Japanese Skincare Review: Shu Uemura Porefinist Cleansing Oil

September 16, 2014

Good evening y’all,

I hope you’re ready for a serious review. Because this product is seriously amazing. But let’s start at the beginning: Not a while back, I would use any cleanser that looked fancy enough to me. I didn’t have any preferences and wasn’t even aware of the differences every type of cleanser has. In preparation to my move to Korea I searched the web and found out about the Korean Skincare Routine and it’s first essential step: Double-cleansing.
Double-cleansing was designed to effectively get rid of make-up and sunscreen which can be quite tricky to remove by just one cleansing step. However, if you clean your face twice it’s very important that both cleansers are gentle enough so that you won’t hurt your skin barrier. The most common combination is an oil cleanser paired with a foaming cleanser and today I’m gonna share with you my thoughts on the Shu Uemura Porefinist Cleansing Oil.
Although I lived in Japan twice, I never tried anything from Shu Uemura while living there – mostly because it was not sold where I lived and because the brand is really expensive. Eventually I learned that the Shu Uemura cleansing oils are very raved about in the internet and as I wanted to establish a somewhat Korean skincare routine I was set on trying them. It wasn’t until my move to Korea though that I finally get to try them – luckily for me, moving to Korea involved a flight to Seoul and therefore a visit at the duty-free counter! I had rougly 6000Yen left when went to Korea and as wasn’t enough to exchange it my mother gave me the permission to spend it all at the dury-free counter (not that I need permission with my 25 years but it feels better to spend the money when someone approves of it. Simple psychology.)
And there it happened: Love at first sight. But it’s not like you enter the store, grab an oil and leave: At least for me I was overwhelmed by the choices of different oils that I had so I did the logical thing and let me educate from the friendly staff.  Shu Uemura has a variety of oils for different purposes: Whitening (blue), anti-aging/antioxidants (green), balancing (beige), special luxurious formula (gold), pore-minimizing (pink) and the classic one in a yellowish bottle. Since I have a lot of breakouts and oily skin she recommended me the pink porefinist oil which, as it happens, is also the newest one in the family and has a scent of sakura. Bet it’s a bestseller in Japan: If it’s pink and smells like cherryblossom, it will be sold. Everywhere. (Yes, that strategy still works.)
Shu Uemura sells their oils in two sizes; 150ml and 400ml. While you get a better deal with the bigger version I decided on 150ml to try it out first. I paid 2200Yen at duty-free and I read that it usually retails for 60$ and a whopping 155$ for the full size. However! I checked ebay and other sources and it is definitely possible to get it for almost duty-free prizes online, so don’t be devastated yet.
Claims of the pink formula: oil & sebum control, anti-shine and pore-minimizing.
Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-6 Dicaprate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Phenoxyethanol, Polybutene, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Tocopherol, Squalane, Simmondsia Chinensis Oil, Menthoxypropanediol, Carthamus Tinctorius Oil, Capryloyl Salicyclic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Capryloyl Glycine, Sarcosine, Prunus Cerasus Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Extract, Prunus Yedoensis Leaf Extract, Parfum.
Man, that took quite some time to type. Reason why I typed that out is a) it’s not printed on the bottle and as I threw away the package I wouldn’t know the ingredients and as I know you, my readers, might probably do the same you can check it here. Also, I wanted to check the ingredients via Cosdna for possible acne triggers and irritants.

Unfortunately, the first two ingredients Ethylhexyl Palmitate & Isopropyl Myristate are both  synthetic ester and unfortunately score an acne-triggering of 5 and 4. That’s bad. Especially since both are listed first and are therefore main components. They are also listed as possible irritants although with a lower score.  While keeping this in mind I have to say, that I found this oil very gentle and I don’t have the feeling that it breaks me out. When looking at these lists always keep in mind that certain ingredients are actively reacting with others so they’re real irritation level can depend a lot. Unfortunately I wasn’t obsessed enough with chemistry back in school..,
About the formula: The oil itself is clear and surprisingly light. It still feels like an oil but not greasy or heavy at all. The description says to use 3-4 pumps but I 1-2pumps serve me just fine. (This stuff is expensive, gotta use as little as I need.) With 1 pump I can exactly cover my whole face with oil; with 2 pumps it feels more rich. I usually use about 1 1/2 I guess.
Performance:  This oil is DA SHIT. Seriously, I love this cleansing oil! I have used some drugstore brands back in Japan (Biore and some other that I don’t recall..) and was very underwhelmed by it. It wasn’t bad, but it definitely didn’t do much for me. This oil however… oh boy. First, it is excellent at removing make-up. I am wearing full make-up most days with sunscreen, foundation, waterproof mascara, waterproof eyeliner etc and I am also pre-cleansing with make-up wipes as I don’t like to rub all the dirt over my face. Although I am doing that a lot of make-up still comes off at my cleansing oil step. I wiped with a cotton pad after massaging the oil in and wow. So. Much. Dirt! I was pretty astounded, to be honest. I always thought I get super clean with the wipes. I used them as my only cleansing step for years. Ohmygod. (What have I done.)
Secondly, I started using an AHA/BHA which basically is a chemical exfoliation treatment (details about that in another post). Let’s just say I chemically peel my face for two weeks. It’s just fine, nothing too dramatic happening. With that oil however, oh my. After the first days of the exfoliation I massaged the Shu Uemura oil on my face as I always do and suddenly, blackheads were coming out as smoothly as if they just waited to (in skincare terms, we call that process „getting (the) grits“). So i turned into a gritty mess and so many blackheads were coming out of my skin. It was amazing. Very gross but also very amazing. Of course this was due to the chemical exfoliation, but the oil did an amazing job as fully extracting the blackheads that were waiting to come out. 
That being sad, if you didn’t guess it already, I freaking love this cleansing oil. I wish it didn’t score so high in potential acne triggers but it seems to work fine for me. I will definitely repurchase it although I would want to try the green anti-oxidant one or the balancing formula. This works fine but it didn’t live up to the claims of pore-minimizing or anti-shine, I couldn’t experience any difference. However, the most important task of removing make-up and getting all those grits are done perfectly. I have been using this oil for a month straight and as you can say I used about 1/3 of the bottle. You can definitely get 3-4 months of use out of this oil and more than half a year with the full version which… is still expensive but not painfully super expensive. For me, it’s definitely worth the purchase.
In case I still forgot something important, drop me a question in the comments or write me an email! 🙂 Have a relaxing evening!
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