• Top 15 Best Japanese Cleansing Balms to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 1
  • Top 15 Best Japanese Cleansing Balms to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 2
  • Top 15 Best Japanese Cleansing Balms to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 3
  • Top 15 Best Japanese Cleansing Balms to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 4
  • Top 15 Best Japanese Cleansing Balms to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 5

Top 15 Best Japanese Cleansing Balms to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True!

Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) for the best cleansing balms. We then chose the 15 most popular products and tested them.

We focused on three things: its cleansing power, its moisturizing ability, and its ingredients. We then compiled everything we learned into a buying guide about and list of the best Japanese cleansing balms available online.

This article's specialists

Mizuha
  • Last updated: 01-09-2020
  • 1,980 views
Table of Contents

What is a Cleansing Balm?

You may have clicked on this article thinking, "What exactly is a cleansing balm?" Before we get into the ranking, we thought we'd give you a run down.

Balms Can Act as Facial Massage Agents

Balms Can Act as Facial Massage Agents

Most facial balms start off pretty solid and melt into a thick and oily texture with the help of body heat. Many say they resemble cleansing oils, but we like to think of them as more similar to a lip balm or a body cream.


They blend into your skin easily, which is why a lot of cleansing balm users will use them as a facial massage agent as well as a cleansing tool. 


Many balms come in a jar-type container and include a tiny spatula to take out the product with minimal mess.

The Ingredients for Balms and Oils Can Be Similar

The Ingredients for Balms and Oils Can Be Similar

Cleansing balms are often thought to have high cleansing capabilities, and one reason for this is that they contain some of the same ingredients as cleansing oils. What sets them apart from oils is the addition of waxes and polyethylene to solidify the product.


The three main types of cleansing oils in order of effectiveness are mineral oils, beauty oils, and oils and fats. Many cleansing balms include beauty oils as their primary ingredients. They cleanse thoroughly and remove oil thoroughly, so you should follow up a cleansing balm with other skincare to retain maximum moisture.

Top 15 Best Japanese Cleansing Balms to Buy Online

We picked out 15 of the most popular products and tested them for the following: how cleansing it was, how moisturizing it was, and how much good stuff was inside.


Then, based on how they performed on our tests, we graded and ranked the top 15 Japanese cleansing balms available online.


※Japanese prices for the some of the products are given; they’ve merely been converted into USD for easy viewing.

1
Japaneseルルルン クレンジングバーム
TypeRinse off
Double cleansing required?No
OK with eyelash extensions?Not indicated
Cleansing power5.0
Moisturizing ability5.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall score5.0
2

Santa MarcheBalm Cleansing

$32.86

Japaneseサンタマルシェ バームクレンジング
TypeRinse off
Double cleansing required?No
OK with eyelash extensions?Yes
Cleansing power4.0
Moisturizing ability5.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall score5.0
3
JapaneseDUO ザ クレンジングバーム
TypeRinse off
Double cleansing required?No
OK with eyelash extensions?Yes
Cleansing power4.0
Moisturizing ability5.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall score4.0
4
JapaneseRMK モイスト クレンジングバーム
TypeRinse off
Double cleansing required?No
OK with eyelash extensions?Not indicated
Cleansing power4.0
Moisturizing ability4.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall score4.0
5

DuoThe Cleansing Balm Clear

$52.89

JapaneseDUO ザ クレンジングバーム クリア
TypeRinse off
Double cleansing required?No
OK with eyelash extensions?Yes
Cleansing power4.0
Moisturizing ability4.0
Ingredients1.0
Overall score4.0
6
Japaneseナーセリー クレンジングバーム<ゆず>
TypeRinse off
Double cleansing required?No
OK with eyelash extensions?Yes
Cleansing power3.0
Moisturizing ability3.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall score3.0
7
Japanese菊正宗 米と発酵のクレンジングバーム
TypeRinse off
Double cleansing required?No
OK with eyelash extensions?Not indicated
Cleansing power3.0
Moisturizing ability3.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall score3.0
8
Japaneseラミナーゼ モイストクレンジングバーム
TypeRinse off
Double cleansing required?No
OK with eyelash extensions?Not indicated
Cleansing power2.0
Moisturizing ability5.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall score2.0

Compare the Best Japanese Cleansing Balms

Image
1
LuLuLun Cleansing Balm 1

LuLuLun

2
Santa Marche Balm Cleansing 1

Santa Marche

3
Duo The Cleansing Balm 1

Duo

4
RMK Moist Cleansing Balm 1

RMK

5
Duo The Cleansing Balm Clear 1

Duo

6
Nursery Cleansing Balm (Yuzu) 1

Nursery

7
Kikumasamune Kome to Hakko no Cleansing Balm 1

Kikumasamune

8
Laminaze Moist Cleansing Balm 1

Laminaze

Name

Cleansing Balm

Balm Cleansing

The Cleansing Balm

Moist Cleansing Balm

The Cleansing Balm Clear

Cleansing Balm (Yuzu)

Kome to Hakko no Cleansing Balm

Moist Cleansing Balm

FeaturesThe Very Best Japanese Clea...The Best Cleansing Balm for...The Best Cleansing Balm for...The Best Cleansing Balm wit...The Most Refreshing Cleansi...A Cleansing Balm with Great...A Good and Citrus-scented C...A Great Cleansing Balm for ...
Price$30.86$32.86$46.99$35.43$52.89$18.12$19.46$17.42
Japaneseルルルン クレンジングバームサンタマルシェ バームクレンジングDUO ザ クレンジングバームRMK モイスト クレンジングバームDUO ザ クレンジングバーム クリアナーセリー クレンジングバーム<ゆず>菊正宗 米と発酵のクレンジングバームラミナーゼ モイストクレンジングバーム
TypeRinse offRinse offRinse offRinse offRinse offRinse offRinse offRinse off
Double cleansing required?NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
OK with eyelash extensions?Not indicatedYesYesNot indicatedYesYesNot indicatedNot indicated
Cleansing power5.04.04.04.04.03.03.02.0
Moisturizing ability5.05.05.04.04.03.03.05.0
Ingredients3.03.02.02.01.03.03.02.0
Overall score5.05.04.04.04.03.03.02.0
Link

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

And why they didn't quite make it.

Too Average to Recommend

Too Average to Recommend

There wasn't anything awful about THREE's aiming cleansing balm, but there wasn't anything amazing about it either. It has a buttery texture and leaves your skin feeling more moisturized than before, but it won't remove waterproof makeup.

Didn't Provide Adequate Moisture

Didn't Provide Adequate Moisture

Rafra's Orange Balm may have an abundance of skincare ingredients and properties, but we found it skimped on the moisturizing part. This orange-scented product should be followed up with a separate moisturizer. We were also disappointed by how much moisture was leeched away from our skin five minutes after using Miimeow's Cleansing Balm.

Not a Good Makeup Remover

Not a Good Makeup Remover

If you wear a lot of waterproof, vibrant, or heavy makeup, you may want to avoid these products. ink. Cleansing Balm left behind traces of makeup all over our face post-rinse, but those with light makeup shouldn't have an issue. When we purchased DHC Cleansing Balm, we were told by store staff to use a separate cleanser for point makeup, so it's obvious that it's not going to remove a full face of makeup. 


Bifesta's Hot Type Cleansing Balm had amazingly moisturizing effects on our skin, but it didn't remove makeup very well at all. If you think of this as a pore massaging balm, though, it does a pretty good job.

Nothing to Recommend

Nothing to Recommend

Though the other two Duo products in our ranking had relatively high scores, Duo's The Cleansing Balm (White) landed last place in our ranking. It didn't remove anything but base makeup, it didn't moisturize, and it has too many essential oils and extracts to be suited for those with sensitive skin. 

Introducing the Expert Who Lent Us Their Knowledge

Introducing the Expert Who Lent Us Their Knowledge
<Sensitive Skin Beauty Researcher>

She's a scholar at an academic institution that researches the creation of new medicines. Besides that, she utilizes her previous work experience as a beauty product researcher and developer to review and analyze products for people with sensitive skin. She holds multiple certifications as a high-grade cosmetics ingredients specialist and concierge.

Mizuha has also been using social media to further her reach by providing cosmetic ingredient ratings and surveys.

How We Tested the Cleansing Balms

We put each of the 15 cleansing balms through a series of three tests. Two gauged its cleansing and moisturizing capabilities while the third analyzed the quality of its ingredients. Our overall scores were then averaged together to produce the final score.

Test ① Cleansing Power

Test ① Cleansing Power

The first test we put each balm through was a cleansing test. To do this, we put different types of makeup on the top of our hand and then massaged the balm over it. We then gave it a score based on how much makeup it removed. Here's what we put on:

  • Waterproof mascara
  • Eye shadow
  • Waterproof eyeliner
  • Lip tint
  • Liquid foundation

Test ① Cleansing Power

Our test results revealed that balms with a lot of oil-based ingredients had the highest cleansing potential. You'll often see balms with a high oil content paired with another type of skincare oil, which takes care of the oils naturally produced by your skin.


You should be looking for a balm with plenty of cleansing power if you wear plenty of makeup. Here are a few types of oils you'll commonly see in the ingredients list:

  • Ethylhexyl palmitate (パルミチン酸エチルヘキシル)
  • Caprylic/Capric triglyceride (トリ(カプリル酸/カプリン酸)グリセリル)
  • Cetyl ethylhexanoate (エチルヘキサン酸セチル)

Test ② Moisturizing Ability

Test ② Moisturizing Ability

To test our skin's moisture levels, we used a special instrument to measure levels before, directly after, and 5 minutes after using the cleansing balms.

Test ② Moisturizing Ability

We found that balms with a gel-like, viscous texture provided us with the most hydration. The viscosity provided a sort of cushion between the gel and our skin so that there were minimum levels of friction when removing makeup. 


Creating friction on our skin when cleansing strips it of vital oils, which makes you feel drier in the end. It can also damage your pores. Look for a cleansing balm that will protect your skin with a cushion-like texture to prevent this.

Test ③ Ingredients

Test ③ Ingredients

Our last job was to analyze each cleansing balm's ingredients. Mizuha thoroughly checked each product to see which contained ingredients safe for those with sensitive skin and then graded them on a scale of 1 to 5.

Note: A score of 1 doesn't mean the balm is dangerous; it just means those with sensitive skin may experience irritation upon use.

Test ③ Ingredients

Mizuha realized that a lot of the products contained plant-based extracts and essential oils. These are great at giving the products relaxing and antibacterial qualities, but too many of them can actually lead to skin irritation. Those with sensitive skin should be especially careful.

Mizuha
Sensitive Skin Beauty Researcher
Mizuha

The ingredients in cosmetics are thoroughly tested for safety. However, when many plant-based extracts and essential oils come into play, they can increase the risk of skin irritation. People with sensitive skin should patch test the product on their skin before applying it to their face to check your skin's reaction.

How to Choose a Cleansing Balm - Buying Guide

Here are five big things to look out for.

① Pick a Cleansing Balm That Suits Your Lifestyle

① Pick a Cleansing Balm That Suits Your Lifestyle

Most cleansing balms come off using either of these two methods: rinsing it off with water or wiping it off with something such as a cotton pad. We'd recommend a rinse off type if you use it during your nightly bathing routine; if you're more interested in removing makeup quickly, a wipe away type would suit you better.


However, since using wipe away types incorrectly can create friction and lead to skin irritation quickly, we prefer rinse off cleansing balms for those with dry or sensitive skin


There are also types that you can rinse or wipe away, so keep your eyes peeled for a balm that suits your lifestyle.

② Balms That Don't Require Double-cleansing Save You Time and Hydration

② Balms That Don't Require Double-cleansing Save You Time and Hydration

Many cleansing balms allow you to take off all of your makeup and retain moisture with just one application, which makes them great for those that don't want to spend a lot of time on skincare.


They reduce friction to your skin caused by washing and keep your skin moisturized, making them especially great for those with dry or sensitive skin.


However, if you're concerned with your skin feeling sticky or heavy post-rinse, we'd suggest trying a double wash. Leftover oil on skin can lead to acne and other blemishes, so watch your moisture and oil levels carefully to find the perfect amount of rinses for you.


By the way, balms that don't require double cleansing will often say "W洗顔不要" on the product label.

③ Choose a Balm with a Pleasing Texture

③ Choose a Balm with a Pleasing Texture

Some cleansing balms feel more like a lip balm while others have a sherbet-like texture. You can choose your preferred texture or match it with the current weather.


If you're going to use it as a facial massage agent, we'd recommend a balm that spreads easily over the skin; balms with small particles in them can act like a facial scrub for dirt in the pores in areas such as around your nose as well.


Since texture is difficult to test when you're shopping primarily online, we recommend reading reviews to get a better idea.

④ Don't Be Fooled by the Term "Additive-free"

④ Don't Be Fooled by the Term "Additive-free"

Most people are quick to assume that "additive-free" means a product is good for your skin, but that's not always the case. What's more, there may still be additives; they just haven't listed them in the "additive-free" section.


Products are considered additive-free only if they contain absolutely none of that ingredient (such as scents or dyes), so sometimes the ingredients put in place of them can irritate your skin. We recommend not being hooked by the phrase "additive-free" and instead checking which specific ingredients are non-additive.

These are some ingredients that could potentially irritate your skin:

  • Alcohol/ethanol (アルコール/エタノール)
  • Synthetic perfumes (合成香料)
  • Synthetic dyes (合成着色料)
  • Preservatives like benzoic acid and parabens (防腐剤 (安息香酸、パラベン類))

Mineral oils (鉱物油) can also dry out your skin.

Note: Not all parabens are irritating. Each maker sets its safety guidelines for each item and tests them thoroughly. Antibacterial parabens or a large quantity of parabens can potentially cause skin irritation, though, so you should exercise caution with them.

⑤ Make Sure it's Alright to Use with Your Eyelash Extensions

⑤ Make Sure it's Alright to Use with Your Eyelash Extensions

Eyelash extensions are attached to your eyelids with glue, so oils from cleansers can cause weaken the glue and cause your extensions to come off more quickly. It's safe to say that cleansing balms with a high oil content are probably not safe for eyelash extensions.


Balms that are okay for eyelash extensions will often have that written on the package. However, sometimes they specify the types of eyelash glue that they're suitable for, so it's a good idea to know what kind of glue your extensions use before purchasing a cleansing balm.

How to Get the Most out of Your Cleansing Balm

Whether you're a newcomer or a veteran of the cleansing balm community, we've got some tips to share with you on using your balm in the most effective way.

Apply with Dry Hands Even if it's Okay to Use with Wet Hands

Apply with Dry Hands Even if it's Okay to Use with Wet Hands

Some cleansing balms will say it's okay to apply them with wet hands, which is surely appreciated by those who use it during their nightly bath. However, wet hands don't blend well with skin oil and clogged pores, so we recommend drying your hands before use to achieve maximum cleansing potential.


We also suggest storing your cleansing balm away from heat and moisture in order to preserve its solid texture.

Massage onto Your Makeup in a Circular Motion

Massage onto Your Makeup in a Circular Motion

Start cleansing in your T-zone (your oiliest area) and massage the balm into your skin in small circles. Picture the product gently penetrating your pores from above; a gentle hand is key. Then work the product into other areas of your face, using only the tip of your pointer finger in smaller areas like your nostrils or the corners of your eyes.


Some people think massaging your face for a long time yields maximum results, but this can actually lead to stripping away the natural oils your skin naturally produces and needs. Try to keep your facial massage time to one minute or less.

Emulsifying before Rinsing off is Okay

Emulsifying before Rinsing off is Okay

Oil turns to a whitish hue when mixed with warm or hot water; this is called emulsification. This makes the acts of blending and rinsing oil off your skin easier. Since cleansing balms are oil-based, you don't need to add anything to emulsify it; you just need to add water little by little before rinsing it off completely.

Pamper Your Skin Even More with These Products

Pamper Your Skin Even More with These Products

Now that your skin is cleansed, it's time to moisturize! Here are some products we've researched and can recommend.

Summary

We rounded up members from our editing department and an expert, purchased the 15 most popular Japanese cleansing balms, and tested them all.


We learned that the best of the best cleansing balms contain oils that can wash off waterproof makeup with ease, leave our skin feeling moisturized even after rinsing them off, and have a decent amount of beneficial ingredients. Remember to read reviews for potential purchases and you'll be that much closer to finding your perfect cleansing balm.

Author: Rio Sasaki/Translation: Shannon McNaught/Photos: Koichi Miura

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