Forget hovering over the sink at night scrubbing off mascara when you’d rather be in bed: There’s no easier—or more relaxing—way to wash your face at night than with a hot cloth cleanser. Generally formulated as a cream or oil-based balm rather than a foaming wash, these cleansers dissolve makeup (yes, even waterproof mascara) and impurities on their own, but it’s the addition of a warm, damp cloth that makes all the difference.
After massaging the cleanser all over your face, you run the cloth, which is usually included with the cleanser, under water (for a steaming effect, you can go super-hot, or for a more refreshing feeling, you can go cool), then wring it out. You can “tent” the warm cloth over your face to open your pores if you wish, but the key is using it in gentle circular motions to exfoliate while removing every last trace of makeup.
Hot cloth cleansing is ridiculously simple and leaves skin feeling cleaner than ever, without the tight, “squeaky clean” feeling other cleansers can sometimes impart. That’s why we prefer it as an alternative to the cleansing wipe for late nights, or any other time when splashing water on your face is less than desirable. These cleansers leave the skin feeling so soft and balanced that failing to follow up with a serum and moisturizer doesn’t feel like the deadliest sin. They’re also formulated to be both gentle and deep-cleansing, which makes them suitable for every skin type, from the most sensitive to the most blemish-prone.
You won’t find them at your local drugstore, but hot cloth cleansers are growing in popularity, which thankfully means there are a number of different formulas and price points to choose from.
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser ($24.50, lizearle.com)
This creamy, luxurious cleanser is among our favorites. It’s incredibly soothing for all skin types, with botanical ingredients like eucalyptus oil to decongest, cocoa butter to moisturize, and rosemary to stimulate circulation, which results in clear, balanced, glowing skin.
Eve Lom Cleanser ($80, spacenk.com)
Ideal for dry, dehydrated and aging skin types, this award-winning cleanser is packed full of essential oils for incredible moisture. It goes on as a solid balm and melts into the skin to completely dissolve makeup and leave behind a baby-soft finish.
Boots Botanics Organic Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm ($8.49, target.com)
The price can’t be beat on this cleansing balm, but the formulation doesn’t sacrifice quality in favor of being budget-friendly. It contains a number of nourishing oils and extracts, like olive oil, citrus peel and super-hydrating rosehip, which also happens to smell amazing. If you’re looking to dip a toe into hot cloth cleansing, look no further—this buy won’t break the bank, and you may just find yourself a convert.
Read more: The Best Oil Cleansers for Your Skin Type