In a word, it's the balm.
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IT Cosmetics Makeup Cleansing Balm
Credit: Sephora

The thought of rubbing an oily balm all over my made-up face has never sounded appealing. It just seemed counterintuitive to my objective: squeaky clean skin, obviously. I imagined a gloppy mess that would repel water and result in no less than two washcloths being thrown in the hamper after all was said and done. Truly less than desirable. Against my instinct I gave IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup Cleansing Balm a try and did it ever pay off.

The three-in-one, makeup-removing balm melts away makeup on application. I take a swipe of it then gently begin spreading it over my face, including my eyes, using a circular motion. After about thirty seconds of working it all over my face, I grab a warm, wet washcloth and with a few gentle swipes every last trace of makeup is gone. Once my makeup is removed, I always follow up with a cotton pad soaked in micellar water (I'm really into Kiehl's Herbal-Infused Micellar Cleansing Water right now, but also love FRESH Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner when I need a little something extra). It's clear just how clean my skin is based on what that cotton pad looks like after I swipe it all over my face. A hint of gray or orange? My makeup remover and cleanser didn't quite cut it. That's not the case with Bye Bye Makeup. Every bit of makeup and residue is gone—even that hard-to-remove, no-budge liquid eyeliner I swear by.

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Beyond its skin-cleansing talents, Bye Bye Makeup works overtime to increase skin hydration and improve skin texture through IT Cosmetics' proprietary Skin-Softening Serum Concentrate. The formula includes a host of anti-aging power players including hyaluronic acid, collagen, and antioxidants that are equipped to leave skin feeling and looking more radiant and hydrated—and all of this from a makeup cleansing balm. If you want a big hit of hydration and are short on time, the balm can be used as a face mask. All it needs is a minute to work its magic.