Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm – review and Hall of Fame entry

OK so the downside of constantly recommending (unintentionally) brands that are only available in limited distribution is a lot of unhappy readers contacting me from the US (mostly) to say ‘Erm excuse me. I can’t buy that!’

While I was in NYC recently I finally picked this up. At first glance it’s fairly inconspicuous – even on the shelf. You have to really look to find it. It’s hidden amongst green boxes and taller bottles. It comes as is, no box, no shrink wrap, no inner protection. I would open it before you buy to make sure it is fingerprint free.

That aside:

This is a great cleanser. If you have been searching for a balm cleanser, or used some that may have broken you out or are perhaps intolerant of essential oils in products, this could be for you.

What’s in it?
Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed OilCaprylic/capric TriglycerideSorbeth-30 TetraoleatePolyethylene, Peg-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, WaterTocopherolPhenoxyethanol

That formula is apparently what makes lard – because that is what this balm looks like. Lard. Not a bad thing – just an observation.

What’s NOT in it?
Fragrance, mineral oil, animal by-products, essential oils

Who is it for?
Pretty much anyone – but it will be especially good for people who are completely intolerant of essential oils or synthetic fragrance or who find other balm cleansers too clogging.

In my opinion: Suitable for the most sensitive and the most acnaic.

What’s good about it?

This is probably about the best balm cleanser you will find for price, functionality and efficacy.

  • It removes everything – even waterproof – easily, quickly and with no faff.
  • Leaves the skin completely clean and soft – does not leave an oily film behind.
  • A small amount goes a long way.
  • Brilliant for massage.
  • Economical
  • I suspect its probably the best balm available for sensitive skins (I can’t promise anything – it’s a general observation)

What’s not so good about it?
The only thing that may put you off using this long term is the total lack of fragrance. I personally can get past it as the rest of my routine is pretty fragrance-heavy. There is no ‘aaaahhhhhh’ when you put it on the skin. It’s functional. Not faffy.

If it was a man it wouldn’t be buying you a drink – it would just say ‘Alrighty then off we go’.

How much is it?

£21.00 for 125ml. $28.00 in US.

I cannot recommend this cleanser highly enough. Everyone should have one. For those days when you want no faff, just function.

There are more Clinique recommendations to come. (For regular readers: I know. Who’d have thought?) From me.

Available from 


John Lewis

Also: the US Clinique website says ‘Follow with your Clinique 3 Step’.

Do not do that.

I may be enjoying the ride on the Clinique train but I have not completely taken leave of my senses.