Cleansing oils – a slippery proposition

– Oil is for cooking not my face, mom! (Me, at age 16)

I first unwittingly tried a cleansing oil in Tokyo, at my moms place when I was 16. I squirted face cleanser in my hand, rubbed it in my face and shrieked. It was oil! And I had serious acne! Shocked, I thought my mom had accidentally put cooking oil in the bathroom (I couldn’t read the label). I ran back to the living room, demanding to know what the frick I had just put on my face.

My mom patiently explained it was oil cleanser intended for faces. Gross, I thought. I promptly located a bar of soap, washed off the oil, and didn’t look back.

 Years later, my mom brought me two cleansing oils from Japan, a blue and a yellow bottle made by Shiseido called Tiss. The blue was for wet cleansing, the yellow for dry. I had some makeup on and removed it with the dry oil, and proceeded to rinse. Then the coolest thing happened, instead of the oil sticking to me as I expected, it became a milky like substance that rinsed clean off my skin and down the drain. And not a bit of makeup remained, my eyes didn’t sting. I was hooked.

I went through those two Tiss bottles in about 6-7 months and then found another one called Softymo that didn’t rinse as clean. After a while I had some acne issues flare up and I tried the Dermalogica Precleanse, which worked well, but I couldn’t afford the $38 pricetag very often.

I’ve used these cleansing oils on and off as makeup remover, followed by a foaming cleanser or soap. Lately I’ve been trying to find an oil that doesn’t have a lot of toxic ingredients as I’ve started to have a lot of fun wearing eye makeup (I didn’t wear much make up most of my life).

The sticky lowdown. The Shiseido Tiss oils and Softymo contain toxic ingredients, including parabens.  I haven’t found a “Natural” cleansing oil with clean rinsing abilities. Josie Maran’s attempt at a cleansing oil for example. The Argan Cleansing Oil has a very thick texture, doesn’t feel clean rinsing, and I have to use more than a teaspoon at a time to get it to cover my skin. It’s emusifiers include not-so-natural Polysorbate 80 and Polysorbate 20. For the moderately toxic load, and high price per ounce, Josie Maran’s Argan Cleansing Oil doesn’t have much pay off.

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Oil and Water Don’t Mix

Why is there no middle ground? Emulsification is the issue. Oil and water need an emulsifier to mix them (remember Chem 101 – oil and water don’t mix) and many commonly used emulsifiers are not very good for us. Peg-7 Olivinate, Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 20, are listed as low-moderately toxic on EWG.

A possible Holy Grail Cleansing Oil for Low Toxin Lovers

 Recently I came across this product in Little Tokyo: ORP Tokyo Moist Cleansing Oil. Love the packaging, the size, the pump, the texture of the oil, and the clean rinsing ability of this makeup removing workhorse.

It’s claims:

– Paraben Free
– Alcohol Free
– Compound Surfactant Free
– Antiseptic Free
– GMO Free
– Mineral Oil Free
– Artificial Colorant Free

BUT… ORP Cleansing Oil includes phenoxyethanol, which is not considered safe enough by many low toxin consumers.

I’m still going to use it.

This is where the effectiveness and uniqueness of a product can top the safety scale for me. Here are a few reasons:

1 – Low concentration of possible toxins. This product is from Japan. Japan Standard’s for Cosmetics has determined a concentration of phenoxyethanol they deem safe for human use. I am going to be willing to accept that there is minimal exposure to this chemical, given that most of it rinses into the drain.

2 – Effectiveness. I can remove my eye makeup with very little product, quickly, effectively and without any reaction in my eyes. This is a huge one for me. Why waste time using large quantities of inferior products, with more toxins and that cause irritation?

3 – Mission of this brand. Overall mission of ORP Tokyo is to use safe ingredients and not include unecessary and toxic chemicals. This is also huge for me. Companies that strive to create products that are free of chemicals will continue to get my support.

I am left concerned with their emulsifying agent: POLYGLYCERYL-10 TRILAURATE. There is not much data on this chemical as it is newly patented. However, it does not appear to be toxic… yet. This is one that I will keep my eye on.

Ingredients of ORP Tokyo Moist Cleansing Oil:

ETHYLHEXYL PALMITATE, POLYGLYCERYL-10 TRILAURATE, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, DIISOSTEARYL MALATE, CITRUS GRANDIS (GRAPEFRUIT) PEEL OIL, PHENOXYETHANOL, TOCOPHEROL, WATER, MACADAMIA TERNIFOLIA SEED OIL, LIMNANTHES ALBA (MEADOWFOAM) SEED OIL , ORYZA SATIVA (RICE) GERM OIL, GEVUINA AVELLANA SEED OIL, PERSEA GRATISSIMA (AVOCADO) OIL, SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, CAMELLIA JAPONICA SEED OIL, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) SEED OIL , PRUNUS AMYGDALUS DULCIS (SWEET ALMOND) OIL, OENOTHERA BIENNIS (EVENING PRIMROSE) OIL, ROSA CANINA FRUIT OIL, SODIUM GLUTAMATE, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA) BUTTER, SODIUM PCA, SODIUM LACTATE, ARGININE, ASPARTIC ACID, PCA, GLYCINE, ALANINE, SERINE , VALINE , PROLINE, THREONINE, ISOLEUCINE, HISTIDINE, PHENYLALANINE

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I just bought Weleda’s Gentle Cleansing Milk . . . and it seems to work pretty great for me. Have you tried that one? Any thoughts? I love all the research you do and share with us! Thank-YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. detoxwitch says:

      I’ve used that one! It’s delightful, works well, and has good ingredients. I had a bad acne situation back then so I needed something stronger. I’m going to do a whole milks/cream post sometime. Thanks for your kind words!! Means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

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