Even if they didn't work (and believe me, they work), a cleansing balm would still find a way into my skincare routine every evening without fail. In a world of endless self-care possibilities, I've found the physical act of massaging my face with soothing balms and the oils as they melt is a profoundly grounding and relaxing one.
The fact that the balms sweep away buildup, dead cells, and old makeup is just a bonus. Or at least it was before I met my new skincare soulmate, Naturium's new Purple Ginseng Cleansing Balm ($19). Really, it was love at first lather—or maybe it's endearment at first emulsification. Either way, my skin has never felt softer, proof that this balm will become one of this winter's must-have skincare products.
If you're familiar with Naturium, the science-focused, bestselling line from influencer and skincare expert Susan Yara, then my claims will come as no surprise. Since Naturium launched early last year, its lineup has earned a stellar reputation for its ingredient-first formulas—the brand's policy avoids any additives that don't actively benefit skin or facilitate the products' effectiveness.
In the case of this cleansing balm, that means no polyethylene glycols (a petroleum-based blend usually used to thicken product consistency), polyethylene (a microplastic that typically acts as a binding agent), or fragrance. While I appreciate a soothing scent as much as the next beauty lover when it comes to cleansers, I don't care if they smell like blueberry, strawberry, or my mom's Thanksgiving dinner—a nice consistency and solid efficacy are all that really matter.
"We didn't use any PEGs or polyethylene in this formula, whereas some brands choose to eliminate one or the other," Yara shared about the launch. "This was the number one request from my followers, so I took their feedback very seriously. If you're unfamiliar, these are the key ingredients in cleansing balms to emulsify and provide super clean rinse-off, so we had to tweak this formula several times to get it just right."
But what is included in the balm is equally essential. First, there's the name itself which suggests a heavy purple ginseng presence. Also known as polygonum bistorta, the adaptogenic plant root frequently used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and known for its natural astringent properties, is harnessed here for how it controls excessive oil. Combined with the other star ingredients like phytosterols (plant stanol esters that retain water and act as emollients) and moisturizing chia seed and jojoba oils, the balm finds a delicate balance between hydration-boosting and oil-controlling.
How To Use It
To use the Purple Ginseng Cleansing Balm, dip your clean, dry fingers (or use a sanitized, reusable scoop) to grab a generous amount of the creamy balm. Massage it into your dry face before adding a bit of warm water to get the paste to emulsify. From there, just rinse clean—and you could stop there. If I'm not wearing makeup, I've found that one cleanse is plenty. But, for a more heavy-duty clean, follow it up with another round of the balm or another oil-based cleanser.
This double-cleansing technique is crucial for spotless skin after a long day of makeup, sweat, touching our faces, and urban pollution. In my experience, though, there's no better time for some daily reflection (or just a good old-fashioned, slack-jawed zone-out) than when you're working this balm into your face. The baby-soft skin left behind is a pretty significant bonus, though.
Ginseng. In: Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). National Library of Medicine (US); 2006.