10 Best Cleansing Balms in 2024, According to Dermatologists

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Most cleansing balms have a thick, if not totally solid, consistency. A balm usually thins out and becomes more lotion- or cleanser-like when it’s warmed up, either by being rubbed between your hands or applied to your face. As you massage the balm into your skin, it breaks down dead skin cell build-up, sebum, and facial products like sunscreen and makeup, Dr. Garshick says. “Based on the principles that oil attracts oil, by using an oil-based product [like a cleansing balm], it can help to draw out excess oil and makeup without irritating the skin,” she explains.

Although balms are effective cleansers, they won’t wash away all the oils on your skin, Dr. Penzi says. She explains that most of them are formulated with nourishing skin care ingredients like jojoba, argan, or grapeseed oils. “Rather than stripping the skin of its natural oils, [a cleansing balm] instead restores and reinforces lipids in our skin barrier, keeping the skin smooth and hydrated,” she explains. (In a nutshell, lipids are fatty compounds in your skin that help it retain moisture and stay healthy.)

Most balms will rinse away cleanly with water, though it’s possible that they’ll leave a little residue behind, Dr. Camp says. Your face may feel slightly greasy, depending on the product you use, but it’s nothing a little double cleansing can’t fix.


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