By: Skin Care Ox

Written By: Diane Elizabeth K. // First Published: 03/10/2020

OSEA Malibu’s Blemish Balm is a cult favorite natural moisturizer that is praised for being a lightweight and effective anti-blemish treatment. There is a lot of hype around the Blemish Balm, but does it really work? Is the Blemish Balm an effective acne treatment? Is it truly lightweight enough for oily skin types? What about dry skin? Can the Blemish Balm be used on sensitive skin? To answer tons of questions just like these, we tested the Blemish Balm moisturizer ourselves for a little over two weeks. During our review process, the Skin Care Ox team researched every ingredient, used the product faithfully, and analyzed hundreds of real online customer reviews to bring you this comprehensive review.

In summary, the Blemish Balm did most of what it claimed to do. It’s main function is to tackle breakouts, clogged pores, and inflamed skin. The Blemish Balm does this with ease. As a blemish treatment, its super lightweight, absorbs easily, plays very well with oily skin, and does leave a true matte finish. The formula is clean, vegan, gluten-free, and contains a ton of organic ingredients. The biggest complaint about the Blemish Balm was it’s lack of hydration for drier skin types. However, given how effective the Blemish Balm is at keeping acne at bay, this lack of super hydration is easily remedied.

Below, you’ll find a complete summary of our in-depth two week review of OSEA Malibu’s Blemish Balm. Our reviews are organized into three categories: The Clean Ingredient Score (is the product made with clean ingredients?), Product Design & Effectiveness Score (does the product actually work?), and the Online Customer Review Score (what is everyone else saying?). Combined, this review should provide everything you need to decide if the Blemish Balm moisturizer is right for you. Enjoy!


Product Name: Blemish Balm

Product Description: An ultra-lightweight seaweed-based blemish treatment that treats existing breakouts and helps to prevent future breakouts with a mix of antibacterial, soothing, and hydrating ingredients. Size: 2 oz Packaging: Thick frosted glass bottle w/ pump dispenser Consistency: Lightweight water-based cream Scent: Tea Tree\Herbal Samples Available: Yes - Shop OSEA Travel Sizes

Price: 48

Currency: USD

Availability: InStock

  • Clean Ingredient Score
  • Product Design & Effectiveness Score
  • Online Customer Review Score

Where to Buy?


The Osea Malibu Blemish Balm has earned a Clean Ingredient Score of an “A”. This organic blemish moisturizer is cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan, and made with all-natural and organic ingredients. The organic ingredients in this formula include gigartina algae, macrocystis algae, undaria algae, glycerin, and oils of grape seed, jojoba, tea tree, rosemary leaf, lavender, juniper, cypress, and grapefruit peel. The Blemish Balm loses Clean Score points for its use of propanediol and grapefruit peel oil. Propanediol can be derived from petrochemicals or from corn sugar. We were able to verify that the propanediol used in this formula comes from natural non-gmo corn sugar fermentation. Even when derived from corn, propanediol is structurally similar to propylene glycol (a petrochemical-derived substance with a history of causing skin irritation & sensitization). That, coupled with mixed animal studies regarding propanediol’s potential for skin reactions, we believe the ingredient requires further study. Grapefruit peel oil has been linked to skin irritation in high concentrations; however, Osea Malibu uses low concentrations this oil (it appears towards the bottom of the Blemish Balm ingredient list). We’d like to note that during our two week review of the Blemish Balm, the Skin Care Ox team did not report any irritation or sensitivity.

Clean Ingredient Summary


Top Clean Ingredients

  • Algae Extracts: Chlorophyll containing ocean dwelling organisms. Contains a plethora of potent vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Known for its ability to help skin retain a lot of moisture (an alternative to hyaluronic acid). Osea uses various types of algae in this formula: macrocystis pyrifera, undaria algae, and gigartina skottsbergii algae.
  • Rosemary Leaf Oil: Rosemary oil has a blend of anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-fungal properties. Because of this, rosemary oil is often used as an anti-blemish treatment for its ability to fight acne-causing bacteria, balance sebum, and soothe irritation.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Often criticized for its signature scent, tea tree oil is a powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-fungal agent. Tea tree oil is most often found in skin care remedies designed for oily, acne-prone, and blemish-prone skin.
  • White Thyme Oil: A highly medicinal oil known for its antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Used commonly in cosmetics (and food) as a natural preservative, but can also be used as an anti-blemish treatment.

Preservatives Used:

  • Propanediol: Natural or Synthetic | Preservative Enhancer | EWG Score: 1
  • Thyme Oil: Natural | EWG Score: 1
  • Citric Acid: Natural | EWG Score: 1-2

Concerning Ingredients
  • Propanediol: Propanediol is a glycol that exists in two forms propylene glycol and 1,3-propanediol. While propanediol is typically naturally derived from corn sugar fermentation, it can also be synthetically derived from petroleum products. It is generally used in cosmetics as a emollient, humectant, and solvent. There is mixed evidence about its potential health consequences with some organizations claiming safety at concentrations up to 75% and others listing propanediol as a skin & eye irritant at concentrations as low as 2%. Those with sensitivities to propylene glycol (or who would otherwise want to avoid it) may want to avoid this ingredient. (source | source)
  • Saccharomyces/Manganese Ferment: An extract of the process of yeast fermentation in the presence of manganese ions. It is thought to aid in the synthesis of collagen and tissue repair. The ingredient receives a rating of “3” from the Environmental Working Group due to evidence this ingredient readily absorbs into the skin and bio-accumulates in wildlife and humans; however, there is limited (if any) evidence that this bioaccumulation leads to human toxicity. (source | source)
  • Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment: An extract of the process of yeast fermentation in the presence of zinc ions. Like saccharomyces/manganese ferment, it is thought to aid in the synthesis of collagen and tissue repair. The ingredient receives a rating of “1-3” from the Environmental Working Group due to evidence this ingredient readily absorbs into the skin and bio-accumulates in wildlife; however, there is limited (if any) evidence that this bioaccumulation leads to human toxicity. (source | source)
  • Grapefruit Peel Oil: A highly potent essential oil derived from the rinds (skin) of grapefruit. It is composed of 95% limonene (a very fragrant component of essential oils) and is commonly used as a fragrance enhancer. The issue with grapefruit peel oil is that it contains furanocoumarins, compounds which are known to be photo-toxic (can cause irritation when exposed to sunlight). In low concentrations (listed at the bottom of the product’s ingredient list) this ingredient shouldn’t cause concern; however, at higher concentrations (listed near the top or middle of the product’s ingredient list) this ingredient can cause photo-toxicity and should be used only in night treatments. (source | source)
All Ingredients

Ingredients as of: 03/10/2020

aqua, gigartina skottsbergii algae*, macrocystis pyrifera algae*, undaria pinnatifida algae*, grape seed oil*, caprylic/capric triglyceride Natural | Derived from coconut or palm kernel oil | Emollient | EWG Score: 1 , glycerin*, propanediol Natural or Synthetic | Humectant | Emollient | Preservative Booster | EWG Score: 1 , ceterayl olivate Natural | Derived from Olive Oil | Emulsifier | EWG Score: 1 , jojoba seed oil*, sorbitan olivate Natural | Surfactant | EWG Score: 1 , tea tree leaf oil*, saccharomyces/copper ferment Natural | Skin Conditioning | EWG Score: 1 , rosemary leaf oil*, saccharomyces/manganese ferment Natural | Skin Conditioning | Collagen Synthesis | EWG Score: 3 , lavender oil*, saccharomyces/zinc ferment Natural | Skin Conditioning | Collagen Synthesis | EWG Score: 1-3 , juniper leaf oil*, glyceryl stearate Natural | Fatty Acid | Emulsifier | Surfactant | EWG Score: 1 , white thyme oil, cetearyl alcohol Natural | Fatty Alcohol | Emollient | Texture Enhancer | Stabilizer | EWG Score: 1 , cypress essential oil*, stearic acid Natural | Long Chain Fatty Acid | Fragrance | Surfactant | Emulsifier | EWG Score: 1 , citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel oil* Natural | Essential Oil from Grapefruit Rind | Fragrance| EWG Score: 1-3 , sodium lauroyl glutamate Natural | Dervied from Coconut Oil | Cleansing Agent | EWG Score: 1 , xanthan gum Natural | Binder | Stabilizer | EWG Score: 1 , guar gum Natural | Plant-Derived | Thickener | Emulsifier | EWG Score: 1 , citric acid Natural | Preservative | EWG Score 1-2 , lonicera caprifolium extract, lonicera japonica extract *indicates organic ingredient


The Osea Malibu Blemish Balm claims to be an ultra-lightweight moisturizer and makeup primer for blemish prone skin types. Designed to reduce breakouts, soothe redness, and add moisture–all with a non-greasy finish. We recruited a few oily and acne-prone skin types to test the Blemish Balm for two weeks. In the end, the Blemish Balm earned a Product Design & Effectiveness score of an solid “A”. On the plus side, the Blemish Balm definitely delivered on its promise of being ultra-lightweight. While it is called a “balm” it has the consistency of a very light, water-based moisturizer. The Blemish Balm absorbs quickly and leaves behind a completely matte finish. It also did a fantastic job at reducing existing breakouts and seemed to lessen future breakouts. As a primer, it definitely works to balance oil production and create a smooth matte surface for makeup application. The Blemish Balm loses performance points due to the lack of hydration for dry skin types. As a standalone moisturizer, the Blemish Balm is best suited for oilier skin types because it doesn’t provide a ton of moisture. Other skin types (such as normal, dry, mature, and dry/combo) may fair better using this product as a makeup primer or blemish serum to be worn under a moisturizer.

Product Effectiveness Summary

Works Best For: Oily Skin, Congested Skin, Acne-Prone Skin.

Official Usage Instructions: After cleansing skin, spot treat blemishes with Essential Corrective Complex. Apply preferred serum. Massage one to two pumps of Blemish Balm onto face for a matte finish. Use morning + night.

Ease of Use: Easy to incorporate into an existing routine as a blemish treatment, moisturizer, or makeup primer. Has an herbal scent that can be masked by other skin care products. Very lightweight. Layers easily with other skin care products. 

Most Notable Results

  • Ultra-lightweight cream formula
  • Calms existing breakouts & lessens future breakouts
  • Great for sensitive skin types.
  • Absorbs quickly with a matte finish
  • Non-greasy formula (won’t clog pores)
  • Primes oily skin for makeup application

Claims Not Met

  • Hydration: This product works best as a moisturizer for combination to oily skin types as it doesn’t provide a ton of moisture. The formula is definitely non-drying (doesn’t cause dryness) and made with ingredients designed to hydrate the skin (such as algae, jojoba oil, and grapeseed oil). However,  during our trial, drier skin types reported not getting enough hydration from this product to use it as a standalone moisturizer. Instead, they chose to use the product as an effective blemish serum/spot treatment.


Our team analyzed over 450 real online customer reviews for the Osea Malibu Blemish Balm from 7 different online retailers (including stores like Detox Market, Neiman Marcus, and Follain). Across all retailers, the Blemish Balm earned an average customer review of 4.7/5 stars–earning a grade of “A” for our Online Customer Review Score. On the positive side, customers raved about the Blemish Balm’s ability to calm breakouts. Many customers described the product as their “skin savior” and “secret weapon.” Oily skin types love the lightweight, non-greasy, matte texture, while other skin types praise the Blemish Balm’s antibacterial power. Other positive notes include the product’s herbal scent, gentleness for sensitive skin, as well as the moisturizer’s ability to be worn day and night. On the negative side, some customers felt that the Blemish Balm did not provide enough moisture for their skin type. Very few reviews discussed the product “not working at all” and being “too expensive” for the results. Overall, reviews for the Blemish Balm were positive. See Pros & Cons below for a full summary.

Customer Review Summary

Reviews last evaluated: 03/10/2020

  • *Aillea: 6 Reviews | Average Score: 4.8 Stars
  • *Petit Vour: 20 Reviews | Average Score: 4.9 Stars
  • Blue Mercury: 7 Reviews | Average Score: 4.9 Stars


  • Very lightweight texture
  • Calms existing breakouts & lessens future breakouts
  • Suitable for sensitive skin types
  • Pleasant herbal scent
  • Absorbs quickly with a matte finish
  • Balances sebum & excessively oily skin
  • Non-greasy formula (won’t clog pores)
  • Primes oily skin for makeup application
  • Layers well with other products


  • Doesn’t provide a ton of hydration for dry skin
  • Dry skin types may need to layer with another moisturizer or facial oil

This Product Was Made By...


website: OSEA Malibu Website | year founded: 1996

OSEA is an organic skin care brand that has been committed to non-toxic skin care for over 20 years. OSEA was the first company to sign the Environmental Working Group’s “Compact for Safe Cosmetics” pledge and has lead the charge ever since. The line is totally plant-based, vegan, and free of synthetic ingredients. Responsibly sourced organic seaweeds are the star ingredients in nearly all of OSEA’s products. .


This Article Was Written By...

Diane Elizabeth K., Founder at SkinCareOx.com

Diane Elizabeth founded Skin Care Ox in 2016 after her personal struggle to find truly clean, natural, and organic products. Leveraging her background in biomedical engineering, scientific research + analytics, and entrepreneurship, she created Skin Care Ox to be an easy-to-use resource to find real clean beauty options. Since then, her articles have been read by over 3 Million people and have helped millions choose cleaner alternatives. She currently lives in Colorado with her husband and growing family.
Review Standards & Process

Skin Care Ox product reviews are 100% brand neutral. Skin Care Ox does not accept compensation in exchange for reviews. Additionally, there are no paid advertisements on Skin Care Ox. From time to time, brands will submit products to our team for review. Whether we procure the products ourselves or they are submitted to our team for review---our reviews remain honest and neutral.

Skin Care Ox is primarily funded through affiliate commissions. Meaning, when you purchase a product via a link from our website, we earn a small commission on the sale from the retailer (at no additional cost to you). Skin Care Ox is a member of numerous affiliate networks representing hundreds of cleans beauty brands and retailers. Because of this, no single brand or company has control over our review decisions.

Finally, every product we review undergoes our Research and Review Process. This includes faithfully trialing the products for a minimum of two weeks, rigorously researching each ingredient, and consolidating real user reviews from across the web.



The product contains only natural ingredients (non-synthetic or lab created). It does not contain anything artificial or synthetic.



The product has been formulated with 100% organically sourced and/or certified organic ingredients.



This product does not contain ingredients which have been genetically modified.



All of the ingredients contained in the product are free from gluten, wheat, and ingredients which are commonly contaminated with gluten.



The product is made without animal products or byproducts such as beeswax, honey, milk, eggs, etc.



The product has received an official organic certification from a third party organization such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA Certified Organic), ECOCERT, Australian Certified Organic, and others.


*OSEA Malibu – Blemish Balm Organic Moisturizer ($48)

Acne skin types--say hello to your new favorite moisturizer! We gave this organic moisturizer for acne to five testers with various kinds of acne and blemish prone skin types and they all rated it 10/10. It's ultra-lightweight, making it great for oily skin types, but it is also packed with hydrating organic algae for drier skin. It is also made with a great blend of acne-fighting ingredients like tea tree oil, rosemary, thyme, and juniper essential oil. Truly a must-try for acne skin types!



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