Balm, Milk or Oil Cleanser?

With so many cleansing options, choosing the right one can feel daunting. Balms, creams, lotions, milk, oils – you can’t say the beauty industry doesn’t thrive on variety. But it’s better to have lots of choices than just a few, right? After all, if one doesn’t work how you want it to, you have dozens of others to test drive to find exactly what works for you. And when it comes to something as important as cleansing your face, you definitely want to do some homework before making a choice.

Why Cleansing Is Important (Although Fleeting)

Cleansing may be the most important thing you can do for your skin. Regular cleansing helps remove dirt, oil, grime, dead skin cells, SPF and makeup that can clog up pores, result in acne and promote overall dullness. A properly cleansed face will look its most radiant and thoroughly absorb all the nutrients and vitamins inside the moisturizers and serums you apply.

When choosing between a balm, milk or oil cleanser, take into account your skin type and the specific results you want to gain. Dry skin wants its thirst quenched with plenty of moisture, oily skin may need something a little more powerful to clean it up and sensitive skin will seek out gentle cleansers that pamper and nourish. No matter your skin type, however, there is a cleanser out there for you.


Balm cleansers are generally great for dry and combination skin.

If your skin is prone to flakiness, especially during colder seasons, consider switching from your regular cream cleanser to a balm. Balms are AMAZING at thoroughly removing dirt, oil and makeup, and they also hydrate like crazy with ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and other plant-based oils.

Mahalo The Unveil Cleanser

Mahalo's The Unveil Cleanser, a water-free, oil-based formula that hydrates with a combination of avocado and macadamia oils and exfoliates with papaya enzymes to help remove dead skin cells that can clog pores. What's more, it features willow extract to further help clear out pores and control oil production – which means even acne-prone and oily skin beauties can use it! Fragonia calms inflammation and antioxidants even protect from free radicals that cause wrinkles. Overall, this is a multi-tasking balm that can conquer a variety of skin concerns.

Amazon After Dark 

Amazon After Dark Melty Jungle Cleansing Balm is suitable for all skin types but best for dry, dull, stressed and acneic skin. The luxurious balm goes deep into the pores to lift dirt and sebum while the gel-like texture soothes and purifies. Add a splash of water to transform the butter to a rinsable cleansing milk for clean skin and light, nourishing moisture before your second cleanse.


Formulated from an emulsion of fats and water, milk cleansers are not actually made of milk (usually), but they are milky in texture and especially beneficial for sensitive skin because of their innate gentleness.

Milk cleansers remove dirt, grime and oil without stripping the skin of the crucial oils that provide natural hydration. For this reason, they are also great for dry skin, as they cleanse without removing oils the skin needs to keep itself moisturized. For acne-prone skin, something stronger may be desired, as milk cleansers will usually not specifically target concerns like excess oil or clogged pores. Normal and combination skin types can also benefit from using this type of cleanser.

Shiva Rose Pearl Milk Cleanser

The Shiva Rose Pearl Milk Cleanser has several excellent ingredients that target skin concerns like large pores and dryness. Coconut, avocado and grapeseed oils provide plenty of hydration while witch hazel curbs excess oil production and helps alleviate the problem of large pores. Black willow bark also helps treat congested pores to clear them out, working together with rosemary and clary sage essential oils to help prevent breakouts. Aloe vera, ylang ylang and lavender provide a calming effect to decrease inflammation and geranium oil promotes a more even, brighter skin tone.

Shiva Rose

Pearl Milk Cleanser

Pai Middlemist Seven Gentle Cream Cleanser

The creamy, multi-tasking cleanser is the only cleanser you will need for every kind of sensitive skin. The Pai Middlemist Seven Gentle Cream Cleanser gently removes dirt and impurities, while replenishing the skin's moisture barrier. The alcohol and detergent-free formula maintains the skin’s natural oil and pH balance. Castor Oil lifts away dirt without any greasy feeling, Sweet Almond helps to condition and soften and Camellia is the 'leave behind' Oil.


Oil cleansers work by attaching to the skin’s natural oils, allowing impurities to be washed away more easily without leaving skin bare, tight and dry. Because of this, oil cleansers are effective on oily skin even though this may seem counterintuitive. They’re also often recommended for dry and sensitive skin types.

A lot of cream cleansers with sulfates are very stripping and drying, leaving your face squeaky-clean but in desperate need of moisture. Oil cleansers clean without robbing your skin of its much-needed hydration, but they won't leave you with a greasy feeling either, as they contain emulsifiers that help them to wash off easily. To use, always apply with dry fingers or hands onto dry skin. Massage onto skin for about 30 seconds to a minute, then wet your hands and continue massaging for an additional 30 seconds. Finally, rinse off with warm water or use a damp, warm flannel to wipe off.

Maya Chia The Great Cleanse Nourishing Supercritical Cleansing Oil

The Maya Chia The Great Cleanse Nourishing Supercritical Cleansing Oil is a great choice for an oil cleanser. It leaves skin glowing and soft while fully removing oil, dirt, general grime and makeup. This cleanser hydrates with chia seed oil to keep skin moisturized and delightfully soft. Redness and irritation or inflammation are targeted with lavender, Roman chamomile, neroli and absolute jasmine essential oils. This cleanser also helps improve radiance for a true glow.

Kahina Giving Beauty Oil Cleanser

Kahina Giving Beauty Oil Cleanser, which is a beautiful golden-hued cleanser. Super hydrating, antioxidant rich plant oils combine with healing and anti-inflammatory Calendula, Turmeric and Blue Tansy to calm and detoxify skin and is perfect for dry, sensitive and acne-prone skin.

Pai Light Work Oil Cleanser

The hardworking oil cleanser works as a makeup remover for skin and eyes purifies skin of dirt and grime, removes excess sebum and the best part, as with all Pai products, the cleanser works perfectly even on the most sensitive skin. The cleanser keeps the skin balanced without stripping it of moisture. Perfect for your double cleanse routine!

Check out more cleanser (of all kinds) here.