Battle of the Cleansing Balm – Round 1: e.l.f. vs Farmacy

Battle of the Cleansing Balm – Round 1: e.l.f. vs Farmacy

[READ TIME: 6 MIN.]

What They Have to Say

A nourishing cleansing balm that erases makeup and gently lifts away impurities caused by pollution, it leaves the skin hydrated and silky smooth.

Farmacy

This Hydrating Gel Melt Cleanser easily dissolves makeup and pollutants from the skin. Infused with argan oil, rose extracts, seed oils, and vitamin C, this cleanser leaves your face moisturized with each use.

e.l.f.

The battle of the cleansing balms has begun!

Cleansing balms have become an important part of cleansing routines worldwide, 365, 24/7… all of that. No matter if it’s Summer, when you need to thoroughly remove stubborn SPFs, or in Winter, when you may wear a little bit more makeup.

BUT which cleansing balm is the one… the almighty… the all powerful one that will clean off all the makeup, dirt, etc., without stripping your skin?!!

That’s why tCBC started this series! We will do all of the hard work and save you from the decision fatigue that can be comparing the hundreds of cleansing balms on the market today. So, on to our first match up!

e.l.f. Hydrating Gel Melt Cleanser vs. Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm with Echinacea GreenEnvy™

Obviously Farmacy takes the cake for in the naming department (insert hysterically laughing emoji face).

Names aside, let’s get down to what really matters… what does the product look, smell, and feel like, because to quote Juliette, “What’s in a name?” Not a damn thing!


Farmacy’s Green Clean Cleansing Balm

Farmacy Green Clean - Inside

Farmacy Green Clean – Inside

  • Cost = $34.00 for 3.2 fl oz (90 ml)
  • Cost per ounce = $10.625 per fluid ounce

In the jar, the Green Clean cleansing balm is a pastel kind of aqua color and it has a very subtle, bright citrusy scent. It does contain the citrus essential oils; lime, bergamot, and orange. Please note that they do not specify if the bergamot is bergamia-free (the compound that can sensitize your skin to sunlight), so if you have sensitive skin keep that in mind.

The product is hard to the touch but starts to melt on contact with skin. The balm suddenly becomes this luxurious feeling oil that glides easily over skin and doesn’t tug at the eye area or irritate the eyes. It also emulsifies and rinses clean with minimal pressure or tugging. So all A+’s for feel and performance!

As far as ingredients are concerned, it contains a lot of great ingredients such Turmeric, Ginger, and Moringa oil and extract. However, the Moringa extract appears very low on the ingredient list which just makes us wonder how concentrated it is or did they have to use less to keep at a certain price point.

Speaking of pricing; it’s not cheap, and it’s not outrageously expensive. $34 is pretty middle of the road as far as cleansing balms go and, for the amount of plant extracts and oils, isn’t too steeply priced for what’s in the jar.

As far as packaging goes, the outer box, as always, is beautiful and an enjoyable way to learn about Farmacy as a brand, but the jar itself is simply thin plastic. They counteract the cheap jar by adding a lid and spatula to help keep the product sanitary.

Oh.. and it lasts quite a while, using on average four times a week, it lasted about 3 1/2 months. So… it’s about $10.00 a month…

Cleansing Skin with Green Clean Cleansing Balm (R) and Melt Cleanser (L)

Cleansing Skin with Green Clean (R) and Melt Cleanser (L)

Side cleansed with Green Clean Cleansing Balm after rinsing

Side cleansed with Green Clean after rinsing

Green Clean EWG Rating

EWG Skin Deep Database - 2

Green Clean Ingredients
Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Peg-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Peg-10 Isostearate, Polyethylene, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Amino Esters-1, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Amber Powder, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract, Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Water/ Aqua/ Eau, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Echinacea Purpurea Root Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Disodium Phosphate, Citric Acid

    Turns into a light oil texture
    Doesn’t tug around or irritate the eyes
    Contains a variety of cleansing plant extracts and oils to help keep pores from clogging
    Comes with a second lid and spatula to help keep the product sanitary

    It’s not exactly a budget-friendly initial investment
    It’s only readily available if you live near a Sephora

e.l.f. Melt Cleanser

 

e.l.f Hydrating Gel Melt Cleanser - Inside

e.l.f Hydrating Gel Melt Cleanser – Inside

  • Cost = $10.00 for 1.41 oz (40 g)
  • Cost per ounce= $7.09 per ounce

e.l.f. did a surprisingly good job with this cleansing balm as far as clean ingredients. It is a clear balm that kind of smells, looks, and feels like petroleum jelly, but isn’t petroleum jelly… that’s the most apt description we could come up with. ;D

This balm features a lot of rose ingredients and Argan oil. It melts down on contact with skin but still keeps more of a balmy texture than the Green Clean cleansing balm. Sadly, it doesn’t perform QUITE as well as the Green Clean either. It does tug at the eye area a bit (so maybe don’t use for removing eye makeup), and it can leave some mascara/eyeliner residue behind after rinsing. The residue wipes away, or washes away easily if you double cleanse. I did notice a difference in how hydrated my skin felt when not double cleansing.

Ingredient wise, the Melt Cleanser has a simpler, over all cleaner ingredient list.  The packaging is nice and beautiful in it’s simplicity. I appreciate that e.l.f. took the time to use outer packaging, and the jar is a sturdy double-walled frosted blue jar. Aesthetically, e.l.f. wins.

Again averaging four uses per week, it lasted one month… so again, you’re paying $10.00 a month to use this product.

Left side cleansed with the Melt Cleanser after rinsing

Left side cleansed with the Melt Cleanser Cleansing Balm after rinsing

Melt Cleanser EWG Rating

EWG score 1

Melt Cleanser Ingredients
Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Water (Aqua), Sucrose Stearate, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Rosa Moschata Seed Oil, Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ascorbyl Palmitate

    It’s readily available
    It’s well priced for most budgets
    Ingredient list is simple
    It does what it says; removes your makeup and leaves the skin hydrated.

    The amount of product is a little on the small side
    It tugs at the eye area a bit and doesn’t completely rinse away eye makeup

Who takes the win?!

Farmacy Green Clean - Inside

Farmacy Green Clean – Inside

We have to give the win to Green Clean. It works out to be the same cost per month as the Melt Cleanser, and it’s easier to keep the product sanitary, but what really won it for Green Clean is how easily it removes eye makeup without tugging!!
Aesop Remove Eye Makeup Remover

Aesop Remove Eye Makeup Remover

What They Have to Say

Gentle oil-based eye makeup remover for most skin types.
Grape Seed oil assists makeup to dissolve easily – even the most stubborn or waterproof – while Blue Chamomile soothes and calms the particularly sensitive area around the eyes.

Aēsop®

EWG Rating

EWG Rating

pH – Unknown

Ingredients

Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil

Concerns
  1. Contamination Concerns

About Remove Eye Makeup Remover

We take back what we said about the Tea Tree Facial Exfoliant, THIS is Aesop’s cleanest product, and one that we love at the Clean Beauty Compendium.

Aesop’s Remove is a gentle oil-based eye makeup remover, and is their simplest formula with only three ingredients! Instead of opting for the more drying but lash-friendly castor oil, the base of this eye makeup remover is grapeseed oil. Grapeseed oil is very light and has a very low comedogenic score. And for an added bonus… it mimics your skin’s natural sebum so it will trick your skin into thinking it is secreting the right amount of oil, reducing your skin’s oil output! That sounds like a win-win to us.

A look inside Aesop Remove - photo by makeupandbeauty.com

 

How it looks - Photo by makeupandbeauty.com

How it looks – Photo by makeupandbeauty.com

It also contains Blue (or German) Chamomile which contains azulene (the compound that makes it blue). Azulene is a powerful anti-inflammatory which makes it ideal for calming sensitive skin. The downside with this ingredient as part of an eye makeup remover is the strong smell. Remove may be a product you want to avoid if you have sensitive eyes.

The third ingredient is vitamin E. Vitamin E can be great for skin and lash health, but without knowing if the vitamin E Aesop uses is non-GMO, we have no idea if this has a high risk of clogging your pores. So far, none of us have had this experience, but everyone’s skin is a rebel and it does what it wants.

If Remove sounds like exactly what you want from an eye makeup remover, then you will get 2 fluid ounces (60 mL) for your hard-earned $23.00, which equals about $11.50 per ounce or $0.38 per milliliter. This is a decent price compared to similar products on the market.

A look inside Aesop Remove - photo by makeupandbeauty.com

Something important to note: If you have lash extensions, this may be something you put off purchasing. Remove is an oil-based eye makeup remover, and it will not only remove your eyeshadow, but also your extensions.

Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant

Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant

What They Have to Say

A dry mix of crushed botanicals to buff and scrub combination or normal skin. When mixed with an Aesop cleanser (gel or cream-based), this powder of ground Tea Tree leaves, crushed nut shells and purified clay sloughs away tired surface cells to effect immaculately cleansed and polished skin.

Aēsop®

About Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant

Aesop’s Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant is without a doubt Aesop’s cleanest product. It is an anhydrous powder exfoliant of ground Tea Tree leaf and walnut shell powder with Illite, aloe leaf powder, and sodium lauryl sulfoacetate.

Tea Tree has become a very popular additive to all personal care products over the last two years, but it has been used for centuries all over the world! It is most used in products for oily, acne-prone skin and itchy, irritated scalps. While it works amazingly for those two applications, Tea Tree has a host of other benefits – including as a natural anti-fungal treatment – and is very safe for sensitive skin. Walnut shell powder on the other hand is a fantastic exfoliant, but definitely not friendly to sensitive skin. Even the finest ground walnut shell powder will have a few larger chunks in it than can irritate sensitive skin.

Aesop Tea Tree Facial Exfoliant - Photo from beautylab.nl

Aesop Tea Tree Facial Exfoliant – Photo from beautylab.nl

 

Aloe leaf powder is another ingredient with thousands of years of use and many proven benefits. Here it is primarily used for its soothing properties. Illite clay is one of the more harsh clays used in skincare and is more suited for oily skin types that need deeper detoxification, and it should not be used with sensitive skin. Aesop also adds a coconut-derived powdered surfactant (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate) to this to help enhance slip across the skin and improve cleansing.

They recommend using this exfoliant twice a week, but here at tCBC we’ve found that once a week does a great job and minimizes your chances of sensitizing your skin… which never ends well.

All-in-all, you get 1.1 ounces (about 32 ml) for $40.00, which equals about $36.36 an ounce or $1.25 per milliliter. A bit of a hefty price tag considering none of the ingredients are made using a special process, and this is a simple product to make.

EWG Rating

EWG Rating

pH – Unknown

Ingredients

Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Powder, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Illite, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract

Concerns
  1. Multiple additive exposures
Aesop Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream

Aesop Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream

What They Have to Say

Containing potent doses of fatty acids, this rich cream hydrates and nourishes normal, dry and stressed skin.

Aēsop®

About Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream

This is one of Aesop’s more reasonably priced products. Their Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream contains few added-fragrance ingredients and focuses more on skin-benefiting ingredients, such as rosemary, lavender, and sage.

Rosemary, lavender, and sage are all soothing to the skin as well as the senses. Rosemary is astringent and balancing; lavender is toning, anti-aging, soothing, and just all around a kickass ingredient to have in skincare; and sage is on the same playing field as lavender and both help to balance emotions (great at the end of an especially stressful day).

This is an oil based facial hydrating cream that contains: Hazel Seed, Sweet Almond, Macadamia Seed, Evening Primrose, Wheat Germ, and Rosehip Oils. All of these oils, with the exception of Wheat Germ, score low on the comedogenic score.

If you know that wheat germ oil causes your skin to break out, this facial hydrating cream is best avoided.

The Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream is definitely geared towards you out there with dry to very dry skin as many of the oils have a good Omega fatty acid profile. This also makes a winter face cream for those with normal skin during the summer that becomes dry in the winter.

As far as bang for your buck goes, you get 2 fluid ounces (60 mL) for $49.00, which equals about $24.50 an ounce or $0.81 per milliliter. Compared to some of the other Aesop products we’ve featured on the site… this cream seems like a steal. But not if you are sensitive to added fragrances.

EWG Rating

EWG Rating

pH – Unknown

Ingredients

Water (Aqua), Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, PEG-20 Stearate, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Disodium EDTA, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Sodium Citrate, Linalool, d-Limonene

Concerns
  1. Multiple Additive Exposures
  2. Contamination Concerns
  3. Irritation (skin, eyes, lungs)
  4. Allergies/Immunotoxicity
Aesop Fabulous Face Oil

Aesop Fabulous Face Oil

What They Have to Say

Nine carefully selected botanicals deliver exceptional hydrating and fortifying benefits to detoxify, smooth and balance normal or patchy skin, with a non-greasy finish. Suited to all seasons, cities and skin types.

Aēsop®

About Fabulous Face Oil

Inside Aesop's Fabulous Face Oil - Photo from Lolassecretbeautyblog.com

Inside Aesop’s Fabulous Face Oil – Photo from Lolassecretbeautyblog.com

Aēsop’s Fabulous Face Oil boasts nine oils, including: Macadamia Nut, Hazel Seed, Almond, Camellia Seed, Wheat Germ, and Evening Primrose Oils. It also contains Juniper, Jasmine, and Ylang Ylang botanical oils. Juniper oil is well known as an astringent, detoxifier, and irritant soother (great for easily irritated, congested skin). Jasmine oil can have a firming effect on skin and is used in aromatherapy as an aphrodisiac. Ylang Ylang oil can contribute to glowing skin and has a very uplifting scent that is great for combating stress.

Their site states that this oil is great for all skin types in all seasons in all cities. Truthfully, this oil is BEST suited for normal skin prone to dry patches that may have some mild congestion due to pollution. If your skin is highly prone to breakouts, here are the comedogenic scores (0 [low] – 5 [high]) for the oils in this facial oil:

Camellia Seed – 1

Hazel Seed – 1

Sweet Almond – 2

Evening Primrose – 2

Macadamia Nut – 2-3

Wheat Germ – 5

In total, you get 0.9 fluid ounces (25 mL) for $57.00, which equals about $2.28 per milliliter.

Aēsop has mastered the aesthetic portion of making products! But, if you don’t need Aēsop’s gorgeously simple amber, tan, and black bottles in your life, there are other facial oils with no potentially irritating added fragrance ingredients that keep your skin healthy and hydrated for less.

EWG Rating

EWG Rating

pH – Unknown

Ingredients

Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Juniperus Communis Fruit Oil, Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate, d-Limonene, Eugenol, Farnesol, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Benzyl Alcohol

Concerns
  1. Multiple additive exposures
  2. Irritation (skin, eyes, lungs)
  3. Allergies/Immunotoxicity
Glossier Soothing Face Mist

Glossier Soothing Face Mist

About Glossier Soothing Face Mist

Glossier’s soothing rosewater face mist is refreshing and gently toning. It also contains skin loving aloe and moisture attracting vegetable glycerin. However, purchase with caution if you have sensitive eyes.

Unfortunately, I had to stop using the Soothing Face Mist on my face due to the mild stinging sensation in my eyes every time I tried to use it, but it wound up making a very nice body refresher!

The packaging itself is very nice, and the mister dispenses a good amount of product in a relatively fine mist. The Soothing Face Mist comes in a 4 ounce/118ml spray bottle for a total of $18.00 (about $4.50 per ounce).

EWG Rating

pH: 

Ingredients

Water (Aqua), Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract

Concerns with this Product
  1. Allergies
  2. Non-reproductive organ system toxicity