The Cleansing Oil That Changed My Entire Cleansing Routine — And Here’s Why You Should Try It Too

The beginning of my journey into cleansing oils and the wonders it did for my skin.

I don’t really see a point in changing anything when it comes to my cleansing or beauty routine. If it works, I’ll stick to it until something gives me a reason to change. For the longest time ever, I’ve been keeping to a very simple cleansing routine: I use micellar water and a cotton pad to remove my makeup before wash my face with a gel cleanser at night.

When my editor Adele asked me to try out a cleansing oil (which she swears by!), I decided to give it a go. I’ve heard about the oil cleansing method, which is a popular and apparently very effective way of removing heavy makeup. While the first thing I thought was to use it as a makeup cleanser, my editor told me that the oil doubles up as a makeup remover and as a cleanser. If I had known that using an oil cleanser could be so time efficient, I might have even started using it earlier!


One of the biggest myths is that oil will make you break out, especially if you have oily skin. But after a lot of research, I can tell you that this is not true. In fact, oil might even be the best thing to cleanse your face with.

Your face needs oil too, just not in excess. Overcleansing your face might lead to a conundrum where you’re actually stripping your skin of its natural oils and your pores end up overproducing oil to compensate for the lack of oil, thus leading to overtly oily faces, clogged pores and (in worse cases) breakouts. It’s a conundrum that you simply have to break away from.

Japanese women have been using cleansing oils for decades now, and since they’re known to have good skin despite the humongous amount of makeup they use, there must be some truth to it. The natural botanicals in cleansing oils will also help to balance your skin’s natural oil levels, leaving your face more moisturised and cleaner than when using a traditional-soap based cleanser. Using oil instead of a micellar water is supposedly gentler on your skin as you’re not hacking away at your face with a cotton pad. The oil binds to dirt and grime more easily than a micellar water so you don’t have to scrub too hard at your face to remove makeup.


It took a few days for me to get used to using an oil to remove my makeup, especially around my undereye area. I probably wasn’t doing it correctly because my colleagues who used cleansing oils had no problems removing eye makeup.

After a couple of days, I had settled into the routine of removing all my makeup with just the shu uemura cleansing oil. I found that I didn’t even need to use my regular facial cleanser after as the cleansing oil did a pretty good job of cleansing my face by itself. Not only did it cut out a step in my cleansing routine, my skin also felt much more “refreshed”. There was also no “oily” feeling. The oil also claimed to be “residue-free”, and being the super kiasu kid, I even used a cotton pad after cleansing my face just to check that there were no traces of eyeliner left. There wasn’t, just in case you were wondering.

And if you don’t believe me when I say that the cleansing oil can remove all sorts of makeup, watch this video.

Here I am using the shu uemura ultime8 skin purifier cleansing oil

I’ve only been using the shu uemura cleansing oil for a couple of weeks now, but I think I can safely say that I’ve been converted into a fan. Basically, the cleansing oil is like a makeup remover, cleanser and skincare product all in one. Not only does it completely remove heavy makeup thus cutting out the need for an extra makeup remover, it also cleanses the face without stripping moisture from the skin. The cleansing oil really stayed true to its #artofremoving claim that it removes everything except my skin’s moisture in one cleanse without a need for double cleansing!

Overtime, you’ll also get long time benefits from the botanicals used in the shu uemura formulas. Just after 2 and a half of weeks of using the oil, my skin’s been clearing up and I haven’t had any major breakouts except for the stray zit occasionally. I even noticed that my T-Zone didn’t get oily as quickly – which means that the cleansing oil is helping to balance the oil levels on my face!


The cleansing oil is pretty simple to use. With dry hands, pump about 3 to 4 times and pat the oil onto your (dry) face. It might get a little messy at first because the oil can be slippery. Gently rub the oil all over your face.

Wet your hands and pat over your face to emulsify the oil, which should become a milky substance. Slowly add water as you wash away the oil – and watch all the makeup come off like magic! Yes, that’s how amazed I was. Also, you’ll need to have dry hands and skin for the oil cleanser to work properly, so you should probably cleanse your face before showering.

Tip: water and oil are not exactly the most soluble chemicals, so you’d want to avoid splashing too much water at once or the oil will not emulsify properly.


When it comes to trying out new products, you would definitely want to pick one that works because you don’t want your skin breaking out.

So, let me introduce you to the grandfather of cleansing oils, which everybody from my editor to models like Liv Lo and even my mother swears by (although she uses it as a makeup remover) – the shu uemura skin purifier cleansing oil. I was quite blessed that my editor passed me a couple bottles from shu uemura that I’ve been using ever since.

Of course picking the right cleansing oil also helped a lot, and I tried a couple to choose the right one for my skin. There are 6 different types in the shu uemura cleansing oil range, each one designed for various skin types and concerns. I broke down all variants to help you decide! Here’s another tip: if you’re keen on sampling the various oils, you can get complimentary sachets at shu uemura counters.

Anti/Oxi+ – for anti-pollution and dullness concerns

This was the very first cleansing oil I tried, and I have to say that it made me love the ease of using oil to remove my makeup. The Anti/Oxi+ has Green Papaya, Moringa and Green Tea extracts to keep pollutants away from the skin and remove stubborn makeup residue, especially if you love wearing heavy-duty waterproof makeup. If you’re working in a city with lots of pollution in the air, you might want to get this as impurities in the air can dull skin and even cause premature aging!

On a side note, if you’re using eyelash extensions, the shu uemura cleansing oil is safe to use as it won’t loosen your lash glue! Just gently rub your lashes in an outward motion for a thorough cleanse.

ultime8 – for all skin types and global skin concerns

The ultimate cleansing oil for all skin concerns which also happens to be shu uemura’s no. 1 bestselling variant. The ultime8 is a blend of 8 naturally derived botanical oils – camellia, ginseng, bamboo, shea butter, olive, jojoba, corn and safflower – which works in harmony to wash off all the gunk on your face and protect it from pollutants in the air.

Since this was the hero product, I had to give it a try too. The description says that the ultime8 leaves you with a “cashmere-like skin texture”, which sounds exactly like a luxurious beauty product my skin deserves. The velvety (really, there’s no other word to describe it) oil felt very luxe, and it was like I just washed my face in a spa. This cleansing oil is probably the most nourishing amongst all the shu uemura oils as it’s also suitable for more mature skin, which means that you might break out if your skin can’t handle it.

high performance balancing cleansing oil advanced formula – for all skin types

The OG favourite that first debuted in 1967, the high performance balancing cleansing oil has been reformulated to improve the removability of makeup, and is suitable for all skin types. This variant also happens to be my editor’s favourite (editor’s pick!), and I have to admit that it’s my favourite one out of the lot too. If you aren’t sure which cleansing oil to start with, try this one. I’ve tried the Anti/Oxi+ and found myself gravitating towards this one as the previous is a little bit too strong for my skin. Plus I love the refreshing rosemary smell every time I finish washing my face – the fragrance doesn’t smell “fake”.

POREfinist² – for oily and acne-prone skin

The pretty pink bottle aside, the POREfinist² is designed for those who have oily skin and still want to try using a cleansing oil. The lighter formula is designed to help refresh your face, as well as reduce the appearance of your pores by washing away excess sebum and blackheads that can get stuck in pores. Complete with a floral aroma, this variant comes with sakura sake extract that regulate sebum secretion and also has the smallest molecules to dissolve makeup and impurities even faster.

nutri:nectar – for those with sensitive/ delicate skin

The latest variant to join the shu uemura line is an oil in emulsion composition for delicate skin. The nutri:nectar is an oil-in-emulsion blend powered by Acai Extract, Magnolia Extract and Reishi Mushrom that doesn’t dry out the skin. The essential oils used in the formula also helps strengthen sensitive skin against environmental stress while still keeping the skin conditioned!

blanc:chroma – for uneven skin tones

If you’re noticing that your skin tone is uneven lately, it might be due to melanin production. The blanc:chroma is a light, floral oil that fixes imperfections – whether its uneven redness, yellow dullness, brown dark spots or greenish dark circles – in 4 weeks. Not only does this oil remove makeup and impurities, it also lightens your skin tone by removing melano-stains thanks to the combination of purifying Clay Extract and polishing Lipo HA.


The shu uemura skin purifier cleansing oils are now available at all shu uemura counters and boutiques, and online at and The cleansing oils are priced from $50 for 150ml, and from $115 for 450ml. Visit any shu uemura counter or boutique to receive a 3-day cleansing oil sample kit