THREE Balancing Cleansing Oil – the search for perfect is over

(Photo credit: Carryna Pratiwi.)

This is it. The holy grail. My search for the perfect cleansing oil is over. Completely over. This is the best thing ever.

Previously, I’ve tried a number of cleansing oil – I favor mineral oil since it works very well for me, but Shu Uemura’s cleansing oil (of which mineral oil is the primary ingredient) is a bit expensive for what it is: mineral oil-based products should… well, just be a lot cheaper. Essentially I don’t think the Shu Uemura oil justifies the price.

Enter THREE Balancing Cleansing Oil ($32 for 200 ml). Fairly steep price tag, unless you’re buying at the right time and catch a BOGO sale, in which case it’s pretty fabulous and reasonably priced. First let’s look at the ingredients list.

Ingredients: Vitis Vineffera (Grape Seed Oil), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Squalane, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Isostearic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Rosacanina Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, PEG-12 Isostearate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamina (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Boswellia Carterii Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Origanum Majorana Leaf Oil, Beeswax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Ascorbyl palmitate, Lecithin.

I’ve highlighted in red one ingredient that CosDNA highlights as potentially comedogenic. There’s a couple others, but the ratings are lower. The oils are all plant- or fruit-based essential oils, as opposed to a cheap oil like mineral. First is grape seed oil: ‘[contains] potent antioxidants that help for diminish the sun’s damaging effects and reduce free-radical damage Grape extract has also been shown to have wound-healing properties’. Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride comes second, a moisturizing ingredient, followed by green tea seed oil – another antioxidant. Next, squalane is high on the list: that is great news seeing that this is often a star ingredient in many moisturizers and is a pretty great ingredient all around. It’s solid. It justifies the price tag much better, IMO, than Shu Uemura.

Second, the packaging. The bottle is plastic, but it’s translucent and has the kind of minimalistic boxy design you’d expect from – say – Muji; being matte, it doesn’t attract fingerprints and dust/dirt won’t show as badly as transparent plastic or glass. For better or worse, cheaper products tend to look, well, cheap. Skinfood employs waaay too much Comic Sans on their sticker labels. Softymo’s and Bifesta’s cleansing oils have bottles that are just full of text (WHITENING! CLEANSING! GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN!) and stickers.

THREE puts their logo and product name on and, thankfully, stops there. The result is simple, and simply attractive. No stickers.

Usage is standard as with any other cleansing oils: use a pump (or a pump and a half), warm in your palms, and smear on your face. Massage. Emulsify with water, then rinse off. The texture of THREE Balancing Cleansing Oil is fairly thick and viscous, somewhat gel-like. What makes this stand out, though, is the fragrance. The amazing, herbal-fruity fragrance. All those plant oils (and the orange peel oil) come together to create something unique and luxurious. Slathering this on makes you feel like an ancient Egyptian monarch, that’s how glamorous it is.

It doesn’t emulsify as much as Shu Uemura cleansing oils, but what it does do differently is that after washing off it leaves my skin soft and hydrated rather than slightly stripped and dry. Performance wise, it removes everything easily (though I do feel that mineral oil gets out more ‘grits’) and cleanly. I don’t need to massage for very long, either. Bonus? It leaves my hands ridiculously soft.

The ingredients are awesome as long as you aren’t allergic to any of the oils listed, the performance is great, the packaging is classy. It’s perfect. I love it.