shu uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil
shu uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil ($67.00 for 15.2 fl. oz.) is designed for combination to oily skin types as a cleansing oil that “effectively remove[s] make-up and ipurities … while maintaining the skin’s necessary moisture level.” It is “empowered with Sakura Complex” to “[minimize] pores by eliminating excess sebum and visibly [smoothe] the skin’s surface.” According to shu uemura, sakura leaf extract is “known to reduce inflammatory mediators that can cause skin redness” and “improve skin texture.” It also contains salicyclic acid and cherry extract. It is available year-round in a regularly pink-tinted bottle but has been relased in special packaging for the ob collection. It’s sold out (in this packaging) online, but if you are located where shu uemura is still sold in stores, you may find it locally.
I’m a big fan of shu uemura’s Cleansing Oils, and I hadn’t tried the Fresh Pore Clarifying formula yet. The last bottle I used was a limited edition bottle released with last holiday season’s wkw collection, which was the “White Recovery EX+ Brightening Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula” (which doesn’t seem to be available in regular packaging on the U.S. website). One giant bottle lasts me anywhere from four to six months. I didn’t love this one as much as the other formulas I’ve tried, because it is very thin–almost water-like in texture. The others were slightly thicker but not so thick that they felt oily or heavy, but this one is so thin that it took some getting used to. I needed to pump it into my hands over the sink, as it would leak through my fingers or pump beyond my hands and get onto the counter/in the sink. I just never noticed this as an issue with the two or three bottles I’ve used previously (different formulas, all cleansing oils). The formula has a very light floral scent that’s pretty muted.
Aside from the consistency/packaging issue, the formula worked well to break down and remove makeup, dirt, and whatever else happened to be on my face. I take two to three pumps and then massage and work it into my skin, and then I rinse my hands under water and then work the oil into a small lather. After that, I rinse my face with lukewarm water and pat dry. I never experience any oily residue, no squeaky clean/tight feeling, or have issues with my eyes clouding during the rinsing process. shu’s cleansing oils are definitely a go-to for me when I’m wearing a full face of makeup, because it gets it all off and I don’t need to follow-up with another cleanser.
NARS Gentle Cream Cleanser
A Truly Gentle Cleanser
NARS Gentle Cream Cleanser ($29.00 for 4.2 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “gentle, non-drying cream cleanser with a luxurious lather designed to pamper the skin while washing away makeup and surface impurities.” NARS says it is best for normal, dry, and seasonally dry skin, and it is “synthetic fragrance, paraben, and alcohol” free.
I’ve been using this for the past two and a half months as my morning cleanser (though I have also used in the evenings on occasion). It’s lightweight, incredibly gentle, non-drying, and a little goes a long way. I don’t even think I’m half-way through the tube, even though I consistently use it every morning. It lathers up quickly, but it’s not at all drying. I tend to have normal-to-dry skin, which is more normal than not during the spring/fall, but it gets drier as we head into winter. What I like most about the cleanser is really how genuinely gentle it is; there’s no stinging or burning sensations if this gets into your eyes at all. It doesn’t cloud your eyes or anything like that either.
It cleans well, and for something marketed as “gentle,” it is surprisingly effective at removing makeup. It won’t get long-wearing products off fully, but it did break down my liquid foundation well. I like how it leaves my skin post-cleanse, which is soft and supple–my skin never feels stripped or dried out. Given how long I’ve been using it, and how much is left, the price tag stretches out a bit.
I have one complaint, though, and for me, it’s enough to look for something else: the packaging. It looks sleek, and just looking at it, everything seems in order. Using it, however, is another matter. It leaks cleanser, mostly into the cap, but unscrewing the cap will leave you with half an inch of cleanser just sitting inside the cap. More leaks out as you unscrew the cap, so then the cleanser runs over and down the sides. A little goes a long way, and it’s hard to get just a little out, because it has such a fluid consistency. I feel like a lot of cleanser has gotten washed down the drain as a result, and it keeps the tube perpetually slippery and sudsy. It might be better with a pump or if you could stand it on the opposite side (the tapered end).
Bottom Line: I really enjoyed the cleanser itself, but the packaging made it hard to use and wasted product.
NARS Makeup Removing Water
NARS Makeup Removing Water
NARS Makeup Removing Water ($28.00 for 6.7 fl. oz.) is touted as a “soap-free, oil-free, and alcohol-free water that removes face makeup and tones the skin.” It’s designed as a gentle formula that will remove makeup without requiring rubbing while hydrating skin.
This is a makeup remover that is best described as gentle, because that’s exactly what it is, but it’s gentle in every way–it’s not at all stinging, burning, or irritating against the skin, even around the eyes, but it doesn’t effectively remove all your makeup, though it specifically says “face makeup” and not “eye makeup.” Just so we’re clear: if you wear eye makeup, don’t expect this to do much in the way of removal. All it ever seems to accomplish is smudging everything around so I end up looking like a mutant. I absolutely would not use this for anything that says “long-wearing” on the label, including face products.
If you want it to remove light eye makeup, I recommend gently pressing the soaked cotton pad against the eye for 15-20 seconds before gently swiping the product away. You’ll get some, perhaps not all, of it removed this way. Since NARS only mentions face makeup, it seems like you would use something else for your eye makeup. It’s packaged in a clear plastic bottle with a flip-top that has a small hole so only a little comes out as you need it.
I’d like to think of this as a remover for gentle makeup; lightweight, natural, soft makeup. However you want to term it, it’s good for lighter makeup days. For me, it seems to remove face makeup as well as most facial cleansers are able to. It is very lightweight, doesn’t feel greasy or oily against the skin, and it leaves no trace of residue once it’s wiped away with a cotton pad. It really does have the consistency and feel of water. There’s no stickiness, dried, or tightened skin after use either. I need at least two cotton rounds in order to remove about 90% of face makeup.
It doesn’t remove makeup completely, so I feel like I need to use a cleanser afterward or yet another cotton pad. Instead, the way I found this product to be most useful was after using a facial cleanser, so it was only responsible for removing the last bits of makeup the cleanser missed. You can definitely use it before your cleanser of choice as well–I just like the visual of seeing the cotton pad just picking up stray makeup and knowing that my face is clean. It also means that I can better control how much product or how many cotton pads I use since this doesn’t eliminate a cleanser.
It’s a superfluous product in my night time regimen; it seems to be an extra step rather than a time-saver. It’s more like a toner in my routine–I don’t trust it to remove all my makeup, but I do trust it to remove the last vestiges of makeup my cleanser may have left behind (especially around my hairline and the edges, which I don’t push the cleanser around as much so it doesn’t get into my hair!). And if I’m going to use NARS as my toner, I’d rather use their Hydrating Freshening Toner, which is one of my favorites, and for me, hydrates a little better than the remover does. You can use this like you would a toner, however, so if you do include one in your regular routine, this could take its place.
If you’re a fan of micellar water removers, then you may enjoy this recently launched remover by NARS, which has all the earmarks of one (though I didn’t see NARS officially billing it as such). There are quite a few on the market internationally and a couple in the U.S., but this year has shown major progress with more U.S. brands launching their own versions. Bottom line: this will remove some but not every type of makeup, particularly longer-wearing products and heavier textured products, but it’s not designed to do much more than it does do, so it’s pretty good from that standpoint.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Peg/Ppg-35/40 Dimethyl Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Trisodium Edta, Cucumis Sativus [Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract], Chamomilla Recutita [Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract], Sodium Hyaluronate.