Remember a few years ago when the idea of cleansing oils came to the fore? The confusion it caused because the age-old presumption is that oils are bad for you. So how could slathering more on your face be any good? And even stranger, how could oils remove sebum from a grimy complexion? One of the earliest high end options was pioneered by Shu Uemura – a whole 50 years ago, in fact. This January, the Japanese brand is celebrating half a century of its iconic Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil (from $65).
In all honesty, I used to belong squarely to the steadfast group of people who believe in double cleansing the traditional way. That is, saturated pads of micellar water (of which I am wildly disloyal) followed by a facial cleanser proper, finished with the reassuring rub of a face towel. It took late nights and the insistent promise of Shu Uemura that one cleansing oil could do all that before I threw in the towel. Quite literally.
The Ultime8 oil really takes makeup off – long-wearing, waterproof, Asian drugstore, you name it. The eight botanical oils in it smell divinely and mainly of jasmine and camellias and feel like cashmere to the face. But it’s after washing the emulsified oil and gunk off that this product really comes into its own. The botanical oil complex (camellia, ginseng, bamboo, shea butter, olive, jojoba, corn and safflower) actually leaves the skin moisturised while taking makeup off. The skin you’re left with after a rinse is soft, bouncy and feels treated.
Some nights, when I’m desperate for bed, it’s almost enough to tempt me to skip the whole shebang of putting serums and creams on. But here’s the great thing: it actually is. When the night’s desperation wins, I can be certain I’ll still wake up with skin that’s moisturised and cared for. And really, that’s more than I ever thought to ask from a cleansing oil to begin with.