Miracle worker is not a term we use lightly. Much of our time at Byrdie HQ is spent testing out some of the most buzzed-about products and treatments, and while many of them are great—even amazing—few are downright magical. Yet there’s an oft-overlooked product that really is the stuff of miracles. Oil-based salves and beauty balms (not to be confused with BB creams) can do it all: Tame flyaways and unruly brows? Yes and yes. Turn powder blush into a creamy, sheer color? Absolutely. Hydrate and soothe the most dry, chapped skin?
Of course, salve is not exactly new: Smith’s cult-classic Rosebud Salve has been around since 1982, after all. But after years of putting that stuff on everything—lips, cuticles, elbows, you name it—it seems like the rest of the beauty industry has finally caught on, and now we suddenly have our pick of salves and balms galore. And when you consider the minimalist, low-key beauty look that’s sweeping the runways this fashion month and check out all the things you can do with balms below, you might realize that your makeup bag really only needs to be one product deep.
Keep reading to discover 11 brilliant uses for balm!
We like removing our waterproof mascara with balm before tackling the rest of our face with traditional cleanser, since the former gently removes every last bit without any scrubbing or tugging, while hydrating that delicate, wrinkle-prone skin around the eyes.
Pictured: One Love Organics Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm ($49)
…or elbows, or any other particularly dry area.
Pictured: Jurlique Rose Love Balm ($10)
Or just keep a hydrated pout in check—Smith’s pink-tinted formula offers the perfect wash of color, to boot.
Pictured: Rosebud Perfume Company Smith’s Rosebud Salve ($6)
Add just a touch of balm to your fingertips and smooth that unruly hair down.
Pictured: Earth tu Face Face Balm ($68)
Step 1: Slather your heels in balm. Step 2: Put on your softest socks. Step 3: Go to bed. Step 4: Wake up to your softest feet ever.
Pictured: Poppy and Someday Sunshine Daydream Salve ($32)
You’d be amazed at the difference nourished eyelashes make, in both bare appearance and for mascara application. As for brows, the hold of a balm is more forgiving than a gel—and it adds mega definition.
Pictured: Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Oil Balm ($35)
As we learned at New York Fashion Week, glossing up cheek and brow bones is the new way to highlight—and it makes skin look so dewy and fresh.
Pictured: Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm ($63)
Another NYFW favorite. Go clear, or mix with powdered shadow for a colorful take.
Pictured: Glossier Balm Dotcom ($12)
This one is especially key for the cold, windy days ahead: The best remedy is covering your face in a nourishing formula before bed and letting it sink in while you sleep. Kiss angry red patches and dryness goodbye.
Pictured: May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon ($160)
To illuminate, hydrate, and add a wash of color all at once, simply mix some balm with powder blush and smooth it over your cheeks. We told you it was a multitasker!
Pictured: RMS Beauty Organic Lip and Skin Balm ($25)
Did we miss a great use for balm or salve? Tell us your favorite way to use it in the comments below!