Waterproof makeup is also life-proof. Once it’s set, the stay-all-day category of cosmetics doesn’t leave your face until you want it off. Cleansing balms remove waterproof makeup with oil-forward formulas, containing emollients to break down your glam.
“Look for oils that are lightweight and non-comedogenic,” suggested Jillian Ehrenberg, a cosmetic chemist and the owner of Acta Beauty.
How Do They Break Down Waterproof Makeup?
Cleansing balms work to break down dirt and debris. Ehrenberg explained that the oil molecules in the balms are attracted to waterproof makeup’s silicones, acrylates and waxes. Once you rub the balm onto dry skin, the makeup will begin smudging, meaning that the barrier is broken. This process makes it easier to wash away and continue the rest of your skincare routine.
- Best Fragrance-Free: CeraVe Hydrating Makeup Cleansing Balm
- Best Gluten-Free: CLINIQUE Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm Makeup Remover
- Best Hands-Free: Paula’s Choice Omega + Complex Cleansing Balm
- Best Moisturizing: BYOMA Melting Cleansing Balm
- Best Residue-Free Rinse: Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
- Best Synthetic Wax-Free: Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm
- Best Value: Banila Co Super Sized Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
CeraVe Hydrating Makeup Cleansing Balm
CeraVe’s balm is a fragrance-free option for sensitive skin. The balm also is free of parabens and soap to reduce the chances of irritation. Its non-comedogenic formula uses ceramides and jojoba oil to break down makeup without stripping your skin.
Best Gluten-Free Balm
CLINIQUE Take The Day Off Makeup Remover
CLINIQUE’s balm is free of gluten, sulfates, fragrance and animal by-products. This vegan cleanser uses a powerful combination of safflower seed oil and caprylic/capric triglyceride to tear down waterproof makeup.
Best Hands-Free Balm
Paula’s Choice Omega + Complex Cleansing Balm
This Paula’s Choice option eliminates the need for you to dip your fingers into a jar to access the makeup-removing formula. This easy-to-use tube contains a blend of jojoba oil, meadowfoam seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride and olive oil to melt waterproof makeup. There’s also a hint of vitamin E to keep your skin comfortable post-cleanse.
Best Moisturizing Balm
BYOMA Melting Cleansing Balm
BYOMA’s balm clears stubborn makeup, while delivering moisturizing ingredients to your skin barrier. The vegan formula is also fragrance-free and contains niacinamide, olive fruit, sea buckthorn and grapeseed oil to prevent your skin from feeling tight after you rinse the balm away.
Best Residue-Free Rinse
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
Elemis’ balm removes waterproof makeup without a trace of residue. The skin nourishing formula combines caprylic/capric triglyceride and includes over a dozen oils to break down the waterproof barrier on your skin. It also contains collagen and shea butter to keep you skin feeling soothed post-cleanse.
Best Synthetic Wax-Free
Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Balm
Several products use synthetic wax to help emulsify waterproof makeup. Farmacy’s balm melts makeup without the synthetic ingredient. Instead, the vegan formula leads with caprylic/capric triglyceride to break down waterproof makeup.
Banila Co Super Sized Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
Banila Co’s balm is a powerful cleanser that gives you your money’s worth. A small amount goes a long way in dissolving stubborn makeup. The best part about this cleanser is that the jar has enough product to last several months.
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