Keep calm and use a balm
Life is full of mundane satisfying moments: the sound of opening a can of coke, sinking a makeshift paper ball into a bin, getting your inbox down to zero...but almost nothing is as satisfying to me than watching the city's grime, pollution and my own makeup melt off my face at the end of the day with an aid of a cleansing balm.
There is no product more effective at melting away your make-up than a balm cleanser buffed off with a hot cotton flannel - trust me, I wear a full face which includes Kat Von D's tattoo liner every single day (yes, even in quarantine).
Thanks to this love obsession with cleansing balms, my skincare shelf consists of two moisturisers (one for daytime, one for night), a facial oil, roughly 4-5 serums, an eye cream, SPF, three different exfoliators, a toner or two and approximately 23 cleansing balms. Most bought from my own curiosity, some gifted - it's safe to say I've tried my fair batch of cleansing balms.
But even with a wide variety of cleansers on my shelf, there's one that I return to time and time again: Soap & Glory's Glow Your Mind Cleansing Balm, €12.99.
I'll admit when I first got my hands on this cleanser, I was quick to judge it. No way could it compare to the pricier cleansing balms I'm used to nor would it be kind to my skin - but oh how I was wrong.
First things first, packaging. It's pretty basic and sticks to the brand's millennial colour palette which is perfect for anyone whose #shelfie aesthetic is minimalist. Not much to write home about but like everything in life - it's what's inside that counts.
Upon unscrewing the white lid for the first time, what I found inside the jar looked more like congealed candle wax (this texture soon disappears with use) than the creamy cleansing balms I'm used to. But as soon as I started massaging the unscented salve onto my pre-cleansed dry face, it emulsified into a smooth oil-like texture that magically melted away my KVD Vegan Beauty Tattoo Liner, full coverage foundation and neon pink eyeshadow without irritating my very sensitive lash line. When I added water, the consistency transformed yet again — this time into a milk that rinsed away to leave my skin soft, clean, and dewy, thanks to the nourishing blend of oils (avocado, jojoba, citrus lemon, and prunus armeniaca among them).
After using it, my typically dry combination skin feels clean, soft, and pillowy. Instead of stripping my skin's hydration, it markedly improves it for hours leaving a noticeable glow. My only complaint was that despite the hydration and the glow that comes with it, it takes a second cleanse (or in my case, a third) before makeup is truly removed. A fault I must take responsibility for given the sheer amount of makeup I wear.
Would I buy it again? Well, I already have - multiple times. While I'm often strayed away by newer, fancier cleansing balms, I always return back to Soap & Glory's Glow Your Mind Cleansing Balm whenever my skin is being problematic.
But don't just take my word for it - Michaella Bolder, one of the most in-demand facialists, tanning expert and skin finishers in the international beauty industry, counting Dame Helen Mirren, Elle MacPherson and the cast of Strictly Come Dancing as just some of her celebrity clients, is also a fan.
"If I were to go into quarantine with one beauty product only, it’d have to be Soap & Glory's Glow Your Mind Cleansing Balm. I could use it to remove my makeup or my SPF, I can go in for a second cleanse, it enables me to practice facial massage. It's also super hydrating so I could leave it on as a mask or use it as a day cream, it’s such a versatile product."
However, the only way you can judge is for yourself – find all things Soap & Glory on Boots' website here, including the now cult-favourite Glow Your Mind Cleansing balm.
For more of Michaella's skincare recommendations and beauty secrets, check out the full interview in the July/August issue of Irish Tatler magazine - on shelf now. Or read it digitally, here.
Main image by @soapandglory on Instagram