A Comprehensive Guide to Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils are famous for being a one-stop-shop for makeup removal and face cleansing. Developed to protect the skin’s delicate balance while removing make-up and impurities in a single step, cleansing oils are gentle yet powerful. I’ve written previously about how wonderful Shu’s cleansing oils are; and, no matter what other brand I use, I always come back to Shu’s oils because there’s just nothing like it. Currently, there’s tons of cleansing oils from various brands: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil; Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil; Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil; Amore Pacific Treatment Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes; Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Purifying Cleansing Oil; Shiseido Ultimate Cleansing Oil; and, Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil to name a few.

Refer to my posts here about the Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil and the Shu Uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil. Information about my makeup removal process is posted here.

Here, I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to Shu Uemura’s cleansing oils.




For me personally, the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils are staple items in my collection. And, they’re an important part of my skincare/cleansing routine. I immediately notice a difference when I don’t use this oil to remove my makeup in the evenings and I refuse to be without one. They’re expensive but worth it since they last nearly all year. And, if you’re like me, you should purchase a replacement and a backup when there’s a major sale during the holiday season!

For general makeup removal/skincare, try the High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula. It’s designed for all skin types and addresses general concerns, like makeup removal and skin conditioning. Evolved from the original “Classic” Shu Uemura cleansing oil, it is reformulated with an advanced High Performance Cleansing Oil system for improved removability of waterproof make-up and sunscreen.

The Cleansing beauty Oil Premium A/I is a step up from the High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula, but targets dry or sensitive skins. This luxuriously rich cleansing oil with plant extracts “focuses on improving the texture of the skin, leaving the skin moisturized, nourished and more radiant looking.” This is great for general makeup removal/skincare as well.

For specific concerns, try the Porefinist Anti-Shine Fresh Cleansing Oil for oil and pore concerns; the Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil for brightening and evening the complexion; and, the Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil for anti-dullness — specfically targeting environmental concerns that affect aging of the skin.

The Porefinist Anti-Shine Fresh Cleansing Oil is a “water-like cleansing oil goes beyond make-up removal to dissolve and wash away excess sebum and blackheads that are stuck inside pores.” This newly advanced formula includes “cinnamon bark extract [and] regulates sebum secretion day after day.” Oil is controlled and pores are cleansed; and, with that, “blackheads are removed to reveal a refined, smooth skin.” The Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil is for those with brightening concerns, as this oil removes “melanin-filled dead cells” and it cleanses. “Fortified with the Ultimate Removal System, [Shu’s] latest development, the lightly textured formula effectively removes accumulated melanin and heavy make-up.” The brightening technology contains an “innovative combination of Mito-White Complex and Vitamin C to help prevent the accumulation of melanin deep within” to clarify and brighten the skin, giving it an even-toned complexion. The Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil targets dull and sallow complexions by using a combination of “moringa extract and green tea extract [to] create a result of glowing clarity and refined smoothness.” This cleansing oil is designed to clear pollutants that accelerate aging stress.

How to use Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils:
1. (optional) Use a cotton pad and eye makeup remover to remove eye makeup, including mascara
2. With dry hands, pump 2-3 pumps of cleansing oil
3. Apply onto dry face and massage — including lips and eyes
4. Apply water to the oil on the face so the product emulsifies and turns white
5. Continue massaging and rinsing
6. Rinse thoroughly
7. (optional) Follow-up with a cream/foaming cleanser + Clarisonic
8. Pat skin dry
9. Proceed onto skincare routine

Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil

Finishing a cleansing oil is a big deal for me since it takes nearly 10 months to go through it all. While Shu Uemura cleansing oils are initially expensive, they provide excellent results for makeup removal and the overall condition of your skin; also, they last a super long time so I find them worth the money. Personally, I stock up at the end of the year when there’s deals for the holidays. Usually with a coupon code during that time, Shu’s products are 25% off so I buy one 450 mL bottle and one 150 mL bottle every year. The smaller bottle is convenient for traveling or when I go visit my parents for a few weeks.

Cleansing oil

I recently finished my trusty pore purifying cleansing oil and I moved onto the Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil. This is my favorite by far (and I’ve gone through every single cleansing oil available throughout the years). The Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil is the most expensive in the range and contains “precious essence of 8 exquisite botanical origin oils.” Combining beauty and health philosophies from Chinese medicine, beauty oils from all over the world have been merged together “to have the highest skincare efficacy for a petal-soft silky smooth sensation.”

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All of Shu Uemura’s cleansing oils are superb. But what makes this one my favorite is the long-term benefits I see with this product. After cleansing, my skin is smooth and soft; my skin looks and feels healthy and even. And, it gets better and better the longer I use it. Even my pores seem clear, my brows and lashes feel conditioned and full, and even if my skin was irritated before, this oil soothes it. At the same time, this cleansing oil is super gentle and very rich — only 2-3 pumps is all I need and it feels very good on the skin. I’ve noticed if I use a different brand of cleansing oil to remove my makeup, my skin notices — my pores get clogged, my nose gets especially oily, and I swear my makeup doesn’t apply as smooth.

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For me, I feel that the Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil truly removes make-up and impurities effortlessly. My skin feels softened, conditioned, hydrated, and nourished all at the same time. I think my skin benefits from including this into my nightly ritual and I refuse to be without it! Read more about my Makeup Removal Process here.

Made in Japan.
Retails for $90.00 USD (450 mL) & $42.00 USD (150 mL).

Shu Uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil

I stock up on Shu Uemura cleansing oils whenever they have deals on their website. I don’t mind investing in them because the large 450 mL bottle lasts nearly a year for me, so I take online deals very seriously. This time around, I wanted to try some of the other formulas, so I chose the Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil and the Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil (but more on that one later).


The Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil is designed for “dull skin complexion[s] [in need of] removing melanin-filled dead cells.” As “the first step in brightening care,” this particular cleansing oil is “fortified with the Ultimate Removal System–[Shu Uemura’s] latest development.” The “lightly textured formula effectively removes accumulated melanin and heavy make-up.” As with all cleansing oils, you apply this directly to your dry face with dry hands. After massaging the product over your skin, you add water to emulsify the product. I rinse again with warm water, and then move onto using a cleanser with my Clarisonic.

This brightening cleansing oil “contains an innovative combination of Mito-White Complex and Vitamin C to help prevent the accumulation of melanin deep within.” Normally, I don’t pay that much attention to brightening cleansers because the effects are temporary. However, this cleansing oil seems to help my skin remain brightened in a healthy way. I can’t say for sure that the “advnaced technology” is providing significant results; but, my skin does look clarified and brightened and feels refreshed. After makeup removal and cleansing, I have an even-toned complexion that looks clean, bright, and healthy. Unfortunately, I did notice that I don’t get the same effects when I use something else, but it doesn’t bother me that much. I invest in cleansing oils for their makeup removal abilities and not so much for the brightening effect — that’s just an added bonus. :)

Made in Japan.
Retails for $81.00 USD for 450 mL.
Retails for $38.00 USD for 150 mL.

Makeup Removal/Cleasing Oil

One of the most important steps to take as a makeup user is to carefully and thoroughly remove everything before going to bed. Late nights out with friends and feeling tired after a late work day can lead us to be quite lazy with our makeup removal. Without this important step, our skin cannot breathe and repair itself at night; also, leaving impurities on your skin from the day before is not good for your skin – let alone, smearing it all over your pillow and then sleeping on it again the next night!

For those of you wanting a brightened and clear skin tone – this is the best thing for you to do: cleanse it thoroughly.

My favorite way to remove makeup is with cleansing oil. Using a cleansing oil is the most precise and thorough way of removing everything off of your face since oil breaks up oil. Also, please note that it doesn’t matter what kind of skin type you have (including oily skins) because it’s not like you’re leaving the oil on – you’ll be washing it off. For me personally, I like to remove my eye makeup with the Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover first. Then, I proceed to using my cleasing oil (onto dry face, with dry hands) – essentially, I massage it around my face, and foundation, concealer, powder, blush, etc. begins to melt right off.

Afterwards, I rinse my face and then move onto my cleansing step (since the removal process is over). Generally, for this step, I use a foam cleanser (sometimes in conjunction with my Clarisonic Mia).

Option 1 is my cheaper option for cleansing oils and you can pick it up at your local Asian market. It’s about $13 and I need a good 3-4 pumps to get a sufficient amount of oil. This bottle lasts up to 4 months since I only use it night on a daily basis. It gets the job done, even though it’s not my absolute favorite.

Option 2 is my favorite and most expensive choice for cleansing oils: the Shu Uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil. For 15.2 oz. it’s $67 and you have to place an online order. Although at first glance it’s an expensive option, this giant bottle lasts for nearly a year if I use it every night; and, more than a year if I’m alternating or experimenting with other oils or cleansing balms.

This particular oil – the pore clarifying one – is made for combination to oily skins, and is considered the first step for “pore-less skin.” According to the Shu Uemura website, this is “a lightweight cleansing oil that leaves the skin clean, fresh and refined.” You are able to “wash away pore concerns – enlarged pores and clogged pores that lead to blackheads.” It “effectively removes make-up and impurities inside pores while maintaining the skin’s necessary moisture level.” The product claims to be “empowered with Sakura Complex” and is a “cleansing oil [that] minimizes pores by eliminating excess sebum and visibly smoothes the skin’s surface.”

Here’s a demo: basically I’ve swatched random “long-wear” and “waterproof” makeup items onto dry skin. I let it set for a few minutes before drizzling the Shu Uemura cleansing oil. I rubbed it in, wiped it off, and then washed my arm. Squeaky clean!

Some additional info about Shu Uemura cleansing oil: “it was developed from the knowledge that Mr. Uemura gained while working as a foremost Hollywood makeup artist in the 1950s. The secret to Shu Uemura cleansing oil is protecting the skin’s delicate balance while removing make-up and impurities in a single step.”

What are your thoughts on cleansing oils? Any particular ones you prefer? Have you tried Shu Uemura’s cleansing oils?

*Quotes extracted from http://www.shuuemura-usa.com.