theBalm Balms Away Eye Makeup Break-Up Review and A Lesson Learned

Balms Away - a solid eye makeup remover

Balms Away – a solid eye makeup remover

Due to the novelty of it being a solid cleanser and the fact that it was half-price during a theBalm sale, the Balms Away is an eye makeup remover I picked up during an online spree.

I’ve had my share of makeup removers and but this is my first solid one. Yup, solid makeup remover virgin here.

Retro packaging gets me every time

Lovely retro packaging

Retro packaging gets me every time.

Pack anything in a vintage-esque can, bag, box and I’m your old lady. What’s old is new again. I love it.

A peek inside

Lid off…

A closer look

…for a closer look

The formula itself is, unsurprisingly, a cake of balm. It looks solid and buttery but is softer than expected and more of a gel-like paste when scraped from the tin. On contact with the skin, it seems to somewhat ‘liquify’ into a silky spread. Obviously, this alchemy is to ensure it spreads on smoothly once in contact with your delicate eye area.

Experiment: Part 1 – On the Arm

To test Balms Away‘s efficacy as a eye makeup remover, I pulled some products from my stash for an experiment; making sure to include a mix of long-wear eye products as well a regular cosmetic product.

Test Subjects

Test Subjects

The lucky test subjects from left to right are my Koji Line Beat Waterproof Eyeliner, a Revlon Matte Balm crayon which isn’t eye makeup but has decent staying power, and a long-wear Clinique Lash Power Mascara.

I know Balms Away is an eye cosmetic remover but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to include some lip product for some interest…and colour.

I took a dollop of the balm onto a clean finger and proceeded to swipe it across the path of my artwork.

Like I said, the formula softens on contact with the warmth of human skin and takes on a smooth, silky consistency that’s like Vaseline Petroleum Jelly but perhaps, a little less greasy.

First stroke

First stroke

Balms Away had an instant impact on the Revlon Matte Balm but the other two products held on without so much as a wink. Expected, given that the other two are long-wear products.

Ten even strokes later…even the Clinique mascara starts to break down but the Koji liner is still giving me the evil eye. I’ll have to give credit to the Koji – it has impressive staying power as a liner and is one of my all-time favourite eye lining products. (You should try it!)

After about ten strokes with a finger

After about ten strokes with a finger…the waterproof eye is still staring back at me 😦

A couple of more finger rubs later, I gave up using my finger and finished the job with a couple of cotton squares. Even then, it takes some effort and if you take a closer look at the lower left side of my arm here, it has ended up a little red and raw after all the rubbing.

Better with cotton squares

The job’s done with cotton squares but my arm is feeling raw.

Now, the above demonstration was done on my arm and I don’t know if you have noticed, but many bloggers tend to test eye makeup removers on their arm or the back of their hand and leave it at that.

Not so fast. My experiment doesn’t end here because ultimately this product is designed as an eye makeup remover, so it feels necessary to test the product on an actual eye.

Experiment: Part 2 – On the Eye

I had my reservations and was a bit concerned that I would end up rubbing my eye area into the red but heck, the things I get up to for this blog.

Using the same Koji liner, I proceeded to draw the thickest, messiest line I have ever drawn across the entire perimeter of my eye. Just for fun, I added the thickest, ugliest wing I have ever attempted.

While doing so, I discovered that deliberately putting on a bad makeup is actually quite a fun thing to do. I need to do this more often. It’s liberating!

I then set to coating my lashes with a double coat of mascara and made an effort to make it extra clumpy and thick. I was tempted to include but left out the Revlon Matte Balm for the obvious reason that I don’t usually wear lip product around my eyes.

I looked ready for Halloween (which is convenient for this month) and I’ll spare you the graphic in case of shock but let me tell you, it was a good testing ground for the Balms Away removerMy Big Fat Quasimodo Eye.

Next, I grabbed a dollop of the Balms Away and smeared it across this Eye of the Day look. It helps to close your eyes before tacking on the Balms Away because it’s not really meant to be an eyeball cleanser…but if you do get some on the eyeball, it will be alright.

The product doesn’t irritate beyond letting you see the world in a slightly greasy haze until you blink or rinse it all out.

Anyway, I began by smearing that generous dollop of product in a circular motion around the eye area with my finger. I did this for a few seconds ( the Balms Away tin recommends 30 secs) and let me tell you, the makeup was already breaking up very well under the gentle rubbing of my finger alone.

I then proceeded to wipe the product away from the eye area with a piece of two-ply cotton square. Not the best quality kind either;  just your regular Watsons house brand rag because that’s all I can afford after buying imported beauty products like this.

You know what, it barely took more than 3 or 4 even strokes with the cotton and all the eye makeup was transferred to the cotton square.

So, what do you think about that?!

A Lesson Learned

I have no idea why the product performs better on the eye than the arm but maybe it’s the obvious answer – Balms Away is an eye makeup remover and actually does the job in this area very well.

As for removing the same type of makeup from the arm, however, forget about it. Sore arm!

The varying performance of this same product on the same cosmetics applied to two very different areas of the body baffles me and the only conclusion I can make is that the product somehow works well in conjunction with the existing oils or whatever moistness that is present in and around my eye area to break down the cosmetics for removal. I don’t know, what do you think?

The lesson I learned from today’s experiment was that testing eye makeup remover on the back of your hand or wrist will not accurately evaluate the performance of the same remover on the eye.

Which then beggars me to question whether it is ever going to be a relevant review of an eye makeup product for a reviewer to demonstrate eye makeup remover not on the eyes but on the back of their hand, for example, and coming to a conclusion.

Anyway, here’s a summary of the Pros & Cons of the Balms Away.


+ Inexpensive

+ Generously-sized. Each unit is about the size of my palm. 64g of product.

+ Scentless

+ Colourless

+ Paraben-free

+ Alcohol-free

+ The waxy formula is based on mineral oil and petroleum so it feels emollient and doesn’t  drying the seem to dry out the skin

+ Lovely retro packaging

+ The solid formula lives in a sturdy metal tin that is convenient for travel

+ Claims to be fortified with Vitamins A, C, E & plant-derived lipids

+ Works effectively as an eye makeup remover without much effort but will encourage you to run your arm raw if you plan to use it as a makeup remover to take products off your arm.


+ Leaves a greasy film on the skin. Don’t expect to use this to correct a makeup mistake and be able to reapply in the same spot because your skin will be slippery and not be able to take up anymore eye makeup without getting rid of this waxy residue. Not advised for situations where makeup may need to be taken off and reapplied again quickly e.g. backstage at a fashion show/ photoshoot

+ Doesn’t tackle waterproof/ long-wear products very well on the arm but removes them from the delicate eye area very adequately

+ On the other hand, it takes a lot of elbow grease to completely remove more stubborn makeup formulas from the arm should you choose to use it there. My arm felt really raw after all the rubbing.

+ Can’t buy it locally

+ Contains mineral oil as the first ingredient. This is a popular beauty ingredient but there are claims it only offers a cosmetic moisturising effect to the skin and actually suffocates pores and causes the development of unsightly skin growths like milia tags, for example.

On that final point, here are links to some interesting articles about mineral oil in skin products so you can decide for yourself whether you find this an agreeable ingredient or not.

By all means these links are not exhaustive. Do research further if you aren’t convinced, either way.

Why Does Mineral Oil Have Such A Bad Reputation?

Paula Begoun on Mineral Oil

Why is Mineral Oil Bad For You?

Product Ingredients

  • Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil)
  • Octyldodecanol
  • Petroleum
  • Ceresin
  • Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax)
  • Tetrahexylldecyl Ascorbate
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Rentinyl Palmitate
  • Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride,
  • Linoleic Acid,
  • Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols,
  • Phospholipds
The Recipe

The Balms Away Ingredient List

Final Words

 This review has really opened my eyes (pardon the pun) to the need to test products where they are meant to be used.

As for how I feel about this Balms Away, I think it is a really handy eye makeup remover for travel purposes or when you are physically on the go (in a car, for example) and don’t want to fiddle with messy liquid removers.

In saying that, I don’t enjoy the waxy sensation left around my naturally oily lids when I use this remover and I hate that some of it does get into my eyes and blurs my vision (albeit without irritation).

The packaging is cute and retro and there’s a clever little indentation to one side of the tin’s lid that enables it to lift up easily;  providing a welcome innovation from actual vintage tin packaging that can take all night and several broken fingernails to pry open.

When it comes down to it, this was a novel experience for me but I’m going to stick with my usual liquid removers for when I am at home because I think they are more comfortable for my delicate eye area.

I’m also not keen on the fact that there’s plenty of mineral oil in this product but am aware that this ingredient is used in many, many health and beauty products too so it’s difficult to avoid.

I’m going to continue using this Balms Away but infrequently; either keeping it in my purse for emergency remover situations or for when I travel and can’t be bothered with lugging another liquid product along.

Big Portions

Big Portions

So, what do you think? Have you ever tested your eye makeup remover on another part of the body instead of the eye and found that the product’s performance varied quite significantly?

Further to that, have you come across product reviews where a product was not tested where it should have been used but a conclusion was already drawn about it’s supposed efficacy (or lack thereof)?

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 [Notes: This product was purchased my me. This review is my personal experience and opinion of the product. Consider at your own risk. All links are non-affiliate and for information purposes only. Photos contained herein remain the property of me and may not be used without permission and a credit link back to this blog.]









  1. That’s strange the product has different efficacy on the arm and eyes. I don’t like the sound of petroleum but at least it doesn’t have paraben. Today I happened to enquire about SK II masks and found out that they have paraben too. Paraben and dimethicone are big no nos for me.

  2. @KJ: I was surprised with the results but it just goes to show that we can’t draw our conclusions too early about beauty products especially if we aren’t using them as intended.
    *sighs* It’s getting extremely hard to avoid ingredients like parabens, silicones, alcohol, mineral oils, etc
    I’m finding it difficult to draw the line and would end up tossing away 95% of my beauty stash if I was pedantic about this so I just cross my fingers and pray not to break out but I’m proud of you for having the conviction to say NO to what you won’t tolerate. By the way, those SKII masks aren’t cheap!
    I did attend a Tarte Cosmetics workshop today and apparently they are one of those rare brands with none of those ingredient nasties so you might want to look into their products.

  3. So i need to see you with two coats of mascara on… and not just on Halloween. But on a more serious note, I’ve never tried a solid make up remover before. From the first picture it initially looked like my tub of L-Occitane Lip Balm and then when you compared it with your palm, whoa that’s one big baby. I’m going to have this one a second and longer look when my current stash of Miscellar water runs out.

    And oh, BTW Eye ❤ U too!!!

  4. @ Sharonsree: I need mascara more than any of you – I have the shortest lashes. Please help me get out of my comfort zone.

    I know, the Balms Away is one big baby! I think it is more effective on waterproof product than miscellar water on the eye but it’s goopy and some of it inevitably gets onto my eyeballs *ick* and my vision is blurred. Other than that, it is fantastic at breaking down the makeup on the eye.
    I find I always need something stronger for the tough eye jobs. Still hate taking off eye makeup *sigh*
    P.S. You got my not-so-hidden message lol

  5. I’ve mostly been on the lookout for parabens and silicones in skin care and not so much on alcohols and petroleum ingredients. Maybe I should ! Google every single ingredient before I buy a product!
    I first started moving away from silicones was when I tried this jade-green bottled serum from Estée Lauder (pore minimizing range). My friend had fantastic smooth skin with minimal pores using it and straight away I bought myself one. It was great for 2 months then I had breakouts… Now I think About it , it could have been any ingredient causing the breakout but somehow I’ve pinned the blame on dimethicone and moved away from it ever since.
    In fact – I am doing that for shampoo as well. No paraben, no sulphates , and no silicone. My hair is less oily , less hair fall too. Aveda ‘s shampoo is excellent but it a burning a hole in my pocket. I guess as we get older , our maintenance cost rises !
    Are you going to review Tarte Cosmetics ? Would be good info 🙂

  6. @ KJ: I’ve definitely been more attentive to product ingredients since I started writing about beauty but I try not to be too much of a purist because it just makes me panic and want to throw out the proverbial baby with all the bath water. I suppose the most ‘natural’ beauty product would have to be water – for drinking and washing – but even that would have trace metals and all sorts of unseen things that might not be great for us if we got down to it. There’s a line I have to draw and for me, that line begins where a break out/ sensitive skin reaction begins.

    I’ve heard Aveda is excellent and have been meaning to try their products. They also offer quite a holistic spa experience for the head and hair at some of their salons. Not cheap but very good is what everyone seems to be saying.
    Sure, I’ll get around to reviewing Tarte. It’s a fun brand sans parabens and many of those other things that aren’t great for us. I’m just hoping to grab a few items from their Christmas released before I go on a Tarte review binge.

  7. I remember seeing the Aveda spa somehwere but I don’t recall which mall. I’ve also just recently discovered there is a Phyto spa at Publika, happy hour too from 8 pm – 10 pm for scalp treatment at RM 55, I think I am going to try that 🙂

  8. @ KJ: Happy Hour for hair? That’s pretty cool. I know Phyto is a botanical hair care brand too.
    I believe Aveda has spas at Pavilion and Nu Sentral and I think there may be an outlet at 1 Utama. A blogger friend of mine told me she had the most amazing hair treatment experience at Aveda’s Nu Sentral outlet for a song, around Rm80 for about three hours of pampering! We should look into that.

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