I use Korea’s Best-Selling Cleansing Balm and YES — it’s worth the hype (Review)

Ladies, I’m calling it. Banila Co’s Clean It Zero is my HG cleanser.


Clean It Zero has cult status in Korea and was popularised after a blind test on the nation’s top beauty show ‘Get It Beauty‘ found it to be the most powerful oil-based cleanser.

I first came across Clean It Zero many years ago on a humid Seoul night. Stranded at my cousin’s house without a cleanser, I desperately raided her medicine cabinet (which was teeming with delightful skincare concoctions) and after a little nosing, spotted this pretty little balm. I heaped it on my face and was immediately converted. What was this magical balm that seemed to melt away even my most stubborn makeup? I had to have it. I immediately went out and bought my own little pink tub and began to relish cleansing in a ritualistic, meditative way.

But then I stopped using it when I moved to Melbourne in 2013 and Banila Co’s tub of goodness wasn’t available. I started using Shu Uemura’s cleansing oil instead (another excellent cleanser). However, after a recent unfortunate accident involving major oil spillage on a flight, I decided it was time to go back to my trusty Banila Co, and ordered the product online. Clean It Zero is an exceptional travel buddy as it has a light, plastic container (although it may look like frosted glass).


This solid balm contains papaya extract, which is a wonderful exfoliant that will gently remove your dead skin cells so they don’t clog up your pores. Like most of the products I favour, this one is chock full of antioxidant goodness with acerola, raspberry leaf extract and bamboo stem extract. Seriously, if you don’t have bamboo in your skincare routine, you need to get it. It’s not only a wonderful antioxidant, but also a great humectant and blocks melanin to even out any dark spots worsened by the sun.

Now for a few trickier ingredients, Clean It Zero does contain mineral oil (there are pros and cons to this ingredient — for more information, click here) so for those of you who are sensitive to this ingredient, I would recommend Clean It Zero Purity, which does not include mineral oil as it is designed for sensitive skin. I have used this version and it is just as effective as the original Clean It Zero at removing the war paint.

Clean It Zero also contains a small amount of fragrance. It is not strong but if you want to be extra cautious — again, consider the Clean It Zero Purity, which has no fragrance.


For those who are wary of tubs and dipping their fingers, the Clean It Zero comes with a convenient spatula so you don’t have to dig in with your nails (ewww!). Scoop a generous amount onto your face, and as you gently massage it into your skin, you’ll feel it transform from a velvety balm into the silkiest of oils, melting away all your makeup. You can then wash the oil off with some lukewarm water.


This will seriously remove all your makeup. I always use a little witch hazel after my second cleanser and before my actual toner to check if all makeup has been removed, and Clean It Zero is the only cleanser that doesn’t leave even a smidge of makeup.

Also, something must be said for its sheer enjoyability of application. Skincare is meant to be a little indulgent, right?

After a minute of massaging, the oil is washed off and all makeup is gone

The only con for this amazing product? If it gets into your eyes, it clouds your vision for a minute (not stinging, just cloudy). I tend to use a separate eye makeup remover anyway, but I am especially careful not to use this product too close to my eyes.


Would I recommend this product? Absolutely! If you have normal, dry or combination skin, this is the baby to buy. However, if you have sensitive skin, I’d recommend the aforementioned Clean It Purity, and if you have oily skin, Clean It Resveratrol. It’s also pretty moderately priced compared to a lot of other oil cleansers on the market (I’m looking at you, Shu Uemura!).

I’d love to know if you have an HG cleanser and if you’ve tried the Banila Co Clean it Zero! Share your thoughts in the comment section below and if you’d like more on K-beauty, subscribe to the Yeon & Bee mailing list in the box above (desktop)/ below (mobile).

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