Shu Uemura’s Fresh Pore Clarifying Cleansing Oil: Why I Use It + Why It’s Worth It

2013 was all about finding the right skincare routine for my combination-oily skin. I know I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: I hate having oily skin. I’d much rather deal with dry skin. That said, having combination skin isn’t an absolute hell hole if you know how to deal with it. That obviously took a lot of time and experimentation to figure out, but when it comes to the cleansing part of my skin care routine, I’m all about oil cleansers.

If you do a little research about the “oil cleansing method” online, you’ll find a lot of articles talking about natural oils (castor, almond, olive) and how to make a mixture of those to use as a cleanser (it will depend on your skin type because yes, all skin types can benefit from OCM). I personally can’t be bothered to go out and buy three or four different natural oils, so I use the Shu Uemura Fresh cleansing oil instead. I have nothing against going for natural products, but there’s a reason why one bottle of the Shu Uemura cleansing oil is sold every second. It’s also been the #1 cleansing oil since 1967. That’s the kind of product I’d bet my money on. And in a way, I actually have.
SUCO1This is my first empty 450mL bottle of the Shu Uemura cleansing oil. It lasted me just about 9 months, which is pretty good. Funny how finishing a product makes you feel a little sense of accomplishment, especially when it’s a jumbo size of something! So I let myself feel that little bit of happiness before I realized I would have to shell out quite a bit of money for a new bottle. Lol.

Before I even bought this full-sized bottle, I did try some other cheaper options. The most readily available one locally would be the MUJI cleansing oil. That, for some reason, just didn’t jive well with my skin. It did not cause any reactions but I didn’t feel like it cleaned my skin as effectively as Shu Uemura’s cleansing oil (which I had a lot of samples of). MUJI’s version is much more affordable at around 400 Php per 200mL bottle, but I also seemed to need more of it to get it to work.
SUCO2Shu Uemura’s cleansing oils come in many different variants and the 450mL bottle will set you back anywhere from 3000 – 5000 Php. You will always save money by buying the larger bottle. You will save even more money if you can buy a bottle at a Duty Free shop, hehe. I had a discount coupon so this particular bottle of the Fresh variant cost me 3,600 Php, and I was rewarded with this pretty limited edition design, which Shu released to celebrate 50 years of the cleansing oil being on the market. :)

Ok moving on to why I use this and why I thought it was absolutely worth repurchasing:

  • It removes my makeup effectively — While Shu Uemura recommends 3-4 pumps per use, I tend to use 2 full pumps and that works well enough at removing everyday makeup. I does not work on waterproof mascara, but I don’t use that very often anyway. I should also mention that I will often use another cleanser (raw honey) after this. Just for extra moisture and a more thorough clean.
  • It leaves my skin feeling balanced — the number one mistake people with combo/oily skin make is to strip their skin of oil to the point that it eventually goes into hyperdrive trying to compensate. That only means more oiliness, people. The goal should be to create a balance, and that’s why using good oil to remove and replace “bad oil” (i.e. dirt and excess sebum) makes a lot of sense.
  • I trust Shu Uemura — I have Asian skin and Shu Uemura is an Asian brand. It’s also my first (brand) love when it comes to makeup. I love their aesthetic and I love their approach to beauty. I won’t deny it: I’m a little biased. But I promise I would never use something unless it really worked for me.
  • It lasts ages — I’m sure I could have stretched out my first bottle to 10 months of use, but there was a time when I did use more that two pumps a day. I was figuring out what worked for me and that made me a little wasteful. But two pumps does the job very well and that means I definitely get my money’s worth with this product in the long run.
  • The range is extensive — I use the Fresh variant because it’s meant for combo/oily skin. When I’m older (or if I fancy a bit of a change) there will be other variants to suit my needs/satisfy my whims. I’ve had a sample of the anti-oxi variant which I loved (an anti-pollution formula with Moringa extract in it) and the ultim8 Sublime variant looks absolutely luxe!

SUCO3Here’s a close-up of the adorable limited edition design. The cleansing oil was originally called “Unmask” hence the… uhm mask. Hehe. I personally like that it’s now very simply called the Shu Uemura cleansing oil. :)

So there you have it! If you’re not yet familiar with how to use a cleansing oil, check out this video prepared by Shu Uemura. Whenever I watch it, all I can think of is how cool it would be to have a Shu Uemura towel. Hehe!


Updates, updates, updates!

I know that publishing a beauty blog post without any photo whatsoever is ill-advised, but I’ve a lot of talking to do and no stock photos to really match what I want to talk about. Lol. So bear with me for this post and read on only if you’re interested in some quick updates about (1) my skin, (2) the makeup no-buy one-month mark, (3) my September favourites (or lack thereof) and (4) what ever happened to the hunt for an eye cream. Reviews and other photo-ful posts will follow. :) Here we go!

1. The Combination Skin Situation

I’m pretty much used to having combination skin by now, although I still hate that my skin subjected me to this change. Haha. I actually miss having dry skin because it is just so much easier to nourish dry skin than it is to control excess oil. But hey, no use whining about what you can’t change! I’ve just been focusing on regulating the oil production by moisturizing my face enough but not too much. I’m still very happy with the skincare regimen I adopted after seeing a dermatologist. Leaning how to control my oily T-zone with the help of makeup has actually been interesting and maybe even a little bit fun. Here are a few things I’ve been doing that I find to be helpful:

  • Working in my base (be it a CC cream or a foundation) really well and in very thin layers. I tend to use my fingers with CC creams and a buffing brush for foundations. Using thin layers is key!
  • Setting my base with my Clinique Stay Matte translucent powder. Still really loving that stuff.
  • Using a Clean & Clear blotting sheet right after doing my face in the morning. Patting one all over my face right after finishing just makes sense because it absorbs all of the extra oils right away. If I wait until two hours later before I blot, my makeup will have shifted a bit already no matter how gently I pat my face down. Of course I still carry the sheets in my bag for touch-ups throughout the day, but using one as a sort of preventive measure has really been working for me.
  • Using a primer when I need my makeup to last any longer than 8 hours. I’ve been using the bareMinerals Prime Time foundation primer and I like it a lot. Review to follow. ;)

It has really been just a matter of managing my skin properly. As for the pimples, I’ve had only a handful in the past month, which is really impressive considering I was under a lot of stress. They weren’t huge, cystic pimples either. Very manageable.

2. One Month of Zero Makeup Purchases 

September was the first month of my four-month makeup no-buy which I wrote about here. No beating around the bush here–it was tough. There were a couple of times when I felt close to meltdown because I realized nail polish and even lipbalms were a part of the ban . I also feel super anxious when I think about how I only have two mascaras in stock for use from now until the end of the year… and then there’s the stuff that I began to want during the ban. Among them are the Clinique Chubby Sticks for eyes, VMV Ooh-La-Lash mascara, Zoeva makeup brushes, and the Sleek Sunset palette. I haven’t made a list or anything because I get the feeling that if I do, I’ll just buy everything on there when January rolls around. Though on the flip side it may also be a good idea to keep a list so that I can track the things that I won’t want anymore at the end of all this.

This month has not been completely free of makeup acquisitions though (thank goodness). My mom came home from the US this Saturday with an Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light for me. Can’t express how happy that made me! Really. It was quite sad. Haha. The product looks amazing but I’ve not tried it out just yet. It’s sitting on my desk beside me as I write… I tend to keep things out and in sight when they are new. I’ve missed doing that! Hehe.

3. “September Favourites” 

I won’t be posting a monthly favourites list for September because it’s already a week into October and also because I didn’t really wear too much makeup this month. You don’t exactly need to look like a million bucks when you’re taking an exam… neither do you when you go to the mall or to dinner, but ya know what I mean! My only concern this month was looking decent enough to be out in public. Haha!

4. Eye Cream — Do We Really Need It? Really?

I don’t know the answer to that. But while doing a little bit of research on which eye cream I should get to replace my Lancome sample, I came across a lot of material on eye creams being glorified moisturizers. That’s not something I’ve never heard before, but a review of the argument made it sound more convincing than it had originally been. Or maybe I just don’t want to spend 3k on a little tube/pot of cream? Could be a mix of both reasons and more, really. Bottom line is that I decided not to get an eye cream. Instead I’m going to try to work in my regular moisturizer a little better with some massage-like movements around the eye area. Hope it works and that I’m not passing up on something vital.

Do you have any opinions on the matter?

Skin Care Regimen (3rd Quarter 2013)

It took a while but I think I’ve finally found a good skin care regimen to fit my current needs. I’m still struggling with the oiliness in my skin when I wear makeup, but I think I have found a balance when it comes to cleansing and nourishing my skin. As I’ve mentioned before, my dermatologist put me on a regimen for combination skin when previously I had been treating my skin as though it were dry (which it used to be — very dry). I saw my derma again just yesterday and I didn’t have any new pimples to show her at the time, but I do still get the occasional blemish. She told me to keep applying the same products and to use the medicine she gave me three times a week (I had been applying it only when pimples popped up). I also have quite a bit of hyper pigmentation left over from dried up pimples, but those will fade in time. What’s important is that my skin is now much more balanced and less prone to pimples.SCR1These are the products I’ve been using to keep my skin balanced and clean and I just thought I would share them with you today. I do think that it is important to note that skin care is incredibly specific to every individual and so even if you also have combination skin, these will not necessarily work for you. I will however do my best to share what I can about the products, maybe helping you kick off your research in a way too.

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Skin Diaries: June 10, 2013

In my last post I talked about my skin’s history and the latest (and biggest) bump along the road it has encountered. I’ve been following the regimen prescribed by a VMV (Hypoallergnics) dermatologist strictly for nearly two weeks now, and my skin has shown significant improvement. I even have dry-ish cheeks again–which she told me to expect–but my forehead and the areas close to my nose are still pretty oily. I have found that my sunscreen (L’Oreal UV Perfect) provides enough moisture during the day time and that not applying a moisturizer at nigh isn’t so bad. After a couple of hours my skin will have produced enough oil for me to feel “normal,” but any longer than that and I feel oily again.

The pimples are less angry… but they are still there and I even had a couple of new ones pop up over the weekend. Now I’m going to do something I haven’t done before… for the sake of documenting this (painful) journey back to better skin…

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LUSH’s Fresh Farmacy Soothing Calamine Cleanser

I’ve never been a huge fan of Lush products. You can usually smell the store long before you’ve even set foot in it– and once you’re actually inside, the scent is overwhelming. Any girl who has sensitive skin (as I do) knows that products with strong scents are something to avoid. Even the the store’s colour story –yellow, black, and bright green — doesn’t seem to match its advocacy (all things fresh and handmade) in my opinion. I do quite fancy their bath bombs though, which I only use every once in a while as a treat to myself since they are not cheap. It was only a bath bomb that I was after when I went into Lush some time last month. I found one, picked it up, and started to walk over to the till when their face cleanser soaps caught my eye.

I had seen Lush’s Coalface soap many times before and I’m certain that Fresh Farmacy was always sitting there right beside it, but I never really took notice. Coalface is black as coal (obviously) because it’s got powdered charcoal as one of its main ingredients–good for oily skin and as a mild exfoliator. Fresh Farmacy on the other hand is a muted pink colour which totally reminded me of calamine lotion. If you’ve ever had chicken pox or if you were a mosquito-magnet as a kid, then you probably know calamine lotion as the pink stuff mom would slather all over your bites to soothe them. Sure enough, calamine is Fresh Farmacy’s main ingredient.


The description on the Lush website (in case you can’t see it in the photo above) reads:

Feel like you have the world’s most sensitive skin? Allow us to prescribe you a bar of Fresh Farmacy, our calamine-based cleansing bar. Fresh Farmacy contains chamomile extract to calm, rose and lavender to soothe dry patches and tea tree to clear up any blemishes. The name stems all the way back to the beginning of LUSH, when we held a competition to name the company. Although we (obviously) went with another option, we thought the name appropriate for our problem-solving cleanser.

Isn’t cool that Lush was almost called Fresh Farmacy? I actually might prefer that name. Hehe. Anyway. Sensitive skin? Redness? Dry patches? Blemishes? Yup, all of those things pretty much describe my skin, so I figured trying out a bar couldn’t hurt. 

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