Patience Is a Virtue MAC Cleanse Off Oil/Tranquil Makeup Remover/Cleanser Doesn’t Have

Published in: MAC Makeup, Product Reviews, Skin Care

I’ve been wanting to try MAC Cleanse Off Oil/Tranquil (a makeup remover/cleanser) for ages, but every time I came close to bringing a bottle home with me from a MAC counter, something eye-catching would always steal my attention away. More often than not, it was something sparkly, or pink, or sparkly AND pink.


But I bet I still would have pulled the trigger anyway if it hadn’t been for the price… Thirty dollars for a 5-oz. bottle? Fuggedaboutit.

The new $10 MAC Sized to Go version of Cleanse is harder to ignore. It packs 1-oz. of the same oil-based makeup remover/cleanser into a handy, TSA-approved bottle. Other than the smaller size and the fact that this bottle’s clear (the larger one is blue), the products are exactly the same. In terms of value, however, the larger bottle is a much better deal ($6/ounce instead of $10), but it’s also too large for carry-on air travel.

Designed for dry, “mature” and/or stressed-out skin, Cleanse is one of two cleansing oils in the MAC skincare line. If you’re sensitive to mineral oil, it doesn’t contain a drop. Instead, it contains a bunch of botanicals like sea grass extract, peach leaf and bisabolol (a colorless oil derived from chamomile; used for hundreds of years in cosmetics for its purported anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties).

The full-size 5-oz. bottle costs $30; the 1-oz. MAC Size to Go version costs $10

Cleanse, even the larger size, appears perfect for busy schedules because it’s fast. It breaks up my makeup even quicker than my go-to Clinique Cleansing Balm, which is also quite fast.

To use it, I gently massage two pumps worth, an amount about the size of a quarter in my palm, onto my face with a little water for about 30-45 seconds before rinsing it off. That removes just about everything from my foundation, powder and sunscreen to long-wearing lipsticks, gel liners and waterproof mascara, all without stripping my skin or leaving an oily residue behind.

It also has a lovely, light orange scent I really like.

Although I think it’s an above average cleanser and makeup remover, I’ve been using it primarily to remove makeup, and I follow it up with my favorite all-purpose facial cleanser, Philosophy Purity Made Simple, which costs considerably less per ounce (there’s a 3-oz. bottle for $10, a 24-oz. bottle for $40).


My biggest concern with Cleanse has to do with my eyes. I’ve gotten a bit of it into them a few times, and my vision became cloudy for a minute or two (as happens sometimes with oil-based makeup removers). I probably won’t continue using it to remove liner/shadow along my waterlines.

But for everywhere else on the face, MAC Cleanse is a quick cleanser that rinses clean without drying or irritating my sensitive skin. It hasn’t caused any breakouts yet (knock on wood!), and I think it would be the ish if it didn’t cloud my eyes.

PRICE: $10 for a 1-oz. Sized to Go bottle; $30 for a 5-oz. full-size bottle
AVAILABILITY: The smaller Sized to Go bottle is coming soon to MAC freestanding stores; the full-size bottle is available now at MAC counters, stores and also online
MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: B+ (expensive relative to other top-notch cleansers, and it doesn’t agree with my eyes)

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 23 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. vonnie says:

    i’m excited for the new to-go products, want to try fix+ finally! this sounds good as well, nom nom for orange scent
    vonnie recently posted … Royal Treatment – Review of Queen Helene Royal Curl Line

  2. Chris25 says:

    DHC makes a great cleansing oil. I have oily skin and even I love it!

  3. Vijaya says:

    I hate the mini sizes’ pricing. It’s so disproportionate!
    Vijaya recently posted … More Blog Awards- Two Stylish Bloggers and One Lovely Blog!

  4. Jessi says:

    Are the minis only available in free-standing stores or will they at least be online too? I was really hoping to get a mini Strobe Cream but I don’t have a free standing MAC anywhere near me. 🙁
    Jessi recently posted … EOTD- Pastels With Persephone Minerals

  5. Caryn says:

    I use Boscia’s Makeup Break-up Cleansing Oil. I don’t even need to follow up with a cleanser with that stuff. It’s very quick as well but cleanses very deeply. I have oily skin too, and I love it.

  6. Jen W says:

    Wow, no mineral oil? That’s damn good considering most mainstream oil cleansers/makeup removers are mostly mineral oil.
    Jen W recently posted … DIY Hyaluronic Acid stock serum tutorial

  7. Denise says:

    I love cleansing oils! Can’t wait to try this in a Sized to Go bottle before committing to full size.
    Denise recently posted … Blossom with Maybellines Lip Smooth Color Bloom

  8. Alice says:

    I’ve been using pure mineral oil to cleanse/remove make up for the last three weeks or so and my skin’s never been happier. Doesn’t cloud my eyes and leaves my skin super soft, definitely my HG cleanser now.

  9. Reena says:

    hmmm… it’s pretty amazing since it has no mineral oil… but still a bit expensive though.
    Reena recently posted … Keep Your Lips Supple With Homemade Lip Scrubs

  10. Melissa says:

    Can you list those other top-notch cleansers? I usually use some sort of drugstore m/u remover, but I often end up tugging my eyes… What do you recommend?

  11. Kim says:

    I really need a good eye makeup remover but have yet to find one I like. I have the same issue with everything clouding my eyes (and really, not doing a great job removing the makeup). Can you remind me what you use for your eyes? Is it the Benefit wipes?

    Also, I’ve been having great luck with the Cetaphil gentle cleansing bar. I wouldn’t have thought I’d like a bar, but it’s kept me breakout free and hasn’t dried me out (despite washing my face at least 3 times per day). I do use CeraVe moisturizer after, though. Just thought I’d share since it’s inexpensive, lasts forever and has worked really well for me. 🙂

  12. Naj says:

    Is it unhealthy for my eyes if it gets cloudy from makeup removal?

  13. Shannon says:

    Sounds nifty. Have you tried cleansing with things like Jojoba oil or Olive Oil? If so, how would you say it compares to those?

  14. Nina says:

    i use an oil based cleanser to remove makeup too — i just place some on a cotton pad and let it rest against my closed eyes for a bit. i find that it helps the product to not get into my eyes.

  15. Vesna says:

    I had L’Occitane Almond Apple oil for ages but now it’s discontinued and I don’t know what to get instead and I’m basically at the very end of the bottle :/ It was also expensive – $25 for 125ml but it really did last for a year or so 🙂

    Now I think I might go with Sephora cleansing oil – $15 for 150ml, that’s seems like a good deal, twice cheaper than MAC 🙂

    And as far as I’ve heard – Shu Uemura are THE best cleansing oils ever, but very pricey. 😀

  16. allimille says:

    I’ve been wanting to try this for ages! Looks like I need to make one more trip to the MAC counter (darn!)

  17. Melody says:

    I’ve thought about swapping this for my usual Burt’s Bees Soapbark and Chamomile Cream Cleanser. I’m scared to switch because the Burt’s Bees has really helped my skin, but I can’t use it on my eyes because it has menthol.

  18. Linda Halpern says:

    I really PreCleanse by Dermalogica. Have you ever tried it? It’s also an oil based product, which is easily removed by water, and doesn’t seem to bother my eyes if I get some in there. Also more reasonable price 6 oz for $35.

  19. simplystephy says:

    I have been wanting to try out oils to remove my make-up too. I will definitely check this out to review on my blog! thanks 🙂

  20. Linda says:

    Philosophy makes “Purity Made Simple Mineral Oil Free – Facial Cleansing Oil” 5.8oz for $25 @ I’m dying to try it since “Purity Made Simple” is my all-time favorite cleanser. My entire family uses it, and we all luv it. I’ve used DHC’s cleansing oil in the past and it is pretty awesome and so is Dermalogica’s PreCleanse but I want to get the new Purity Cleansing Oil and definately try that.

  21. Natalia says:

    Damn! Design of the package is exactly the same with Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil! Though BB smells like lavender. I always preferred Japanese cleansing oils (drugstore brands work as good as expensive ones). But now when I’m seeing the first signs of aging I start to appreciate make -up removers with creamy textures.

    Karen, I’ve been reading your blog for a year now. And I should say that it’s the funniest thing among all beauty blogs! You always made my day^^ It’s a shame that it’s actually my first time commenting here. It’s difficult to comment when your insecure with your foreign language skills and your brain bursting way before you finish to write any of your thoughts. Sometimes I have a weekly goal to comment to your Monday Poll but never actually finished it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Natalia,

      I’ll have to check out the Bobbi Brown one. Thanks for the rec!

      Also, thanks for popping in to say hello (your English sounds great!). Maybe stop by the Monday Poll next week? The ladies here are really nice… we’re all friends here! 🙂

  22. Rach says:

    Love love LOVE Cleanse Off Oil. I have a couple of bottles stashed as a back up! I have sensitive, fair, highly acne prone skin and I’m religious about sunscreen, and this removes everything. It does get into my eyes a bit, but I don’t mind. I swear my skin even cleared up when I started using this. I LOVE it. I find the key is to really take the time to massage it well into a dry face, then use quite warm tap water to foam the product and rinse it off. It’s just wonderful!

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