Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cleansing Oils: Erno Laszlo & Shu Uemura Ultim8

I love cleansing oils. I love them even more when I have to deal with a skin emergency such as  a sudden congestion due to overdoing it with product testing. Cleansing oils do two things: they remove makeup and they evict the gunk that wants to take residence in your pores. This shouldn't be mistaken as the entire process of cleansing (I'm working on a comprehensive cleansing guide for the middle-aged), but it is a very effective and important step. I was recently sent two excellent cleansing oils,  Shu Uemura Ultim8 and Erno Laszlo Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil,  that are worth discussing and exploring. I've been using both of them with excellent results, so here are my thoughts:

Shu Uemura  Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil
Shu Uemura is famous for their range of cleansing oils. I've had several over the years, but this is probably my favorite because it manages to do heavy-duty decongesting while still being incredibly gentle on the skin itself. For a cleansing oil it means that somehow the product succeeded in breaking down the bad stuff while not stripping the skin of the good oils that protect it and keep it supple. This is not a small achievement as those of us who work at keeping our skin clean and healthy yet can get very dry would testify. This Shu Uemura oil is also good at makeup removing, including tenacious mascaras. It washes off quickly with the mildest face cleansers you can find, taking all the gunk with it.
Shu Uemura  Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil ($42, 5.1oz. Larger size also available) can be purchased  from The product for this review was sent by PR.

Erno Laszlo Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil
I really appreciate Erno Laszlo for trying to make the cleansing process easier to understand by labeling this product a "pre-cleansing oil". Most cleansing oils (with the notable exception of the soapy Shu Uemura High Performance) need to be washed off with a second product to ensure that no grease or dislodged makeup debris stays behind. By telling the public in no uncertain terms that their Phelityl  is a pre-cleanser, the nice people at Erno Laszlo removed the mystery and vagueness from the process. The oil comes in a squat square bottle (no pump, but the pouring mechanism is very good) and is used like any other cleansing oil. It removes everything- mascara, sunblock, and stubborn sebum. The oil is gentle on my skin and has a very soft and luxurious feel. While Erno Laszlo recommend using their soap bar when washing it all off, I prefer a mild foaming cleanser such as Elemis Resurfacing Facial Wash.
Erno Laszlo Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil ($45, 6.8oz) is available at Nordstrom. The product for this review was sent by PR.


  1. have you tried the oil from DHC? it's an olive-based product and I'd be curious to know what you think. I feel it's pretty good, but it's the only one I have ever tried.

  2. I actually don't double cleanse when I use Tatcha cleansing oil. I apply it and lightly massage it around then remove it with several splashes of warm water. I then go over my face with a warm washcloth and that removes any vestiges of oil/debris while giving my skin a mild exfoliation. I use a clean washcloth every day. When I used to use Shu's wonderful oils, I did, indeed, have to double cleanse. I haven't found that to be necessary, though, with Tatcha or SKII perhaps because they are much lighter oils. I have dry, mature (old!) skin and never have any problems with breakouts, etc.


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