Cleansing Oil and Cleansing Balm - Which one?

So when should you use a cleansing oil and when should you use a cleansing balm? I am a firm believer of both because I think each one have it’s pros (and cons)! Believe it or not, cleansing oil is the base of Korean skin care routines because it is usually step 1 of the 10 step Korean routine.

However, which one is better for what type of skin? Before any 10 step routines came to surface, you’d think oil would be bad for oily skin. Well believe it or not, cleansing oil is actually better for oily skin in my experience. For reference I have dry skin, but overtime, cleansing oil was actually dehydrating my t-zone because it deep cleans your skin.

With cleansing oils, I do see more brands who include skincare properties as well like AHA and BHA. Some of the ones I’ve tried definitely is a “one step” when it includes these properties. If you’re a little lazy like me – when all you want to do is jump into bed and sleep and skip all these skincare steps, you should try one of these cleansing oils with AHA/BHA so that you don’t have to do that separately 😊

However, I love cleansing oil when I have heavier makeup days. The oil goes on my skin and emulsify when I add water. The oil melts and cleans away any makeup and dirt I have – and cleanses all at once. I sometimes have some leftover stubborn mascara on my lashes, so I use a cotton pad and the Simple Micellar Water to wipe away anything else leftover.

If you’re using cleansing oil as a daily makeup remover, just keep in mind it is a little drying, overtime. Here are some of my all time favorite cleansing oils:

Sunday Riley CEO Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil

While I love this, it stings when it gets in my eye.

Hanskin Cleansing Oil & Blackhead BHA

The one stop for all, cleanser and skincare!

Nature Republic Forest Garden Chamomile Cleansing Oil

First cleansing oil I've ever tried, and it's affordable too.

Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil

This is my number 1 favorite - I feel like the oil isn't as oily and it leaves your skin feeling clean, but not dehydrated. This is worth the splurge.

So in summary…

Cleansing Oil Pros:

Deep cleanses and melts away makeup

Quick and easy multi-tasker for cleanser and makeup remover


Dehydrates skin over time because it deep cleanses

Use more product to clean effectively

What is a cleansing balm? It’s basically cleansing oil in a solid form! It works the same, as it cleanses and removes makeup. My favorite ones below will emulsify when you add water. The only difference is that cleansing balm is harder to remove once on the face.

Banila Co - Clean It Zero Nourishing Cleansing Balm

This is perfect for dry skin, it has the highest oil percentage in all of the cleansers in this line. It has ginseng extract and royal jelly to help with hydration.

Sephora Collection Cleansing Oil-in-Balm

It has essential waxes from three flowers: jasmine flower wax to leave the skin soft and plump, mimosa flower wax to soothe the skin and leave it soft, and rose flower wax for its protective, nourishing, and soothing properties.

No. 7 Radiant Results Nourishing Cleansing Balm

This one has No7's Tri-Vit Complex and Grapeseed Oil

Right now, I lean more towards cleansing balms, because it’s easier to travel with – as it comes in a smaller jar than cleansing oil. For my combination/dry skin, it also doesn’t have the drying effect that the cleansing oil does.

In summary…

Cleansing Balm Pros:

Easy to travel with

Doesn’t dry skin over time

Same cleansing and removing effect as oils.


Troublesome to use – you have to scoop out product

Harder to remove product from skin after cleansing

Overall, you should try both out and use what makes your skin feel the best! I have tried many oils and cleansers and some of my favs does the skin justice! There’s no need to follow the “rules” when it comes to skincare, so be adventurous and stick with what works the best for you :)