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

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

Photo Courtesy of Target

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

Photo Courtesy of Dermstore

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.

Best Value

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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