Beauty Battle: The Cleansing Balm Showdown

Which one is worthy of a place on your vanity?

It would be hard to find a skincare enthusiast that doesn't swear by the effectiveness of double cleansing. This two-part method of using an oil-based cleanser to melt makeup and then washing it off with a water-based facial wash has become the gold standard of facial cleansing. Trust me, it's not all hype. In my experience, it does remove dirt very well and even helped reduce whiteheads and oiliness on my skin.

Some of my all-time favourites are Shu Uemura's Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil and Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing. But ever since Shu Uemura closed their boutiques in the Philippines, I have been religiously using Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing, which is a cleansing balm (basically oil that's been solidified but will melt upon contact with skin). However, there's a new worthy contender in town: Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser

So which one is better? As you may know, when it comes to skincare, it isn't always black and white. There are many things to consider and the answer may depend on your personal preference, so the best thing to do is weigh both products' pros and cons. After using Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser for months, I'm finally ready to give my verdict.


Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser

PROS: It comes with a magnetic scoop that you can conveniently stick to the lid (can be inside or outside) so you don't have to worry about losing it. The jar is slim yet wide so it packs a lot of product without being too bulky. The jar itself is also recyclable and can be easily upcycled. 

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser Review

The magnetic scoop can be stored inside or outside

CONS: Because of the magnetic feature and wide design, it can be a bit heavy for travel when it's still quite full.

Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing

PROS: It's very photogenic because of its minimalistic design. This one also comes with a scoop, and although it doesn't have a magnetic feature, the scoop is still securely placed in a moulded lid that serves as its storage.

Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing Review

Left: The scoop is securely placed; Right: you can see the thick outer rim

CONS: One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to packaging is the double enclosure in jars. I feel like it gives the illusion that you're getting more product because of the bigger outside rim. Plus, it can be argued that it's just a waste of plastic when a simple jar is good enough.

Formulation and texture

Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser

PROS: True to the company's philosophy of being a clean beauty brand, the Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser is full of plant-based ingredients and free of any animal waxes. Some of the hero ingredients include marula seed oil (very hydrating and high in antioxidants) and baobab seed oil (dissolves makeup effectively and has deep moisturizing properties).

CONS: Because of the plant-based oil blend, the texture is super thick and oily, which can feel uncomfortable for those with very oily skin. Sometimes, it does leave a thin film of residue even when I have already washed with a water-based cleanser. The good news is, it never caused me breakouts.

Drunk Elephant Banila Co Cleansing Balm Review

Left: the heavy and rich texture of Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser; Right: the more lightweight texture of Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing

Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing

PROS: Banila Co recently reformulated Clean It Zero. It replaced mineral oil (which can clog pores) with natural ester oil and some synthetic fragrances are now gone and substituted with naturally derived alternatives. As a result, the texture is now smoother and more lightweight than ever. It just feels so good on the skin! It also has Resveratrol, which can help with protecting skin from the harsh effects of pollution.

CONS: It still uses some synthetic wax, which has unknown origins and can be derived from petroleum. This can cause irritation for sensitive types and, on an environmental note, some sources of synthetic wax are unsustainable. 

Cleansing prowess

Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser Review

It can effectively remove makeup, but for waterproof items, more product needs to be used to thoroughly cleanse

PROS: From waterproof mascara to heavy-duty foundation, this formula can effectively remove any traces of makeup and impurities.

CONS: The fragrance, while pleasant to me, can be imposing (it has a strong herbal smell) for those who are sensitive to scents. Another con for this is that you would need more product to remove waterproof makeup.

Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing

Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing Review

All traces of makeup are effectively removed

PROS: Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing is very effective in removing makeup. All you need is a pea-sized amount and that can already cover your whole face regardless if you're wearing a light, natural look or glam, heavy makeup.

CONS: The balm has a tendency to seep into eyes, which can temporarily cause blurriness in vision because of the oils.


Overall thoughts

Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser: Priced at SGD50/~USD36, this 'clean' cleansing balm is definitely an investment as far as cleansers go. It can last you a long time (about eight months in my experience) and is great for those with dry skin or those suffering from dehydrated skin. The plant-based oil blend formula is designed to quench the complexion and will help repair the skin barrier. 

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser Review

The Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser also comes with an exfoliator made from bamboo that you can use in conjunction with it.

Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing: This item is a worthy budget-friendly alternative (PHP1,150/~USD22). It does what it promises; it removes makeup easily and leaves skin with a fresh feeling. The formula will be loved by those with oily or combination skin because of its lightweight and butter-soft feel. 

Banila Co Clean It Zero Revitalizing Review

So, which one is your pick?

Read more beauty reviews here.

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