If you have never tried a makeup cleansing balm, you are really missing out! It is my absolute favorite way to remove my makeup. And I’m a waterproof mascara wearer so I need a makeup remover that will gently but effectively remove my mascara.
Cleansing balms are oil based which is the key my friend! Oils are really great at removing makeup and melting it away with no harsh scrubbing required. Probably the biggest reason why I love cleansing balms is because I don’t have to scrub and pull at my skin to get my makeup off. I can gently massage the cleansing balm onto my skin and don’t have to worry about causing unnecessary aging and wrinkles trying to get my makeup off.
But cleansing balms usually require a double cleanse…meaning you have to clean your face twice – first with the cleansing balm to melt all the makeup and then a second cleanser like a face wash to actually remove the makeup and cleansing balm from your face revealing clean skin.
Personally, I don’t mind the extra step if it means 1) all my makeup is removed leaving me with clean skin and 2) I didn’t have to rub my face raw to do it.
But up until lately, the drugstore has been slacking on providing a good cleansing balm. Clinique has carried one of the best cleansing balms for years now. Heck maybe they were the ones that invented it?? I honestly don’t know but I feel like their Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm is the most well known and a cult favorite.
More and more affordable brands have started to come out with cleansing balms so I thought it would be fun to compare all of them to see if I could dupe the Clinique one.
I’m going to compare 10 drugstore options to Clinique’s to find the best drugstore cleansing balms. I’ve included price per ounce, average customer rating, travel size options and any other key information I think is relevant.
Obviously the goal of any cleansing balm is to remove makeup so if I can find an effective drugstore cleansing balm at a great price, then I’d say that would be a pretty good dupe. At the end, I will break down the best and worst and give my final thoughts and recommendations. So if you are looking for the best drugstore cleansing balms, you’ve come to the right place.
THE BEST DRUGSTORE CLEANSING BALMS
I will start with Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm for comparison purposes. I will also include travel size options for products that offer them. Sometimes the travel size can be a better deal (especially if you want a smaller size to try before you buy a full size product) and sometimes they aren’t.
No. 7 Radiant Results Nourishing Cleansing Balm
Quantity: 4.2 oz
Price per oz: $2.14
Ulta Cleansing Balm
Quantity: 3.0 oz
Price per oz: $4.00
Soap & Glory Glow Your Mind Nourishing Cleansing Balm
Quantity: 3.3 oz
Price per oz: $4.24
Rating: new product so no reviews
Milani Green Goddess Makeup Melter Cleansing Balm
Quantity: 1.59 oz
Price per oz: $8.80
Ebanel Makeup Remover Cleansing Balm
Quantity: 3.38 oz
Price per oz: $4.42
Palmer’s Coconut Monoi Cleansing Balm
Price per oz: $3.11
Pond’s Makeup Remover Cleansing Balm
Quantity: 3.38 oz
Price per oz: $2.95
Physicians Formula The Perfect Matcha 3-in-1 Melting Cleansing Balm
Quantity: 1.4 oz
Price per oz: $7.69
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Melting Balm – $9.97 for 2.0 oz
Quantity: 2.0 oz
Price per oz: $4.99
Ok now that I’ve listed out all the drugstore options and broken down the details for each, the nerd in me will do some math and list out the best and worst products IMO.
AVERAGE OZ/CONTAINER (excluding travel sizes) – 2.87 oz
// LOWEST PRICE PER OZ
No 7 Radiant Results Cleansing Balm – $2.14/oz
// HIGHEST PRICE PER OZ
Clinique Travel Size – $9.50/oz
Milani Green Goddess – $8.80/oz
// BEST RATING
Clinique Take The Day Off – 4.7
// WORST RATING
Ulta Cleansing Balm – 2.9
// BEST OVERALL VALUE
Palmer’s – Second best rating at 4.6 and on the low end of price per ounce at $3.11 meaning Palmer’s has this product priced pretty affordably and the quality seems good.
Ebanel – A pretty impressive rating at 4.5. You get more product – another ounce and then some compared to Palmer’s – but the price per ounce is slightly more expensive at $4.42 so you are paying about $1 more per ounce for this than the Palmer’s. Still a great option and value IMO.
// WORST OVERALL VALUE
Ulta – I’ve already noted this product has the worst rating at 2.9 which is pretty terrible. It’s fairly affordable for the amount of product you are paying for but if it’s not going to do a good job at melting away makeup, what’s the point? This is a hard pass for me.
Neutrogena – Had no idea Neutrogena had a cleansing balm! But after comparing it to the other drugstore options, I don’t think it’s worth your money. It has one of the lowest ratings at 4.2 and you would be paying almost $5 an ounce – pretty pricey for a drugstore product. My recommendation is to skip it.
The dark horse here may be the Soap & Glory option. Since it has no reviews, it was hard to take into consideration. Once some reviews start coming in, I can come back to this post and update it with their info. The rest of the products that I didn’t mention fall somewhere in the middle – maybe not the best and maybe not the worst. They could still be worth trying!
I hope you found this post helpful if you are in the market for an affordable makeup cleansing balm. Of course, everyone has their personal preferences and sometimes going with a more expensive option isn’t a bad thing!
If you’ve never tried a makeup cleansing balm, give one of these a try and see just how easy it is to melt away your makeup. I hope this list of the best drugstore cleansing balms continues to grow as more and more brands come out with their version of this product.