Meet the Game Changers in My Cleansing Routine!

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, Kanebo Sensai Sponge Chief

I have used a lot of cleansers I like, but I don’t call everything a game changer. That’s why when I do, you’d better listen! I recently tried a couple of products that have revolutionized my cleansing routine. Meet *Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm and Kanebo Sensai Sponge Chief!

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm review

I had read so many positive reviews about Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (RRP: 31 euros) that I was extremely excited when it became available in Belgium! This clear balm dissolves into oil upon contact with your skin. Just dab some onto your face (dry), start massaging away, and take it all off with a washcloth!

Here are the things I love the most about Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm:

a) The short and sweet ingredient list contains no potential irritant, making it perfect for even sensitive skin.

b) It just works! You can remove a full face of makeup with ease with this cleansing balm, including tenacious waterproof formulas.

c) It leaves no greasy film behind. Just smooth, soft, and cleansed skin!

I usually use it as my first cleanse, but you can also remove your makeup first and use this as a second cleanse instead. It is very versatile that way. The only other type of cleansers I have tried that is comparable would be cleansing oils. However, I personally prefer Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, as it does the same thing while leaving the skin hydrated. Also, I like how there is no risk of the oil dripping or water splashing everywhere. The neat freak in me says “YES!”

To make Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm work even better, may I suggest Kanebo Sensai Sponge Chief?

Kanebo Sensai Sponge Chief packaging

A friend raved and raved about Kanebo Sensai Sponge Chief. When I finally spotted it at a local retailer (you can find a list of your local retailers on the site), I snatched it up, no questions asked (I paid 7-8 euros for it).

Kanebo Sensai Sponge Chief  review

Long story short, Kanebo Sensai Sponge Chief is the best washcloth I have ever tried!

This squishy sponge comes in a zipper bag, which I am saving for future trips. What you are seeing here is 1/6 of the washcloth, so size-wise it is actually a bit bigger than a traditional washcloth.

What makes Sponge Chief so special?

First of all, pretty much whatever you wipe off from your face rinses clean. I have removed a full face of makeup with the Clinique cleansing balm and Sponge Chief several times. A quick rinse later, you wouldn’t even be able to tell what was on it! You can clean this more thoroughly with a bit of soap, but that’s all the maintenance it needs.

Second, I personally think it is much more hygienic than traditional washcloth. The material is antibacterial, and the fact that it completely dries stops the germs from breeding. It becomes hard when it is completely dry, but once you moisten it, it will be soft and squishy again.

Third, it is smooth and non-scratchy, but it exfoliates somehow. My skin always feels much softer and smoother afterwards compared with a regular washcloth. While my skin is not a fan of over-exfoliation, I have been using Sponge Chief on a daily basis (mostly at night with my cleansing balm/cream cleanser) without any problems. Forget about those fancy gadgets: this is the real deal (and the price tag is so much less painful as well)!

My friend told me that this has to be replaced after several months (when it can’t be rinsed clean anymore), but for the superior performance and easy maintenance, I can already tell you I will gladly repurchase. I don’t think you will feel much of a difference if you use foaming cleansers that you have to rinse off. However, if you use cleansing balm/cream cleanser/cleansing milk at all, Sponge Chief comes highly recommended!

Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum

Talking about Clinique, they have recently launched a new serum called *Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum. Apparently it can sense where your skin needs repair and deliver targeted action. I have absolutely no idea how it does that, but it sounds fancy! It contains some mineral pigment, so I think I’ll use it during daytime.

What is a skincare game changer you have recently discovered? Have you tried any of these?

Here is the ingredient list of Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm:

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm ingredients

  • rano

    thanks for the recommendation , I must try them all <3

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      YES! Definitely give the cleansing balm and Sponge Chief a go!

  • fiona furtado

    Hey Sunny, I have tried the Clinique Take the day off balm and its just brilliant. I can’t wait to try the Kanebo Sensai Sponge Chief. Thank you for sharing it<3

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Fiona, I’m glad you’re also a fan! You should see if you can find Sponge Chief. It’s the best washcloth ever!

  • peggy timmermans

    The Custom serum is a riddle to me! I’m using it for a bit over a week now, mornings and evenings (not even sure if that’s ok) and I asked the lady at the perfume store here how it works…she couldn’t really tell… It sure must be a clever serum!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Peggy, I think you can definitely use it in the evening as well. I just personally prefer to keep everything with light-reflecting particle/mineral pigment in my morning routine. As long as it repairs the skin, I don’t really care if I can understand exactly how!

  • Isabelle

    Ooooh I should get that cloth!!!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      YES! Definitely get one for yourself!

  • 38noodles

    Great reviews! I’m currently re-loving cleansing balms atm after a blah-experience with Eve Lom a few years back, and also have a sample of the Clinique, must test it out asap! Hope Kanebo Taiwan stocks that wash cloth, sounds like something I need (I’m just using muslin cloths that I buy at the baby section of department stores lol).

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Noodles, I hope you’ll like this one as much as I do! I know many swear by the Eve Lom one, but it’s mostly mineral oil and the price point is way high. I have several muslin cloth that came with the Pai cleanser, and that’s what I used until I found this!

  • Redhotjillypeppers

    I’ve never used a washcloth of sponge to cleanse but it sounds interesting. Right now I’m using a facial brush to cleanse after I take of my makeup and it really does make a difference.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Jill, you mean a regular brush or a Clarisonic type of thing? I’ve never tried a regular brush!

  • jenn @Abeautifulzen

    hmm that sponge chief somes pretty cool!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      It IS! You wouldn’t be able to believe how big of a difference it makes!

  • Eesha

    Now I really want to try the Clinique cleansing balm. I recently started using the Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil from Clarins, and I tell you, it’s amazing for dehydrated skin. It has changed how my skin feels now, which was parched and dehydrated due to excessive travelling in harsh summer.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Eesha, I’ve heard great things about Clarins oils, but I haven’t tried any! I’m glad to hear that one is doing wonders for you! I personally use face oils all year round. My skin just loves it!

  • Icaria

    Oh lucky you to have found it locally, I’d love to try that sponge! My recent game changer was Klorane micellar water, not because it was my first cleanser of that type but because of how it performs and I love the mild herbal scent. :)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Helene, it’s really strange. I didn’t really expect to find it in my town, but there it was!

  • Lily

    That sponge chief sounds good. I didn’t like the Clinique balm that much though. I prefer something richer in texture, and this one just seems very light. I use it up so quickly too!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Lily, aww I’m so sorry to hear that! For me this one just WORKS. I’ve had my pot for almost 2 months, and I haven’t really hit the bottom yet!

  • expatmuaddict

    YES! The Clinique take the day off-was so happy when you said you liked it!

    I still cannot understand in this day and age companies putting mineral oil in products-it totally puts me off and I wouldn’t buy the serum now because I know how badly my skin reacts to it if any mineral oil is in it :(

    Stacey Expat Make-Up Addict xx

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Stacey, it’s not mineral oil! It’s mineral pigment! I think it’s just like the Estee Lauder ANR eye serum. If you really look, you’d see a little light-reflecting particle in it.

  • Amber

    I too am quite obsessed with the Take the Day off Balm! I’ve been using it for a year without any breaks. Considering all the skin care I test for the blog, that speaks volumes lol!! I have not heard of the Sensai Sponge but I will most certainly be looking for it now!! It sounds amazing! Thanks for the great review! :)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      You’re welcome, Amber! I test new stuff of course, but for the most part I love to stick to what I know! The cleansing balm will most certainly remain a go-to!

  • Sofia

    I love oil cleansers so if this like that but without the hassle of splashing water all over the place to take it off, I’m sold! :)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hahaha I hope it’s available in Spain, and I hope you’ll like it! It does everything a cleansing oil does without the potential mess.

  • Bellyhead

    I love that feeling of the cleanest clean! I heard TTDO is an excellent and effective cleanser and such a good product for the price. I love balm/oil type cleansers in general and the first time I oil cleansed, I felt the world tilt off its axis a bit because it changed my life! I never knew what clean was before oil/balms!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hahaha try Sponge Chief too if you can find it! If you like cleaner than clean, you’ll love it!

  • SprinklesOnACupcake

    Love clinique, but I’m so curious about the sponge!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      You should give it a go! I think you can definitely find a retailer near you! It’s 7-8 euros, so it doesn’t break the bank, either!

  • Jennifer Monforton

    Lovely picks! I used the Clinique balm ages ago and would definitely be tempted to try it again! Right now I’m using the Body Shop cleansing butter and it’s also quite nice. Interested in seeing your thoughts on the new Clinique serum :)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Jennifer, I’ve heard both good and bad things about The Body Shop one. I’m glad to hear you like it!

  • Silke Laura

    I’ve heard so many great things about the Clinique Cleansing balm – it sounds so great! I also planned on buying the Clinique repairing serum and use it during the day, matched with the Estee Lauder Advanced night repair for night times. Curious how it will work out! x

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Silke, you should really try the cleansing balm! Are you already using ANR? Do you see a difference? I am curious because you are really quite young. It’s not that ANR is strictly-speaking an anti-aging product, but I always imagined the older you are, the more difference it makes LOL

      • Silke Laura

        I’m not using ANR yet, but will be purchasing very soon! It’s more like a prevention thing really. I’ve got quite dry skin and I think a serum like the ANR will do me good. I will let you know how it goes 😀 x

        • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

          Hey Silke, if you have drys kin then I say definitely give ANR a go! You can’t have too much hyaluronic acid! I hope you’ll see a good difference :)

  • Whitney

    Thank you for reviewing the Clinique cleansing balm! I was looking at it instore because I ran out of make up remover but I didn’t purchase it. Now I know that I must pick it up!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      You’re welcome, Whitney! You should go back and pick it up! It’s the best one-stop makeup remover ever!

  • Michelle @LipstickRules

    I just bought this cleansing balm too and love it! I also got the serum to test out – very intrigued by it.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Oh yay! I’m glad you’re loving the balm as well! I’ll give the serum a go when I’m done with my bottle of Caudalie Polyphenol C15. That’s any day now!

  • Carolyn @ The Makeup Writeup

    I’m about to run out of my current cleansing oil, and can’t wait to get the Clinique Cleansing Balm!! I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I’d also love the fact that it doesn’t drip like a cleansing oil can! Thanks for the review, Sunny!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Carolyn, GIVE THE BALM A GO! It does everything a cleansing oil does without the mess and slight stripping. I truly love it!

      • Carolyn @ The Makeup Writeup

        Thank you Sunny! I can’t wait to try this. Honestly I wish my current cleansing oil would hurry and finish up, haha. It’s OK but nothing special. I’m really excited to use this cleansing balm for the first time!

  • truecolorjoy

    is it not comparable to your thermal cleansing balm?

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Joy, I wouldn’t say they’re interchangeable. I’ve actually never tried to remove a full face of makeup with the Omorovicza balm. At that price point, I use it as a second cleanse and only once-twice a week as a treat. My heart would break if I had to slather it on my face to remove makeup!

      • truecolorjoy

        lol just as well you didn’t try it. then you’d be sad because it doesn’t do a 100% job at removing makeup. the clothes sound great. i’ll be sure to pick it up while i’m in asia


    that sounds like a really awesome product–and the sponge too

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Yes! Game changers!

  • Jaa

    Yay! Join the club! 😀 I’m so glad you liked the cleansing balm! I haven’t used much of anything else since I started using it. I love how it just melts into the skin and dissolves all kinds of waterproof makeup while still being gentle. Love love love! <3

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Jaa, I remember your review! I was SO happy when it became available here! Repurchase material.

    • Carolyn @ The Makeup Writeup

      I still remember your review of this, Jaa! After your and Sunny’s review, I’m really excited to start using this as soon as my current cleansing oil finally runs out!

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I’ve been double cleansing with coconut oil and a liquid. That cloth is intriguing though!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Erin, I’ve heard you can do that! I’ve never tried though. I really should pick up a tub of coconut oil and try at some point! The cloth is excellent! I don’t think I can ever go back to using muslin cloth!

  • Jacqueline Ma

    I tried the Rodial Cleansing Balm a few weeks back and I’ve been loving it. I love how cleansing balms feel on my face as a whole. I definitely want to give the Clinique version a try. I’ve been looking for a wash cloth too and the Kanebo Sensai one sounds awesome. Time to hunt it down. :) You are a “terrible” enabler :) my wallet is blaming you. Naawh…. just kidding babe, you make me want to try out so many things.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Jacqueline, I haven’t tried anything from Rodial yet, but the general feedback seems really positive! You should really hunt Sponge Chief down! I think it’s a great buy at 7-8 euros. I hope you can get it cheaper in Singapore!

  • Krithi Marla

    This is epic product and so effective
    Lovely review Sunny
    I’m glad it’s available in your place

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Krithi, I’m so happy we finally have access to this! It does a thorough job without stripping the skin. A tiny miracle!

  • Syirael

    Cleansing balm: this sounds so amazing! I never really seem to be able to get all my face makeup off with anything except eye makeup remover, and they sell that in small bottles, LOL! I wonder if we have it here…

    Sponge/cloth – this sounds so interesting! I also love how it has master *and* chief in the name. You know, just in case you weren’t aware of how boss it is 😉

    Serum: OK, the ‘sensing’ part sounds like pure and unadulterated cosmeceutical marketing bullsh*t, but the real question is…does it do nice things for your skin? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it :-)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Syl, I hope you can get the cleansing balm there! It really removes everything. I think the only thing it struggles a little with is the Benefit eyeliner. If it’s a pencil or gel liner, it just comes off!

      If you use a cleansing balm/milk/cream at all, I say try to find Sponge Chief!

  • Liz

    I loved massaging with this balm but in the end preferred the convenience of oil in pump bottles. The other thing too was that it made me break out if I didn’t thoroughly remove this balm off the face. Glad you love it so much!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Liz, hmm well that incomplete removal issue can be solved with Sponge Chief *nudge nudge* I like this more than cleansing oils, because there’s just less mess!

  • Pinks (@naturelbellefemme)

    Interesting cleansing routine dear . I stay away from balms as they may lead to acne. I prefer gel cleansers :-)
    Happy weekend !!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Aww so sorry to hear about the acne problem! I did read that cleansing balms work better for people who are not very breakout-prone.

  • Alice Yeh (翠雲葉)

    I had no idea that the Clinique cleansing balm hit the stores in Belgium. Need to check that out! I’m also very interested in Spons Chief, it sounds very promising!

    Alice x {My Beauty Blog}

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Alice, it’s relatively new! You should try both if you have the chance :)

  • sdg

    Hello, I live in Belgium as well. And I still didn’t find the Clinique cleansing balm. In which store did you buy it? Thank you :)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey there! The cleansing balm should be available everywhere Clinique is sold! It is indeed a little strange though. I just checked IPXL and the Clinique site, but I couldn’t see it anywhere. Maybe it is temporarily out of stock? Could you ask someone in the store?

      So sorry I couldn’t help more here! It is worth hunting down though (in my humble opinion)!

  • Phil

    I finally wrote about it.. feels like lard but it works so well 😀

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      LOL don’t call it lard! I love this thing!