Product Reviews

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

One of the problems with being a beauty blogger is sourcing samples.  Do you spend your own money on them?  That’s an expensive proposition if you post regularly.   Or do you accept free samples from brands, and compromise your integrity?  It is a tricky one.  I suppose there is always shoplifting.  Luckily as a cosmetic chemist I can often get a pretty good idea about a product just by looking at the ingredient list.  And to prove it, here is a review of something I have never actually tried.

In fact I would be at something of a disadvantage even if I did have a sample because the main function of Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm is as a makeup remover.  I don’t tend to use makeup.  I realise that in the modern world  there isn’t anything that surprising about men in their fifties wearing makeup, but as it happens I don’t.  I prefer the rugged look.  But I have formulated a product intended as a makeup removing cleanser along the same lines as this one.  My solution to not having any makeup to remove was to put lipstick on my arm and see what worked best to remove it.

What that revealed was that the best approach was a non-aqueous fairly thick oil.  The best oil was mineral oil.  This made perfect sense because mineral oil is a very good solvent for oily things like lipstick and other colour cosmetics.  The trick was to come up with a surfactant that enabled the oil and lipstick to be removed easily.  I hit on a fairly obscure one that is made by treating lanolin to make it water soluble.  So this was a blend of the natural and the synthetic and I was pleased with the results.

So it was interesting to look at how the chemists at Clinique – one of Estée Lauder’s sub brands – went about tackling the same problem.  I was expecting to see mineral oil first on the list. In fact they have gone for ethyhexyl palmitate.   This is a mineral oil derivate and is quite similar to mineral oil in most ways.   I can’t think of any reason why you would want to avoid mineral oil but use this instead, but since when has logic had anything to do with beauty purchases?

I have never tried ethylhexyl palmitate out as makeup remover.  I imagine it would work well enough as it is quite similar to mineral oil.  They have combined it with safflower oil, which is quite a heavy oil and again one that I would expect to do pretty well.   There is some much lighter oil in there in the form of fractionated coconut oil – which has the official name caprylic/capric triglyceride.  The rest of the ingredients are a blend of surfactants that make it possible to get the oil off your skin with water once it has dissolved the makeup.

So all in all it sounds like a good product, and it definitely has a great name.  If you are looking for a mineral oil free makeup remover this should do the job nicely.  Let me know if you have used it.


Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol

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