Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula

I know I have mentioned this product before, but I don't think I have ever done a full review on Shu Uemura's Cleansing Oil. Now that Shu counters are going the way of the Dodo in the US I figured now is as good a time as any to get you all motivated to visit your local counter and/or website and order something ASAP. (Note: Shu Uemura products will still be available online for purchase in the US and other countries. I just like causing a slight panic because I'm evil.)

If you wear sunscreen, waterproof make up, long wearing foundation, or any non water based cosmetic product on your face you may benefit from using a cleansing oil each night. I have heard countless stories from women complaining that their sunscreen or foundation breaks them out and I tell you more than half the time it's not the act of wearing the product that is irritating their skin, it's the fact that the product is not effectively removed that is causing the blemishes and irritation. Using many soap based cleansers as one's sole method of removing sunscreen, water resistant and waterproof makeup is not always the best way to deep clean your skin. Sure, you can use face brushes and toners but if you are still seeing makeup residue on your cotton pads after cleansing, then you aren't truly removing all your makeup. While toners do a nice job of removing some of the cosmetic leftovers that your cleanser doesn't get, you might be stripping your skin of natural oils by over using that's not the purpose of toner in the first place. So what is a girl (or guy) to do?

Cleansing oil. Not just plain olive oil or mineral oil or corn oil. Cosmetic grade cleansing oils are formulated to emulsify when water is added. This breaks up sunscreen and cosmetics on your skin and help lift cosmetic debris out of your pores for a real deep cleansing. There are many cleansing oils out there to try, but my favorite has to be Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula (HP Oil). The closest to the "Classic" Shu Uemura formula the HP Oil works the best for my skin.

Now wait a minute, you might be saying. "Elvira, You have oily skin. Why in the heck (because I like to believe you all talk in PG13 language) would you add MORE oil to your face?" And I would answer you, my All General Audiences Appropriate Friend, that oil is not bad for oily skin. I have already written about the pleasure of seeing a decrease in oil production using essential oils like the Decléor one I reviewed HERE. And fighting oil with oil is a long time and effective practice. Oh and the oil that you use in the Shu Uemura cleansing oils wash off completely. No icky sticky residue.

I have used some of the other oils in Shu's line but the HP oil is my favorite. It's not too thick, it's not scented (as far as I can tell, but the ingredients do list perfume) it doesn't break me out and promises nothing more than effectively removing makeup from my skin without stripping it. YAY! But in case you are wondering what other oils Shu offers, they are:

Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/O - Green color. Supposed to provide some anti aging benefits. I have used this in the past but had tiny white heads form after use, so I stopped.

White Recovery Brightening Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula - Light violet color. Enhanced with vitamin C this oil is supposed to brighten and smooth your complexion. I have used this formula, but not long enough to see any brightening effects.

High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Fresh -Pink color. This oil is lighter weight in formula and is scented. It is supposed to be ideal for very oily skin types and provides the same essential cleansing that the regular formula does with a lighter consistency in the oil. I have used this and personally didn't care for the scent. It worked just fine and might be ideal for use in the summer when a heavier oil isn't as needed.

Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/I - Golden color. Similar to the HP oil but geared toward dry skin tones that need extra nourishment. I have not used this formula

So anyway....back to the cleanser at hand...

Here's how I use it:
At the end of the day I put one and a half pumps into the the palm of my hand. (Shu Uemura's website recommends 3 to 4 pumps but I find that overkill and unnecessary). I apply the oil to my dry face. I use the oil as my primary makeup remover. I carefully rub my eyes to remove mascara and massage the oil evenly over my face and neck. Once the oil is evenly distributed you will already see it breaking down your eye makeup and other cosmetics put on your face that day.
Then the "trick". I rinse my hands off in lukewarm water. I do not towel dry them, but I shake off the excess. With damp hands I massage the oil on my face. The water mixes with the oil and emulsifies creating a milky white liquid. If I find the oil is not emulsifying enough I add a few droplets of water. Remember less is more. The result I want is a milky white water all over my face where the oil once was.
Once I have achieved that, I simply rinse my face in warm water and follow with a cream or foaming cleanser of my choice.
On days when I don't wear makeup, but I do wear sunscreen, I still use the Shu HP oil to breakdown and remove the sunscreen and then follow with a toner instead of a second cleansing.

Now some of you may think I'm crazy for washing my face twice. Some of you may think that if I had an effective cleanser I could skip the oil cleansing method. And I would tell you that you are WRONG. OK. I probably wouldn't be as rude...well to some of you I would. I have tried just cleansers, no oil cleansing and nothing...and I mean NOTHING has been able to maintain the clarity of my skin better than cleansing oil followed by a regular cleanser.

Do you NEED this? Well I have to say YES! I prefer Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils, but you don't HAVE TO buy one of them. DHC makes a less expensive one, and there are a host of other Japanese brands that offer cleansing oils. Heck, even some domestic brands in the US have cleansing oils now. (MAC, Clinique, Lumene, etc.) A 450 ml / 15.2 fl oz bottle of the Shu HP oil will cost you $62. The bottle should last you over a year (using about one to one and a half pumps a day) It is an excellent investment in your skin. Because the better you take care of your skin up front, the less stuff you have to buy to cover up and treat blemishes and imperfections later on. (At least that's what I tell myself to justify my purchases)

ingredients: paraffinum liquidum / mineral oil , zea mays / corn germ oil , polysorbate 85 , carthamus tinctorius oil / safflower seed oil , cetyl ethylhexanoate , sorbitan trioleate , simmondsia chinensis oil / jojoba seed oil , camellia kissi / camellia kissi seed oil , macadamia ternifolia seed oil , canola oil , squalane , zingiber officinale extract / ginger root extract , rosmarinus officinalis extract / rosemary leaf extract , sea water , isohexadecane , c12-15 alkylbenzoate , dicaprylyl carbonate , ethyl oleate , isopropyl myristate , tocopherol , glycerin , propylene glycol , linalool , parfum / fragrance


  1. Great review! I've used the premium version & wasn't too impressed. I've found a few other cleansing oils I like best at fraction of the cost. Although I didn't try the one you used & I'd probably give the other oils a go.

  2. Alas, Shu made me break out. I think it was the green one as well.

    Fortunately MAC's Cleanse Off oil works a charm and smells a bit like gingerbread?

  3. Here you go, making me interested in a product again. But Elvira, I won't let you pull me on the bandwagon, not yet anyway, at least not since it costs $62 dollars *Plants feet*

    Anyway, I do love the idea of a cleansing oil, as for a while I never had skin that was brighter, cleaner, or fresher feeling than when I used to take my makeup off with Ponds cold cream. If I recall correctly it has a mineral oil base which is why it is so greasy feeling? Anyway. I quit using it when I got pregnant because I wasn't wearing makeup anyway and now that I tried to revisit it, all it does is make my skin a red wacky greasy mess. =(

    I know the girl above mentioned mac, and you mentioned DHC, etc...but. are the other, cheaper brands of cleansing oils, just as effective without the high cost?

  4. i was almost out of cleanser, and my cleanser wasn't getting all of my MU off anyways since i recently have been experimenting with 'stickier' foundations like Revlon Colorstay. so i went to CVS and picked up a bottle of the Lumene, and it's AMAZING. you are right!!!

    it works on my waterproof, holdfast MU. it rinses away easily but leaves my skin properly cleansed. it smells amazing (probably whatever herbal ingredient they claim prevents aging or whatnot) and it's within my budget at 10.99 (my bottle was a buck less because they have redesigned it and it was the last of the old kind.)

    appreciate the tip-off!!

  5. I recently tried out this cleanser and I'm in love! Great review.

  6. I ordered a Japanese cleansing oil off of Amazon on a whim. When it arrived, I realized I needed to do some research. Your blog came up and I LOVED your post. Thanks for the great info.


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