I distinctly remember the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower. I was seventeen, working in London, and travelling around Europe, often at the behest of Ryanair’s insanely inexpensive flights. School was out forever for me, and was thus a time marked by zero responsibilities and plenty of firsts. This particular first happened while I was in Paris (duh) with my older sister, and in anticipation of the big event, we did what every unoriginal traveller does, and armed ourselves with a picnic comprised of wine, cheese, baguettes, and croissants. Once we’d rolled out the picnic rug, I remember looking up and thinking, “This is probably the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen in my tiny, sheltered life.” Très originale.

Fast forward a few years, and I’ve finally found the product equivalent of the Eiffel Tower. Like the iconic pile of metal, the magnifique product has its origins in Paris. It’s the Diptyque Nourishing Cleansing Balm, and I’m in lurve. Alongside in-depth skincare chat and over-playing albums in the office, THE FILE HQ is all about products that are incredibly easy on the eye. Naturally, the Diptyque cleansing balm pretty much qualified for a review the minute it landed on my desk. Despite its beautiful exterior — a matte white jar, with simple black text and beautiful, distinctively Diptyque illustrations — we like to think we have enough depth to know that you shouldn’t judge a product entirely by its cover. I put it to the test on my #unworthy face.

Its smell is beautifully delicate. It has a really nostalgic, powdery, rose feel to it. I didn’t want to rely solely on my own nasal passages, which are still plagued by the remnants of a bygone monster flu, so I passed the balm around the office for additional help. This was the feedback I got:

“Oooh. I don’t know about oily balms, but I’m a child.”
“I normally hate rose, but this could be good as a fragrance.”
“It smells like the Mario Badescu facial spray.”

Thanks, guys! How very illuminating. The cleansing balm is a combination of sweet almond oil, beeswax, and hazel seed oil, with the added bonus of three essential waxes — ylang ylang, mimosa, and geranium. The bringing together of these ingreedz results in a v calming, easy-to-apply balm that’s perf for the sensitive-skinned among us. (That’s 50% of us ladies, according to Sydney-based dermatologist, Dr Phillip Artemi.)

If I’m being completely honest, I slept in makeup one night whilst trialling the balm. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it melted away all traces of my cardinal sin upon using it in the (late) morning when I rose. Despite having a sensitive eye area, I often opt for waterproof mascara on nights out (especially in the freezing winter air, when my eyeballs are prone to non-stop watering). I found the balm to be super non-irritative and effective at removing really, really stubborn eye makeup.

I also took heed of Diptyque’s tip of using the cleansing balm as a mask, letting it absorb for ten minutes before massaging it into my skin. My skin felt super hydrated and plump to boot afterwards, and, when followed by their Infused Facial Water, ensured my makeup slid on like a bloody dream.

Want to add a touch of chic to your cabinet and a bucketload of moisture to your face? Of course you do.

Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Magdalene Shapter.