Pre-cleansing oil: Dermalogica, Erno Laszlo and Moonshot

While I love my KGD cleansing water above almost all other skincare products, I’ve been obsessed with cleansing oil lately. But wait! Even if you’ve got oily skin, don’t click away yet! While some people like to cleanse with coconut or olive oil, they do remove makeup, they don’t work as well as real cleansing oil and can feel heavy and greasy on the skin. However, most cleansing oil are much thinner in consistency and rinses off well. Some of them are actual cleansers while others are meant to be used as makeup remover before cleansing. Especially since we are now moving into cooler/drier month, cleansing oils are gentle and helps to moisturize your skin a bit before cleansing.


Some cleansing oils can be used as makeup remover or cleanser, but for today we will just look at the ones that are purely makeup remover (meaning you should use a cleanser afterward). The three makeup removing cleansing oil we are reviewing in this post are Erno Laszlo Pre-cleansing oil, Moonshot Perfect Cleansing Oil and Dermalogica Pre-cleanse.

Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse – it is a thick oil with a strong herbal scent. It does remove makeup well but don’t get it into your eyes or it will irritate! It rinses off without problem.

Erno Laszlo Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil – it is a normal oil with a mild herbal scent. The product description ask you to massage it on, then use the soap, dip it in a basin of water and splash blah blah. I just massaged to dry skin, then rinse, same as other cleansing oils and…. well, this is the strange part. Over the summer when I was staying at a hotel, this rinsed off cleanly with no residue but now that I’m back home, it doesn’t work. It goes on like an oil and dissolves makeup, but as soon as I rinse it off, it turns thicker and greasier and left a residue regardless of what/how much makeup I’m wearing. The only conclusion I can come up with is, it have something to do with the water? When I use a cleanser after this, the residue disappears, so I suppose it isn’t so bad…

Moonshot Perfect Cleansing Oil – it is a lightweight oil with mild, fresh clean scent. It rinse off easily leaving skin clean, not greasy or stuffy. While the other two are makeup remover and you should use a cleanser afterward, this also functions as a cleanser. It does not hydrate nor dry the skin out, so I would say it’s appropriate for all skin types and around eye area as well.

Now then, how well do they work as makeup remover? I swatched variety of makeup to test this: Stila liquid eyeliner, Sephora eyeliner, Maybelline color tattoo cream eyeshadow and Hourglass liquid lipstick.

First image is of the swatch, second is after I applied the oil then rubbed them on 20 times, and last image is after I rinse. In terms of removing makeup, Dermalogica and Moonshot works the best. However, Dermalogica have a strong herbal scent that can irritate the eyes, so Moonshot is the best out of the three compared here. Moonshot does contain mineral oil if that’s a problem for you. If you are in Korea and wants to pick up a nice cleansing oil, go for it. But since I’m in US, Shu Uemura, Boscia or Tatcha cleansing oil are more accessible (and do not contain mineral oil).


6 thoughts on “Pre-cleansing oil: Dermalogica, Erno Laszlo and Moonshot

  1. Out of curiosity, what is the orange product directly underneath your labels of EL, M, D? I’m assuming it’s the Sephora eyeliner, but what shade?


    1. I don’t remember the name off top of my head, but it’s Sephora 24hr waterproof eyeliner in Tangerine, back when Tangerine was the color of the year. I remember swatching it instore but couldn’t get it to buldge at all with the Sephora makeup remover provided at the station so I had to find a tester of Clinique balm to remove it. It’s discontinued but if you are looking for a good longlasting orange eyeliner, Marc Jacob Highliner have an orange one:

      1. Ah true, the Sephora one is more of a true orange while MJ is kind of a burnt orange. You can always adjust it by patting some eyeshadow over it. Sugarpill makes some intensely pigmented eyeshadows you might like.

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