Review: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil | No More in Korea because of No Japan

If you have been living in Korea for a while, you will be aware of the No Japan movement over here (boycotting Japanese products by not buying them) that started early or mid last year.

At the time, I had been hearing lots of great things about DHC’s cleansing oil (read Simply Saima’s blog review here) and I had been eyeing it for some time as it was a staple in Korean chemists. When No Japan started, I knew I had to act quick and snap one up for myself, and lo and behold, just a few days after purchasing, all DHC products had been removed and have stayed off the shelves since.

Going on empty!

Some Japanese products and brands have returned but DHC has not. I did just the tiniest amount of Googling and apparently, DHC TV (DHC’s proprietary online broadcast) used their platform to say horrible things and spread lies about Koreans, following which many retailers decided to suspend sales.

As you might have gathered, this is no longer locally available however it is probably for sale in the shops elsewhere or online.

Today, let’s dive into a more detailed review.

・What it is: ・

It is a cleansing oil. It is meant to remove sunscreen, makeup and skincare by way of a first cleanse.


It cleanses almost too… thoroughly?

・Price & Availability: ・

At the time of purchase, I paid ₩29,600 at Lalavla Korea (converts to ca US$ 25 or £19). The regular bottle came with a travel-size gift with purchase of the same cleansing oil, only in an itsy 70ml bottle in addition to its big sister.

・Size/Quantity: ・

The bottle came with 200ml of product, which is a fairly standard size for a first step cleansing product, as far as I can see.


Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Pentylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Stearyl GlycyrrhetinateRosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil.

Skincarisma, Inci Decoder and cosDNA (click through for full ingredients listings and warnings for DHC’s cleansing oil) all give warnings in regards to some of the ingredients listed. They seem to agree that the olive oil and rosemary leaf oil, perhaps even the phenoxyethanol or tocopherol that’s contained therein, could potentially be irritating or not great for acne prone skin.


Honestly, I like the packaging. Clean, no-nonsense. The pump dispenses product well, is sturdy, not prone to breakage and pumps up evenly without clogging up. 1 pump was enough for my face.

Because the bottle is transparent, it is always easy to see how much product is left and you can thus plan accordingly. I am curious however if a tinted container might not have been better to protect the oil from sunshine?

・What the company says:・ 

DHC’s bestselling, cult-classic Deep Cleansing Oil is truly one of a kind. The original Japanese first step oil cleanser melts away makeup and dissolves impurities, leaving your skin clean, soft and radiant.  

The 100% organic olive-oil based formulation works on the scientific premise that “like attracts like.” Applied with dry hands on your dry face, this rich, naturally golden-hued olive oil-based cleanser binds with dirt and effortlessly breaks down sunscreen, sebum and stubborn makeup, like waterproof mascara and eyeliner, without clogging your pores. The water-soluble formula rinses away with zero oily residue. Its silky feel and delicate, natural rosemary aroma make washing your face feel like a luxurious spa experience.

This botanical formulation features antioxidant-rich organic olive oil and vitamin E to hydrate, soften and protect against free radical damage, and rosemary leaf oil to invigorate and refresh. Also works great as a makeup brush cleaner. Ideal for all skin types.

Source: DHC official website


The cleansing oil pumps out a lightly green tinged, sheer yellow that appears clear once applied on skin. It is at the same time light and heavy in my books, if that makes sense. It feels super nourishing and comforting, but is actually runny and feels light on skin.

Once it is emulsified with water, it feels even lighter on skin.


While the website states that it smells of rosemary, I never got any of that. All I could smell was a very natural, gentle scent of olive oil that I personally liked a lot. It smells as though you might almost be able to cook with it, actually! Literally good enough to eat!


Even though this is meant to be a first step cleanser, I used this a bit differently – more like a second or third step cleanser, really.

I used this at night as I prefer only a pH balanced foam cleanser in the AM. Here’s how I used this in my evening routine:

  • eye makeup remover
  • micellar water
  • DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
  • acid toner
  • hydrating toner
  • hyaluronic acid serum
  • hydrating toner
  • ampoule
  • [OPTIONAL: sheet mask]
  • moisturiser
  • rosehip oil OR rich moisturiser


I used this at a time when I was going overboard with pretty much everything in terms of how I treated my skin, which ended with me going to a dermatologist (read on here to find out what it was like visiting a Korean dermatologist). So in that sense, I am not sure if I am really qualified to comment on the efficacy of this cleansing oil. I have since switched to cleansing milks, which do not require massaging and emulsifying, and my skin seems to be thanking me.

Here are my thoughts while I was using this – but again, read around a little if you’re interested in purchasing. My opinion is not the be all, end all of all reviews.

The cleansing oil went on and spread really well. It felt soft and comfortable going on, and I loved the scent of olives. I also enjoyed massaging my face. Makeup and sunscreen came off pretty well with the exception of my Heroine mascara – but if you have ever used this, you’ll know that it pretty much doesn’t budge. See below.

Once you massage it in, you can then add water to emulsify the whole mess and rinse off.

What I would often notice however – and again, remember, it may have had everything to do with me massaging excessively, scrubbing my face with exfoliants and massage devices and what not – is that the cleansing oil caused me to almost… purge slightly.

Zits and milia that weren’t really doing anything before suddenly came to the fore and looked a bit angry. They almost seemed to be getting drawn out by the cleansing oil.

Unfortunately, I have the tendency to pick at my spots when they start looking as though they are pushing their way through my skin… which only exacerbated the issue and kind of trapped me in a vicious cycle of inflammation and reinfection of skin I’d thought healthy previously.

While the cleansing oil removed makeup and skincare super well, and left my skin soft, I could not help but feel that it cleansed too well and brought out gunk that could have well been left alone.

・Final Thoughts:・  

I still think this is a great cleansing oil as it was such a pleasure to use and did what it was supposed to: Cleanse well. I suspect that if you were to massage less than I did at the time, you would have much better results and that you would not experience any purging. I would recommend this cleansing oil to people who want to remove makeup and cleanse all in one go and who don’t have the time or ambition to fuff around with massages and 20 skincare steps like I did.

Personally, I will not be repurchasing as I am currently better off using cleansing milks. I am staying off cleansing balms and oils in their entirety and am therefore not in the market for cleansing oils just now.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

© 2020 The Empties Diaries All Rights Reserved

13 thoughts on “Review: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil | No More in Korea because of No Japan

  1. I had no idea that they pulled DHC from the shelves in Korea. But I’m not totally surprised considering how Uniqlo and Daiso stores in Korea have had a lot less customers since the boycott began.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh the Heroine mascara Queen of all mascaras haha have you found something that removes it well? because I find that it doesn’t budge with anything especially not with my beloved Bioderma XD

    Sad that the Deep Cleansing oil caused breakouts for you, I also have the same spot picking habit which I’m really trying to stop because it always leads to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation for me which is a pain in the neck to treat, luckily the deep cleansing oil doesn’t cause any breakouts for me but I can see why it could do that for some people. I’m so glad that your skin is doing much better with cleansing milk 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DHC didn’t really cause breakouts but it brought things to the surface that could have stayed further down below. It was just too good at what it did, in my case. 😀

      Haha Bioderma is powerless in the face of Heroine mascara! I’ve found that only a bi phase eye make up remover will do the trick, but you still have to soak your cotton pad and hold it over your closed eyes before you can even consider removing it. Should still go in with a first and a second step cleanser afterwards just to be sure though ㄴㅇㄴ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s my absolute favourite these days! So natural yet fluffy and it stays on. I was using Heroines proprietary eye makeup remover but honestly any bi phase eye makeup remover works fine. Ponds, Point, Scinic Coconut eye makeup remover are ones I’ve tried with Heroine, all work fine. Don’t get the Illiyoon one though, it sucks donkeys balls.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. haha I’ll keep it in mind. At the moment I have one from Clio and one from Elizabeth Arden so I’ll try it with those. My go to mascara is usually Dior’s Diorshow but it doesn’t have the same staying power 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I guess I’ll have to elaborate in a future post, but I hated the push down packaging – product went flying everywhere every time I used it; it wasn’t all that great at removing my eye makeup compared to cheaper products I’ve used in the past, and it stung my eyes! Happy it worked for you though.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I got the 100ml version so it didn’t come with the weird dispenser where you have to press down to release the product. But I totally understand what you mean!


  3. I picked this one up fairly recently as part of a combo pack (one travel size and one jumbo 300ml size) and am looking forward to trying it. I’m not a makeup wearer but I layer sunscreen very regularly. That plus my oily skin make me think it will be a good addition to my routine. I’ll make sure not to scrub too hard though!

    Liked by 1 person

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