Cleansing balm vs oil: Which is better for you?

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Wondering what the difference between cleansing balm vs oil is? Here’s a detailed guide to answer precisely everything you want to know!

With an ever-growing skincare industry and 100 products being launched every 10 seconds (let’s face the truth ;), it’s hard to catch up on what to add to your routine and what is good for you, right?

Have you ever heard of double cleansing or removing your makeup with a cleansing balm, oil, micellar water, etc.? So what’s all that? Should you even care about these? So what’s the right way to remove your makeup? Let me answer all your questions one by one.

The two main ways to deep cleanse your face are with a cleansing balm or oil. Cleansing balms are usually thicker and more moisturizing, while cleansing oils are lighter and less likely to leave your skin feeling greasy. But how to choose what’s best for your skin type?

What is double cleansing?

Cleansing balm vs oil: Which is better for you?

Double cleansing is a two-step process involving cleansing oil or balm followed by a water-based or foaming cleanser. This method is beneficial because it thoroughly cleanses your skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Double cleansing is perfect for those who wear makeup on a daily basis or for anyone who wants to cleanse their skin deeply.

How to double cleanse:

Step 1: Start with a dry face and massage a small amount of cleansing oil or balm into your skin.

Step 2: Rinse the oil or balm off with warm water and follow up with a water-based cleanser.

Step 3: Rinse the second cleanser off with warm water.

What are cleansing balms?

Cleansing balm vs oil: Which is better for you?

The cleansing balm is a type of facial cleanser that is typically thicker and more moisturizing than other makeup removers. The balms usually contain natural ingredients that help to gently cleanse off the stubborn makeup and nourish the skin in a quick second.

They’re also typically packaged in jars, which some people prefer because it allows them to control how much product they use. However, jars can be unhygienic and difficult to travel with. Cleansing balms are available in a variety of textures, some being more solid and wax-like, while others are softer and more like a sherbert. After using them, your skin will feel softer and more hydrated.


– Cleansing balms are very effective at removing stubborn, waterproof makeup.

– They are moisturizing, making them a great choice for dry skin.

– Travel-friendly since they are less messy.


– Some people find that cleansing balms require more effort to emulsify and get the work done.

– They can be a bit more difficult to rinse off.

-It is a little less hygienic as you can easily contaminate the product with your fingers. And that spoon or spatula thingy gets lost in minutes.

-It might feel heavy for oily skin and give unnecessary hydration.

What are cleansing oils?

Cleansing balm vs oil: Which is better for you?

Cleansing oil is another type of facial cleanser typically lighter and less greasy than cleansing balms. Cleansing oils often have a more lightweight texture, like that of cooking oil, and cleanse the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Cleansing oils may be a little messy, but they’ll leave your skin feeling refreshed and hydrated after use. They’re often packaged in pump bottles, which are more convenient to use and easier to travel with.


– Cleansing oils are very effective at removing makeup. You don’t have to work as hard to massage the product in and it rinses off easily.

-Hydration is not a goal of cleansing oils, so they work effectively for most skin types.

-It is easier to use and more sanitary as you’re not contaminating the product with your fingers.

-They are more affordable. Also, since they have liquid consistency and a little can work amazingly, a single bottle can last you a while.

-Cleansing oils can be used as a makeup brush cleaner as well.


– Some people find cleansing oils to be too light or greasy.

-Cleansing oils are formulated to be rinsed off by design. So you won’t get any extra layer of hydration or nourishment.

– Oils can be a bit more difficult to rinse off than other cleansers.

-It’s not travel-friendly since they might spill.

-Oils are an enemy to breakouts. So if you don’t remove your cleansing oils properly or leave any residue behind, you are straight-up inviting breakouts.

Difference between cleansing balms vs oils

Cleansing balm vs oil: Which is better for you?

There are majorly two differences between a cleansing oil and cleansing balm: texture and packaging. Cleansing oil is a liquid that resembles cooking oil (like olive oil or avocado oil) that typically comes in a pump bottle. A cleansing balm is either buttery/wax-like solid or softer gel-like that comes in a tub and (usually) with a spatula/spoon for application.

Other differences are that cleansing balms are usually thicker and more moisturizing, while cleansing oils are lighter and less likely to leave your skin feeling greasy. Other than that, cleansing oils are more affordable than cleansing balms and have more variety available in the market.

Cleansing balm vs oil: Which is better for you?

So, which type of cleanser is right for you? Cleansing balms and cleansing oils have almost the same ingredients, making them virtually identical. It ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you have dry skin, you may prefer the extra hydration that cleansing balms provide. If you have oily skin, you may find that cleansing oils don’t leave your skin feeling greasy or heavy, hence works better for you.

And if you’re looking for an affordable option, cleansing oils are typically more affordable than cleansing balms. But if you want something to take along your upcoming trip or you need to remove heavy, stubborn makeup and sunscreen, cleansing balms are your best bet.

Is cleansing balm or oil better for acne-prone skin?

Cleansing balm vs oil: Which is better for you?

It’s a common fear that cleansing balms or oils will break out the skin. But that’s not true. You can easily use a cleansing balm for acne-prone skin and keep your skin nourished and away from breakouts. The only condition is to use a cleanser (foaming would be better) to remove the cleansing balm properly off the skin.

However, balms may provide unnecessary hydration for super oily and acne-prone skin so switching to micellar water is the best bet in that case.

Don’t worry, the hydration layer of cleansing balms is precisely what’s safe and required for almost all skin types.

Do cleansing balms clog pores?

The answer is no. Cleansing balms don’t clog pores because of two reasons- first, the ingredients used are non-comedogenic and second, they are typically removed using a cleansing cloth or warm water, which ensures that all product traces are taken off the skin.

are cleansing balms good for oily skin?

If you have oily skin, you might be wondering if a cleansing balm is a good option for you. The short answer is that it depends. If you choose a cleansing balm that is specifically designed for oily skin, it can actually help control oil production and leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed. However, if you opt for a traditional cleansing balm that is not designed for oily skin, it could end up making your skin oilier.

Is cleansing balm better than micellar water?

Cleansing balm vs oil: Which is better for you?

Micellar water is a no-rinse cleanser that gently removes makeup. It’s often compared to cleansing balms because they both can be used to remove makeup. However, cleansing balms are more hydrating and can be used as a first cleanse or pre-cleanse step. So, in short, cleansing balms are better than micellar water.

Do I need both cleansing oil and balm?

If your skin is on the drier side, you may want to use both a cleansing oil and a cleansing balm. You can use the oil to remove your makeup and the balm to cleanse your skin. This will ensure that your skin is thoroughly cleaned without stripping it of its natural oils.

Which is better? Micellar Water Vs Cleansing Oil Vs Cleansing Balm

Micellar water, cleansing oil, and cleansing balm are all great options for cleaning your face. However, despite its function, micellar water is not the same as an oil-based cleanser. Micelles are tiny droplets of oil in micellar water that allow them to remove makeup effectively, but they should not be used alone. It’s a fantastic tool for removing makeup and sunscreen before washing, but you cannot use it for double cleansing, and it doesn’t work as well as an oil-based cleansing balm or oil.

Here are some tips on how to use a cleansing balm or oil:

Start with dry skin. Apply the cleansing balm or oil to your dry face and massage it in for 1-2 minutes.

Add water. Slowly add water to your face and continue massaging the cleanser into your skin. The water will help to emulsify the product and turn it into a milky consistency.

Rinse off. Rinse your face with lukewarm water and pat it dry with a clean towel.

The best drugstore cleansing balms

Here are more brilliant Drugstore Cleansing Balms that are Wow!

The best drugstore cleansing Oils

Find out more Drugstore Cleansing Oils That Work Like Magic here.

Final thoughts on cleansing balm vs oil

Cleansing your makeup off properly is one of the most essential steps to add to your routine if you want glowing, flawless clear skin. And if you wear heavy makeup, your normal water-based or foaming cleansers just won’t cut it. Instead, you need something more powerful like these oil-based cleansers to thoroughly get rid of makeup, dirt, and germs out of the deep layers of the skin.

Now between cleansing balms and oils, I prefer cleansing balms for my oily and acne-prone skin because I like the extra hydration and hate the mess oils create. But it’s not like cleansing oils have broken my skin out or anything like that. Honestly, it’s just a personal preference, and you can choose anything you like.

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