Cleansing balms and oils have gained popularity in recent years thanks to the popularity of double cleansing made popular by Korean skincare. There are so many Korean cleansing balms and oils to choose from, so today, we’re going to look at some of the best Korean cleansing balms and oils available.
Korean brands are known for their innovations in skincare and unique products and treatments. Korean skincare routines can include several steps, hence the popularity of the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine. Koreans are the originators of many skincare trends (i.e., glass skin and snail mucin products), and are known for multi-layered skincare applications.
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14 Best Korean Cleansing Balms and Oils
For dry skin, consider the first product in our list of the best Korean Cleansing Balms and Oils. You get the best of oil and water-based cleansers in one product. Only one cleanse is needed, and it leaves your skin clean and moisturized:
1. Mamonde Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleanser
Mamonde Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleanser is an innovative K-Beauty oil-to-foam cleanser marketed as a “double-cleanse” in a bottle. The cleanser transforms from a liquid oil that dissolves makeup and residue to a lightweight foam cleanser when water is added. You get a rich and creamy deep cleanse that leaves your skin moisturized, soft and supple.
If you are a fan of rose-scented products, this is somewhat strongly scented with a rose fragrance. It contains antioxidant Rosa Damascena Flower Oil and fragrance, so please note if you are sensitive to fragrances in products.
This is a unique product. This oil-to-foam cleanser is gentle but removes makeup well without leaving your face dry or tight. The scent may be a drawback for some, but this is a cleanser to try if you are a fan of rose/floral scented products.
2. Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm
Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm is a best-selling K-Beauty cleanser that was one of the first cleansing balms to make waves in the US. This cleansing balm makes quick work of stubborn face and eye makeup, dirt, and oil, including waterproof makeup.
This balm cleanser has a sherbet-like texture that changes into an oil when applied to the skin. It contains Zero Balance Technology which uses botanicals, hot springs water, vitamin E, and vitamin C for a healthy and balanced skin barrier.
The stand-out quality of Clean It Zero is that while it cleanses and removes impurities, it does not dry out your skin. It hydrates well, leaving your skin feeling moisturized after cleansing. This is the perfect first cleansing step in a double-cleanse and works well for most skin types, including dry, oily, and combination skin.
Korean cleansing balm cleanser is formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, polyethylene, mineral oil, alcohol, and artificial coloring.
In addition to the Original formula, the cleansing balm is also available in:
- Purifying: Balancing and soothing with 7 natural herbs.
- Revitalizing: Includes antioxidants resveratrol and grape seed oil.
- Nourishing: Moisturizing with ginseng berry and royal jelly.
3. Hanskin PHA Pore Cleansing Balm
Hanskin PHA Pore Cleansing Balm gently cleanses the pores with PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) that gently exfoliate dead skin cells to clear pores. It uses plant-derived oils, including olive oil and evening primrose oil, to clean and condition the skin without being too heavy or greasy.
This cleansing balm is ideal for those with blackheads or uneven and rough skin texture. It also works well with sensitive skin, and polyhydroxy acids are less irritating than alpha-hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid. It has a mild scent and doesn’t strip your skin.
4. Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Oil
Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Oil is a deep cleansing oil that uses micellar technology to remove more dirt, oil, and other impurities than a traditional cleansing oil.
Korean oil cleanser contains cica, otherwise known as Centella asiatica extract, which soothes and calms sensitive skin and has wound healing properties. It can help stimulate collagen production, brighten skin, increase hydration, and supports cellular repair. Madecassoside is a compound in Centella Asiatica that has antioxidant benefits and reduces irritation.
The oil emulsifies well and doesn’t leave your face feeling greasy or oily. It even removes eye makeup and sunscreen. This thin consistency cleansing oil rinses cleanly and does not leave a film on your skin.
Related Post: Micellar Water vs Toner
5. Heimish All Clean Balm
Heimish All Clean Balm has a lightweight, soft and smooth texture that easily spreads across and quickly absorbs into the skin. Once applied, it melts into an oil and emulsifies when water is added. It removes stubborn makeup, dirt, oil, and other impurities without leaving skin feeling greasy, oily, or stripped.
This cleansing balm is formulated with a white flower complex to improve skin tone and shea butter and coconut extract to moisturize and condition the skin. This cleansing balm is hypoallergenic and paraben-free. The flip-top and scoop make it easy to apply.
Please note that if you are sensitive to scent, this cleansing balm does have a fragrance. It contains citrus herb essential oils that provide a very calming and soothing scent.
6. The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Rich Cleansing Light Oil
The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Rich Cleansing Light Oil is a lightweight cleansing oil that gently dissolves makeup and impurities while hydrating the skin with jojoba oil, which protects the skin barrier and helps the skin stay moisturized.
Its stand-out ingredient is rice bran oil, which is antioxidant-filled with fatty acids that nourish and moisturize the skin. It also contains vitamin E, which defends against pollution and protects the skin. Glycerin, a humectant, moisturizes and soothes the skin.
This is my pick for the best Korean cleansing oil, as it has a super-lightweight texture and consistency that easily removes stubborn makeup without any irritation. It is extremely lightweight and ideal for those that don’t love greasy or heavy oils. Please note that this cleansing oil is fragranced with a fresh, clean scent.
7. Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil
Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil contains multiple oils that remove dirt, makeup, and impurities while easily washing away, leaving your skin clean without any residue.
This Korean oil cleanser contains natural oils extracted from black beans, which control sebum production, supports skin elasticity, and soothe the skin.
Black sesame oil has antioxidant properties thanks to components such as beta-carotene, linolenic acid, and tocopherol (vitamin E).
Black currant seed oil helps maintain moisture in the skin. It also has antioxidant properties courtesy of a variety of minerals. It supports cell regeneration and strengthens the skin barrier.
The oil turns into a milk when water is added and easily removes even waterproof makeup. This cleansing oil is ideal for those who have dry patches, blackheads, or excessive sebum production. It’s lightweight and has a gentle tea-based fragrance.
8. I Dew Care Berry Melting Makeup Remover Cleansing Balm
I Dew Care Berry Melting Makeup Remover Cleansing Balm is a balm-to-oil sherbet cleanser that makes quick work of makeup, dirt, and oil, leaving the skin soft and supple. It is formulated with antioxidants such as blueberry fruit extract that protect the skin from environmental aggressors.
Jojoba oil contains vitamin E and B-complex to support moisture levels and condition the skin. Glacier water hydrates the skin. Let’s not forget the decadent blueberry scent. This may be an issue for some, but if you love sweet-scented products, this will be mouth-watering. This balm cleanser comes with a spatula to scoop out just the right amount of cleanser.
9. Nature Republic Forest Garden Chamomile Cleansing Oil
Nature Republic Forest Garden Chamomile Cleansing Oil is formulated with natural chamomile that is gentle on sensitive skin. This pretty-to-look-at bottle of cleansing oil removes makeup without leaving a sticky residue or greasy feeling. Natural chamomile water protects sensitive skin from environmental stressors while it moisturizes to leave skin soft and supple.
The oil turns into a milky cleanser when mixed with water on your face. It has a light chamomile scent and works well at removing makeup, sunscreen, dirt, and oil. It’s a very gentle formula that looks nice on your vanity too!
10. Etude House Real Art Moisture Cleansing Oil
Etude House Real Art Moisture Cleansing Oil is formulated with coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and apricot kernel oil to remove thick caked-on makeup, dirt, dead skin cells, and oil. The oil interacts with water to emulsify and clean the skin without leaving residue for a fresh cleanse, leaving the skin moisturized and soft.
Ideal for dry and dehydrated skin, the lightweight cleansing oil even removes waterproof makeup. It even gets rid of difficult to remove eye makeup such as eyeliner and eyebrow color. It has a light, fresh scent and doesn’t leave your face oily or greasy.
11. Innisfree Apple Seed Cleansing Oil
Innisfree Apple Seed Cleansing Oil is formulated cold-pressed apple seed oil to remove stubborn makeup, dirt, and other surface debris. The skin is left clean and fresh. Apple seed oil’s unsaturated fatty acids nourish and condition the skin.
Innisfree’s proprietary apple extract is abundant in vitamin C, which is rich in antioxidants that protect the skin, and natural alpha-hydroxy acids that replenish the skin. Did you know that an apple is a natural astringent? The benefits include a reduction in the appearance of pore size.
The oil dissolves makeup easily and doesn’t require a lot of rubbing or tugging to remove stubborn eye makeup and foundation. The oil is very gentle and leaves your skin soft and moisturized without leaving any residual greasiness. As you may expect, it smells just like apples!
12. Beauty of Joseon Radiance Cleansing Balm
Beauty of Joseon Radiance Cleansing Balm is a sherbet-like texture that melts into the skin to remove makeup, dirt, and excess oil. This cleansing balm is formulated with natural hanbang (a traditional Korean herbal medicine).
It also contains rice water, which is rich in nutrients and fermented compounds such as soybean ferment extract and lactobacillus ferment that helps support the skin’s moisture barrier and brighten the skin. Lavender offers antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Chrysanthemum extract contains vitamins A and B to protect and calm sensitive skin.
This cleansing balm is ideal for dry, mature, and sensitive skin. It melts to the skin easily and emulsifies into a smooth milky wash. It has a light, pleasant fragrance, is very soothing, and rinses cleanly, leaving skin nourished and soft.
13. COSRX Pure Fit Cica Smoothing Cleansing Balm
COSRX Pure Fit Cica Smoothing Cleansing Balm transforms from a sorbet-like balm into a soft and silky oil to remove makeup, dirt, oil, and residue to leave your skin dewy, smooth, and moisturized.
This Korean cleanser contains COSRX’s Pure Fit Cica-7 Complex with shea butter to calm sensitive skin. The cleanser also nourishes and moisturizes the skin thanks to sunflower, coconut, olive, evening primrose, avocado, sweet almond, and jojoba oils. Centella asiatica extract is an anti-inflammatory that works to calm the skin.
This cleansing balm rinses away cleanly without leaving any makeup residue and comes with its own plastic spatula to remove the balm without creating a mess. It has a light herbal scent due to lavender and eucalyptus essential oils in the formula.
14. Pyunkang Yul Deep Clear Cleansing Balm
Pyunkang Yul Deep Clear Cleansing Balm is a sherbet-like oil cleansing balm that, when mixed with water, turns into a silky oil to make quick work of dirt, makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities.
This balm cleanser contains sunflower, macadamia nut, rice bran, and green tea seed oils to replenish the skin. Tea tree and Centella asiatica extracts soothe and calm the skin.
Ceramide NP, panthenol, and multiple forms of hyaluronic acid hydrate the skin at different layers to support a healthy skin barrier for extended hydration. Eggplant extract and licorice root extract brighten and smooth the skin.
This is one of the silkiest Korean cleansing balms I’ve tried and feels much more luxe than its affordable drugstore price. Its mild, smooth formula would be ideal for those with irritated or sensitive skin.
What is Double Cleansing?
Double cleansing is a two-step cleansing process. It is usually performed in an evening skincare routine. The first step of a double cleanse involves removing makeup, dirt, oil, sunscreen, pollution, and other impurities accumulated over the course of the day.
In the first step, you use an oil-based cleansing oil or balm such as the ones in this post or micellar water to remove stubborn makeup and grime from your face. Micellar water is a non-lathering liquid emulsion that does a good job of removing tough makeup and dirt since its micelle molecules are attracted to makeup and other impurities on your skin.
You can consider the second step as the more traditional step of the double cleanse. You cleanse your skin with a water-based cleanser in the form of a cream, gel, milk, or lotion that will remove any residual oil and other impurities from the first cleansing step. And that is the double cleanse.
Of course, you can simply repeat a cleanse with one traditional water-based cleanser, but oils as the first step have an advantage. Cleansing oils and balms work particularly well at removing makeup, dirt, and other compounds from your skin.
You may be tempted to grab any traditional oil that you can apply to the skin, but note that oil-based cleansing balms and oils often emulsify, which means that when combined with water, they will turn into a milky emulsion, washing away more cleanly than traditional oils.
The Benefits of Using a Cleansing Balm (Oil-Based Cleanser) as Your First Cleanse
If you only cleanse once at the end of the day, chances are that you will have some residual makeup, dirt, and or oil left on your face. Cleansing twice, or double cleansing, will do a better job of removing stubborn and caked-on foundation, eye makeup, sunscreen, pollution, and other impurities that have accumulated on your face throughout the day.
A first cleanse is also helpful if you wear mineral sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, as these ingredients can be more challenging to remove.
Double cleansing is especially important for acne-prone skin, as cleansing twice will better remove makeup, dirt, and oil that can clog pores and cause breakouts.
After you double cleanse, your pores are cleaner, and skincare actives that are part of your skincare routine can better penetrate your skin.
Let’s take a look at how to use cleansing balms and oils in a double cleanse in your skincare routine.
How to Double Cleanse Your Skin
A double cleanse can be applied once a day in the evening to remove the makeup and dirt accumulated on your skin during the day. In the morning, a water-based cleanser should be enough to remove the skincare, dirt, and oil accumulated on your skin overnight. Double cleansing only once a day helps keep your skin microbiome balanced and your skin barrier protected.
First Cleanse: Apply the cleansing balm or oil to dry skin and massage for up to one minute. Add water to emulsify the oil and continue to massage for a few more seconds. Rinse with lukewarm water or a damp, warm washcloth.
Second Cleanse: Follow with your traditional cleanser formulated for your skin type, whether it be a cream, milk, gel, or foaming cleanser. Rinse your skin and pat dry. Move on to the next step of your skincare routine, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen as the last step of your morning skincare routine.
Double Cleansing for Oily Skin
Although it goes against logic, cleansing oily skin with an oil-based cleanser as the first step of a double cleanse has its benefits for oily skin. Cleansing your skin once may leave some residual makeup and dirt in your pores, which can lead to breakouts and acne.
Oil attracts oil, so using a gentle oil-based cleanser before your traditional cleanse will help remove compounds that can exacerbate acne. Look for cleansing balms that contain purifying ingredients like charcoal to remove oil.
Double Cleansing for Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, over-cleansing can dry out your skin, so be sure to double cleanse only once a day. Look for cleansing balms and oils that contain gentle and hydrating ingredients such as shea butter or jojoba oil.
If you have dry skin, double cleansing may lead to irritation and compromise your skin barrier, especially in the cold weather months, so if that is the case, you may want to stick will a single cleanse. At a minimum, be sure to apply a moisturizer after your cleansing routine.
Final Thoughts on the Best Korean Cleansing Balms and Oils
These Korean cleansing balms and oils are ideal for a double cleanse and easily remove dirt, oil, makeup, pollution, and other impurities. They prep skin for a second cleanse and the rest of your skincare routine.
Whether you choose a K Beauty cleansing balm or oil cleanser format, these cleansers work for most skin types and leave skin soft and nourished without stripping the skin.
Until next time, here’s to your good skin health!
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