The best cleansing balms on the market, according to our Junior Beauty Editor

Holly O'Neill rates cleansing balms higher than any other type of cleanser — and these are her three picks to try them out

If I could only have one cleanser, I’d choose a cleansing balm. In a year and a half of beauty writing for IMAGE, trying thousands of products including ice-cube eye creams and mouthwash with gold flakes, they are as luxurious as it gets when it comes to effective, luxe beauty. It’s helpful to explain cleansers by imagining them as played by an actress (Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser would be played by Elle Fanning, St Ives Apricot Scrub is The Trunchbull) so if I had to cast cleansing balms in a role, I’m thinking Princess Margaret in The Crown; delicious, luxurious and rich.

There is no product more effective at melting away your make-up than a balm cleanser buffed off with a hot cotton flannel. If you’re oily skinned and thinking that the last thing you need is more oil, trust me on this paradox - you do not need to live your skincare life restricted to soapy, foam cleansers.

Dermalogica's Precleanse Balm, €52.50


My favourite cleansing balms are water activated and emulsify from balm to milky oil, dissolving and lifting make-up while feeling plush. The following all require just a blueberry size portion of balm per cleanse, meaning your cleansing balm will really last.

If I’m travelling, I take the small tube of Dermalogica PreCleanse Balm with me always. Massage it into the face and neck, add wet fingertops and watch it loosen the most resilient of waterproof mascaras and longwearing foundations, leaving no residue but skin that feels clean and hydrated. It comes with a rubber mitt too, which is handy for the shower and for travelling home without a sopping, make-up streaked flannel.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm, €50

Just launched, the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm has a new edition that is quite lovely, thanks to the addition of soothing rosehip seed oil for hydration swirled with the lifting scent of English rose. It makes washing off the day genuinely a joy, spotlessly removing all traces of make-up when used with the additional cloth hot and wrung-out.

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm, €59, at 


Finally, had I the ability, I would like to write lengthy, romantic poetry to Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm, now available at It melts your make-up with minimum effort required, leaving the skin balanced, radiant and smooth. Don’t miss out on the experience of smoothing away the balm with a warm, wet cloth. The silky texture coddles the skin and the head-on-collision scent of a blend of orange, neroli, mandarin, jasmine and rose essential oils make cleansing as therapeutic for me as I imagine mindfulness to be for others.

Featured image by @intothegloss. 

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