I love to do the double cleanse it just makes my face look cleaner, feel cleaner and I have had fewer breakouts using this method. Some of the cleansing balms out there are pretty expensive and really you are just rinsing these down the drain. However, it needs to do the job of taking off all of the makeup from the day (even waterproof mascara) and some of the less expensive cleansing balms just don’t do that.

I have found some great affordable cleansing balms as of late and they are even better than the affordable cleansing balms that I have liked in the past. The ingredients are better and they mimic the more expensive brands.

e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm
e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

E.l.f. Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

This cleansing balm would be my favorite affordable cleansing balm. It has such great ingredients for an affordable price. This cleansing balm is only $10.00 for 2.0 oz and I think it is very comparable to my all-time favorite Clinique (which I still love), but honestly, I may not repurchase it because this one is just that good.

Some of the ingredients that I like in this cleansing balm

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Sunflower Seed Oil: I do like this oil it is non-comedogenic and it can be used on all skin types. Even acne-prone.

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7: Peptides, yes peptides are even in this affordable cleansing balm. Collagen is made of three polypeptide chains, so adding peptides can stimulate your skin to make collagen. Because they are in a cleansing balm I am not sure how much gets absorbed by your skin. Peptides are something you should include in your skincare routine.

Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 Ii, Ceramide 1: Ceramides are some very important ingredients to have in most anything. They help in the protection of your skin barrier function. A healthy skin barrier keeps your face from being raw and irritated. It also helps with keeping things out of your pores that shouldn’t be there and not letting water escape from your skin. You need that to keep your face looking plump and dewy.

Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate: Hyaluronate acid, which by now most everyone has heard of, holds many times its weight of water. So it retains water to your face. It is used in so many products and it does a great job. Fermented Hyaluronate acid is making its way into products now as well.

Glycerin: One of the best-known humectants out there and it does a superior job of hydrating the skin. Even irritated skin without upsetting it more.

Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate: It is a cleaning agent but it is much more gentle on the skin than its sister sodium lauryl sulfate.

Fragrance (near the bottom)

This also contains fragrance, which I am not exactly thrilled about having in my skincare. But it doesn’t contain any essential oils. Now, I know a lot of people like essential oils in their skincare. However, even if you have used a product with them for years, you can develop sensitivity at any time, and dermatologists report that they see a higher percentage of this happening with products that contain multiple essential oils. There are quite a few affordable and high-end cleansing balms that contain multiples of these oils. So, I tend to try and avoid products that have those in them for that reason.

To me over all this is the best affordable cleansing balm for your money.

L- close up of the texture (now this is extremely close up and the texture is not as unsmooth as it looks here), M – Close up of the product name (I wish companies would quit using such long product names), and R – shows the smoothness of the product and the spatula that it comes with.

Ponds Cold Cream Cleansing Balm

Pond's Cold Cream Cleansing Balm
Pond’s Cold Cream Cleansing Balm (image by brand)

This one gets the cult favorite award because it is just iconic and it has so many die-hard fans. I tried it around Christmas time when it is really cold and dry in Idaho. It was good and very creamy. This cleansing balm removed all of my makeup easily and didn’t strip my skin. It actually feels hydrated after use, but it felt a bit more oily on my skin. I would certainly use it if I have very dry skin. However, for me, it is a 2nd to the ELF cleansing balm now that I have discovered it.

This is a very affordable cleansing balm with a price of only around $10.00 for 3.38 fl oz. You can’t beat that price for the great job that it does.

As for ingredients, I didn’t see any that knocked my socks off which is why it is a 2nd to the ELF. Like I stated before, you are just rinsing it down the drain after it does its job so that really isn’t a deal-breaker for this product. It does contain mineral oil which some people don’t like to use on their skin. However, mineral oil sometimes gets a bad rap and really doesn’t have any studies stating it is bad for the skin. It can cause milia in some people’s skin, so it is something to keep in mind.


Both of these are around $10.00 and are super affordable cleansing balms that do what they are supposed to do without stripping the skin. I did try two others that were in the $15.00 to $20.00 price range and are very popular, but I will post about those later.

Things to look out for in cleansing balms

Things to look out for in cleansing balms would be too much fragrance, multiple essential oils, harsh detergents, and AHA (other than lactic acid). Too much fragrance and multiple essential oils would both be in the same category as can desensitizes the skin leaving your skin to develop a reaction to the product.

Harsh detergents are stripping and then the product may add a lot of glycerin or other ingredients to help hydrate your skin. Replacing it back with an ingredient is not the same as not stripping it in the first place.

AHA(s) really shouldn’t be in your cleansing balm. The cleansing balm is to remove makeup and cleanses the skin. If you want to exfoliate do it separately and when your skin is ready for it. You can also use a “toner” with actives or AHA(s) after your face is cleansed, then they can really do their work. And you can choose if your skin is irritated and really can’t handle any more exfoliation for the day.

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