Everything You Need To Know About Beauty's Balm Trend

Salves, ointments, multi-purpose creams, solid cleansers, balms — no matter what you call 'em, there's no denying that the beauty world is obsessed. And for good reason: Balms do it all, from highlighting to removing makeup to healing dry patches of skin.

But, like the famous balms of the past (yes, we're talking about BB and CC creams) they may leave you with questions — like, why do I need one? Or, what the heck they do? Or, how do they even work?

Don't worry, we're going to break it down for you. Ahead, everything you need to know about beauty balms, plus nine tried-and-true formulas.

1 of 13
The Details: In general, face balms are used two ways: As a protective layer that helps heal irritated and chapped skin and lips, and as a last step in makeup application for a variety of different looks. Luckily, most formulas will do both.

Keep in mind that these are often rooted in petroleum jelly or rich oil, so they can clog pores. This doesn't make them bad for skin; just be sure to cleanse your skin thoroughly before bed (which you should be doing anyway!).

How To Use: The most important thing you need to know about application: Dab, don't rub! Pat face balms into skin that's irritated or chapped using your ring finger. To use them in your makeup routine, simply pat over eye shadow for a glossy lid, on the top of cheekbones for a sparkle-free highlighter, or on lips to add shine to lipstick.

Best For: Dry, chapped, or irritated skin, as well as a last step to your beauty routine.
2 of 13
This cult classic needs no introduction. A bit thicker than petroleum jelly and just as reflective, you can create a glossy lid, highlighted cheeks, or high-shine lipstick with just a touch of product.
3 of 13
Glossier's formula is the perfect texture to highlight your cheeks and lips, even in bright daylight, thanks to its natural-looking sheen.
4 of 13
Nicole Richie's show-stopping red carpet look is all the proof you need that this brand new balm rules.
5 of 13
The Details: There isn't a huge difference between face and body balms, except the ones formulated for the body tend to have a less-greasy texture (which makes them easier to use on areas like elbows, cuticles, and hands) and heavier ingredients (like oil blends).

How To Use: You can use a body balm in place of any ointment, rich cream, oil (like a cuticle oil), lotion, or highlighter. Simply warm a dab between your fingers and pat or massage onto skin.

Best For: This one truly is great for anyone and anything; just dab on where needed.
6 of 13
It may be labeled as a cream, but pop off the top and you'll realize the consistency of this cult classic is far closer to a balm. With only six ingredients (olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, bee propolis), it's great for anyone looking for a natural formula.
7 of 13
This formula has the texture of a rich lip balm — hence the name — and works well to protect irritated skin, dry cuticles, and any other area on the body that needs moisture or a protective barrier.
8 of 13
Into earthy scents ? Koh Gen Do's formula is thick, nourishing, and has a soothing, natural, herbal fragrance. The base is olive fruit oil, which means it will melt into the skin. Plus, it's packed with squalane, beeswax, and a laundry list of assorted oils to protect skin.
9 of 13
The Details: If a cold cream and an oil cleanser had a baby, it would be a cleansing balm. The next-gen makeup remover/face cleanser hybrids are popping up in both the prestige and drugstore worlds because they swiftly remove makeup and clean the skin, all without over-drying.

How To Use:
Warm a dime-sized amount between dry hands; then, massage onto a dry face, focusing first on any areas that need the most makeup removal. The products will begin to emulsify. Then, add a little warm water as you massage more. Finally, just rinse clean and pat dry.

Best For: You can use it during a double cleanse to gently remove your makeup, or as your sole cleanser. Great for dry, irritated, and sensitive skin.

Keep clicking for three of our favorite formulas.
10 of 13
Hold onto your seats, folks. The famed makeup artist's rich and creamy balm can be used three ways: as a cleanser, a mask, or a balm. Dry skin can benefit from daily cleansing with this formula, or you can slick on a thin amount for an emergency mask, to soothe irritated skin and hydrate deeply overnight.
11 of 13
Whether you're on a budget or just don't like the idea of dipping your fingers into your cleanser, this Boots formula is for you. It dissolves makeup quickly and can be used without water for very dry skin.
12 of 13
The next-gen formula based on the brand's classic makeup remover, Clinique's gentle balm removes product and cleanses in one step. It rinses clean, making it great for any skin type.
13 of 13
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!