Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Battle of the Cleansing Balms!

Cleansing balms have taken the skin care world by storm in the past couple of years. What started with a few, became many, and now I have to admit it is not only difficult to pick 'the one' for you, but it's also tempting to chop and change every now and again.

For those new to cleansing balms, they are an oil-based cleanser that remains solid at room temperature. Warmed in the hands and massaged onto the skin, then removed with a warm, damp cloth (muslin or flannel, I personally prefer a flannel.) They cleanse beautifully, removing all traces of makeup while leaving the skin feeling exceptionally smooth, plump and hydrated. They are marketed for all skin types (yes, even oily) and especially good for those looking towards anti-ageing products.

Having used a balm cleanser exclusively for over a year, it's fair to say I'm a convert. I've never used anything else that makes my skin feel happier or more comfortable, and I would thoroughly recommend trying one out if you haven't before. I wouldn't say they are 'life changing' but they are certainly 'skin changing'!

I've tried my fair share of balms in the past year, so I thought I would give you a quick run down of each to help you navigate the world of cleansing balms a little easier...

Eve Lom Cleanser

Packaging: Very nice, but its' nothing special considering the price.
Ingredients: The Good - Chamomile, hop, clove & eucalyptus oils. The Bad - mineral oil, parabens.
This get's slammed frequently on skincare blogs for being packed with mineral oil. Personally my skin doesn't have a problem with mineral oil, but considering this is the most expensive cleanser in this blog post, the fact that it contains the cheapest ingredients does annoy me.
Performance: The original, but not necessarily the best. Eve Lom's cleanser was the one that 'changed the face of skincare' by introducing cleansing balms. Some swear by it, some loathe it. I have to admit, I did like this cleanser. It's lovely to use and effective at removing makeup, but I wasn't 'blown away' as some are.
Price: £55 for 100ml (Currently 10% off here)
Overall: Good, but not the best. Considering it's the most expensive... it should be better.
Score: 6/10

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

Packaging: Really nice, probably the best of this lineup.
Ingredients: The Good - A base of almond oil, along with elderberry, rose, mimosa and more. The Bad - None! No mineral oil, parabens etc. It does contain shea butter that may irritate or clog some skin, but I had no problem with this.
Performance: I really loved the texture of this, however it really stung my eyes, so I couldn't use it for removing my eye makeup. It also has a very strong herbal, spa-like scent. I used up my sample, but I wouldn't purchase it again. My mum loves it though so each to one's own!
Price: £39 for 105g (Currently 30% off here)
Overall: Very nice if you don't have sensitive eyes!
Score: 7/10

Emma Hardie 'Amazing Face' Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm

Packaging: Very nice, feels heavy and looks luxurious too.
Ingredients: The Good - A base of grape seed and almond oil, moringa seed extract, wild sea fennel and vitamin E to name a few. The Bad - None!
Performance: To me, this is the cream of the crop when it comes to cleansing balms. The texture is like butter, the scent is subtle and pleasant, it removes all my makeup, doesn't sting my eyes, and my skin absolutely loves it! My skin feels amazing every single time I use this.
Price:  £34 for 100ml (Available with free international delivery here)
Overall: There is a lot of hype surrounding this cleanser and it is 100% deserved.
Score: 10/10

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter

Packaging: Quite plain, flat metal container.
Ingredients: The Good - Olive oil. The Bad - Lots of synthetics. Most of the ingredients in this are synthetic. It also has shea butter, so perhaps better for those with dry skin, not prone to breakouts.
Performance: This worked pretty well for me. The consistency is more solid (like coconut oil) at room temperature. I found it a little greasy, but ok. My skin didn't see any noticeable difference when using this, but it was effective at removing makeup.
Price: £12 for 90ml (available here)
Overall: Good for £12, but not a scratch on some of the others available.
Score: 5/10

Ren No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm

Packaging: I've only used this in the old (tube) packaging, so can't comment.
Ingredients: Again, a base of almond oil and a list of others including camomile. The Bad - None! As always, Ren products are free from parabens, mineral oil, sulphates, silicones and synthetic colours & fragrances.
Performance: Nice to use, left my skin feeling happy and clean.
Price: £30 for 150ml (available here)
Overall: I loved this for the first half of the tube, towards the end it got very 'gritty' in texture. I've noticed this happening a tiny bit with a few cleansing balms, but this was the most noticeable difference from first opening it up, to finishing it. In light of this, I wouldn't purchase it again.
Score: 6/10

RMK Cleansing Balm

Packaging: I personally really like this frosted pink packaging. It's not the most luxe, but it's really pretty! The flip-top lid is also very user-friendly.
Ingredients: The Good - Jojoba oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil. The Bad - This was quite hard to uncover (annoyingly!) but it seems that while there are no parabens, it does contain mineral oil and a long list of synthetic ingredients, including waxes and silicones. Perhaps best to avoid this one if you have acne prone skin.
Performance: This smells of rose (can be a love/hate thing, I don't mind it.) I quite liked this, and thought it might be a keeper, until I tried the Emma Hardie alternative. In comparison, it leaves your skin a little greasy.
Price: £29 for 50g (Available here)
Overall: Nice, but not a keeper for me personally.
Score: 6/10

Balance Me Cleanse & Smooth Face Balm

Packaging: A tube, not the most practical for this texture of product (unless your bathroom is super warm, you have to squeeze... hard!)
Ingredients: Balance Me are one of those great companies who mean natural when they say 'natural'! This is 100% natural. The Good - Almond oil base with coconut, camellia, & rosehip oils, oatmeal, coriander, vitamin E & rosemary. The Bad - None!
Performance: This is the only cleansing balm that bucks the trend and is not totally smooth in texture. It has tiny little oatmeal particles for smoothing. personally I'm not a huge fan of this, and this is the one aspect of this balm that puts me off. My skin likes it, but I didn't love using it (especially for taking off my makeup!) You can't argue against the ingredients list, and the price is much more affordable than the others.
Price: £20 for 125ml (available here)
Overall: Great if you don't mind the oatmeal particles! My third personal favourite, and personally I think this is the best value for money considering all of the factors above.
Score: 8/10

Monu Cleansing Balm

Packaging: A huge pot! Average in quality, but fit for the job!
Ingredients: This is also a very natural choice, it contains a huge list of natural ingredients including almond, wheat germ, apricot, sunflower seed, blackcurrant, calendula, mimosa, bergamot, rose, rosehip & jasmine. The Bad - None!
Performance: This is much runnier than the others, but very smooth and effective. It smells amazing. Spa-like with a distinct citrus note. Easily second best next to Emma Hardie for me!
Price: £35 for 150ml (available with free international delivery here)
Overall: Almost on a par with Emma Hardie, but for a third less money gram for gram!
Score: 9/10

That's it for the balms I've tried! Have you tried a cleansing balm? Which is your favourite?

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