained top of its game for over 10 years and has been scooping up countless beauty awards ever since. Why? Well, for a start, its rich, velvety formula smells amazing (it’s crammed full of essential oils), and because it purifies and deeply cleanses down into pores while balancing and hydrating. This is all thanks to an array of natural ingredients, including moringa seed extract, vitamin E, and wild sea fennel, which work to decongest skin and plump it from within. Top tip: Use alongside the clever cleansing cloth for an extra hit of exfoliation.
Emma Hardie ‘Moringa Cleansing Balm’
Omorovicza 'Thermal Cleansing Balm'
Omorovicza’s ‘Thermal Cleansing Balm’ is enriched with Hungarian moor mud (rich in magnesium and calcium) and thermal waters to really get deep down into pores and draw out dirt and impurities. Its oily, thick black texture is also rich in clay, which works wonders at clearing out clogged and congested pores – in turn keeping blemishes and breakouts at bay. The icing on the cleansing cake? Thanks to the abundance of key minerals it contains, it helps promote collagen production, protects against free radical damage, and strengthens the skin barrier.
Omorovicza ‘Thermal Cleansing Balm’
Drunk Elephant 'Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser'
This dreamy duo from Drunk Elephant is the ultimate way to get squeaky clean, soft, and smooth skin – fast. First, you have the buttery balm cleanser, which is infused with fruit extracts and a nourishing African oil blend to melt off makeup, dirt, and debris. Then, for an added beauty boost, use the accompanying ‘Bamboo Booster’. A physical exfoliant comprised of ultra-fine charcoal and bamboo spheres, use it once a week to gently remove dull, dry, dead skin cells and to reveal gorgeous, glowing skin in a flash.
Drunk Elephant ‘Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser’