The product featured in this post was provided for review at my request by Jolse. Learn more about my rules for PR samples and sponsorships by checking out my sponsorship policy and sponsor list. Affiliate links in this post are marked with an asterisk(*).
You guys, my two-year nightmare is over! I finally found a cleansing oil that I truly, absolutely, wholeheartedly love!
I’ve been interested in illi, Amore Pacific’s hanbang line, ever since I tried a few of their beautifully packaged and really nice sheet masks, so when my contact at Jolse got in touch and asked if there was anything I wanted to try, I immediately hopped onto the site and searched for the brand. And was bummed to learn that the vast majority of illi’s offerings are body care rather than facial care.
As on face, so on neck and chest. Body is lucky to get a slather of inexpensive snail gel once in a while, though. #skincare
— 50 Shades Of Snail (@crazysnaillady) November 29, 2015
I ended up picking out the Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best.
Purpose: illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil is an emulsifying cleansing oil formulated to remove makeup and sunscreen as the first step of the evening cleansing routine. (Or morning, if you work nights or something. Really just anytime you need to remove makeup.)
Best suited for: All skin types.
Do not use if: You are sensitive to isopropyl palmitate and other coconut oil derivatives and/or have an aversion or sensitivity to mineral oil, beautiful fragrance, or anything else in the ingredients list.
When and how to use: As the first step in your evening cleanse, dispense 2-3 pumps of product into palm. Spread over dry face and massage. Wet hands and massage again to emulsify. Rinse and proceed with the rest of your skincare routine.
illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil ingredients (from Hwahae via Cat of Snow White and the Asian Pear because my tablet doesn’t have enough space for the app): Mineral oil, isopropyl palmitate, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate, PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate, PEG-8 isostearate, panax ginseng root extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, camellia japonica seed oil, natto gum, dextrin palmitate, glyceryl behenate/eicosadioate, butylene glycol, water, fragrance
Notable ingredients: Though sexied up with hanbangin’ ginseng and tea extracts, illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil is at heart a mineral oil-based first cleanser. Mineral oil is often maligned, accused of everything from clogging pores to causing cancer. Good thing the accusations are false. Cosmetic-grade mineral oil is not carcinogenic, does not damage skin (actually, it’s a great occlusive!), and in general will not clog pores or cause acne since the molecules are too large to enter the pore. YMMV, of course, and some people do experience adverse reactions to mineral oil, but the same can be said of literally every other substance ever, including water. I personally prefer mineral oil-based first cleansers, as I find that for me, they do the best job of removing makeup and getting grits out of my pores.
More problematic is the inclusion of two coconut oil derivatives, isopropyl palmitate and capric/caprylic triglyceride. Often lauded by the “all things natural” skincare faction as a miracle ingredient, coconut oil is actually pretty problematic for a pretty large number of people. Its derivatives can be as well, though usually not to the same degree. What I’m saying is that patch testing is always a good idea, and it’s especially important here if you know you have issues with coconut oil.
If you don’t have a problem with the ingredients I just talked about, however, count yourself lucky, because you’re in for a treat!
The first nice detail I noticed about illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil was the pump. It’s a solid, classy-looking pump, but that’s not what’s special about it. What is, is the way it dispenses the oil. I’ve used more than a few cleansing oils with excessively forceful pumps–Re:cipe Rose Petal Cleansing Oil, for example, shoots out with the force of a mantis shrimp’s punch–which results in splatters and messes and wasted product and loud, angry sighs as I stop what I was doing and go find something to clean the oil up. illi’s pump releases the cleansing oil in a stately gush, no splatters or spills.
But of course that wouldn’t be much of a plus if the product that comes out isn’t good.
It is so good.
To test out the cleansing powers of the illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil, I applied a thick layer of Biore Perfect Milk sunscreen to the back of my hand, let it dry, added a heavy dose of Dr. G Bright+ BB cream, let that set, then tarted the canvas up with some Fairydrops Volume Burst mascara (which I can’t use on my lashes because it kills their curl) and Memebox eyeliner and lip crayon.
Also unlike many other cleansing oils I’ve tried, illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil is thick enough to stay put once I’ve spread it over my face. This is important to me, since I like to let my cleansing oil sit for a few minutes before massaging whenever I have a chance. This allows the oil to loosen up my makeup without manual stimulation, so that when the time comes to massage, I barely have to rub at all to get everything right off. I dislike very thin cleansing oils because they have a tendency to drip and get on my clothes. One night, I put this all over my face and then prepared a pan of rib tips for the oven without losing a single drop of cleansing oil. Score another point for illi.
As an additional bonus, this cleansing oil smells marvelous. I think I’ve mentioned on my Instagram that the illi products I’ve tried, despite being “hanbang”-themed, don’t smell like ginger or roots or dirt at all. Everyone’s scent preferences are different; I generally prefer pretty smells rather than earthy ones. illi’s version of the hanbang smell leans heavily towards the floral side of herbal and doesn’t smell artificial at all. It’s not particularly strong, either. In fact, I wish the clean, feminine scent didn’t dissipate as quickly as it does when my face is having a soak.
And does it remove makeup? Does it do its one job?
Massaging this product in is a pleasant experience. The thickness of the cleansing oil gives it a cushiony, lubricating feel: no friction, no drag. It doesn’t sting or burn my eyes, another plus, and even without a pre-soak, makeup and sunscreen just slide right off. And when I add water, it emulsifies beautifully into a thicker white milk than any other cleansing oil or balm I’ve ever tried.
It rinses away easily and leaves my face feeling buttery soft, moisturized but clean. A total win.
Conclusion: I’ve never enjoyed a cleansing oil nearly as much as I enjoy the illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil. I’ll always have a soft spot for the travel-friendly nature of the cleansing balm, but I’m in love with this oil. I will be purchasing more of it when this bottle runs out and am no longer open to considering first cleansers offered by sponsors. I just can’t imagine anything else living up to the standard this one sets. Holy grail.