Everything I want in a cleansing balm

I’m going to put it out there and say this is my favourite cleanser of the moment.

Cleanser - Skincare

I thought Emma Hardie’s original heavyweight Moringa Cleansing Balm and the ingenious travel-friendly packaging of Sarah Chapman’s Ultimate Cleanse were never to mingle – content in their own separate lives. Then Emma answered my dreams.

If you’re a fan of the double cleanse, you’ve likely heard of Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm, if you don’t already have it in your stash. It’s a classic; dreamy scent, luxurious texture, ludicrous heavy packaging.

For those just dipping their toes in the skincare world, double cleansing is the practice of simply cleansing your skin twice – most often removing your makeup first with a balm/oil cleanser and then washing your skin with a second cleanser, often in of a different texture, ie, milk, cream, gel.

If the purpose of a first cleanse is simply about removing makeup, there are plenty of lower-cost options that will serve the function, but I believe that cleansing needs to be as enjoyable a step in your routine as applying your favourite hydrating serum or lotion, so that you actually spend the time doing it properly. Don’t skip over your cleanse – take some time, massage the skin, get the circulation going. And then, when it’s over, remove it thoroughly.  Removing every last trace of your cleanser is as important as removing the makeup, and many oil cleansers cause issues in this regard. Oil cleansers are great in that they don’t tend to dry the skin, or leave it with that tight, parched feeling, but acne prone skins especially need to be careful that too much oil isn’t sticking around.  This is where Emma Hardie’s balm wins for me – once water is added it emulsifies and is removed from the skin well with water and a damp cloth. No greasy skin to be seen.

The Moringa Cleansing Balm is a wonderfully spa-scented rich balm, in an oversized tub, that melts off makeup and aids a thorough facial massage with it’s smooth and spreadable texture. It’s accompanying muslin and microfibre dual-sided cloth is a nice touch.  I’ve tried my share of balm cleansers, from the cult Eve Lom to Oskia’s offering and the classic Clinique, and Emma’s was at the top of my list – until I met Sarah Chapman’s.

Sarah Chapman’s Ultimate Cleanse was a game changer for, at first, one very specific reason. It’s a travel-friendly, pump action bottle. 

Of all the cleansing balms I had tried, the bulky tub packaging had been inescapable, and the unhygienic dip-your-fingers-in dispensing method unavoidable. Ultimate Cleanse was a game changer. I travelled with it, re-purchased it, and couldn’t see us parting anytime soon – me and it’s faint eucalyptus fragrance which I wasn’t as fond of as my old Moringa friend. I found that Ultimate Cleanse was cleansing my face just as well; it slotted into my routine nicely which at this stage was made up of other Sarah Chapman favourites, and too was easily removed. I had no complaints.

As with fashion, it’s not long before the next big thing hits in beauty, and I was fast to the checkout with this one. It looked like my much-loved balm cleanser had been re-housed in Chapman-style packaging. Emma Hardie’s Moringa Light Cleansing Gel had me intrigued. I needed a little convincing, because I wasn’t in the market for a gel cleanser, and I don’t fit into the younger, oily, acne-prone skin market that this was touted as accomodating. But I quickly learnt that this was a gel to oil cleanser, and despite being lighter, it promised to deliver the same massaging-cleansing joy as the original balm – along with that beautiful fragrance. Did I mention the pump action bottle? Sold. 

Now, if you hate the texture of balms, don’t get too excited because although this is called a gel, it really is a very jelly-balmy-bouncy-gel. There’s nothing foaming gel about it. This is still an oil cleanser, but just slightly less rich than the original and it will appeal to those with acne-prone skin types who are still determined to use an oil, when the original might’ve frightened you off. You’re still going to need to be diligent about removal; while it does emulsify nicely with water, a cloth is still needed in my opinion.

This cleanser works into the skin beautifully and the jelly-like gel breaks down into a rich oil almost immediately. Certainly less gloopy than the original balm, it is a touch less messy but no less enjoyable to massage around the face, and does an excellent job at dissolving make up. Where newbies like Drunk Elephant’s Slaai Cleansing Balm simply perform the task, without any sensory, olfactive experience, this takes it to spa-level and makes cleansing a moment of ritualistic self-care. It’s such a treat that we can now indulge in that at-home facial experience, previously reserved for being close to your heavy-potted balm, even when travelling.

I’m going to put it out there and say this is my favourite cleanser of the moment. It just does everything I want a cleanser to – clean, aid massage, smell lovely, travel easily, remove well, and leave the skin comforted. The new texture really accommodates all, and fans of the original – like me – will be happy to convert given the convenience of the packaging and the lack of drawbacks.

Find Emma Hardie at Cult Beauty

, , , ,