Softer skin after cleansing
Byrdie clean and environmentally friendly
Gentle exfoliation that won’t dry out
Product doesn’t feel removed with water alone
Applicator required for use
Farmacy Clearly Clean Cleansing Balm
We put the Farmacy Clearly Clean Cleansing Balm to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
As someone with sensitive skin, I've found that a good face wash is especially tricky to navigate. Most formulas, and most interactions with warm water, don’t bode well for my skin. But when I heard that Farmacy Beauty made a fragrance-free formula especially for sensitive skin types like mine, without any harsh chemicals or toxic ingredients that would potentially irritate or dry out my skin, I was eager to give it a try. Plus, New York City-based dermatologist Rachel Nazarian offers some tips for sensitive skin. Spoiler alert: my skin has never felt softer.
Rachel Nazarian MD FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai’s Department of Dermatology in New York
Keep reading for my honest review of Farmacy Beauty’s Clearly Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm.
Best for: Sensitive skin
Uses: Cleansing and makeup removal
Active ingredients: Moringa seed, papaya extract, sunflower seed oil
Byrdie Clean: Yes
Price: $22 for 1.7 oz., $34 for 3.4 oz.
About the brand: Farmacy Beauty creates clean, environmentally conscious skincare products using farm-sourced ingredients. Since 2018, they have been planting their seeds of sustainability with goals of zero-waste packaging, conflict-free ingredients, and minimized non-virgin material all within their first five years as a company.
About My Skin: Sensitive and dry
When I’m sick, stressed, or encountering a food allergy or intolerance, my skin is the first one to let me know. My eczema-prone skin needs special detergents and soaps, can’t interact with a lot of water, and uses three types of moisturizer twice a day. Needless to say, my skin is pretty high maintenance.
When it comes to my face, I rarely wear makeup because washing it off with anything besides a splash of cold water could backfire and leave me with extremely dry, parched skin. Currently, I use this Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser from Grown Alchemist and it does a lovely job of leaving my sensitive skin refreshed and getting my minimal makeup off in one easy rinse. Plus, I like that its formula is clean by Byrdie’s standards, similar to the one from Farmacy Beauty.
The Feel: Wax that turns to oil
Clearly Clean Cleansing Balm looks and feels like a tub of wax. But once you scoop that waxy product out and begin to rub it between your fingers and onto your face, it instantly melts into a thick, oily texture.
The oil is gentle enough to rub over mascara-coated lashes and heavy lip tints without feeling heavy.
And while it feels impossible to get off while rinsing with water, there’s no residual or filmy layer left behind once you wipe your face with a towel.
The Packaging: Spatula dispenser
Because this product starts in that wax-like state, a spatula dispenser is included to help scoop it out into your hands. It’s very straightforward and easy-to-use, but I don’t have much counter space in my shared bathroom. Taking the dispenser out, scooping the product out into my hands, and using my other hand to try and put the pieces back together always struck me as a bit of a hindrance. I like my routines to be minimal and efficient.
The Ingredients: Conscious and clean for sensitive skin types
The main ingredients in this cleansing balm include moringa seed, papaya enzyme, and sunflower seed oil. While they all sound clean and “natural,” I didn’t understand firsthand what benefits these ingredients could offer to sensitive skin types like my own. I tapped Dr. Rachel Nazarian to break down those perks for me so I could better understand what we eczema-prone need to be on the lookout for with facial cleansers.
When shopping for any facial cleanser or makeup remover, Dr. Nazarian suggests that sensitive skin types avoid strong cleansers “with beads or scrubs, or ingredients that are more acidic or basic than normal skin pH. These factors could disrupt your natural skin pH and cause irritated, itchy, inflamed skin, triggering underlying conditions such as eczema and rosacea.” And it’s always best, she tells us, to “test out a new product on a discreet location of your body, looking for signs of allergy or irritation, before using on your face.”
While “clean beauty” products aren’t completely regulated at this point, Dr. Nazarian recommends looking for labels that say “hypoallergenic” when catering to sensitive skin types because even the most natural ingredients can be irritating. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with this formula’s big three. “Moringa seed is calming and has anti-inflammatory properties, which are great for sensitive skin!” she says. And due to papaya enzymes’ antimicrobial activity, “there is evidence showing it to improve skin tone through its exfoliation properties.” That’s right, my fellow sensitive skin types: We, too, can enjoy the perks of the so frequently avoided “exfoliation” thanks to this ingredient.
Sunflower seed oils are hydrating and possess other great benefits. “[Sunflower seed oils] have the potential to calm and prevent eczema flares,” she tells us. So if the paraben-, phthalate-, formaldehyde donor-, synthetic fragrance-, mineral oil- and cruelty-free labels aren’t enough to lure you into Farmacy’s claim to clean beauty, let their farm-sourced ingredients prove that even sensitive skin types can experience luxurious, cleansing perks with this makeup removing balm.
The Results: Softer skin
The most impressive result I experienced while using the Clearly Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm was how soft my skin felt immediately after use. It is recommended (as with most face washes) to be rinsed off with warm water, but my skin can only safely and comfortably encounter cold water, and that temperature seemed as though it required a little extra effort to rinse off. The oily balm coating never felt like it was fully off my face until I stopped rinsing with water and wiped my face clean with a towel. After it all, my skin felt incredibly soft to the touch and that generous feeling lasted till morning.
The Value: Long-term impacts
In my experience, even the most highly praised drugstore face washes that cater to sensitive skin have not done me any favors. Typically, the budget-friendly options on the market leave my face parched and dried out like a prune. So I’ve always had to spend a little extra, in the $30 to $40 range, for just about any skincare product I choose to put on my face (hence, I don’t wear much!). I don’t believe that the price tag always equates to quality, but in this case, at $34 for 100 milliliters, I’d say it’s true. You don’t get much quantity, but the quality you get is hard to beat.
There are long-term benefits from this formula that you will see for your skin—and also for the planet.
I believe with the clean ingredients and conscious sourcing and packaging from Farmacy Beauty, you’re getting so much more than the perks of soft, clean skin. And that, to me, is worth every penny.
Similar Products: You’ve got options
Grown Alchemist Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser ($39): This is the face wash I was using before the Clearly Cleansing Balm. It is extremely gentle, leaving the skin calm and cleansed thanks to botanical, clean ingredients like aloe vera, willow bark, rose, chamomile, and bergamot. My favorite part is how easy it is to dispense. It comes in a bottle with a pump dispenser, which isn’t as ecologically thoughtful as Farmacy’s products but is much easier to use. For $5 more, you’re also getting twice the amount of cleanser. But as Dr. Nazarian stated above, if you’re extremely cautious around scents and certain ingredients (natural or not), it may be best to go with something hypoallergenic, or something like the Farmacy Beauty Cleansing Balm that is entirely unscented.
Drunk Elephant’s Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser ($32): Here’s another gentle cleanser that's great for sensitive skin and will remove makeup and impurities at the end of each day. This formula is known for reducing concerns of redness, but it's not so great for sensitive skin on the dry side of the dry-oily spectrum. It’s free of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), silicones, essential oils, and fragrances and also uses recyclable packaging, making a positive difference in consumer behavior for our planet.
Overall, I think Farmacy Beauty’s Clearly Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm is an excellent daily cleanser for sensitive skin types. It provides extra perks like exfoliation that we sensitive skin types don’t normally get to indulge in. The balm is effective at removing even the most stubborn makeup products and will leave your skin incredibly soft to the touch. The fact that Farmacy's ingredients are Byrdie clean and every facet of their company is so environmentally conscious only adds to my love for this item. I’d suggest you try it right away.
- Product Name Clearly Clean Cleansing Balm
- Product Brand Farmacy
- Price $34
- Weight 3.4 oz.
- Ingredients Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Synthetic Wax, Coco-caprylate/caprate, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Polyglyceryl-6 Dicaprate, Sorbitan Oleate Decylglucoside Crosspolymer, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Moringa Oleifera Seed Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Moringa Oleifera Leaf Water, Pentylene Glycol, Gluconolactone, Polyglyceryl-6 Oleate, Glyceryl Citrate/lactate/linoleate/oleate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Potassium Olivate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Polyglyceryl-3 Caprate, Polyglyceryl-4 Cocoate, Sodium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Water/aqua/eau, Sodium Benzoate, Maltodextrin, Glyceryl Laurate