What is an oil cleansing balm?

April 1, 2018
Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a consulting professor of dermatology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C. She is investigator, Dermatology Consulting Services, High Point, N.C., and a Dermatology Times Editorial Advisor and co-medical editor.

An oil-based cleaning system, oil cleansing balms are creams similar to cold cream in consistency , says Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos in her monthly Dermatology Times column, "Cosmetic Conundrums."

Q. What is an oil cleansing balm?

Another oil-based cleansing system is the oil cleansing balm. Cleansing oils, discussed previously, are liquids while oil cleansing balms are creams similar to cold cream in consistency at room temperature. However, the balm will liquefy when placed on warm facial skin. Oil cleansing balms are used to remove waterproof cosmetics, stage makeup, and surgical camouflaging cosmetics. The thick balm may contain mineral oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, coconut oil, mango seed butter, apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, orange peel oil, avocado oil, etc. These oils are combined with either beeswax or Shea (Butyrospermum Parkii) Butter to create a paste than can be massaged over the face in a circular motion. The rubbing is critical to remove waterproof cosmetics from the pores and folds of the face. Some balms popular in Europe come with a muslin cloth that is moistened with warm water and placed over the balm to further liquefy the product. The warm water plus the rubbing will remove the cosmetics. Soap and water cleansing may be necessary to remove the balm containing cosmetic residue.