Cleansing Balms and At Home Chemical Peels

Cleansing Balms and At Home Chemicals Peels

Two skin care “treatments’ that can really improve over all appearance, texture and dullness of the your skin.

But what are they really and how can you use them in your skin care routine at home?

Cleansing balms are all the rave when it comes to the new way to wash your face.

I know when I first heard about them, I had no idea what they were. I knew they had something to do with oils, but I didn’t know oils could be used to wash your face. I was still using “suddsy” cleansers that foamed and lathered.

But there is a thing called “oil cleansing.”

Let’s break it down briefly:

Cleansing balms are oil based. They are typically pure plant oils combined to form a thick, emollient balm. Because they are oil based, they can effectively cleanse the skin without stripping the skin of it’s natural oils.


The skin has a natural hydrolipid barrier and it’s own microbiome. If we use cleansers with harsh sulfates or chemicals, we can irritate and dry out the skin.

Getting that squeaky clean feeling isn’t always best.

So an oil based balm matches the skin’s natural needs for cleansing.


Another great reason to use cleansing balms is they can be a quicker routine when it comes to cleansing.

Some nights we really don’t feel like removing makeup, cleansing, toning, and moisturizing.

Balms can remove makeup and cleanse. And then moisturize right after.

(But I like to apply my overnight resurfacing peel after a cleansing balm for a real treatment at home. Read more about that below)

Cleansing Balms are also better for environment because they aren’t using as much water. Water is not used as much to formulate this product and you don’t use as much when washing your face.

So How do you use a cleansing balm? 

It’s really quite simple. Take about a 1/4-1/2 tsp of balm into your fingertips. Massage in and around your face for 60 seconds onto dry skin. No water necessary. 

Then take a warm wet wash cloth and remove the balm in circular motions. 

You’ll be surprised how much makeup is on your washcloth. 

So which ones are best and contain safer ingredients? It’s important to look for balms that use pure plant based oils not mineral oil or petrolatum. Mineral oil is a synthetic oil and can clog pores. Unfortunately, it’s in a lot of skincare products because it’s cheap and a by product of oil production. So make sure you read your labels. Or I’ve come up with 3 recommendations for you.

Recommended Cleansing Balms:  

  1. Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm- Manuka honey is wonderful but is quite expensive so you can get the benefits of the honey in this balm.

  2. Goop Luminous Melting Cleanser- The Goop glow can be yours with this cleansing balm.

  3. Beautycounter Cleansing Balm- Made with 11 botanical oils and shea butter, this balm also comes with an organic cleansing cloth for convenience.

If a Cleansing balm seems out of your budget, Beautycounter makes a cleansing milk that is very similar. Made with Plum oil, Jojoba seed oil and Coconut oil, this is a great alternative to cleansing balms.


At Home Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are another great product that can clean up your skin and improve dullness, dryness, and appearance of the skin. They can also be used to treat hyperpigmentation, sun damage, and scars.

They often contain Glycolic Acid (AHA), Salicylic Acid (BHA), latic acid, and Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to break down the top layer of the skin. TCA being the strongest form.

But they can also contain more questionable ingredients like synthetic fragrance, PEG’s and formaldehyde - based preservatives commonly found in peels.

When getting a chemical peel done in a spa, they can use higher concentrations of these ingredients and quite honestly, you don’t know what you’re getting. There is very little regulation for skin care products in the US and it is even less in professional salons and spas. It’s incredibly difficult to get ingredient lists in spas. And not to mention..awkward.


Nobody wants to be that girl.


I’ve had a safer version of a chemical peel at an organic spa before. She used high dose vitamin C instead of unsafe chemicals but I still broke out soon after and more the following day.

When it comes to chemical peels in a spa, just proceed with caution. There is so little regulation in the industry, it’s hard to know what’s going on your face.

(If you’re curious about the questionable ingredients in skin care and make up, download my list of the top ingredients to avoid and why here.)

At home peels are a great alternative. You can typically get a “toned down” version of these ingredients and do a patch test. You just have more control of the outcome with home versions of peels.

But again, look at ingredients if you can. When a product only has “key ingredients” or no ingredients listed at all, there’s usually something to hide. Try to find one where all ingredients are listed and you trust the company is committed to safe ingredients. I recommend Beautycounter’s Overnight Resurfacing Peel.


This product has changed my face. Clearer, brighter, and just less dullness in the morning. I especially can see a difference when I use it more than 2 nights in a row. It’s a leave on peel that uses AHA and BHA and because it’s an at home treatment, it can be less irritating or over drying. It also uses malic acid (from apples), hyaluronic acid and essential fatty acids to nourish the skin.

I can especially tell a difference when applying makeup.

This really is the only one I have found that is safe and effective. As mentioned above, most peels contain questionable ingredients due to the lack of safety data and regulation.

You can read more about safer skin care at my main page “Safer Beauty.