Here’s another item that I bought in Japan last June – I decided to open up the THREE Balancing Cleansing Oil and bypass some other cleansing oils in my stash because it contains no preservatives and I didn’t want it to spoil.
This product has a lot of hype around it, and I wanted to see for myself how a luxury cleansing oil performs. I’ll spoil the review here now because you’ll notice that the title mentioned TWO cleansing oils – the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil came to the rescue when the THREE oil failed to deliver. 😦 I have a question for you – when people ask if you want to hear the bad news first or the good news first – which do you normally say? I always want to hear the bad news first…
THREE is a high-end Japanese brand that reminds me a bit of the line Prescriptives but with an emphasis on natural ingredients (side note: I had no idea that Prescriptives was back in business but online only!). When I visited the THREE counter, I was of course immediately drawn to the MAKEUP 😮 :
But no, I had to stay focused. I asked the SA about the cleansing oil and she advised that it was their most popular item. I bought it, then pawed at the makeup one last time and went on my way. 😛
It is made of 88% naturally derived ingredients and claims to “purifies the skin by thoroughly removing makeup and excess sebum”.
I don’t read Japanese but I’m going to assume the first line is about the naturally derived ingredients! 😛 Also, note that like most Japanese cosmetics, the price is printed right on the product, it’s shown as “4,000 円” right next to “200mL”. I do like how sleek the packaging looks with the unbleached paper and the frosted bottle (it’s plastic, not glass).
Fast forward to November, I tried this cleanser for 2 weeks and then I gave up. I won’t mince words – this oil cleanser stinks badly – like herbal tea left to ferment in an athlete’s sneaker. Also, it doesn’t perform its primary function well: clean off my makeup! My foundation and eye makeup are not removed thoroughly, no matter how much of the product I use. It also doesn’t rinse / emulsify completely off so I feel a film left on my skin. Lastly, and the worst aspect of all – this stings the heck out of my eyes! 😡
I will say one nice thing about the formula – it’s a thicker consistency which is what I prefer in a cleansing oil.
Why is this so popular and highly reviewed?! I suspect it has something to do with its hefty price tag of ¥4,000 (~C$50 for 200ml) – more expensive skincare must be better, surely? 🙄 Also, I think that if you paid a lot of money for a product, it’s less of a cognitive dissonance to want it to work well.
Here are the ingredients:
Vitis Vineffera (Grape Seed Oil), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Squalane, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Isostearic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Rosacanina Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, PEG-12 Isostearate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamina (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Boswellia Carterii Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Origanum Majorana Leaf Oil, Beeswax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Ascorbyl palmitate, Lecithin.
I should note that it contains some oils that are potentially irritating, such as orange peel oil, bergamot oil, and rosemary oil (essential oils in general can cause irritations). Thankfully, I did not react to them, I think mainly because I always follow up oil cleansing with a micellar water to remove any residue.
• Sleek packaging and bottle
• Natural ingredients
• Smells terrible
• Doesn’t clean well
• Stings eyes
• Doesn’t rinse well
• Contains potentially irritating oils
Stash worthiness: 2/10
This bottle now sits in my vanity as a cautionary tale… and I am trying to use it up to clean makeup brushes. While it’s never fun posting a negative review about a product, I feel that it’s necessary to balance some of the blind hype sometimes. Save your money!
Now let’s chat about another cleansing oil that’s pretty awesome! Similar to THREE, the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil has a lot of hype. It is a bit on the pricey side compared to other Japanese cleansing oils at C$35 for 200ml bottle. It might be just me, but I always found the packaging of the DHC cleansing oil to look quite cheap:
So I was really psyched when I learned that DHC released a limited edition collection featuring Alice in Wonderland illustrations:
Now I had an excuse to buy this! It cost the same price as the regular bottle so I bought it online in late 2014 where it has sat in my closet since. 😳
After the disappointing experience with the THREE Balancing Cleansing Oil, I decided to finally open this up.
• In a clinical study, 92% of participants agreed Deep Cleansing Oil worked better than a leading cleanser at removing complexion makeup
• Unique water-soluble formula rinses thoroughly
• Rich in vitamins and antioxidants
• Nourishes and hydrates for younger-looking skin
• 1 sold every 10 seconds worldwide
The consistency of this cleansing oil is one of the thickest I’ve ever tried – which I love! It smells mostly like olive oil – not at all offensive, but fairly utilitarian (and no added fragrance). As for its performance, it’s basically the complete opposite of the THREE oil – this one cleans thoroughly (even waterproof eye makeup), rinses well, and doesn’t sting my eyes! After cleansing, my skin did not feel tight or stripped. This reminds me a lot of my favourite cleansing oil, the MUJI Sensitive Skin Cleansing Oil, which is a good thing!
The ingredient list for the DHC cleansing oil is much shorter:
Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Pentylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil.
The rosemary oil can be a possible skin irritant – but a least it’s the last ingredient – and my skin didn’t react at all.
And let’s not kid ourselves, the Alice in Wonderland artwork is a big part of the appeal of this product for me!
Look at the detail they put into both the outer box and the bottle itself.
The main negative about the DHC cleansing oil is the price tag at $35 – if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative for the DHC, I highly recommend the MUJI Sensitive Skin cleansing oil, which is less half price of DHC at $14.50 for 200ml. They’re both olive oil based and perform pretty much the same for me.
• Pretty bottle (this LE version, anyway)
• No added fragrance
• Cleans well
• Rinses cleanly
• Does not sting eyes
• A bit pricey
• Contains potentially irritating oil
Stash worthiness: 9/10
Here’s a quick comparison of the performance of the two cleansing oils. The makeup to be removed are:
I applied each product to bare skin and allowed everything to dry thoroughly for 15 minutes.
So here’s a case of 2 hyped up products – one lived up to the hype while the other did not. Even with at this price point, the DHC cleansing oil has edged out a couple of other cleansing oils to make it into my top 3. I’ve been using oil cleansers for many years, ever since Japanese skincare regimes starting making the North American beauty rounds in mid-2000’s. My first cleansing oil was the Origins Clean Energy Cleansing Oil because that was what was available to me at the time. I then branched out to the cheap and cheerful Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil. After trying various cleansing oils, my preference is for cleansing oils that are olive oil based, and my current top 3 are: MUJI Sensitive Skin Cleansing Oil, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, and MAC Cleanse Off Oil. Incidentally, although MAC is a North American brand, their cleansing oil is made in Japan! 🙂 Are you a fan of cleansing oils?
What was a hyped up product that disappointed you? And what hyped product actually lived up to the hype?