Beauty & Skincare

I’ve Tried More Than 50 Cleansing Balms—These Are the Best for Removing Makeup


The Everymom’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

best cleansing balms woman washing face"
best cleansing balms woman washing face
Source: Pexels | Ron Lach
Source: Pexels | Ron Lach

As a beauty writer, I receive a lot of products to trial, which is a blessing for obvious reasons but also a curse as someone with very sensitive skin. Whenever I try a new product, I always cross my fingers that it doesn’t lead to a major breakout, which will inevitably lead to hyperpigmentation that will take months to fade. As someone with combination acne-prone skin, removing my makeup thoroughly is so, so important. I’ve tried more than 50 cleansing balms, from well-known and expensive to lesser-known and inexpensive brands.

I jumped on the cleansing balm bandwagon because taking my makeup off was the kryptonite of my skincare routine. I realized that whenever I tried to rationalize falling asleep with my makeup on, it was because of how long I knew it would take to remove it, not the act itself. I despised makeup wipes for how they felt on my skin and how irritating and rough they were on my eyes, but I also wanted to move away from single-use products. Micellar water just wasn’t a texture I liked and always left me with gritty, oily-feeling skin. And using my regular cleansers took far too long, so I decided to give cleansing balms a shot, and I’m so glad I did.

What I look for in a cleansing balm is one that isn’t too thick or oily, that’s emulsifying, and that never leaves a cast or residue after I use it. The ones I didn’t like were either too hard to apply, too heavily fragranced, or didn’t break down makeup quickly or thoroughly enough. Keep scrolling for my favorite balms that not only remove all my makeup but also don’t make me break out.

What is a Cleansing Balm?

Cleansing balms are oil-based products meant to remove impurities and dirt from your skin’s surface while protecting and moisturizing your skin’s barrier. They also remove excess sebum and create a clean canvas so your cleansers and serums work more effectively and don’t just sit on top of stuck-on makeup or clogged pores. When you add water to them, they emulsify and break down your makeup like magic. When rinsing them off, you can visibly see the dirt and makeup leaving your face. 

Personal Favorites: 8 Cleansing Balms That Stood Out From the Rest

double cleansing balm
Beauty Pie
Hot Oil Double Cleansing Balm

This is my personal favorite cleansing balm. It’s so effective that it not only removes my makeup but also leaves my skin feeling like I just had a spa treatment. Formulated in Japan with natural Aloe Juice, Niacin-rich Rice Bran Oil, and cold-pressed Baobab Sariché Oil, this balm easily warms up and emulsifies. Beauty Pie is a membership-based brand, so while you can order anything from their site at full price, there’s also the option to sign up for their membership to get heavily discounted products whenever you want. I speak from experience when I say their products are top-notch and formulated for sensitive skin.

Shop now
cleansing oil cleanser
Sephora | MARA
Algae Enzyme Cleansing Oil

MARA is a brand with an array of high-quality products that should definitely be on your radar, as it became available at Sephora just last year. The only product on this list that isn’t an actual balm but works just as well, this oil removes all my makeup (even my waterproof mascara) and doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily at all.

Shop now
sunflower + oat cleansing balm
Target | Current State
Sunflower + Oat Melting Cleansing Balm

As someone who’s been lucky enough to try out this newer brand, I can say they came into the game prepared to do skincare right. This balm has a cream-like texture and removes makeup well while also cleansing your face. I would be 100 percent OK using just this product without double cleansing.

Shop now
eadem cleansing balm
Sephora | EADEM
Dew Dream-Hydrating Cleansing Balm

EADEM is one of my absolute favorite Black-owned skincare brands. Every single one of their products has me in a chokehold and is formulated with care. What I love most about this “balm” is that it comes in a squeeze-tube bottle and that it starts off as a gel, turns into an oil, and finally becomes a milky texture. It removes all my makeup every time. I give it a 10/10.

Shop now
paula's choice cleansing balm
Sephora | Paula’s Choice
Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

Paula’s Choice makes one of my favorite products (the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant), so I was eager to try their cleansing balm, and it didn’t disappoint. It comes in a tube bottle (which I love) and is lightweight and fragrance-free, making it a great choice for people with combination skin. The formula is rich in omegas 3, 6, and 9 to purify and noticeably soften skin while rinsing completely clean.

Shop now
it cosmetics cleansing balm
Sephora | IT Cosmetics
Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Cleansing Balm

I was shocked that I loved this cleansing balm so much for the simple fact that I associate the brand with makeup, having previously only used their amazing CC Cream. The fragrance of this balm isn’t overwhelming, a little goes a long way, and it’s very hydrating.

Shop now
living cleansing balm
SOKO GLAM | Then I Met You
Living Cleansing Balm

From the texture to the smell to the effectiveness, this product deserves all the praise it gets. A winner of multiple prestigious beauty awards, it certainly lives up to expectations. It goes on extremely smoothly, and it removed all my makeup even when I was fully professionally glammed up for a wedding.

Shop now
juno skin cleansing balm
Amazon | Junoco
Clean 10 Cleansing Balm

This balm’s price is right, but it’s also a very effective oil-based cleanser perfect for all skin types. It effectively removes even waterproof makeup, and what I really love is that it has just 10 ingredients. The star ingredient is Japanese Barley Magic, which is a source of vitamins that also help regulate melanin production. I’ve noticed it’s helped brighten my complexion and reduce dark spots, and it never leaves my skin feeling stripped.

Shop now

Shop More of Our Editor-Favorite Cleansing Balms

goop cleansing balm
Luminous Cleansing Balm

“Since implementing this cleansing balm into my skincare routine, I refuse to use anything else. It effortlessly melts away a day’s worth of makeup and built-up dirt, without stripping my skin’s natural oils. I’m completely obsessed.”

Gianna, Commerce Editorial Assistant

Shop now
versed cleansing balm
Target | Versed
Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm

“The Versed cleansing balm instantly and easily melts my makeup off—including my stubborn mascara!—and leaves my skin feeling hydrated and smooth. Plus, I love its soft, milky texture and soothing eucalyptus scent. You can’t beat it for the price!”

— Julia, Senior Managing Editor

Shop now
elemis cleansing balm
Amazon | Elemis
Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

“I adore using the Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm by Elemis because it not only cleans my skin effectively but also provides an indescribable sensation. The texture of the balm melts into my skin, creating a calming and relaxing experience, while the anti-stress aroma adds to the pleasure. I prefer using this product in my nighttime routine because it also moisturizes my skin, leaving it feeling soft and refreshed!”

— Marta, Jr. Graphic Designer

Shop now
farmacy cleansing balm
Sephora | Farmacy
Green Clean Cleansing Balm

“I used to be terrified of using a cleansing balm out of fear that it would clog my pores or leave me looking like a greasy mess—until I started using this stuff. To me, this cleansing balm defies all laws of physics and does the impossible: It melts off makeup like a dream, clears and exfoliates my pores, and leaves my skin feeling hydrated sans any residue.”

— Ashley, Branded Content Managing Editor

Shop now
beauty counter cleansing balm
Counter+ Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm

Another editor favorite, this cleansing balm hydrates the skin while gently removing makeup and impurities. It’s also formulated with rich ingredients to help de-stress the skin while adding a luminous glow.

Shop now
tatcha cleansing balm
Sephora | Tatcha
The Indigo Cleansing Balm

This cleansing balm looks amazing in your collection, and it works just as well. For those with sensitive skin, this gently-formulated product will get rid of any excess dirt, makeup, and oil—while leaving the skin feeling nourished.

Shop now
elf cleansing balm
Target | e.l.f.
Holy Hydration Cleansing Balm

Made with ceramides, peptides, and  hylauronic acid, this cleansing balm is another budget-friendly option that works wonders for the skin.

Shop now
MILK cleansing balm
Sephora | Milk Makeup
Hydro Ungrip Cleansing Balm

Unlike other cleansing balms, this option is an 85 percent natural cleansing balm that melts away impurities, SPF, and makeup without leaving any residue behind.

Shop now
clean it zero cleansing balm
Ulta | Banila Co
Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm

One of Banila Co’s best-selling products, this cleansing balm deeply hydrates the skin while simultaneously melting away any built-up dirt and makeup.

Shop now
tula cleansing balm
Target | TULA Skincare
Makeup Melt Cleansing Balm

Packed with probiotic extracts and conditioning ingredients, this cleansing balm features a unique applicator that will get rid of the most stubborn of makeup.

Shop now