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I’ve always hated washing my face. I got a bottle of Cetaphil when I turned 13, decided it wasn’t doing anything, and swapped it out for some Clean & Clear, figuring — as we all did — that the tube with the beads would scrub “impurities” away the best. When I learned those little plastic balls had been destroying the environment, I started hunting for an alternative.
I found something fancy and organic at Sephora and used it religiously, applauding myself for buying a product that stripped dirt away so well it made my skin tight. And then I learned that tightness was actually a blaring alarm: I don’t typically have dry skin, per se, but I’d been dehydrating it each time I cleaned it off. The tight feeling was a signal that yeah, I’d removed the grime and concealer from my face at the end of a long day, but I was also potentially damaging the protective barrier of my skin.
There’s a way to take makeup, sunscreen, and that film of sweat off your face without taking — via beads or shells or foam — that barrier with it: cleansing balms. Made of solidified moisturizing oils, balms melt even the most waterproof mascara.
Banila Co.’s Clean It Zero Purity is the holy grail of cleansing balms. Made predominantly of argan and evening primrose oils (whereas most balms are full of acne-inducing coconut or mineral oils), it’s great for sensitive skin. It responds quickly to heat, turning to a creamy liquid on contact, but doesn’t get so oily it drips down your chin. I like to massage it into my lips and the backs of my hands, too, letting the oils moisturize those delicate areas while it lifts all the makeup — that I’ve worked so hard to keep in place, layering primer and foundation and concealer and powder and setting spray — off my face.
Just rub the balm into your skin, watch an episode of It’s Always Sunny, rinse it off, and you’re ready for step two of the double-cleansing method: a liquid-y (and properly pH-balanced) cleanser of your choice.