It Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Melting Makeup Cleansing Balm

Don’t you HATE it when you find a product you really love, but it’s stupidly expensive?
Yeah, today’s post is one of those.

As has been previously noted, my skin is cruelly dry and obnoxiously sensitive. That’s why I’ve been using CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for years; it does a fantastic job removing makeup and cleansing my skin without leaving it tight, stripped, or irritated. I just squirt a couple of pumps into my hands, apply it thickly it all over my face, wait a minute or two, massage, and rinse. Works great. Unfortunately, my skin has gotten to the point at which even CeraVe — yes, that darling of dermatologists — BURNS. It takes a few seconds before my face feels like it’s caught fire, though. I can wash with it, I just can’t let it sit on my face long enough to dissolve my makeup.


I figured if I could find something for the ‘makeup removal’ portion, I could keep using my CeraVe for the “clean it all off” bit. So I shopped around for a cleansing balm, and decided on the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Melting Makeup Cleansing Balm. Admittedly, the company’s claims are a tad hyperbolic:

“Bye Bye Makeup™ is your revolutionary fast-acting cleanser, makeup remover and anti-aging serum all in one step! Developed with plastic surgeons, this sulfate-free formula infuses your skin with deep-cleansing extracts and botanicals to completely remove all traces of makeup and impurities without drying or irritation. At the same time, proprietary Skin-Softening Serum Concentrate™ is activated on contact, providing a soft barrier of moisture that helps ward off free-radicals and pollutants for healthier, younger-looking results.

Perfect for all skin types, even the most sensitive, Bye Bye Makeup™ takes it all off (without stripping)—and leaves your skin instantly hydrated and supple!”

Did I buy it expecting a ‘revolutionary’ cleanser that would also magically be an ‘anti-aging serum’? No. But I liked the look of the ingredients (it contains oodles of hydrating stuff, and zero coconut oil).

So what’s it like? It smells like oil, and very faintly of citrus (less so than my HG It Cosmetics CC+ Cream, so I’m guessing there’s proportionately less citrus oil in there?). The texture is initially quite firm, but past the surface layer it’s a bit more squishy. I scoop up a thick lump with my finger (slightly larger than a chickpea — a hazelnut? How big are hazelnuts? Probably smaller than a hazelnut) and spread it all over my face. As it comes in contact with the warmth of my skin, it melts into a balmy oil. I just massage a little, add water, and rinse with a wet washcloth — easy peasy lemon squeezy. Worth noting: it did a good enough job removing mascara and other eye makeup, but it left my contacts foggy. (So does every other face cleanser I’ve tried, which is why I always use an eye makeup remover for my mascara.)

Next, the second half of the cleanse —

Psych! You don’t need to do a two-step with this!

Seriously — when I emulsified and rinsed the cleansing balm, there was NO residue. My skin just felt unusually soft and hydrated. (And clean! I swiped after with a toner and cotton pad, just to see if there was any gunk left. Nope!) The same thing happened the next night, and the next night, and the next. Now, Bertrand Russell would say that my inductive reasoning (“if I have washed my skin with this for five nights in a row with the same result, I can reasonably project that it will behave similarly in the future”) is fallacious, but no one likes Bertrand Russell. I’m going to conclude that this balm will, in fact, leave skin clean and soft with continued use.

Aw, sad Bertrand Russell. I’m sorry, Russell. I didn’t mean it. Some people like you. [Ed. : I do! ♥ U, BERTRAND.]
Now, is this stuff going to keep you from aging? Eh, probably not. Cleansers don’t stay in contact with your skin for long, so unless there’s an anti-aging ingredient that penetrates very very quickly, your skin isn’t going to see a ton of difference from using it. (That doesn’t mean it won’t make an incremental difference over time, just that you shouldn’t expect miracles.) Plus, y’know, jar packaging. But this does a fabulous job as a hydrating cleanser, which is what I was hoping for.

In conclusion, I love this stuff. But …


I expect this will only last me six weeks at most. At that rate, there is NO WAY I would continue buying this. $38 a pop [Ed. : it’s currently $32.95 plus almost $5 shipping on Amazon, or $38 on Sephora]? That’s almost $1 a day! No! That is absurd! Even at $18 (what I paid for mine), I’d be pretty hesitant to repurchase. (By comparison, a bottle of CeraVe hydrating cleanser gets me a few months’ worth of twice-daily use, and it’s only $10 on Amazon.) Why do I refuse to spend a lot of money on cleanser while I’ll willingly splurge on a good mask or serum? Because most of the stuff in a cleanser goes down the drain, not into my skin. It’s ~Science~.

Anyway, now I’m on the hunt for a cheaper cleansing balm that works as well as this one. I’ve got some stuff on the way from Banila Co (the OG cleansing balm), and am going to pull the trigger on a few options from Ulta and Sephora. My greatest fear is that this one-step balm is a rare unicorn; from what I hear, most cleansing balms have residual gunk that necessitates a second cleanse. I am lazy, so I prefer a single cleanse.

Help a girl out — do you have any cleansing balms you love? Preferably NOT $38/2.82oz? I’m not a huge fan of cleansing oil (messier application and messier rinsing, in my experience).