Top 31 Best Japanese Cleansing Oils to Buy Online 2019 – Tried and True!

Top 31 Best Japanese Cleansing Oils to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!

Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) for the best cleansing oils. We then chose the 31 most popular products and tested them for the following:

  1. Cleansing Power
  2. Hydration (that is, how hydrated your skin is after cleansing)
  3. Ingredients

We also consulted a researcher about options for folks with sensitive skin and rounded out the article with tips on how to use and wash off cleansing oils. What we ended up with was a definitive list of and buying guide about the best Japanese cleansing oils available online (and in drugstores).

Table of Contents

Top 31 Best Japanese Cleansing Oils Available Online

We tested the cleansing oils out on waterproof makeup. We applied the products and made note of whether or not they were drying. We asked a researcher to look over the ingredients with us and judge how gentle they were. And based on their performance on our tests, we ranked the top 31 Japanese oil cleaners available online.

※Japanese prices for the products are given; they’ve merely been converted into USD for easy viewing.

1. Dr.Ci:Labo Natural Cleansing Oil

Dr.Ci:Labo Natural Cleansing OilDr.Ci:Labo Natural Cleansing Oil

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Price: $16.34

For Those Who Don’t Know What They’re Looking For–The Cleansing Oil Most Likely to Work for Anyone

This doesn’t just work as a makeup remover. It was formulated to deal with a wide range of skin problems, from clogged pores to dullness.

As a cleanser, Dr.Ci:Labo’s oil had hardly any parallel. It separated even thick makeup from skin; all we had to do was gently massage any residue for it to slide right off. Texture was light and thin, but the formula still managed to be moisturizing.

The cleanser was also free of fragrance, dyes, mineral oils, parabens, and alcohols, to the benefit of sensitive-skinned folks. If you’re someone that has always avoided oil cleansers on the assumption that they’d be harsh, give Dr.Ci:Labo a chance to prove you wrong.

Japanese ドクターシーラボナ チュラルクレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 5.0 Hydration 5.0
Ingredients 3.0 Overall Score 5.0

2. FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil

FANCL Mild Cleansing OilFANCL Mild Cleansing Oil

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Price: $16.73

If You’ve Been Searching for Something Strong Enough–An Oil Cleanser That Will Melt Thick Makeup off Your Face

This had waterproof mascara sliding off in a blink of an eye. It felt amazing to use; the formula spread very well, seeping into skin and cleaning out every nook and cranny.

Despite its strength, FANCL’s oil cleanser didn’t deprive skin of even a drop of moisture. There wasn’t any residual tackiness after we’d rinsed it off either.

You can apply this product with wet hands and use it on extensions. And, to top everything off, you don’t need to follow up with a separate face wash–what else could you possibly want from a cleanser?

Japanese ファンケル マイルドクレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Yes
Cleansing 5.0 Hydration 4.0
Ingredients 4.0 Overall Score 5.0

3. Cow Brand Additive-Free Makeup Cleansing Oil

Cow Brand Additive-Free Makeup Cleansing OilCow Brand Additive-Free Makeup Cleansing Oil

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Price: $4.53

The Best for Sensitive Skin–Non-Irritating Formula that Actually Cleanses

We thought this cleanser was a bit of an oxymoron. It was formulated to be non-irritating yet powerful; it stripped our skin of impurities, yet provided it with moisture.

Our expert didn’t give the product a full score for its ingredients, as there was some harsher stuff meant to soften up even the most stubborn of makeup (a 4.0 is very good though). Overall, this was a very gentle cleanser and suitable for a variety of people, including many with sensitive skin.

Japanese カウブランド 無添加メイク落としオイル Double-Cleansing Recommended
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 4.0 Hydration 5.0
Ingredients 4.0 Overall Score 5.0

4. naive BOTANICAL Olive Cleansing Oil

naive BOTANICAL Olive Cleansing Oilnaive BOTANICAL Olive Cleansing Oil

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Price: $6.88

If You Like to Feel Moisturized after a Wash–Very Effective without Being Drying

Our skin felt super hydrated after we’d rinsed off–almost as if it were being protected by a thin membrane of oil. And we mean that in the best way possible; we didn’t feel greasy or tacky, just plump and plush.

We had no complaints about cleansing power either, which was very good for this price point. However, the formula did feature a blend of essential oils, which sometimes proves irritating for sensitive skin.

Japanese ナイーブボタニカル クレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 5.0 Hydration 4.0
Ingredients 2.0 Overall Score 4.0

5. SENKA All Clear Oil

SENKA All Clear OilSENKA All Clear Oil

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Price: $8.12

Our Budget Pick–Powerful Cleansing, but Very Thin in Texture

This didn’t feel too much like oil; it was very thin and light on skin. We experienced some friction as we were massaging it in, but it’s a viable choice if you find most oil cleansers too greasy. It was also very strong; it nearly wiped out the lip tint (a formidable cosmetic that essentially dyes your skin).

And despite everything, the formula proved to be moisturizing as well. This is a cleanser we’d recommend to someone looking for strength on a budget.

Japanese 洗顔専科 オールクリアオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 5.0 Hydration 4.0
Ingredients 2.0 Overall Score 4.0

6. THREE Balancing Cleansing Oil

THREE Balancing Cleansing OilTHREE Balancing Cleansing Oil

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Price: $34.45

Best for Those in Need of Something Gentle–Notable for Its Ingredients and Hydration

THREE is known for its use of botanicals and love of all things natural and organic. This cleanser was gentle on skin and, while it left behind a bit of residue during testing, was powerful enough to work on lighter makeup.

We were impressed by how hydrating the formula was (remember that, after all, this was a cleanser). Even after we had rinsed it off, our skin remained soft and plump. The formula’s a blend of essential and botanical oils, and it’s a good choice for those who want to nourish their skin as they clean.

Japanese THREE バランシング クレンジング オイル Double-Cleansing Necessary
Can be Applied Wet No Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 3.0 Hydration 5.0
Ingredients 4.0 Overall Score 4.0

7. HADA LABO Gokujyun Oil Cleansing

HADA LABO Gokujyun Oil CleansingHADA LABO Gokujyun Oil Cleansing

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Price: $11.67

Worth Buying: Cleansing, Hydration, and Ingredients–Scored Above Average on All Counts

The oil melted smoothly into makeup, lifting it off our skin in a matter of seconds. We also had no complaints about hydration. Overall, this product performed better than average.

If we had to nitpick, we’d talk about the odor. It’s not that there were artificial perfumes or fragrances mixed in, but rather that it naturally smelled like ink. Some of our testers claimed it left them vaguely nauseous, so that may be a sticking point if you’re particularly sensitive to smells.

Japanese 肌ラボ 極潤オイルクレンジング Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet No Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 4.0 Hydration 4.0
Ingredients 3.0 Overall Score 4.0

8. MUJI Mild Oil Cleansing

MUJI Mild Oil CleansingMUJI Mild Oil Cleansing

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Price: $13.67

Worth Buying: Rids Your Skin of Even the Heaviest Makeup

Cleansing power was impressive, to say the least. Even waterproof mascara was no match for this cleanser.

However, the formula was largely made up of hydrogenated polyisobutene. It stretched an oily membrane across our skin, and we felt greasy and tacky even after rinsing off. You likely will have to follow up with a good face wash, especially if you’ve got oily skin.

Japanese 無印良品 マイルドオイルクレンジング Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 5.0 Hydration 3.0
Ingredients 2.0 Overall Score 4.0

9. Attenir Skin Clear Cleanse Oil

Attenir Skin Clear Cleanse OilAttenir Skin Clear Cleanse Oil

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Price: $18.70

Worth Buying: Formulated for a Very Deep Cleanse

The formula’s meant not only to cleanse your face of makeup, but also to reach deep into skin and wipe out stains (the root of dullness and hyperpigmentation). It’s also quite user friendly; you can apply over eyelash extensions or with wet hands. And, personally, we liked the citrusy scent, which was unique among oil cleansers.

This cleanser didn’t dry out our skin. However, it didn’t properly hydrate either, and within minutes, we’d lost a lot of moisture. Make sure you follow up immediately with a good toner and moisturizer.

Japanese アテニア スキンクリアクレンズオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Yes
Cleansing 5.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 3.0 Overall Score 3.0

10. muo Cleansing Oil

muo Cleansing Oilmuo Cleansing Oil

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Price: $5.63

Worth Buying: A Wallet-Friendly Cleanser that Doesn’t Lack in Anything

This was a well-balanced cleanser; it received higher-than-average scores on all our tests. Cleansing power was more than sufficient, and it didn’t dry skin out either.

It was free of the seven common irritants (dyes, artificial fragrances, preservatives, stabilizers, mineral oils, silicone, and alcohols) and spread well. So while there wasn’t anything that was super amazing about this cleanser, there also wasn’t anything that was poorly done. It’s a solid, budget-friendly choice.

Japanese ミュオ クレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 4.0 Hydration 3.0
Ingredients 3.0 Overall Score 3.0

11. Bifesta Pore Clear Cleansing Oil

Bifesta Pore Clear Cleansing OilBifesta Pore Clear Cleansing Oil

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Price: $7.42

Worth Buying: Another Efficient Drugstore Brand that Vanquishes Makeup

This had just the right consistency, and it felt more like we were applying a serum than a cleansing oil. There were quite a few botanicals mixed in to the formula, which gave off a planty smell.

It was largely made up of mineral and ester oils; as long as you don’t have any specific sensitivities, it’s not harsh on skin and offers outstanding cleansing power. Skin felt supple right after application, but it lost water quickly, so just be sure to moisturize well.

Japanese ビフェスタ クレンジングオイル ポアクリア Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 5.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 2.0 Overall Score 3.0

12. Bioré Makeup Remover Pure Skin Cleanse

Bioré Makeup Remover Pure Skin CleanseBioré Makeup Remover Pure Skin Cleanse

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Price: $7.28

Worth Buying: Big Name that Offers a Deep, Efficient Clean

When we dispensed it, it felt like a slimy gel and we weren’t all that impressed. However, it rinsed off easily, taking all our makeup with it. It also stripped our skin of some moisture; we wouldn’t recommend this cleanser to folks with dry skin.

Side note: it had a pleasing floral scent.

Japanese ビオレ ピュアスキンクレンズ Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 5.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 2.0 Overall Score 3.0

13. shu uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil

shu uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil shu uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil

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Price: $30.36

Worth Buying: A Mild Cleanser that Doubles as a Moisturizer

This was full of skin-healthy botanical oils and was hydrating, hydrating, hydrating. We rinsed off and waited for five minutes and, still, our skin was moist (in a good way) and supple.

It was a more mild cleanser, and we’d recommend it only if you use gentle makeup–soft mineral-based powder foundations, for example, and non-waterproof products. As a plus, it also smelled divine.

Japanese シュウウエム ラアルティム8∞ スブリム ビューティ クレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Yes
Cleansing 2.0 Hydration 5.0
Ingredients 4.0 Overall Score 3.0

14. Curél Makeup Cleansing Oil

14. Curél Makeup Cleansing OilCurél Makeup Cleansing Oil

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Price: $10.38

Caveat Emptor: Deprives the Skin of Too Much Oil to be Considered Gentle

This was formulated for sensitive skin. However, we found that it absorbed a bit too much oil to be called mild–skin felt dehydrated after use.

The product certainly worked; even the toughest makeup disappeared with hardly a trace. However, we’d think twice before applying on already dry or sensitive skin. There are tons of other truly gentle cleansers, both high-end and drugstore, that work just as well.

Japanese キュレル オイルメイク落とし Double-Cleansing Necessary
Can be Applied Wet No Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 4.0 Hydration 3.0
Ingredients 2.0 Overall Score 3.0

15. Bioré Makeup Remover Perfect Oil

Bioré Makeup Remover Perfect OilBioré Makeup Remover Perfect Oil

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Price: $7.97

Caveat Emptor: Efficient Cleanser, but Isn’t the Most Skin-Healthy Choice

Waterproof products, thick makeup–they were no match for this cleanser. However, it left skin dry and our expert determined the ingredients to be a bit harsh.

It might be worth a shot if you need something really strong after an event or something. However, we wouldn’t recommend it for long-term usage.

Japanese ビオレ メイク落とし パーフェクトオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 5.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 1.0 Overall Score 3.0

16. HIPITCH Deep Cleansing Oil W

HIPITCH Deep Cleansing Oil WHIPITCH Deep Cleansing Oil W

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Price: $4.56

Caveat Emptor: Cleans Well, but Watery Consistency Makes It Difficult to Apply

Consistency was watery at best. It wouldn’t stay put, and we had to use a huge amount before we got the makeup off our entire face. Skin also dried out quickly after application, so be sure to moisturize immediately.

At least we found the citrusy scent refreshing.

Japanese ハイピッチ ディープクレンジングオイルW Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 4.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 3.0 Overall Score 3.0

17. softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil

softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil

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Price: $3.71

Caveat Emptor: Lives up to Its Name (Shame That It’s Drying as Well)

This received full points for its cleansing power. It got rid of eyeliner and waterproof mascara, and it got rid of them quickly as well.

However, it was so drying that we felt our skin tightening, so we’d limit usage to days where power and speed are indispensable.

Japanese ソフティモ スピーディクレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 5.0 Hydration 1.0
Ingredients 3.0 Overall Score 3.0

18. Sekkisei Treatment Cleansing Oil

Sekkisei Treatment Cleansing OilSekkisei Treatment Cleansing Oil

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Price: $14.33

Caveat Emptor: Works when It Falls in Line with Your Preferences and Skin Type

This cleaner excelled when it came to cleansing power and lagged behind in hydration; whether it’s a hit or miss depends on your skin type and where your priorities lie.

Also, ever smell a Sekkisei product? Sekkisei’s got its own specific scent (kind of like how Abercrombie & Fitch has a smell), and it was quite strong with this cleanser. Some our our testers loved it; some hated it.

Japanese 雪肌精 トリートメントクレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 4.0 Hydration 1.0
Ingredients 1.0 Overall Score 2.0

19. BCL Cleansing Research AHA Oil Cleansing

BCL Cleansing Research AHA Oil CleansingBCL Cleansing Research AHA Oil Cleansing

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Price: $6.01

Caveat Emptor: The Cleanser that All but Exfoliates

This cleanser featured AHA, a popular exfoliant. When we gave it a try, it left skin clean, clear, cold, refreshed. The ingredients were judged to be a bit strong for regular usage, but you can keep a bottle around for the occasional deep cleansing, especially if you’ve got oily skin and clogged pores.

Also, the formula smelled strongly of apples. This could be your holy grail cleanser–you just need the right skin and nose for it.

Japanese クレンジングリサーチ AHA オイルクレンジング Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 4.0 Hydration 3.0
Ingredients 1.0 Overall Score 2.0

20. shu uemura Anti/Oxi+ pollutant & dullness clarifying cleansing oil

shu uemura Anti/Oxi+ pollutant & dullness clarifying cleansing oilshu uemura Anti/Oxi+ pollutant & dullness clarifying cleansing oil

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Price: $33.76

Caveat Emptor: Focuses More on Skin Care than Cleansing

Consistency was a bit thin, and the formula felt light. It was corn oil-based, and while cleansing power didn’t blow us away, it was moisturizing.

The product also claims to wash away stains, dullness, and micropollutants that settle into skin. We’d say it’s worth a try if you don’t wear heavy makeup and are looking for a cleanser that doubles as skincare.

Japanese シュウ ウエムラ A/O+P.M.クリア ユースラディアント クレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Yes
Cleansing 2.0 Hydration 4.0
Ingredients 3.0 Overall Score 2.0

21. ERIDEN Cosmetics ohisama de tsukutta Cleansing Oil

ERIDEN Cosmetics ohisama de tsukutta Cleansing OilERIDEN Cosmetics ohisama de tsukutta Cleansing Oil

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Price: $11.82

Caveat Emptor: The Only Product that Received a Full Score for Its Ingredients but…

Texture was thick, and it took time to blend the formula in and lift the makeup from our skin. It didn’t work on waterproof products.

However, it still stands that Kumamon and only Kumamon received a full score for its ingredients. First off, the ingredients list was simple, and second off, it relied solely on plant-based oils to cleanse. That could make it a worthy buy–just remember that makeup residue is as bad for your skin as a harsh cleanser is, so make sure you’re cleaning thoroughly.

Japanese エリデン おひさまでつくったクレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Necessary
Can be Applied Wet No Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 1.0 Hydration 4.0
Ingredients 5.0 Overall Score 2.0

22. Deve Olive & Argan Cleansing Oil

Deve Olive & Argan Cleansing OilDeve Olive & Argan Cleansing Oil

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Price: $3.64

Doesn’t Quite Make the Cut: Mineral-Oil Based Cleanser that’s Merely Passable

Hydration and cleansing power were both decent–nothing to write home about. It worked fine on foundation and everyday makeup items; you won’t have any issues as long as you stay away from “long-wearing, sweat- and water-proof” products.

However, even though this cleanser is called Olive & Argan, there was actually precious little in the formula. It was largely based off mineral oil, which would be an issue for people with sensitivities.

Japanese Deve オリーブ&アルガン クレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Uncertain
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 3.0 Hydration 3.0
Ingredients 2.0 Overall Score 2.0

23. Rosette Rice Release Cleansing Oil

Rosette Rice Release Cleansing OilRosette Rice Release Cleansing Oil

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Price: $6.83

Doesn’t Quite Make the Cut: Feels Light and Provides Just Mild Cleansing

The pump was stiff, so we were getting frustrated before the cleansing process even began. We wouldn’t say the formula was ineffective, but we were seeing a lot of residue from waterproof products.

The cleanser featured three different rice extracts, all of which were supposed to be moisturizing. However, we didn’t feel that hydrated, even right after rinsing off. If anything, we’d say it was light in consistency and so suited for oily skin.

Japanese ロゼット ライスリリース クレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Recommended
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 3.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 4.0 Overall Score 2.0

24. Argan Beauty Morocco Argan Cleansing Oil

Argan Beauty Morocco Argan Cleansing OilArgan Beauty Morocco Argan Cleansing Oil

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Price: $21.16

Doesn’t Quite Make the Cut: Gentle on Skin, but Just Okay on All Other Counts

This formula was largely based off of rice bran oil and other botanicals. It was decently moisturizing, thanks in part to the argan oil, but cleansing power was mild at best.

Because the ingredients were so simple, we’d say this cleanser is suitable for most skin types; however, it’ll only work on light makeup.

Japanese アルガンビューティー AGBクレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet No Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 2.0 Hydration 3.0
Ingredients 4.0 Overall Score 2.0

25. Chifure Cleansing Oil

Chifure Cleansing OilChifure Cleansing Oil

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Price: $6.90

Doesn’t Quite Make the Cut: Biggest Strength and Weakness is Its Thick Consistency

This was very thick in texture, which ensured skin stayed slick and friction-free. However, even after we’d rinsed off with water, we still felt tacky; following up with a good face wash is essential.

Cleansing power was just decent and hydration below average.

Japanese ちふれ クレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Necessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 3.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 3.0 Overall Score 2.0

26. d program Deep Cleansing Oil

d program Deep Cleansing Oild program Deep Cleansing Oil

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Price: $20.06

Doesn’t Quite Make the Cut: Light and Mild but Not Much Else

This formula did everything it could to avoid common irritants. We felt clean and refreshed after cleansing but not dehydrated.

However, it was powerless in the face of waterproof makeup. We’d recommend this under very specific conditions: 1) you must wear only light makeup 2) you should specifically want an oil cleanser that feels lighter 3) you should specifically want one formulated for sensitive skin.

Japanese dプログラム ディープクレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet No Eyelash Extensions Yes
Cleansing 1.0 Hydration 4.0
Ingredients 4.0 Overall Score 2.0

27. ÍPSA Cleansing Oil EX

ÍPSA Cleansing Oil EXÍPSA Cleansing Oil EX

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Price: $29.54

Doesn’t Quite Make the Cut: Drying Formula with No Particular Strengths to Speak of

This was largely made up of ester oils and, predictably, offered below-average hydration and cleansing. While it spread readily, it soaked up too much oil, leaving skin feeling taut and dry.

Japanese イプサ クレンジングオイル EX Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet Yes Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 2.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 3.0 Overall Score 2.0

28. SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil

SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing OilSK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil

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Price: $58.36

Doesn’t Quite Make the Cut: Cleans Well, but Lacks the Gentle Ingredients You’d Expect from a High End Brand

Texture was silky smooth and fragrance was typical of SK-II. Cleansing power was impressive, working on even the waterproof mascara; however, we felt some friction during application.

We were also surprised to find out that the formula got only a single point for its ingredients. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily irritating, but simply that we can’t recommend the product with confidence to those with sensitive skin.

Japanese SK-II フェイシャル トリートメント クレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Necessary
Can be Applied Wet No Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 4.0 Hydration 1.0
Ingredients 1.0 Overall Score 2.0

29. Pharmaact Additive-Free Cleansing Oil zero

Pharmaact Additive-Free Cleansing Oil zeroPharmaact Additive-Free Cleansing Oil zero

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Price: $5.53

Doesn’t Quite Make the Cut: No Obvious Redeeming Features and Texture is Hard to Work with

This was a dense oil, and it took time to spread across our face. We also had to use a lot before it started blending with makeup. You get a lot of product and it’s cheap, but we think there are better drugstore brands out there.

Japanese ファーマアクト 無添加クレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Recommended
Can be Applied Wet No Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 2.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 2.0 Overall Score 2.0

30. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

DHC Deep Cleansing OilDHC Deep Cleansing Oil

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Price: $18.06

Doesn’t Quite Make the Cut: A Heavy Oil that Dehydrates but Doesn’t Cleanse

This felt less like a cleanser and more like thick olive oil. We don’t actually know what’s in it, as we couldn’t find an ingredients list (and therefore couldn’t grade it). Definitely conduct a patch test before applying.

Cleansing power was sub-par. And yet, the formula managed to be dehydrating–our skin felt tight after rinsing off. You also need to follow this up with a face wash, which may prove to be too much for naturally dry skin.

Japanese DHC ディープクレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Necessary
Can be Applied Wet No Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 2.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 0.0 Overall Score 1.0

31. softymo Deep Cleansing Oil

softymo Deep Cleansing Oilsoftymo Deep Cleansing Oil

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Price: $3.56

Doesn’t Make the Cut: Doesn’t Apply Well and Doesn’t Clean

It was thin in consistency and smelled faintly of oranges. It was a mineral-oil based cleanser, which are normally quite powerful, but this one didn’t work on waterproof items.

Nor did it spread well. We felt a lot of friction during application, so this is one item we wouldn’t recommend under any circumstances.

Japanese ソフティモ ディープクレンジングオイル Double-Cleansing Unnecessary
Can be Applied Wet No Eyelash Extensions Uncertain
Cleansing 1.0 Hydration 2.0
Ingredients 2.0 Overall Score 1.0

How We Tested Our Products

We determined that the best cleansers need to be strong enough to rid your skin of all makeup, whether you wear light powder or thick, waterproof items. However, they can’t be so strong that they’re dehydrating. Finally, they should also be made up of ingredients commonly recognized as safe (even for sensitive skin) for peace of mind.

This is how we tested for those factors.

Test ①: Cleansing Power

Cleansing Power

We applied makeup to the back of our hands, then used the cleansing oils on them. (We purposely chose stubborn items to test on–see below.)

  • Waterproof mascara
  • Eye Shadow
  • Waterproof Eyeliner
  • Lip Tint
  • Liquid Foundation

After we had rinsed off, we checked for any residue and graded each product on a five-step scale.  We found that mineral-oil based cleansers tended to be the most powerful.

Test ②: Hydration (How Hydrated Skin Was after Cleansing)

Hydration (How Hydrated Skin Was after Cleansing)

We used a moisture analyzer and measured water levels in our skin before application and five minutes after. We then compared the figures and graded each product on a five-step scale.

Generally speaking, mineral oils absorb a lot of oil and leave skin more dehydrated. On the other hand, corn germ oil was moisturizing. Both of the shu uemura products we tested, which featured corn germ oil as their first ingredient, left skin feeling smooth and supple after cleansing.

Test ③: Ingredients

Ingredients

We had a specialist who used to work in cosmetics R&D look at all the products. She considered the harshness of each ingredient and whether or not a specific formulation was suitable for sensitive skin. She then graded each cleanser on a five-step scale.

※Keep in mind that a low score doesn’t equate to a dangerous product. It simply means that it was judged to be possibly irritating for folks with sensitive skin.

We learned that cleansers based off of naturally occurring fats and oils (such as those found in plants) and ester oils, with a simple ingredients list, were most suited for sensitive skin.

On the other hand, cleansers that contained multiple plant extracts and botanical oils had a higher chance of triggering a reaction, depending on skin type. This holds true even if the cleanser is all-natural or plant-derived. That’s why it’s so important to read the full ingredients list and not get suckered by words like “organic” and “botanical.”

Tips on How to Choose a Japanese Oil Cleanser – Buying Guide

Here are five big things to look out for.

① Learn about the Types of Oils

Oil cleansers are usually made up of mineral oils, esters, naturally occurring oils and fats (usually plant-derived), or a combination of the three. The main properties of a cleanser are determined by the first oil on the list–that is, whatever type of oil is present in the largest quantity.

For Heavy Makeup: Mineral Oils are the Most Powerful Cleansers

For Heavy Makeup: Mineral Oils are the Most Powerful Cleansers

Mineral oils※1 are, well, the most oily, so as cleansers, they tend to leave behind little to no makeup residue. If you use waterproof items on a regular basis, a mineral oil-based cleanser is your best bet.

They can be cheap too; some drugstore brands start off at just a few hundred yen (a couple of bucks). However, depending on the source, some mineral oils can be difficult to rinse off with warm water, so you’ll need to finish up with a face wash. They also can deprive the skin of essential oils and moisture–so they’re not the best choice for folks with dry skin.

If any of the following heads the ingredients list, you’ll know you have a mineral oil cleanser on your hands.

Common Examples of Mineral Oils

  • ミネラルオイル : Mineral Oil
  • イソヘキサデカン: Isohexadecane
  • 水添ポリイソブテン: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene
  • スクワラン: Squalane

If You Want to Save Time: Esters Don’t Need to Be Followed by a Face Wash

If You Want to Save Time: Esters Don't Need to Be Followed by a Face Wash

Esters aren’t quite as strong as mineral oils, but they are still effective cleansers. They don’t oxidize easily and bond well with skin (or rather, the gunk on your skin). There’s quite a few ester-based products that don’t require double-cleansing–that is, you don’t need to follow up with a face wash–which can save you time.

Esters can also strip your face of its natural oils, though not to the extent that mineral cleansers do. We still recommend finishing up immediately with a good moisturizer.

If any of the following heads the ingredients list, you’ll know you have a ester oil cleanser on your hands.

Common Examples of Esters

  • エチルヘキサン酸セチル: Cetyl Ethylhexanoate
  • パルミチン酸イソプロピル: Isopropyl Palmitate
  • パルミチン酸エチルヘキシル: Ethylhexyl Palmitate
  • ミリスチン酸イソプロピル: Isopropyl Myristate
  • トリエチルヘキサノイン: Triethylhexanoin

If You’re Worried about Damage: Naturally Occurring Oils and Fats are Gentle

If You're Worried about Damage: Naturally Occurring Oils and Fats are Gentle

Naturally occurring oils and fats are derived from plants and animals–think olive oil or horse oil. These fats are similar in structure to human sebum, so they blend well into skin. The products do tend to be more expensive (a few thousand yen or tens of dollars), but fat/oil-based cleansers are the gentlest around.

Even if you should fail to rinse off every last bit of a fat/oil-based cleanser, the residue will simply act like sebum and help moisturize skin. They’re the safest choice for those with dry or sensitive skin.

If any of the following heads the ingredients list, you’ll know you have a fat/oil-based cleanser on your hands.

Common Examples of Naturally Occurring Oils and Fats

  • オリーブ油: Olive Oil
  • ヒマワリ種子油: Sunflower Seed Oil
  • メドウフォーム油: Meadowfoam Oil
  • マカダミアナッツ油: Macadamia Nut Oil
  • トウモロコシ胚芽油: Corn Germ Oil
  • コメヌカ油: Rice Bran Oil
  • アボガド油: Avocado Oil

② Know Which Ingredients are Safe for Your Skin and Which are Not

Know Which Ingredients are Safe for Your Skin and Which are Not

One of the main culprits behind sensitive skin is a weakened barrier. A weakened barrier means you’re more susceptible to triggers, which in turn means you should be trying to avoid anything harsh or potentially irritating.

Don’t be lulled by that “additive-free”※1 label, however. If a product is free of just one certain additive (artificial dyes or fragrances, for example), it can claim to be additive-free; it doesn’t matter if contains hundreds of other potentially triggering ingredients.

That’s why it’s important that you check specifically for what a product is free of. Cleansers free of the following ingredients are generally deemed to be mild enough for sensitive skin.

Common Examples of Ingredients too Harsh for Sensitive Skin

  • アルコール (エタノール): Alcohol (Ethanol)
  • 合成香料: Synthetic Perfumes/Fragrances
  • 合成着色料: Synthetic Dyes
  • 防腐剤 (安息香酸、パラベン類※2): Preservatives (Benzoic Acid, Parabens)

※1 無添加: additive-free
※2 パラベン: parabens (note: not all parabens are irritating. Many brands are dedicated to the safety of their products and conduct vigorous tests to ensure that their formulas are gentle. However, items that contain a large amount of parabens or parabens that are highly antibacterial can sometimes act as triggers when applied to sensitive skin.

③ Figure out Which Products Require Double-Cleansing

Know Which Products Require Double-Cleansing

We mentioned this briefly in our conversation about esters, but many oil cleansers need to be followed with a face wash. This is the double-cleansing that heads most Japanese skincare routines (①cleanser ②face wash ③toner ④serum ⑤lotion ⑥cream).

But nowadays, you can find plenty of cleansers that can be used on their own※3. There’s a few benefits to these. They save you time. They save you money. You only wash your face once, which means less rubbing and less moisture loss. That makes these all-mighty cleansers especially suited for folks with sensitive and dry skin.

However, if your face feels greasy even after you rinse off or you wear thick makeup, it’s better to double-cleanse. Any extra gunk left on your face is only going to feed pimples, so we recommend monitoring the state of your skin and deciding whether or not you need an extra wash on a case-by-case basis.

※3 W洗顔不要: cleansers that can be used on their own (lit. double-cleansing is unnecessary)

④ Understand that Not All Products Can be Used in the Shower

Understand Not All Products Can be Used in the Shower

Generally speaking, oil cleansers lose their efficacy when mixed with water. If you’d prefer to remove all your makeup while in the shower, then look for a product that says it can be applied wet※4.

The only thing is, when you apply oil cleanser with wet hands, it becomes more difficult to mix it into an emulsion. Oil cleansers work best after they’ve been emulsified (more on this at the end of the article), so we recommend applying your cleansers dry on heavy makeup days.

※4 「濡れた手OK!」「濡れたまま使える」: can be used when wet

⑤ Make Sure It Can be Used on Eyelash Extensions

Make Sure It Can be Used on Eyelash Extensions

Finally, make sure that your cleanser specifically states that it’s safe for eyelash extensions, if you have them※5. After all, your extensions are simply glued to your natural lashes, and a lot of mineral oil-based cleansers can weaken that bond.

However, there are plenty of options, mineral oil-based or not, that are extension-friendly. Just be careful, as some formulas will have disclaimers like “only compatible with general glues (such as cyanoacrylate adhesives).” So when you get a chance, ask your technician about what glue she or he uses on your lashes.

※5「マツエクOK」: OK to use on eyelash extensions

How to Best Use Oil Cleansers

Just a few tips and tricks.

Start Cleansing from Your Eyes and Lips

Start Cleansing from Your Eyes and Lips

If you feel like your cleanser’s not getting to all your makeup, try switching up how you apply it.

Start off by blending product into areas where your makeup is the thickest–namely around your eyes and mouth. When you try to cleanse your entire face at once, you end up mixing all that gunk together, which may result in more residue.

And the more time you spend trying to clean up that residue, the more you’re rubbing at and potentially damaging your skin. We recommend moving on to your foundation only after you’ve at least somewhat cleaned up around your eyes and lips.

Rinse off Only After the Cleanser’s Become a Milky Emulsion

Rinse off Only After the Cleanser's Become a Milky Emulsion

First, apply cleanser as usual (dry), gently massaging it into your makeup. Once you’ve determined that your makeup has separated from your skin, collect a bit of warm water in the palm of your hand. The water should then mix with the oil on your hand, forming a whitish liquid. That’s the emulsion. Massage the emulsion into your face, then rinse off.

As you know, oil repels water. When you try to rinse off as is, you’re often stuck with some residue. However, if you let the cleanser emulsify first, you’ll be left with hardly a trace.

Products for the Rest of Your Japanese Skincare Routine

Products for the Rest of Your Japanese Skincare Routine

As we mentioned above, there’s typically six steps to a Japanese skincare routine. You use cleanser to rid your face of makeup. You then get rid of any residue and extra sebum with a face wash, prime with a toner, treat with a serum, moisturize with a lotion, and cap off with a cream. Learn more about some of the other products below.

Summary

We rounded up members from our editing department, purchased the 31 most popular Japanese oil cleansers, and tested them all.

We’ve got moisturizing cleansers or cleansers that squeeze every last bit of oil out of your skin. We’ve got mineral oil-, ester-, and plant-based cleansers. We’ve got mild cleansers and powerful cleansers. We’ve gathered all the products; all you need to do is learn about your own skin and find your match.

Original by Rio Sasaki; Translation by Jasmine Li

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