Shiseido Senka Perfect Oil Review

The YS Beauty Lab

I’ve road-tested a variety of facial cleansers for the YesStyle Beauty Lab over the last year or so. I’ve tried a yogurt cleanser, a foaming one, and a gel version. Now, it’s time to see why oil-based cleansers are becoming more popular. This month, I decided to go with Shiseido Senka Perfect Oil. Shiseido is one of the biggest skincare and beauty brands from Japan and well-known globally so I figured this was a good place to start.

Fighting oil with oil
The oil cleansing method is based on the argument that using regular cleansers strips the skin of its natural oils during the washing process, which then stimulates the skin’s oil glands to produce even more oil to compensate for the loss. It’s a vicious cycle, it seems. Oil cleanser advocates say that fighting oil with oil is more effective as the cleansing oil dissolves the hardened oil that clogs pores and results in common skin troubles such as acne, blackheads and whiteheads.

That said, I still had some reservations about using oil to remove makeup and impurities from my already oily, acne-prone skin. Granted, the oil cleansing method isn’t new but it’s only recently that I think I’ve finally found a good regimen that has proved beneficial for my skin. I really didn’t want to jinx it.

Aside from the usual foamy cleansers, I also recently started using makeup wipes, depending on how lazy I feel. But it’s hard to undo decades of equating sudsy facial washes with “squeaky-clean skin.” I now suspect that it was also partly to blame for some of my worst episodes of acne because it really dried out my skin. “Squeaky-clean” skin isn’t always a good thing.

Shiny, shimmery but is it splendid?
The Shiseido Senka cleansing oil comes in a 150 ml pump bottle and is reasonably priced at US$12.90. I was really expecting it to be thick like regular oil but was glad to see that it was a little runnier. Instead of using my hands directly, I put about two pumps of the oil on a cotton pad instead.

As my normal “makeup” routine consists of layering sunblock, primer, concealer, BB cream and powder foundation, I really wasn’t expecting to see a lot on the cotton pad. Surprise! There was still a thick layer of makeup and unmentionables on the cotton pad, even when I thought I’d sweated most of it away after six hours. I had to use another oil-soaked pad to make sure I wiped most of it off.

The Verdicts
Because this is oil, it was natural that there would be some residue on my face. Another surprise: It didn’t feel as thick as I thought it would be, nor uncomfortable. I debated whether to just gently wipe most of it off or to follow up with a foaming cleanser. In the end, habit won but I decided to use a non-foaming version instead.

I’m used to my skin feeling a little tight and dry — the “squeaky clean” effect — after washing but immediately after and even a few hours later, my skin felt soft, non-squeaky and yes, non-oily. It felt so nice and honestly refreshing. Despite my concerns about the cleansing oil aggravating my acne-prone skin, there was no adverse reaction whatsoever, even the next day.

As the weather is now getting cooler in Hong Kong, I’m looking forward to seeing how the Shiseido Senka Perfect Oil might help my skin further, as it’s also prone to occasional dryness due to lower humidity. It’s a worthy addition to my bathroom vanity!