The editor-tested cleansers that don’t dry out your skin


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Selecting a cleanser that works with dry skin can feel like a daunting task. Most foam and jelly formulations will leave you dehydrated and flaky, and finding a milk version that offers the right clean-but-not-too-clean feeling is basically impossible. But—good news: There is one product formulation out there that will have all the dry-skinned ladies shouting Goldilocks-style that you’ve finally found something “Just right!” for your particular skin concerns.

Cleansing balms, which are made from oil, clean dirt and impurities off of the surface of your skin while moisturizing and protecting its barrier in the process. And instead of stripping the top layer—the way so many harsh products tend to do—it will leave you with a glow so dewy that you’ll be tempted to skip your moisturizer step (but please, don’t do that).

“Oil cleansing balms remove oil-based impurities and free radicals that can lead to breakouts and premature aging,” explains Charlotte Cho, founder of K-beauty skin-care line Then I Met You. “Often times we don’t realize how many impurities are on our skin, so cleansing specifically with an oil-cleanser to gently remove makeup, excess sebum, and sunscreen sets the canvas for clean, healthy skin.” She notes that you should only use a dime-sized amount of the stuff because “a little bit goes a long way.” When you slather it on, the balm should seamlessly melt into your skin. Case in point: Drunk Elephant’s new cleansing balm is called a “butter cleanser”—and when you add water, it will emulsify. Rinse thoroughly and you’ll see makeup, dirt, and grime disappear like magic.

Even if you don’t have dry skin, balms are a great option as the first step in a double-cleanse regimen. Similar to any other type of oil cleanser, they’ll help remove makeup, so that when you give yourself a second scrub down with your go-to gel/milk/foam you know you’re really getting your skin to uber-clean status. And since double-cleansing is a crucial step for anti-aging because it helps get rid of pollution on the surface of your skin, which can lead to free radical damage (and ultimately, fine lines and wrinkles), it’s probably worth adding a balm at least to your evening routine—regardless of what type of skin you’re working with.

But the best part about cleansing balms, in my humble opinion, is that they bring about a certain kind of luxury to your skin-care regimen. It’s basically like you’re giving yourself a 5-star facial massage every time you use them, and honestly, they feel straight up a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Don’t believe me? Try out one of these seven options to see for yourself.

Looking to up your skin-care arsenal? Here are all the beauty brands from around the world that editors are loving right now. And here are the 10 drugstore products dermatologists can’t get enough of.  

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