6 Best Korean Cleansing Balms & Makeup Removers
Feel like removing makeup is a chore? These buttery cleansing balms will help you take a luxurious approach to your nighttime skincare routine and your skin will love it.
Thought that cleansing oil, micellar water and wipes were the only options for removing your makeup? Think again! From long-wearing lipsticks and foundations to smudge-proof eyeshadows and all-night cream blushes, a cleansing balm effortlessly melts away oil-based makeup and impurities without drying out skin.
What is a cleansing balm?
Cleansing balms are creamy, rich cleansers that are very effective at dissolving heavy eye and face makeup, as well as any traces of dirt that may have built up throughout the day.
They have a sorbet-like texture that melts into a silky cleansing oil when massaged on dry skin and then turns into a milky emulsion with water that is easy to clean your skin.
Balm cleansers are usually formulated with moisturizing ingredients, like butter, oils that help moisturize your skin during or after cleansing. The cleansing balm has a solid texture that is perfect for on the go (travel) and for the first step in the Korean double cleansing routine.
What skin type should use cleansing balm?
Cleansing balms can be used for all skin types, but at most normal, very dry skin and sensitive skin can be beneficial. However, some balm cleansers can be too heavy for oily or breakout-prone skin, so choose the right formula for your skin type.
How should I use cleansing balm?
For the first step of your double cleanse, take a small amount of cleansing balm on your fingertips (either directly into the tub or with a spatula for a more hygienic option), then begin massaging it into your dry face in circular motions from the center of your face outward.
It helps melt away oil-based impurities like sunscreen, waterproof mascara, eyeliner and any oils (sebum, sweat) from the surface of the skin. Follow with a water-based formula such as a foam cleanser, milk cleanser or cream cleanser to remove any residue in the pores.
Do I use water with a cleansing balm?
This is a question we are often asked. The answer is simple: cleansing balms must first be applied dry (yes, without water).
This is because the oils in the balm must be attracted to the oils in the skin before adding water. Once water is added, the surfactants release the surface tension of the skin, which lifts and removes the makeup and allows it to be rinsed off.
The best Korean gentle makeup removers
Heimish All Clean Balm
This paraben-free facial cleanser is formulated with natural botanical ingredients to deeply cleanse and remove heavy, water-resistant makeup and other oil-based residues and impurities without irritating the skin.
This hypoallergenic product has a rich, creamy formula with coconut oil, shea butter and tea tree extract that is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
💛 Shop Now Heimish All Clean Balm
Banila Co Clean It Zero Balm
This cult favorite has a sorbet-like texture in its solid form, but it transforms into a silky, oily cleanser on the skin, then turns milky when rinsed. The brand offers four different cleansing balms for each skin type - dry, oily, combination, acne-prone and sensitive skin.
It can even be used as an eye makeup remover without causing irritation or blurry vision, unlike many other cleansing oils.
💛 Shop Now Banila Co Clean It Zero
Beauty of Joseon Radiance Cleansing Balm
A cruelty-free face wash has a glorious lightweight balm texture that emulsifies beautifully and removes all thick makeup, without leaving a film of product on the skin or feeling dry or tight.
Nourishing rice bran water and grain extract intensely hydrate and brighten skin for a clear, brighter complexion. Free from PEG, polyethylene, sulfates, phenoxyethanol, artificial fragrances and colors and essential oils.
Pyunkang Yul Deep Clear Cleansing Balm
This lightweight makeup remover contains vegetable oils with hydrating and soothing effects, such as green tea seed oil and rice bran oil, leaving skin feeling fresh and hydrated. It is the right choice for everyday face care, especially for deep pore cleansing.
I'm From Fig Cleansing Balm
A vegan-friendly product transforms from a sherbet textured balm into an oil, then emulsifies into a milk that effectively whisk away daily dirt, dead skin cells, blackheads and makeup residue to leave skin feeling soft and nourished.
This ultra-nourishing formulation is made with 7.8% fig oil and water, finely selected fresh figs grown in a warm region called Yeong-am, South Korea. It also contains rich vitamin derivatives, keratinase and polyphenols that make the skin smooth and silky.
Glow Recipe Papaya Cleansing Balm
This fragrance-free product is enriched with key fruit-based and naturally enzymatic ingredients, such as papaya enzymes, papaya seed oil, rich in fatty acids, oleic and linoleic acids, to help dissolve and remove dead skin cells, improving skin tone and texture.
It's formulated with antioxidant-rich blueberry extract and an emollient agent that helps soften skin and leaves it clean, bouncy and radiant, while melting away stubborn makeup, dirt, oil and SPF.