Balmy stuff – Clinique Take The Day Off cleanser

We’re almost spoilt for choice now in the world of cleansers, aren’t we? Milks, creams, washes, balms, oils, lotions, waters… We’re never short of options here. I like to mix it up with my cleansing routine when I can.  Mainly as different products do different jobs, but also just for the heck of it – I’m sort of sad like that.

Needless to say, I own a lot of cleansers, but there’s always something out there that I haven’t tried.  In the winter, I can’t get enough of balms and oils – they just feel so soothing on the skin and tend not to be too harsh or stripping. So, for this reason (and on the recommendation of seemingly every beauty blogger) I picked up a tub of Clinique’s Take The Day Off cleansing balm recently.

Clinique – Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. Looking pretty in purple.

 This wasn’t without trepidation. In my late teens and early twenties I tried the Clinique 3-Step system on and off, much to the dismay of my poor face. It made my redness redder, my oily nose oilier, it broke me out, it dried up my dry patches.  Terrible, terrible stuff I’m afraid to say. Just way too harsh I think.

It could be though, you’re reading this and are a loyal user of 3-Step, and if so then that’s great – it must work for some people I’m sure, otherwise it wouldn’t still be around. Would it? Maybe it’s changed? Maybe I’m just a real face oddity (wow – sorry, I’ve been listening to a lot of Bowie lately).
Because of this, I’ve steered clear of any Clinique skin care for about ten years.
(On the other hand, Mr MusicandEyeliner is quite the fan of their men’s range!).  But, this product has had countless good write-ups, reports of it being gentle and well…I couldn’t resist.

So here’s my thoughts:

Firstly, love the name and mainly as it really ‘does what it says on the tin’ (more on this later).. The packaging’s great too – a nice sleek purple and silver pot with a screw top that allows you easy access and looks smart in the bathroom.

Massive tub!

It’s a thick, white, unscented balm that you scoop out in its solid state. A quick rub between fingers (or palms, y’know, whatever floats your boat) and it becomes very moveable. Onto the skin and it massages in like a total dream, and quickly turns to an oil.

This is what I love about it. I love balm and oil cleansers, oh yes I do (can you tell yet?). They’re amazing for massage, getting that circulation going and more importantly getting rid of makeup – and this one does a great job of removing eye makeup.

It’s then simple to emulsify with a bit of water on your fingers, then remove with a warm (or, if you’re me, hot – cos I’m a rebel like that) flannel/washcloth/muslin cloth – buffing away dead skin while you’re Taking The Day Off (I do love that name).

Thick, lovely feeling (& unscented) balm

So this is a rave review, right?
Well actually, no.  Sadly not.  I have no idea why, but after using this twice (I’m an idiot for going back in, I know), it broke me out and turned my face very red and sore.  I can’t pinpoint why this would be as generally, the ingredients aren’t anything I know to be particularly harsh. It’s unscented, it’s free from mineral oil (which, I personally don’t react to anyway when cleansing – Eve Lom’s balm works incredibly well for me).  I don’t have particularly sensitive skin – although it is dry.

Who knows.  The skinny is, there’s a lesson to be learnt here. That is, try before you buy. I know this, I preach it. Didn’t practice it on this occasion as I got too caught up in all the amazing reviews of this product, and the seemingly harmless ingredients list.  Not only would I recommend sampling, but I would now absolutely advocate patch testing too.

So there you go. Clinique’s TTDO – works brilliantly as a makeup remover, a massage balm and cleaner…but left me with a darn angry face.  I would still recommend trying it out though, and I sort of know that sounds a bit daft, but I’m just sure that it was effective but didn’t agree with me for some odd reason.

Go forth and get samples from your lovely counter assistant. If they don’t want to give you a sample (or ‘don’t have any’) then move on my friend, go elsewhere. It isn’t worth the waste of money and time (or spots. Really).

On that note, Clinique were fantastic on the Customer Service front. In store (Harvey Nichols, Leeds) they wouldn’t refund or exchange due to allergy (be warned), but the call centre were lovely – took details of my reaction, sent out a questionnaire to help determine the cause and symptoms, and a refund cheque. 

All in all, no harm done. Except the spots. I still have two that won’t go!