Beauty Battle: Which of these three cleansing balms is the best?

Today’s beauty throwdown features one of my makeup removing staples – the cleansing balm! In case you’re new to the party, a cleansing balm is basically an oil-based makeup remover in solid form. It can also be used as the first step in the double cleansing routine, but the solid formula makes it more travel-friendly. You only need a pea-sized amount to remove an entire face’s worth of makeup, so even a small jar can go a long way!

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So how effective are they? Let’s find out as we whip out three popular cleansing balms and test them on waterproof and long-wearing makeup.

The Mission: Remove the Happy Skin At Long Lash Mascara, Happy Skin Bye Bye Blues Concealer, Ever Bilena All Day Eyeliner Pen, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick, Benefit Ka-Brow! Eyebrow Cream-Gel Color, and L’Oreal Infallible 24H Liquid Foundation

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The Contender #1: Banila Co. Clean It Zero

This might be the cleansing balm that started it all - the K-beauty cult favorite, Banila Co Clean It Zero Classic (P890/100ml at Banila Co.). It promises to deal with everything from "stubborn mascaras to waterproof lip products". It also comes in different variants to specifically address different skin types/concerns. And while you can choose from the Purity, Radiance, and Resveratrol variants, the Classic pink is a good place to start as it is recommended for all skin types. This balm is so well-loved that they even created a Super Size version (P1,270/180ml). 

I have been a fan of Clean It Zero ever since I got a tub in Seoul way back in 2012. The smell is pleasant to me, too, and I find that it removes most of my makeup quite easily. I say most because the Happy Skin At Long Lash mascara is the exception; I usually need to use a bi-phase eye makeup remover for it prior to cleansing with the balm. During the arm test, the Ever Bilena All Day Eyeliner Pen was stubborn. It gave all three balms a run for their money though in the end, I got to remove around 98% of it with the Clean It Zero. I have never experienced breakouts with this balm, though I feel like there’s a light film on my face after so I always follow up with another cleanser.

Cost efficiency: Banila Co. Clean It Zero Classic P890/100ml =P8.9/ml or Banila Co. Clean It Zero Super Size P1,270/180ml =P7.06/ml

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The Contender #2: Human Nature Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm

The most affordable and the newest of the three is the Human Nature Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm (P295/40g at Human Nature). The lower price tag may be due to the smaller amount of product compared to the other two balms, but the brand does mention that the spatula included is able to dispense up to 80 uses. As with most products of Human Nature, this balm is made of all-natural ingredients and a formula that's "mineral oil-free, paraben-free, and synthetic fragrance-free". 

I’ve gotten a range of feedback for the Human Nature Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm so I was hesitant to use it a first. I was glad to discover that I can work with it, and it also didn’t break me out. Mind you, not a lot of things break me out so YMMV. While I’m ok with its performance, I sadly do not get along with its smell. I keep smelling a candy-like plastic scent that I’m just not fond of. Another thing to note, you absolutely must use a second cleanser for this balm as it doesn’t emulsify as easily as the other two. It also leaves my skin slippery if used alone so I feel like it should be washed off. Again, the Ever Bilena Eyeliner tested this balm’s patience and it did take quite a few passes to get it to the point above where you can still see a faint line.

Cost efficiency: Human Nature Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm P295/40g =P7.375/g


The Contender #3: Heimish All Clean Balm

The most expensive on the chopping block today is the Heimish All Clean Balm (P975/120ml at K-Beauty Cafe). While Heimish is a relatively new Korean brand, it is fast-growing in popularity. This balm became an instant cult-fave for its all-natural ingredients and adaptability for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

I had extremely high hopes for the Heimish All Clean Balm because of the raves I’ve been getting. Thankfully, it does live up to the hype and it removed makeup off my face quite well. I sometimes even feel like I can forego the second wash because of how clean this makes my face feel. I also didn’t break out with this one, and even if it left my face feeling clean, my skin doesn’t feel dried out.

One thing I dislike about this though is the scent. The faintly herbal scent doesn’t get along with me, but I feel like you can somehow get used to it. The Ever Bilena All Day Eyeliner gave this balm a run for its money, too, and I actually scrubbed my arm raw just to get it 100% off with this balm. A word of caution: use a bi-phase eye makeup remover to clean extremely resistant formulas like the EB Eyeliner so you don’t give yourself wrinkles from trying to rub the makeup off!

Cost efficiency: Heimish All Clean Balm P975/120ml =P8.125/ml

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The Winner/s: Banila Co. Clean It Zero and Heimish All Clean Balm

So who’s the balm(b)? I have to say it’s a tie between the Banila Co. Clean It Zero and the Heimish All Clean Balm. Banila Co. has an edge for pricing and accessibility, because the brand is available in most malls and offers a larger, more economical jar. For Heimish, you'll have to rely on (mostly online) resellers, which kind of adds to the price.

The All Clean Balm is the more effective remover though, and I love that it feels so clean immediately after - I'm often tempted to skip washing! Skin feels so soft too. What makes this a tie though is that the Banila Co. is also incredibly effective, plus you can choose other variants for your specific skin needs.

Are you a fan of cleansing balms? Have you tried any of the three featured here? What’s your favorite?


Banila Co. Clean It Zero

Mineral Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, PEG-10 Isostearate, Polyethylene, Butylene Glycol, Water, Rubus Suavissimus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinesis Root Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Malpighia Glabra (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium Leaf Extract, BHT, Butyl paraben, CI 16255, CI 15985, Fragrance

Human Nature Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm

caprylic/capric triglyceride (vegetable-derived), Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, cetearyl alcohol (vegetable-derived), Cera alba (beeswax), polyglyceryl-4 caprate, Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, jojoba esters, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed wax, Cocos nucifera (virgin coconut oil), Acacia decurrens (mimosa) flower wax, polyglycerin-3, hydrogenated castor oil, parfum (fragrance, all-natural), glyceryl caprylate (plant-derived)

Heimish All Clean Balm

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Polyethylene, PEG-8 ISOSTEARATE, Shea Butter, Donkey Milk, Cocos Nucifera Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia Fruit Extract, Freesia Refracta Extract, Iris Versicolor Extract, Jasminum Officinale Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Extract, Nelumbium speciosum, Narcissus, Rose Extract, Citrus aurantium dulcis, Lavender Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Extract, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Citrus Paradisi Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Tea tree leaf oil, Juniperus Mexicana Oil, Boswellia Carterii Oil,Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Fruit Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, 1, 2-Hexanediol