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The Shu Uemura cleansing oil has been one of my holy grail products for ten years now.
First created in 1967 by Mr. Shu Uemura, this product has been the Japanese brand’s star product since then, and has been raved about by fans like myself.

The original Shu Uemura cleansing oil has since evolved into a range of cleansing oils that cater to different skin concerns.

Why do Shu Uemura cleansing oils get so many great reviews

Most people love it for how quickly and easily it’s able to remove even the most persistent waterproof makeup, without drying out your skin.

My Shu Uemura cleansing oil review: Do I like it?

To show you how to use the Shu Uemura cleansing oil and also to demonstrate its efficacy, I’ve applied makeup that I’ll attempt to remove with the product on my arm.

I picked a few of the most stubborn makeup products that I know. From left to right: Liquid eyeliner, glitter eyeliner, liquid lipstick, matte lipstick, and waterproof mascara.

I used the classic Shu Uemura cleansing oil for the review.

Here’s how to use the product.

Step 1. Dispense the Shu Uemura cleansing oil from the pump and apply onto skin. Because I don’t use a lot of makeup, I find that one pump is usually sufficient for my entire face.

Step 2. Massage the cleansing oil gently over makeup.

As you can see from the picture below, the lip products (liquid lipstick and matte lipstick) were the easiest to remove. The Shu Uemura cleansing oil changed its colour from its clear, slightly yellow shade to the reddish hue of the lip products as it removes them. They almost can’t be seen immediately after I massage the product onto skin.

On the other hand, the eye makeup (liquid eyeliner, glitter eyeliner, and waterproof mascara) was still very visible.

Step 3. Concentrate more on stubborn areas

I used my fingers to go over the eye makeup a bit more and it also started to break down.

Step 4: Wet your hands and go over the entire area to emulsify the oil

Step 5: Rinse off with water

As you can see, makeup is thoroughly removed. From my experience, the only time I have trouble removing makeup with the Shu Uemura cleansing oil is when my lips are dry and the lip makeup pigment clung onto dry lip skin that has flaked. But in those cases, I find that exfoliating my lips would get rid of the remaining makeup.

I’ve been using the Shu Uemura cleansing oil for ten years now, and it remains one of my favourite makeup removers. Besides its efficacy in removing makeup thoroughly (yes, even the most stubborn makeup, as you can see) and very quickly, it also doesn’t leave a greasy or tight feeling on the face after washing.

The product is also designed such that there’s no need for double cleansing, which saves you a lot of time and hassle.

Another plus: Did you know that the Shu Uemura cleansing oil can also be used as a regular cleanser, and not just for removing makeup?

On mornings when I wake up feeling that my face is especially greasy, I find that the product is able to gently cleanse away sebum without drying out my face.

How to choose the right Shu Uemura cleansing oil for yourself

The Shu Uemura cleansing oil collection comprises different variants that address different skin concerns. I have tried all of them, and here’s what I recommend:

1. Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula

Also known as the “classic” formula, this is the one that I’ve used in this review, and was also the first-ever Shu Uemura cleansing oil I’ve bought. This has the highest removability in the Shu Uemura cleansing oil collection and is worth the price (S$66 for 150ml, and S$165 for 450ml).

Ideal for: If you’ve never tried the product and want to see how it works, go for the 150ml (it’s the one I used in this review). Since it’s the most affordable, you wouldn’t feel so much of a pinch, but at the same time, be able to get used to cleansing oils (if you don’t already use one) and see for yourself why this product is so well-loved.

Shop this Shu Uemura cleansing oil for S$66 to S$168 on Sephora

2. Shu Uemura Blanc:chroma Brightening & Polishing Gentle Cleansing Oil

This contains volcanic clay to gently exfoliate the skin without the harshness of scrubs. It is also formulated to polish away melano-stains (pigmentation caused by exposure to sun) so that your skin looks brighter. It retails at S$55 for 150ml and S$135 for 450ml.

Ideal for: You have sensitive skin and can’t use scrubs or peels for exfoliation, or if skin brightening is one of your key skin concerns. This is the usual cleansing oil I go for because I like to see my skin look more radiant after cleansing.

Shop this Shu Uemura cleansing oil for S$15 to S$135 on Sephora

3. Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi+ Pollutant & Dullness Clarifying Cleansing Oil

The Anti/Oxi+ cleansing oil is designed to fight pollutants, including the PM2.5 pollutants. On top of its anti-pollution benefits, this cleansing oil also helps restore dull-looking sallow skin to its radiance. It retails at S$55 for 150ml and S$135 for 450ml.

Ideal for: If you are constantly on the go or do outdoor sports, and are often exposed to environmental aggressors. This is also the cleansing oil I’d go for when Singapore is hit by haze.

Shop this Shu Uemura cleansing oil for S$15 to S$135 on Sephora

4. Shu Uemura POREfinist Anti-shine Fresh Cleansing Oil

Designed specifically for oily skin, it has a light texture that leaves skin feeling refreshed. Besides helping skin be shine-free, it also helps prevent blackheads from occurring. It retails at S$50 for 150ml and S$118 for 450ml.

Ideal for: Many people with oily skin shy away from cleansing oil. In fact, oil (not water!) cleanses away oil, so a cleansing oil is actually a great option for oily skin types. This is also ideal for those with acne-prone skin. However, if you don’t have oily skin – like me – you may not like this very much.

Shop this Shu Uemura cleansing oil in 150ml for S$50 on Sephora

5. Shu Uemura Ultime7 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil

This is the ultimate cleansing oil in Shu Uemura. Besides its superiority in removing waterproof makeup, it also delivers several skincare benefits during cleansing, thanks to the use of eight skin-loving natural botanical oils in the formula. It helps users achieve skin that’s soft and refined. It retails at S$66 for 150ml and S$168 for 450ml.

Ideal for: If you are already a Shu Uemura cleansing oil user and are looking for an upgrade in your skincare routine, this product will be it. I find that this is the best at removing makeup and leaves skin feeling hydrated. This is why this is my favourite to bring along when I travel.

Shop this Shu Uemura cleansing oil for S$19 to S$168 on Sephora

Should you get the 150ml or 450ml Shu Uemura cleansing oil?

I usually go for the 450ml because I already know that I like the product. While S$125 (the price for the 450ml bottle for most of the variants) may sound quite a lot at first, I realise that it takes a very long time to go through the 450ml bottle.

I don’t usually wear heavy makeup, and take almost six months to finish the entire 450ml bottle. When I break it down to the total time it takes me to use the product, I’m merely spending about S$21 a month – that’s not too bad.

The 150ml bottle is probably ideal for those who already like the product, and are trying to see if other variants work better for them or not.

However, if you’ve never tried the product and are not sure if you’ll like the product, go to the Shu Uemura counter to ask for a sample. They give out sachets that you can collect for free.