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Cleansing Balm: A thick balm that comes in a jar. It melts into an oil when it comes in contact with your skin. Effective at removing makeup.
Cleansing Oil: A liquid oil that typically comes with a pump applicator. Made from natural plant oils. My personal favorite way to remove makeup, since it's quick, easy, and effective.
Micellar Water: Feels like water, but removes makeup and impurities. Although oil-based products are more effective at removing makeup, micellar water can be useful if you want a quick waterless cleanse.
Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser ($34)
Parent Company: Shiseido (not cruelty-free)
This cleansing oil is free of fragrance and formulated with clean ingredients, including antioxidant-rich fruit extracts and oils. It comes with a spatula which you can use to apply the product in a hygienic way, and there's a another bonus: a bamboo exfoliator which you can mix into the cleanser for deeper exfoliation if needed.
Derma E Universal Cleansing Balm ($13.99)
Derma E is a fantastic drugstore option for cruelty-free skincare in general, and this cleansing balm's formula is similar to products with a higher price tag. It contains nourishing Rosehip oil, rich in Vitamins A and C, and Camellia oil, rich in antioxidants. It contains mild fragrance from essential oils.
Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil ($34)
This cleansing oil contains Sunflower, Safflower, and Argan Oil to melt off every last trace of makeup. It has a light consistency which makes it easy to use, and the list of ingredients is short compared to other products out there. It has a natural argan oil scent, and is a great cruelty-free option if you're looking for a cleansing oil.
The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil ($19)
Parent Company: Natura (cruelty-free)
This is a good option if you're on a budget, and The Body Shop products are cruelty-free and easily accessible across the world. It's a lightweight cleansing oil that gets the job done and feels luxurious. The one con? Its main ingredient is Soybean oil, which is a cheaper ingredient. It does however also contain Sweet Almond Oil, and Sunflower oil.
Perricone MD No:Rinse Micellar Cleansing Treatment ($45)
If you're looking for a micellar water to remove your makeup, this is a great option from Perricone MD. Although it's at a higher price point, it's effective and can act as both a toner and a makeup remover. Note that this product is not vegan. It's fragrance-free and has no scent.
Pacifica Coconut Micellar Water Cleansing Tonic ($12)
Is there a budget option for micellar water? Pacifica provides some great options, including their Coconut Micellar Water. They have several versions, including Kale, but the Coconut one is their most popular. It's an effective micellar water which can be used around the eyes, but keep in mind that it is scented. It's vegan, as are all of Pacifica's products!
Cleansing Balm, Cleansing Oil, Micellar Water: Which Is Right For Me?
It's mostly a matter of preference, but I recommend either a cleansing balm or a cleansing oil for removing makeup. Both of these options are effective but also gentle. Micellar water, although quick and easy, can be harsh for the skin.
How Do You Use A Balm Or Oil To Remove Makeup?
Apply the product to your dry face. If using a balm, rub your fingers together to melt the product. Apply it to your face and massage in circular motions. Add a bit of water to create an emulsion, and use a wet muslin cloth or face towel to remove the product.
What Is Double Cleansing?
It's recommended to double cleanse your face, which means washing it twice. A cleansing balm or cleansing oil is ideal as your first cleanser, and it can be followed by a gentle cleanser that isn't oil-based to remove every last bit of product.
More Cruelty-Free Guides
If you enjoyed this guide, check out our other articles on finding the best cruelty-free products:
- 8 Cruelty-Free Makeup Wipes To Remove Every Last Trace Of Makeup
- 17 Best Cruelty-Free Foundations For Different Skin Types
- 51 Cruelty-Free Skincare Brands For Every Budget
Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?
Download our list of 600+ verified cruelty-free brands straight to your device. Bring it with you everywhere you go, and never worry about supporting animal testing again. Click here to download