Hi guys! If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably seen at least one of my cleansing oil reviews. I really like comparing two different cleansing oils at once. This time, I’m reviewing the Dermalogica Precleanse and Precleanse Balm. Comparing two very similar products like these seems to make sense!
Dermalogica isn’t exactly an inexpensive brand. Both the oil and the balm retail for $45. I bought these a couple months ago, and I thought the oil was actually a little bit less expensive, at $40 or $42. A mini of the balm retails for $15, and a mini of the oil retails for $13.50 (again, I thought it was cheaper in the past at maybe $12). The Precleanse includes 5.1 oz of product while the Precleanse Balm includes only 3 oz, but also includes a silicone cleansing mitt. The mini Balm also includes the mitt – when I purchased these, I didn’t see an option to buy the balm without the mitt.
You can probably imagine that the two have very similar packaging. Dermalogica’s products are very consistently branded to begin with. So yes, they’re pretty standard white containers with gray accents and text. The boxes these came in are again very similar gray boxes with white text. Precleanse Balm includes a blue stream of water to denote freshness and cleanliness.
Also, Precleanse Balm is in a tube, the first I’ve seen for a balm (most are in tubs or tins). The first few times I used it, it took a lot of strength to push product out, but afterward it got easier. At times it may end up a little runny from heat. Precleanse is in a standard bottle with a pump. Most of the oils I’ve used that were at least about $20 included a ring to lock the bottle and prevent product from squirting out, but this lacks one. It seems a bit cheap with just a twisting lock, which I’ve come across in drugstore/affordable options. You also have to twist in what feels like the opposite way to lock it compared to all the others I’ve used before.
For Precleanse Balm:
You can easily tell that the oil version includes more oils higher up in the ingredient list. From what I’ve seen, balms usually need a lot more (non-oil) ingredients to get the right consistency. Precleanse includes 12 different oils and Precleanse Balm includes only 10 (one of which is hydrogenated vegetable oil). Neither includes mineral oil. Mineral oil is fairly controversial to some people, but I personally find that it makes for very thick and heavy-feeling cleansing oils.
Neither includes perfume/fragrance.
The two have very similar scents. They’re both these sort of soothing herbal scents with lemon, and the Precleanse Balm includes a more citrusy scent. It also is a bit sweeter and sharper. Precleanse is a little warmer and fresher. Neither of these include lemon oil, but there’s something about how the orange, grapefruit and mandarin orange mix with the herbal scents that reminds me of lemons. Either way, I really enjoy both scents. And a reminder: they don’t have added fragrance. You’re smelling only the scents of the ingredients.
I started without using the mitt for the balm. Normally I like spending a week of using one cleansing oil on one side of my face, and the other on the other side. But that’s hard to do with both of these. The littlest bit goes so far with both. I only need one pump of Precleanse for my entire face, and Precleanse Balm also only needs a little bit. I can squeeze out under half an inch of product and have more than enough for my face. For the price, stretching the product definitely is a good feeling!
Precleanse is runny and watery. I love these thinner cleansing oils. It’s thin enough to spread all over my face easily, and it doesn’t sink in and become hard to spread. Even with Precleanse Balm, though, it also spreads easily! I’ve tried a couple balms in the past (see this one on The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Balm) that just didn’t really spread. I thought I wouldn’t like this as much because of that. Very happy to be proven wrong!
I honestly don’t like the mitt. It’s really unnecessary. The balm melts through contact with the skin/body heat, and it’s a lot easier to rub your hands together to spread it. I’m also unsure which side to use (one side has larger bristles than the other) and the mitt doesn’t seem safe around the eyes for removing eye makeup. Plus then I have to rinse out the mitt, which is harder than it seems!
I really care about the emulsion – when the oil mixes with water and turns a milky white. The Precleanse Balm has a better emulsion. I’ve tried different amounts of water on my face, and have splashed and patted. It’s always better and so satisfying! Funnily enough, I loved the emulsion of the Precleanse a couple years ago when I got a sample of it. I don’t know if I’ve experienced more products that I liked more, or if ingredients changed, or if I just changed my technique over the years and couldn’t figure this out.
Despite that, both of these rinse off very easily. Precleanse may be a touch easier to rinse off. And unlike every other cleansing oil and balm I’ve tried, they’re both slightly stripping on my skin, especially in cooler months. Unfortunately Precleanse Balm also seems to irritate my eyes a bit, as well.
If you have the money for one of these, I’d suggest picking one up. I prefer the original Precleanse, as it’s a bit better for my eyes, but otherwise, I may actually prefer the Balm version.