I don't love to wear makeup every day, as the minute I get dolled up, I immediately dread how I'm going to get the makeup off my face without irritating my skin. For as long as I can remember, makeup removers I've used that contain alcohol and other chemicals leave my sensitive and eczema-prone skin feeling parched. It's not worth the hassle of putting foundation or mascara on in the first place.
Luckily, FaceGym's new Wonder Cleansing Balm ($55) has been the makeup remover I've been looking for all along. This creamy, dreamy balm sloughs away the day's dirt and debris effortlessly, without irritating my skin in the process. In fact, it gives it a dewy glow post-wash, not an eczema flare or patch in sight.
Key ingredients: Glycerin, sunflower seed oil, buriti oil, and ylang ylang
Size: 2.64 oz
- Strong but gentle
- Infused with collagen for skin support
- Infused with sunflower seed oil for soothing
- Leaves skin hydrated and dewy
- Vegan and sensitive-skin-friendly
- Doesn’t work quite as well at removing thicker debris, like SPF
How it works
Cleansing balms are generally made of an oil-based formula that helps to break down debris and get your face squeaky clean. In FaceGym's case, the balm is powered by two key ingredients: buriti oil and ylang ylang. "Buriti oil is great as a cleanser because it is a natural source of beta-carotene and unsaturated fatty acids," says Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Dallas, Texas. Because of the fatty acids, the balm is particularly effective at removing foundation, blush, and other complexion products. The balm "contains vitamins E and A, which promotes great emollient properties to rebuild, moisturize, and rehydrate skin cells," she adds.
- Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, MD, board-certified dermatologist based in Dallas, Texas
- Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital
- Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology in New York City
Dr. Houshmand says that the buriti oil pairs well with ylang-ylang oil—an oil derived from a yellow, star-shaped flower typically found in Southeast Asia—because it has anti-microbial properties that ward off bacteria. "Like buriti oil, it is a great moisturizing agent for the skin and works on fine lines and wrinkles," she says.
Reading the instructions, FaceGym Wonder Cleansing Balm looked pretty straightforward—you just scoop some out, lather up, and wash away. It seemed simple enough, but could it actually get all my makeup off? And not make my skin freak out in the process?
I decided to test the cleansing balm separately on two products—Typology's Tinted Serum ($41) and Ilia's Serum Skin Tint ($48), two barely there skin tints I'll use when I want to give my complexion a little boost. Upon opening the package, I was surprised to find a washcloth included with the balm. I wet said cloth under warm water and scooped a generous amount of product onto it before applying it to my face. Immediately, I couldn't believe how gentle it felt as it lathered richly into a delightful, flowery scent (the ylang-ylang smells amazing!)
When tested on Typology's serum, the product came off easily without me having to vigorously scrub my face, and I loved the way my face felt and looked afterward. The product left a dewy sheen on my skin which felt hydrating and gave my cheeks a healthy glow. That's all thanks to the vegan collagen, which Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, says "forms a protective, breathable seal over the skin to hydrate and maintain a healthy skin barrier." I was impressed with the instant results the product delivered, to say the least.
Best of all, but I found that the formula didn't irritate or dry out my skin whatsoever. Unlike other makeup removers I've tried in the past, Wonder Balm is rich in hydrators like glycerin and sunflower seed oil, both of which are beloved by dermatologists, especially for those like me who have sensitive skin. "Sunflower seed oil has evidence to suggest it’s actually a great choice for eczema-prone skin,” Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York, previously told W+G. “It’s anti-inflammatory and calming, and it can really help decrease some of the discomfort that comes with eczema.”
Now, with Ilia's Skin Tint, I found it more difficult to wash away. I ended up having to double cleanse—the formula wasn't strong enough to get all the product off my skin. After, my skin felt just as healthy and hydrated as it did with the Typology serum, but note that it the balm may not be ideal for thicker formulas with SPF.
Who should use FaceGym's cleansing balm?
If you apply makeup daily or on occasion, I'd definitely recommend FaceGym's Wonder cleansing balm. Since the product is formulated with hydrating ingredients like glycerin and sunflower seed oil, I'd also recommend people with eczema-prone and sensitive skin to try and patch test this product in lieu of using makeup wipes.
I'm so relieved to finally have found a makeup remover that won't cause my eczema to flare and that leaves my face feeling like a million bucks with just a wash. So far, I've mainly used FaceGym Wonder Cleaning Balm at night to remove the itty bitty bit of tinted serum I might have on during the day, right before my skin-care routine (using toner, applying serum, and moisturizing.) The Wonder cleansing balm fits right in. And while it's still not enough to make me wear a full face of makeup every day (who has the time?!), it is enough to get me to ditch other makeup-removing oils and wipes for good.
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