Banila Co,  first cleanse

Banila Co. Clean It Zero

the claim

The Banila Co. Clean It Zero balm is said to have a lightweight, soft, sorbet-like formula to provide quick and easy one-step cleansing, whisking away pore-clogging impurities without irritating skin. Suitable for all skin types and able to perfectly remove even heavy, tenacious makeup with the mild cleansing power of papaya extract.

Please note that since publishing this review, Banila Co has released a new version of this balm that is free of mineral oil.

the science

The Banila Co. cleansing balm uses Papaya Extract to naturally and gently exfoliate and remove skin impurities. Papaya has many documented benefits for the skin. It is high in antioxidant content (Vitamin A, C, E and carotenoids), assisting to reduce skin inflammation. Papayas also contain a powerful enzyme called Papain which when applied topically to the skin can provide a soothing radiance due to its gentle exfoliation. Additionally, papaya is known for its ability to moisturise and accelerate the skin’s healing process.

Other plant extracts are primarily introduced because of their healing, emollient and moisturizing properties and their ability to protect the skin barrier and restore its elasticity.

Mineral Oil is one of the main ingredients in this balm. It’s an ingredient that receives a lot of negative press, some claiming it clogs pores, others that it’s a carcinogen or serves no beneficial purpose in skincare. Mineral oil is a complex mixture of highly refined saturated hydrocarbons derived from petroleum to produce a high purity (cosmetic) grade oil, unlike those mineral oils used for industrial purposes. It is a common ingredient in skincare products because it is relatively inexpensive and has a natural ability to prevent moisture loss. There is no conclusive evidence that it is dangerous in skincare as it is highly refined and purified to a level considered safe for topical application.

Supporting ingredients are added to assist with product texture, preservation, emulsification and viscosity.
Clean It Zero texture

the ingredients

Mineral Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, PEG -10Isostearate, Polyethylene, Butylene Glycol, Water, Rubus Suavissimus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Viscum Album, (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinensis Root Extract, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Malpighia Glabra (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Epilobium, Angustifolium Leaf Extract, BHT, Butylparaben, CI 16255, CI 15985, Fragrance

the packaging

Clean It Zero packaging
The balm comes in a screw top plastic container, although it does give the impression of sleek glass. A plastic protective cap underneath the lid, covers the opening to protect the contents from spillage and also acts to contain a small plastic spatula for clean dispensing.

the analysis

Apart from an included common paraben, which may cause irritation or an allergic response, the CosDNA report is clean. Similarly, the paraben and fragrance raised red flags in the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database resulting in a fair rating of 5/10.
Clean It Zero CosDNA analysis

the application

Use the spatula (included) to scoop a small amount of the balm out and massage it over dry skin. Rinse skin with lukewarm water and pat dry.
Clean It Zero lid and spatula

the scent

This balm has a mild fruity fragrance.

the cost

The price for the 100g jar of Clean It Zero varies from store to store however, you can expect to pay around USD$20.00. There is also a larger 180ml size which is not as readily available. The balm additionally comes in four variations, targeting different skin types. These include the original (as reviewed here for all skin types), purity (sensitive skin), resveratrol (combination and oily skin with an emphasis on anti-ageing) and radiance (dry skin with a brightening effect). They all vary in price.

the availability

The Clean It Zero balm is widely sold online from eBay through to specialty Korean skincare stores such as Style Korean and iHerb.

the expiry

I couldn’t find an expiration date on the jar or it is in Korean. Either way, given the expected length of use, I don’t anticipate any problems using this product up well before it might spoil.

the performance

The Clean It Zero cleansing balm is a great alternative to cleansing oils. Its texture is definitely a winner as it minimizes mess, is easy to travel with and simplifies application. The product is very soft to touch and turns into liquid when applied and rubbed into the skin providing a gentle and satisfying sensation. It doesn’t liquefy to a point where it drips however, so consistency remains very usable. The scent is mild in strength, pleasantly fruity and dissipates quite quickly. As it is the result of added fragrance, it may be sensitizing to some so patch testing is recommended as always.

I have been using this in the evening as a first cleanse to remove any makeup, layers of sunscreen and general impurities and dirt that have collected throughout the day. Makeup literally melts off with very little encouragement. There is no need for rubbing or face cloths. The most stubborn makeup (such as waterproof mascara, staining long stay lipstick or eyeliner) simply disappears. Once it has completely dislodged, I add some warm water to emulsify the product and it rinses off cleanly without residue, leaving the skin feeling smooth and not at all dry or tight. It’s quite extraordinary how easy and effective this little tub of balm really is at fulfilling the Banila Co. claim.
Banila Co. Clean It Zero
If using this product to remove eye makeup, I strongly advise that you rinse thoroughly around the eyes as it can leave your sight cloudy for a while otherwise. It doesn’t irritate or sting your eyes, (at least I don’t have that reaction), but the blurred vision can be a little disconcerting. This is the only aspect of the product I would consider negative.

As far as longevity goes, my first jar lasted me around 3-4 months. Worth noting that I only apply light makeup most days, sometimes none at all so I don’t use it daily. On makeup free days, I usually apply a cleansing oil to remove impurities and sunscreen so I can save the Banila Co. for makeup removal.

the conclusion

There are quite a few balms on the market, however, this is definitely one of the more efficient, effective and economical cleansers. It is gentle and perfect as a first step in a double cleanse or as a makeup remover.

Update: Since reviewing this balm, a new version with a gentler, more EWG friendly formulation was released. Those with concerns about mineral oil should note, the 2018 version is free of this ingredient.

the summary

Pros Cons
Excellent makeup remover Only available online in Australia
Gentle Contains added fragrance and parabens
Cleans effectively without drying Leaves cloudy vision when used to remove eye makeup
Great travel item


the references

Ingredient Spotlight: Papaya Skin Care Benefits Astrida Naturals
Mineral Oil The Dermatology Review
Ingredient Dictionary Paula’s Choice Skincare


the disclaimer

Please read in context with my disclaimer.


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