Take the Day Off from Bad Makeup Removers with Clinique’s Cleansing Balm

Published in: Product Reviews, Skin Care

clinique take the day off cleansing balm review

I love PMS.


And by PMS I mean Philosophy’s Purity Make Simple (PMS), their gentle, non-foaming facial cleanser/makeup remover.

I’ve been using it for years, but it hasn’t been working that well for me lately, maybe on account of winter, and how I’ve been wearing a little more makeup than I did in the summer and early fall. As it turns out, now, after washing and rinsing, I still have renegade bits of concealer and mascara around my eyes!

Last weekend, while scouring Sephora for PMS alternatives, I bumped into Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm ($27).

Hellooooo, pretty purple packaging!

And since I’d never used a so-called cleansing balm before, I thought I’d give it a try.

clinique take the day off cleansing balm review 2

A cleansing oil in solid form, Clinique says it’s suitable for all types of skin.

Just scoop it out with fingers and apply directly to a made-up face, gently massaging it into the skin.

The way it feels reminds me of a body butter, kinda slippery and thick (but not greasy). As the fragrance free balm gets worked into the skin, it loosens every trace of makeup in its path, including waterproof mascaras and even hard-to-remove MAC Fluidline gel eyeliners. A quick rinse with water finishes the job.

POOF! No more makeup. πŸ™‚

Clinique suggests following it up with your regular cleanser (I guess just to make sure everything’s been removed), a toner (if you use one) and moisturizer.

I’ve actually just been using it by itself at night (no additional cleanser or toner), and so far I’ve been fine. No breakouts yet (and EVERYTHING new tends to break me out).

A soothing ritual

Straight up — I like massaging the balm on my face. It feels nice. I’ve been doing it while I watch TV and hang out with El Hub on the couch before bed.

And being a balm, it doesn’t drip all over the place, which is nice.

clinique take the day off cleansing balm review ingredient list

Other good stuff about Take the Day Off…

  • Cleaning with this doesn’t tug at the skin as much as cleaning with some makeup wipes does (can promote wrinkles)
  • The solid formula travels well; just transfer some to a smaller jar that you throw into a carry-on bag
  • Relaxes me to massage it in
  • Removes everything, including waterproof mascara and long-wearing eyeliner
  • Doesn’t leave an oily residue after rinsing
  • The non-drying formula leaves my skin feeling soft

My only beef is with the price. It’s a little expensive at $27, even considering the size of the jar and how little I’ve had to use, but I think if I’m careful with it, using an amount about the size of a quarter each time, it should last about six to eight months.


I’ll definitely let you know if it causes belated breakouts at any point down the road. Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A


I need a new book — preferably one with an ending that doesn’t make me cranky!


So, last night, after a long slog, I finally finished Her Fearful Symmetry. I don’t want to spoil anything if you think you might read it (SKIP THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH!), but when crappy things happen to the characters I’m pulling for, I get HELLA cranky. I’m probably not re-reading this one any time soon, grrr…

What have you been reading lately? Anything fun (or just textbooks)? Please help me choose my next book. πŸ™‚

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 74 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Mackenzie says:

    Ah yes! I’ve been looking for a soft makeup remover forever and I love Clinique facial moisturizer – must buy this. Also, as it is the holiday season and I’ve been spending so much lately, $30 doesn’t sound too bad. Thanks!

  2. Meghan says:

    Hey Karen!

    Have you read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? Long title, but a really fun book. A little bit sad, but it is set in post-war Britain so that’s expected. I really liked it quite a bit.
    .-= Meghan’s last blog post… Urban Decay 24/7 Swatches =-.

  3. Stacie says:

    Karen, I was in a totally bad mood after I finished that book. Some of those characters had some serious issues, didn’t they? The whole time I’m thinking, “Really? That’s your solution to your problems? Seriously?!”

    I’ve got that cleansing balm around here somewhere. The only issue I had with it was taking off eye makeup. When I tried to get the liner on my lower lashline, inevitably it ended up in my eyes–didn’t really burn, but got on my contacts. The only solution was to take them out and clean them. I was going to do that anyway, but I’d like to be able to see in the meantime! Grr.

    • Karen says:

      I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one ready to raise hell after getting to the ending. I was really, REALLY annoyed with the last quarter of the book.

      And was it just me, or was the whole switcheroo thing very confusing? I actually had to draw out a map to sort out what was going on!

      • Stacie says:

        Oh, totally! I was just really annoyed with a certain selfish character (I’m sure you know who I mean). As soon as she proposed her “idea”, I said, ‘Oh, this will NOT end well.’ And lo and behold, it didn’t. To Half Price Books it goes!

  4. Jenna says:

    Oh no! I picked up Her Fearful Symmetry at Costco last month (and never got around to reading it) and I hate sucky endings!

  5. Judy says:

    Hi Karen,

    I just started following your blog, a friend thought I might like it and she’s right πŸ™‚

    Not sure what kind of books you like to read, but if you’re into fluffy light romantic comedies, I’d suggest The Chocolate Lovers’ Club, by Carole Matthews. I just finished reading it and it gave me some good laughs. Or Unravelled, by Robyn Harding, also hilarious and lighthearted.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Judy,

      It’s nice to meet you! Glad you decided to pop by and say hi.

      I’ve been into lighter reads as of late because I need stuff to let my brain de-compress. Both of these sound like just what I need. Popping over to add them to the amazon list…

  6. christina says:

    i like to take any regular lotion and use that to remove my makeup. I just massage it over my eyes and then wash my face with my cetaphil face wash and everything comes off! even my UD 24/7 liner

  7. Glosslizard says:

    Oooooooh, I hate books like that! I’m racking my brain, and I can’t really think of any books to recommend ! If I come across anything good I’ll let you know! πŸ™‚

    That cleansing balm sounds great! I’ll have to try it out (I’m also a fan of PMS)!

  8. Glosslizard says:

    Oh, have you tried reading the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich yet? Hi-larious!

    • Karen says:

      Nope, I haven’t! Is it a mystery series?

      • Glosslizard says:

        It’s a series about a fabulous Jersey girl who ends up getting a job as a bounty hunter (bringing in skipped bail bonds) and muddling her way through with luck, pluck, and mascara! One of the most consistently funny series I’ve ever read! “One for the Money” is the first one, well worth reading!

  9. Rae says:

    AHHH it is taking ALL of my willpower not to read that spoiler :/

    I’ve always really wanted to check out the TTDO balm, but it’s way out of my budget! Perhaps if my skin continues starts peeling off my face again it would be a good investment — darn Alberta air!
    .-= Rae’s last blog post… Creative title? Why would I need one of those?! =-.

  10. Trude says:

    Hmmm veddy tempting, that is. πŸ™‚ I’m addicted to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. If you like historical fiction with a sense of humor, this is it. Plus, they’re really long saga-like books that give you a bang for your buck. I love it when my favorite authors give me a lot to go through!
    .-= Trude’s last blog post… I Heart Faces Photo Challenge =-.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Trude,

      Thank you for the rec. Ya know, I think El Hub might actually have a few of those books stashed away somewhere. I’ll have to see if I can find ’em. πŸ™‚

  11. Marilyn says:

    I love my TTDO balm. It is a bit spendy, but I’m totally in love. It feels great on my face and does wonders at getting my mascara and eyeliner off (no small feat!), without being oily OR drying.
    .-= Marilyn’s last blog post… Jingle Bell Run/Walk for the Arthritis Foundation – Recap! =-.

  12. amy says:

    This sounds like a product I will like to try out. I always wanted to try a cleansing oil but don’t like the greasy drippy mess, so if it is in a balm form, I think I could deal with it.
    .-= amy’s last blog post… FOTD Have a Shadow Lady Christmas: Classic Golden Eyes and Red Lips =-.

  13. Tammy says:

    Seems like a great makeup remover, but I’m with you on the price. I’ll be sticking to my olive oil, ha! I’ve had my face in textbooks for the paste few months so I’m not much help in suggesting new books to read.
    .-= Tammy’s last blog post… Does Benefit Erase Paste Make Dark Circles Disappear? =-.

  14. Lana says:

    Books are my forte!

    I just finished The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. How have I never known about this dude?! The story was great, incredibly inventive. You’ll have to Wikipedia it for a synopsis. The key is suspension of disbelief. But I HIGHLY recommend it! I also just finished Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Sort of a fantasy book, but not dragons and swords sort of fantasy. Faeries and witches and stars sort of fantasy. Another recommendation. And I am now reading Got You Back by Jane Fallon. Loved her book, Getting Rid of Matthew. This is pure chick-lit.

    As for the Clinique product it is definitely on my list to check out. I have been having the hardest time with my waterproof mascara. I made my eyes all red last night scrubbing away at them with a cotton pad and make up remover. Owie. Definitely in need of something gentle.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lana,

      Thank you for all these recs. I’m writing them down… I think I’m in the mood for some good chick lit, so Got You Back and Getting Rid of Matthew are going on the amazon wish list. πŸ™‚

      That sucks that your eyes got all red and scratchy! What remover are you using? Lancome makes a good one called Bi-Facil that takes off everything.

  15. veronica says:

    I’ve been wondering about this stuff! I’ve been using the Neutrogena wipes for about a year now, and they do a pretty good job of getting makeup off. Although, now I’m worried that they’ll cause wrinkles! Too many things to worry about!

    The price seems about right compared to the wipes, if it works better and lasts longer. Thanks for the tip!

    Right now I’m reading the Sherlock Holmes collection. So good! Can’t wait for the movie either.
    .-= veronica’s last blog post… The Gloomers Holiday Extravaganza! =-.

  16. Fie says:

    Long time no comment! πŸ˜€

    I have yet to try the balm version of Take The Day Off. I’ve been religiously using the oil one, and let me tell you it works wonders! Although, if you feel like you need to try the other versions of TTDO, I suggest avoid the milk version. I heard that you use more product to take off your make up, unlike the balm and the oil.

  17. You should read Chocolat if you haven’t already πŸ™‚ It’s a great winter book, and if you’ve seen the movie, I think the book is better.
    .-= Makeupmorsels’s last blog post… Fragrance Requests: Paloma Picasso =-.

  18. Stef says:

    Agreed. I really liked this book in the beginning. And then it goes all “what the what?!” on you.

    It’s not new, but have you read Water for Elephants? That’s probably my most favorite books that I read within the last 2 years. Love, love, love it!
    .-= Stef’s last blog post… Bare Escentuals Holiday 2009 =-.

    • Karen says:

      Okay, were you SERIOUSLY CONFUSED when the big reveal happened? Please tell me I wasn’t the only one.

      I haven’t read Water for Elephants… I’ve head it’s good though! Gotta put that one on the list.

      • Stef says:

        Ugh, it was just plain dumb. And confusing. And I wanted to hit all the characters upside their heads! Boo Hiss.

        You will love Water for Elephants. I couldn’t put it down. Anyone else with me on that?
        .-= Stef’s last blog post… BeautyTicket.com Giveaway! =-.

        • Karen says:

          Thank gawd I’m not the only person who wanted to bust a beat down. It was such a disappointment… I had loved Time Traveler’s Wife and was all set to fall in love with this book too. πŸ™

          Anyway, looks like that Water for Elephants is officially next in line. Huzzah!

  19. Marce says:

    That balm looks fantastic, good enough to eat. I have the normal version and it’s great, though I always find little remnants of mascara on my lower lash line which give me a zombie appearance.
    At the moment I’m reading No Logo by Naomi Klein, but I’m seriously thinking of ditching it and starting something lighter because I can’t concentrate! It’s interesting, but I need something cheesy, please πŸ˜€
    .-= Marce’s last blog post… Have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air? =-.

  20. Tiffany says:

    oooh, the balm looks really cool. I might try to see if I can get a sample from a counter or a sephora so I can try it out.

    I wish I had a good book to recommend πŸ™ I STILL have the host to read, and a few of the sookie stackhouse books. hopefully I can get started soon now that I don’t have to read for school at the moment…

    • Karen says:

      You totally should! I bet Sephora would hook you up!

      Aww, I just saw The Host the other day at Target and I wished that I could read it again for the very first time. I loved that book! Even El Hub liked it — and he’s really picky about his sci-fi.

      So, are you officially on vacay from school?

  21. ShanaT says:

    Hi Karen! I also loved Water for Elephants,it was a great story! Try the Thirteenth Tale or The Forgotten Garden they are both books I couldn’t put down until I found out the ending! Have a great day!

  22. Toni says:

    This stuff looks nice! I have been using Olay foaming face cleanser for sensitive skin, because it’s so cheap, but I will have to stop by the Clinique counter to check this out. I wonder if it’s OK to use on sensitive, rosacea skin.

    I’m telling you, I have to stop coming here and Makeup Alley and watching YouTube beauty videos. My bank account is suffering! We started our budget this month after tracking our spending, so I am on a bit of a hiatus (shhh, don’t tell hubby I ordered the Haute High Jinks pigment set from the MAC holiday collection. I just need to make sure he doesn’t see the package).

    Hope you have a great evening!
    .-= Toni’s last blog post… 2nd Menu Monday =-.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Toni,

      Clinique says that it’s for all skin types, but it would prolly be a good idea to test it before taking the plunge.

      LOL regarding Makeup Alley. I go on there with the intent of looking up “just one thing” and then I swear I leave wanting MORE MORE MORE. I have a problem! I figure at least the addiction is relatively harmless, right?

      Oh, I promise not to tell your hubby about your MAC stuff if you don’t tell mine about the Chanel I’m planning to spring for, heh heh heh.

      • Toni says:

        Good point! I’ll see if they have any samples they can give me to try out. Oh, and don’t tell hubby about the Sleek eye palette I ordered from ebay UK. I don’t know how I’ll explain purchasing makeup from England (although it was very reasonable priced)!
        .-= Toni’s last blog post… 2nd Menu Monday =-.

    • veronica says:

      I feel you on that! Although, I do enjoy earning more VIB points!
      .-= veronica’s last blog post… Dream hacking =-.

      • Toni says:

        Veronica, I enjoy getting those points as well! However, I am going to be using my coupon to ULTA today to get some stuff I am out of and desperately need (20% off my entire purchase). I have a beauty card there too, so it will help me get points there. I will try to pick up stuff at Sephora that’s not available at ULTA.
        .-= Toni’s last blog post… 2nd Menu Monday =-.

  23. Jamie Lynn Palmer says:

    Try Water for Elephants…. it’s fabu

  24. Mary says:

    Karen, do you use it with your Clarisonic?

    One of my all-time favorite books is Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism And Build Nations One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson. It’s uplifting without being saccharine. XXOO

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary,

      I just got my Clarisonic in today and I plan to start testing it tonight.

      I figure I’ll try it first with a regular face wash and then see if it can handle this stuff! πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ve heard that’s a good one!

  25. Tina says:


    I recommend reading, if you haven’t already, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. They’ve made a movie so make sure to read the book before. It’s a great, sad/happy book!
    .-= Tina’s last blog post… Christmas Beauty List =-.

  26. Tavia says:

    Hi Karen! I’ve never used cleansing balms either, but 1 month ago I’ve tried one at the Make Up For Ever store when a makeup artist cleaned my face with a cleansing balm. It felt great indeed πŸ™‚ I’m quite a buyer of Clinique’s products. I use their tonic lotion for years, it’s the best for me so far, and I just bought their Acne Solutions Oil Control Cleansing Mask. I’m also using Turnaround mask 15 min and it’s also very helpful to me.:)
    .-= Tavia’s last blog post… Essie Ò€œThe Art of Spring CollectionÒ€ for Spring 2010 =-.

  27. NINA says:

    Ohhh now I want to try that cleansing balm. I currently have the Take the Day Off Cleanser for Lips and Eyes (or something like that) and I love it.

    Methinks a trip to the mall this weekend is in order!!!

    That book is on my must read list … heard both good and bad things about it but I liked The Time Traveller’s Wife so im totally reading that book.

    Have a great almost-weekend-Friday, Karen and hi to Tabs! πŸ˜‰

  28. Shannon says:

    ooh! Have you ever read Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman? It’s an awesome commentary on pop culture.

  29. Baby Girl says:

    Never thought about trying cleansing balm. Next time I pop into Sephora I’m going to get a sample to see if it’ll play nice with my skin before dropping the $27.

  30. Ange says:

    For a book suggestion: Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    I loved, loved, loved this book! The book had all the suspense, mystery, a kick ass main characters, and the most superb writing you could ever want in a book.

  31. Daria says:

    Interesting find from Clinique. I would have to say though that value wise, coconut oil sounds remarkably similar at nearly a third of the cost (depending on where you get it, might be cheaper than that). I was actually sort of surprised to see that coconut oil wasn’t in the ingredients, but instead safflower oil. Coconut oil is solid but malleable at room temp and turns into liquid on your skin. It takes off EVERYTHING in an instant (including Maybelline Superstay Lipcolor) and it can be used as an under eye treatment as well due to its incredible amounts of vitamin E. Some light googling on coconut oil for beauty will reveal that it’s a great treatment for wrinkles (why I started to use it). I have oily skin in the summer and oily skin with dry patches in winter, I have never broken out from using this oil and it heals my dry patches when nothing else save a prescription for steroid cream would. It’s natural, cheap, vegan, and available at most grocery stores. Might be worth looking into for your girls looking for good stuff on the cheap!

  32. LeChatonNoir says:

    Hi Karen!
    I really liked Her Fearful Symmetry until the ending! I was definitely pissed off. For a few days after I finished it, I kept thinking up alternate endings I would have preferred!

    I am going to check out the cleansing balm. It looks interesting.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LeCanton Noir,

      I am glad I’m not the only one who was up in arms. I could’ve thought of several solutions that didn’t involve the paranormal!! The twins should’ve hit me up on twitter, LOL!

      Are you a Clinique skincare fan? If you are you just might love this stuff!

  33. Catherine says:

    Ahhhhhh, this looks like exactly what I need!!
    .-= Catherine’s last blog post… a NOTD & a NOTW – Snowflake Nails & OPI Crimson Carol w/ Sinful UFO =-.

  34. Kelly says:

    While this seems appealing, I rather use Pond’s cold cream. It’s cheap, it doesn’t make me break out (like a lot does), and it’s gentle.

    Oh, and it manages to take EVERYTHING off. I use it alone as my winter cleanser (for evening) and to just remove makeup in the summer. It’s classic.

  35. Miss J says:

    It’s the best. I have tried many others but this thing is still the one for me. Little goes a long way. Lasted 8 months for me.

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