Cleansing Balms - My Top 3
I'm always trying new cleansing balms to take off whatever pollution and grime accumulates on my face, as well as God knows how many layers of beauty products. Here, in no real order, are my favorites.
Clinique's Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
This stuff feels and looks like a tub of Crisco (and I'm not convinced that it's not) but it's a great makeup remover. It can take off whatever caked foundation or waterproof mascara you have on your face as soon as you rub it in. The label says this is "non-greasy" which is kind of true but not really. It's shockingly not hydrating at all despite a very oily texture. It kind of sits on top of your skin without sinking in to it. I wore a bunch of glitter on my face for NYE and this got like, 99% of it in the first try (the rest accumulated in the roots of my eyelashes and is probably still there).
Glossier's Milky Jelly
I loooove Milky Jelly. It functions as a cleansing balm on dry skin and as a face wash on damp skin. I use it for both, especially when I'm traveling and want to cut down on bottles. It looks like a milky gel (surprise!), smells faintly of roses, and takes all the junk off my face without stripping or drying my skin. My derm says I can only use really gentle cleansers, and this fits the bill. It's like if Cetaphil was chic? Here's the obligatory "if you haven't bought Glossier before you can get 20% off through my referral" link.
Sunday Riley's Blue Moon Tranquility Balm
This balm the most amazing cleansing balm in the whole world, only it's super pricey ($50 for just over 3oz). I don't use it everyday. Blue Moon starts out as a light blue, grainy solid and melts into a hydrating oil. It will take off any excess makeup and can suck the pollution out of your skin. It feels like a waste to me to use it just as a cleanser, so I use this balm for my facial massage. (I follow this Lisa Eldridge video.) I try and just rub it into my skin for as long as possible and then take it off with a very hot towel - it's super relaxing and your skin will feel so clean and hydrated afterwards. (The instructions say you can use this as a mask as well, but I haven't tried it.)
Those are my top three cleansing balms atm, as I think they all are great for different situations. If you only want one cleanser, go with the Glossier one for versatility (though don't sleep on the treat of a good massage with Blue Moon).