Instant Cleansing Balm
Good Molecules’ Instant Cleansing Balm is a solid-to-oil cleanser that has a lot going for it, but some questionable ingredients in the formula mean it’s best to pass this one up.
This is housed in a jar, and its packaging includes a scoop to use for the balm (a thoughtful touch). Though it’s not the most hygienic type of packaging for this product, it’s not as much of an issue here, since this is not water-based, and water-based formulas are more susceptible to bacterial contamination.
This balm starts out solid, then melts in the warmth of your hands. We have to point out that when compared with other cleansing balms we’ve tested, this one takes a little extra manipulation to truly melt down. Its rich, emollient texture is best for normal to dry skin.
We found this does a good job cleansing skin, as well as removing most kinds of makeup. It also rinses cleanly, leaving skin feeling softer and smoother without any greasy residue.
That skin-softening effect is provided by shea butter, plus a couple of non-fragrant plant oils. But a few other oils included are not good, because they can cause irritation. The geranium flower and ylang ylang oils in the formula have the potential to irritate skin and eyes, especially when used on a frequent basis (see More Info for details).
Skip this, and choose instead a more gently-formulated option that you’ll find on our list of best cleansers.
- Does a good job cleansing skin.
- Easily removes most makeup.
- Rinses cleanly while leaving skin feeling softer and smoother.
- Includes fragrant geranium and ylang ylang oils, which can irritate skin.
- Packaged in a jar, which isn’t the most hygienic option.
Irritating Ingredients: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, and/or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these irritating ingredients is a major way we unwittingly do our skin a disservice!
Irritating ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems, such as redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increased oil production, and clogged pores, and they contribute to making signs of aging worse.
Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin, without any volatile ingredients, such as those present in fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic.
A surprising fact: Research has demonstrated that you do not need to see or feel the effects of irritants on your skin for your skin to be suffering, and visible damage may not become apparent for a long time. Don’t get lulled into thinking that if you don’t see or feel signs of irritation, everything is OK.
Generally, it’s best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that are known to irritate skin. There are many completely non-irritating products that contain effective ingredients, so there’s no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.
References for this information:
Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, pages 28–36
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, pages 379–385
Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 257–262
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Melt away makeup and impurities with this nourishing cleansing balm that rinses without greasy residue.
Good Molecules is the house skin care brand of online retailer Beautylish. Beautylish got its start in 2010 in San Francisco and features articles on makeup and skin care topics, community reviews and feedback, and of course sells beauty products from a variety of brands.
Good Molecules launched in 2019 because the team behind Beautylish wanted to create a skin care company that focused on effective ingredients with a bargain price, not unlike the line’s most direct competitor, The Ordinary, which Beautylish also sells.
To that end, Good Molecules focuses on a small core of booster and treatment-like products, some being notably better than others. Just like The Ordinary, some of the formulas are one-note (focusing on a single ingredient or a pair of ingredients, instead of offering a more well-rounded option). This isn’t what research has shown is best for skin any more than eating only one healthy food would be a wise dietary choice; however, at these prices, some of these one-note products can make a nice addition to a great skin care routine.
Another concern is that almost all of the packaging is in bottles that need to be stored out of light to protect their ingredients. And we’re not thrilled that one or two products include citrus ingredients known to be irritating and the drying type of alcohol. Unlike many of the options from The Ordinary, however, the textures of the Good Molecules products are generally quite nice and layer well.
Still, the line’s philosophy is solid and there are some worthy entries, as long as you keep your expectations realistic (a single ingredient isn’t the solution to any skin concern). For more information about Good Molecules, visit https://www.beautylish.com/b/good-molecules.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.