L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil Review

L'Occitane says their Shea Cleansing Oil "has a silky texture that helps to effectively remove impurities and makeup—even waterproof. Infused with five percent nourishing shea oil, this cleanser transforms into a soft emulsion when it comes into contact with water, helping to preserve the skin's natural hydration. Great for all skin types, this oil leaves skin clean, comfortable, fresh, and radiant." This luxurious cleansing oil contains 200ml (6.7 fl oz) and retails for $31AUD ($24USD) at L'Occitane boutiques, Mecca, and department stores. L'Occitane does not practice animal testing, but their products are sold in the Chinese market and therefore can't be deemed cruelty free. This cleansing oil was made in the brand's home country of France, with certified fair trade shea from Burkina Faso.

The Shea Cleansing Oil comes in a tall plastic bottle with a convenient pump. The label on the front of the bottle is simple and attractive, featuring only the L'Occitane logo and product name. On the back of the bottle you'll find plenty of product information (in French and English) and a full ingredient list. This product's packaging is recyclable.

L'Occitane's Shea Cleansing Oil and I have a story. I've told it a few times before, but I'll tell if again in case you've missed it. L'Occitane was never a brand that appealed to me - their packaging and price point seemed too extravagant for my younger self, so I rarely gave their products a second glance until a fateful trip to Sephora. I was out at an upscale mall with my friend Christina, wandering from high end retailer to designer boutique and feeling quite out of my league. We ended up in more familiar grounds, a Sephora, swatching things and critiquing packaging and after playing around with far too many brightly colored lipsticks, I needed some sort of makeup remover. I randomly grabbed a tester bottle of L'Occitane's Shea Cleansing Oil and was taken aback at how efficiently it removed every trace of blue liquid lipstick and black liquid liner - all while leaving my skin super soft and hydrated. I never forgot how well this cleansing oil worked - but at $24USD, I couldn't justify it when my now discontinued Garnier Nourishing Cleansing Oil was getting the job done. The Shea Cleansing Oil sat on my wishlist for nearly two years before I coughed up the money for it - and I'm so glad I did - it's exactly as good as I remembered!

Anyway, on to how this product actually works. L'Occitane's Shea Cleansing Oil is a thin yellow oil that spreads beautifully over dry skin. Two pumps of oil and half a minute of massage will break down all of your makeup - so far I've only found one product that this cleansing oil can't beat, and that's Maybelline's Lash Sensational Luscious Mascara, which is notoriously hard to remove! This cleansing oil feels lovely on the skin, not all too heavy or greasy - it has great movement to it! The Shea Cleansing Oil isn't so thin that it drips off, nor is it so dense that it has to be pushed around on the skin - it does the work for you in a way. L'Occitane's oil cleanser emulsifies and rinses effortlessly; I prefer to remove it with a wash cloth personally, but it isn't a necessary step. The only fault I find in this cleansing oil's on-face performance is the occasional case of bleary vision that it causes - but it's rare, and usually caused by user error (me being a dumbass and putting it right in my eye). As an avid double cleanser, I almost always follow this cleansing oil with a more traditional cleanser, but it isn't a requirement - L'Occitane's cleansing oil is effective enough to stand alone, and unlike many cleansing balms and oils, it leaves behind no residue what so ever.

Does L'Occitane's Shea Cleansing Oil do anything beyond remove makeup? Yes! This cleansing oil has changed my skin! For a long time, I was relying solely on Garnier's Micellar Water to remove my makeup and while I still love it for touch ups and removing those last stubborn bits of makeup that get caught in the roots of my lashes, I realise now that it wasn't what was best for my skin. Since bringing a cleansing oil back into my skincare routine I've seen a real improvement in my skin. On top of effectively removing my makeup, L'Occitane's Shea Cleansing Oil immediately hydrates and softens my skin, filling out dehydration lines and leaving me with a glowing complexion. I've been breaking out less since I've implemented this cleansing oil and while I can't give it full credit for reducing my acne (The Ordinary's Niacinamide serum has been a big help!), I do think it's contributed by removing more of my makeup than micellar water.

L'Occitane's Shea Cleansing Oil's name is a little misleading - this cleansing oil's star ingredient is actually sunflower seed oil, a deeply hydrating oil that's rich in fatty acids and antioxidants. The next three ingredients are a mixture of emulsifiers, followed by the brand's signature shea butter in a liquified form. Shea is a bit of a love it or hate it ingredient - this botanical emollient is extremely beneficial to the skin - not only is it exceptionally hydrating and comforting on the skin, but it's also chock full of antioxidants and fatty acids. The downside is that it's known to be comedogenic on acne prone skin. I feel like the risk of blocked pores is pretty low when using a 5% shea cleansing oil, considering that it won't stay on the skin very long, but it's still a factor to consider if you're quite acneic. The next ingredient, baobab seed oil, is another nourishing and soothing extract that's also quite rich in fatty acids. Vitamin E rounds out the Shea Cleansing Oil's ingredient list, but not before the inclusion of fragrance. Though unnecessary, I have to admit that L'Occitane's signature shea fragrance is borderline intoxicating.

I love L'Occitane's Shea Cleansing Oil. Funny as it may sound, I feel like I have a special relationship with this oil cleanser, hence the needlessly long back story that no one cares about except me. This cleansing oil reignited my love for skincare, and had a visible impact on my skin. If you're considering treating yourself to a high end makeup remover, I highly recommend L'Occitane's Shea Cleansing Oil - it's effective, and just a joy to use. I'm tempted by a few other cleansing oils at the moment, but I know L'Occitane's will be a forever favorite.

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Isopropyl Isostearate, PEG-40 Sorbitan Peroleate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Fragrance, Tocopherol

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