I love cleansing balms and oils. For me, nothing else removes make up more gently and efficiently without leaving my dry skin feeling tight. Banila co. used to be my first cleansing balm I bought during my Korea trip a couple of years ago, and I've kept repurchasing its variations ever since. Heimish All Clean balm caught my attention after I heard one of my favorite beauty Youtuber rave about it, and after that the product kept popping in other videos I watched. I'll be putting both to the test and also compare the ingredients for you!
Using a cleansing balm
If you're unfamiliar with cleansing balms then believe me, you're missing out! Especially if you wear make up or sunscreen (as you should, like I explain in my sun care post) - double cleansing is a must. A cleansing balm is a great way to cleanse efficiently yet gently as your "1st cleanse". The balm has a solid or sherbet like texture, which turns into an oil thanks to the warmth of your hands as you massage it into your dry face. Adding little water to your hands, the oil usually emulsifies into a cleansing milk which you can easily rinse off. The other way is to use a warm wash cloth for wiping off the cleanser and get a bit of a manual exfoliation at the same time.
Banila co. Clean it Zero
Banila co.'s Clean it Zero is a cult classic with a few variations for different skin types. I've tried both the sensitive and the regular one, without seeing much difference in them. It's popularity is based on its performance: this cleansing balm will melt of your make up like nothing else. Banila co.'s Clean it zero retails 18,000 won (~14.35€ but usually more expensive online) for 100ml.
The tub comes with a spatula and a separate clear lid for holding the spatula in place. The spatula is quite ergonomic, but I didn't like the flimsy, hard to grab lid I had to remove every time before digging into Clean it Zero's sherbet-like texture. The balm smells soapy, which I'm not quite a fan off, but fortunately the fragrance is the last ingredient and doesn't smell overpowering.
Clean it Zero Ingredients
Mineral Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, PEG -10Isostearate, Polyethylene, Butylene Glycol, Water, Rubus Suavissimus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Viscum Album, (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinensis Root Extract, Carica Papaya, (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Malpighia Glabra (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Epilobium, Angustifolium Leaf Extract, BHT, Butylparaben, CI 16255, CI 15985, Fragrance
The bulk of Banila co. Clean it Zero is mineral oil. To my knowledge, mineral oil used in cosmetics is researched to be completely safe, cheap and efficient. Shu Uemura's high end cleansing oils are mostly mineral oil. Claims "mineral oil free" or actually "xxx free" is just mostly just marketing gibberish to me, trying to make consumers more gullible the product doesn't contain any nasties. Molecular size of mineral oil is too big to get into our pores and clog them. However, not every ingredient works for everyone. If you know your skin can't handle mineral oil - you do yo and that's OK.
Heimish All Clean Balm
Now let's talk Heimish, a relatively new addition to the ever growing Korean beauty market. At this moment they carry only 2 cleansers and some make up items, and I'm excited to see how this brand grows. First of all, isn't the packaging gorgeous? I usually prefer to judge the packaging by its performance and not by a pretty design, but the clean typography and graphic patterns with rose gold accents is something I love seeing when I open my bathroom cabinet. Heimish All Clean Balm retails 18,000 won (~14,35€) for 120ml, which is slightly cheaper than Banila co.
There's also a separate lid for the spatula, and while Banila co. takes the spatula points, I find is this lid much sturdier and easier to take off and place back. The consistency of Heimish All Clean Balm is a harder balm with a little bit of oily liquid separated on the top, while Banila co.'s was a "fluffier" sherbet. All Clean Balm also melts effortlessly into an oil when I gently massage my face and emulsifies with water to rinse off all my make up, dirt and sunscreen. My face doesn't feel stripped, irritated and there's no redness.
ALL Clean Balm Ingredients
Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Polyethylene, PEG-8 Isostearate, Shea Butter, Donkey Milk, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit Extract, Freesia Refracta (Freesia) Extract, Iris Versicolor (Blueflag Iris) Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Extract, Lilium Tigrinum (Asian Lily) Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum (Edelweiss) Extract, Nelumbium Speciosum (Lotus Flower) Extract, Narcissus Flower Extract, Rose Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Lavender Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Extract, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Juniperus Mexicana Oil, Frankincense (Boswellia Carterii) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, 1,2-Hexanediol
On first glance, Heimish's long INCI list looks frightening, but can you see what's right after emollients and emulsifiers? Shea butter and currently so popular donkey milk, known for its skin conditioning properties. Although I do use some non-vegan skincare and make up, I wonder if knowing the balm includes donkey milk had put me off from purchasing. Then, there's coconut fruit, lime extracts and a long list of floral and plant extracts, finishing with essential oils and a moisturiser. Some of the plant and floral extracts have anti-inflammatory properties or serve as antioxidants, the others might be just for fragrance purposes. But unlike Banila co, there's no plain fragrance listed.
In general, I'm not a fan of any kind of fragrances in my skincare: I'm here to take care of my face, not to please my nose! For enjoying scents I have this magical bottle called perfume. That being said, I don't mind if the ingredients smell pleasant naturally. Heimish has this botanical, almost medical scent to it when you open the jar, and I find it very very pleasant. I dream I'm in a Korean medicinal hanbang spa every time I clean my face. I find it especially intriguing if the ingredients also serve a skin beneficial purposes and aren't there to just smell nice.
I hope these two reviews gave you some insight about these two cleansing balms. I'm sure you'd be happy with either as they're both highly performing and inexpensive (depends on where you buy them, I've shopped mostly on ebay). I'm not shy to say I prefer the plant oil packed and cheaper Heimish over Banila co, and will be repurchasing All Clean Balm in the future. The heavenly medicinal scent might be a turn on or off to some of you, but to me it's a plus - not an essential. I have a feeling the Heimish All Clean Balm could be a future cult classic.
Have you tried cleansing balms? Do you have a favorite brand?