Packed with skin-friendly ingredients and designed to be gently massaged onto your skin, cleansing balms bring a touch of spa to your home skincare regime. These rich, thick unguents melt onto your skin, removing daily grime and cosmetics with ease. Use a warm, damp muslin cloth to remove the balm, and the cloth will gently exfoliate your skin, too. Don't rush — take the time to give your face a stimulating massage and inhale the aromas, and you can make cleansing a relaxing ritual, not a chore.
60g, RRP £45 www.espaonline.com
"This solid white balm has a fresh "spa" scent, with a hint of rose. The balm felt good as it melted into my skin, and it felt indulgent having to massage it in before removing it with the moist muslin cleansing cloth. The removal process turned the balm to a milky fluid and took a few wipes to leave my skin feeling clean, supple and well moisturised.
I really enjoyed using this cleanser home-spa style, and have happily continued to use the cleanser as part of my skincare routine for a weekly deep-cleanse."
Verdict: A feel-good balm with a rosy touch.
100ml, RRP £55 www.evelom.com
"Smooth the cleanser all over your face and neck, then massage for a few minutes. Massage from behind your ears to your collar bone, and massage your forehead, under your eyes, your upper lip, cheeks, and chin. Then soak the muslin cloth (which comes in the box) in hot water and hold it over your entire face for a count of 5, to soften the skin and activate the essential oils, apparently. Then you do the hot water thing again another three times. Follow this up with circular movements to exfoliate, and top it all off by rinsing the cloth in cold water and holding it over your face to close the pores.
Phew. So, was all this time and energy worth it? I began to suspect it might be when one of my friends said, unprompted, "Oh, your skin looks good." I had noticed it feeling softer, which I was enjoying, but hadn't detected any improvement in appearance, but I think this is hard to see yourself. That compliment sent me back to my routine with renewed determination."
Verdict: I'm addicted. I'm addicted to this new cleansing routine. I don't think I can ever go back to cleaning my face with anything else. Whether it's the cleansing oils (a signature blend of clove, eucalyptus, camomile) or the massage or the muslin, I love the way my skin feels.
50g, RRP £37 www.nealsyardremedies.com
"This is a multi-purpose balm that can be used as a cleanser and exfoliant, along with the organic muslin cloth included, as a nourishing balm to soothe, hydrate and moisturise dry skin, or as all three — inside the box you'll find instructions to follow on how to create your own home facial with just this one product!
You only need to massage on a small amount for a facial cleanse, and when removed with a warm, damp muslin cloth, it does a good job of exfoliating gently, too. The soothing natural ingredients make this balm suitable for all skin types — I have combination skin, and the balm left my skin feeling nicely balanced, and it didn't cause my skin to break out. Don't be afraid of switching from your facial wash or cream cleanser as this natural balm really does leave your skin completely clean, and without stripping it of natural moisture.
Verdict: An effective, soothing, and useful skincare product that can be used to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise.
75ml, RRP £34.96 www.theorganicpharmacy.com
"This famed cleanser is completely natural with 95% organic ingredients like shea butter, carrot, rosemary, chamomile, and lavender.
I scooped out a penny-sized amount and massaged it over my face and neck with my fingertips. The carrot butter glides on smoothly and made me look positively glossy. I left it for a minute to work its magic, "dissolving any make-up (including stubborn waterproof mascara) and grime". I admit I was sceptical about this claim, but with a muslin cloth, it did work as it promised to.
What I was left with day after day was a silky soft and beautifully clean face! Another bonus is that it's for all skin types, including sensitive skin. The price of this cleanser may make you think twice about buying it. So, think twice and then purchase it because it works so well!"
Verdict: Brilliant cleanser, worth every penny.
60g, RRP £27 www.templespa.com
"I plopped some little globules around my cheeks, forehead and chin. Although it might seem unnecessary, it is best to use the spatula provided, otherwise you can end up applying too much (and using the spatula is more hygienic).
I am used to a slightly coarser facial exfoliant, so was dubious about the effectiveness of the gentle little beads. However, once I had removed the product (using a little water on the provided muslin cloth) I was surprised to reveal smooth, soft skin. The muslin cloth was lightly abrasive, giving me my additional exfoliation fix. Also, I swear my make-up went on easier and stayed put for longer after using this product - an unexpected bonus!"
Verdict: A versatile skin brightening product suitable for use every day or as a special weekly skin treat.
26th April 2013
Warmth and sunshine; spas which take me away to another country; fruit infused waters; beach-worth pedicures; deep tissue massages.
High footfalls; treatments that over promise and under deliver; heavy lunches; loungers drapped in used towels.
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