Posted on July 03 2017
by editingbeauty

shu uemura celebrates the 50th anniversary of its iconic cleansing oil! NYLON Singapore’s Editor-In-Chief, and Singapore’s self-declared number-one fan of the product, has this to say….

By Adele Chan


Just recently, someone left a video on my Facebook wall showing a woman in distress because her husband was trapped under a huge boulder. She kept praying to God to grant her just one wish, and then God came down from the clouds and asked her what she wanted as her one wish. She looked at her dying husband, then said…”I want the skin of a 16-year-old!”. Here’s my true story: I actually don’t want my skin when I was 16! It was terrible! I had constant breakouts (evident in my embarrassing yearbook photo) and now that I think back to those days, my skin was imbalanced! Oily on the outside, dehydrated on the inside — the worst kind of skin combination to have. Then a few years later while studying in Sydney, I saw a bottle of shu uemura’s cleansing oil in a multi-label lifestyle store along Oxford Street in Paddington, and bought it because I just liked how the bottle looked. It was a clear plastic bottle with a pump, with a yellow liquid inside; not unlike what the current bottle looks like. I bought it purely based on its looks, but was pleasantly surprised that I loved its strange texture. An oil texture can be confusing for some — I keep getting asked how my face doesn’t feel oily while washing with oil. It’s all about the correct way to use it, and to be honest, it is something to get used to, especially after years of washing the face with foam. 

Today I can proudly say that I am possibly Singapore’s biggest fan of shu uemura’s cleansing oil; it’s such an important skincare for me, that I must have a few extra bottles on standby just in case I finish the one I’m using. It’s the first thing I use in the morning, and the first of my skincare steps at night. And it’s the one skincare product that has been consistent in my beauty routine for 20 years…and so I attribute my good skin to this one golden liquid. 



Why shu uemura?

It’s the original deal. Mr. Shu Uemura was the first to put oil in a bottle and sell it 50 years ago, after witnessing how actresses so effortlessly removed heavy stage makeup with oil. In the decades since, so many brands have come up with their own versions of it, but Mr. Shu Uemura was ahead of his time with this innovation, and the original formula, together with modern advancements in skincare technology have resulted in improved versions of this famous oil — there are now six variants to choose from based on your skin type and needs. I’m fortunate enough to be able to use all six of them with no worries, but if I had to choose a favourite, it would be the original “yellow” bottle, which is now called High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula. It smells divine; I feel so happy every time I wash my face with it.

50 years on…

When the shu uemura brand team in Singapore approached me to champion their campaign for the cleansing oil’s 50th anniversary, I jumped at it. The iconic cleansing oil is something that I don’t need to be paid to talk about. I love it so much that it keeps appearing in many of my beauty articles (just ask the NYLON team!). And in fact, I hardly feature myself in ads (shy la!), but this is one product I’m truly proud to say that I do use, and it has given me the best skin of my life. I wanted this whole campaign to be authentic — to feature girls who really do use the cleansing oil, and who love it. So based on some of my previous work for the Editing Beauty book, I approached a few friends who I know actually do use the product and here they are featured alongside me proudly brandishing the different versions of the cleansing oil.

Photography by Adele Chan.
Styling by Josiah Chua.
Makeup by Ginger Lynette.
Hair by James Chiun from Leekaja Beauty Salon.
Backdrops by Joanne Cheah


Adele Chan, Editor-In-Chief of NYLON SINGAPORE and Author of Editing Beauty

This one single skincare product has given me the best skin of my life! I’m turning 40 in January next year, but I’ve had more compliments on my skin now than when I was a teenager. And it has to be because of this cleansing oil — it’s the one item that has been consistent in my beauty regime for the last 20 years.

On Adele: Top by COS; necklace by Tiffany HardWear by Tiffany & Co.; watch by Hermès; and jacket by YSL (vintage).


Rosalyn Lee, Radio Presenter at LUSH 99.5FM, Host, and Actress.

Sometimes Rozz goes to bed without taking her makeup off. I totally gave her judgey eyes when she told me this. And she says there are days she just cleanses her face of makeup and then goes to bed — no moisturiser or other skincare applied. Her argument: “At least I wash my face with shu uemura cleansing oil! It makes up for it!” Rozz tells me that she used her first cleansing oil from shu uemura at the age of 16, and though she didn’t know the science behind the product, she liked how it just worked for her skin. For years she favoured the pink bottle — POREfinist anti-shine fresh cleansing oil — because of how light the texture was; then she tried the “ green” Anti/Oxi+ pollutant & dullness clarifying cleansing oil and switched to it because “it digs deep”. She says her skin feels cleansed and moisturised. 

On Rozz: Top by In Good Company; and denim jacket by Diesel.


Melissa Celestine Koh, Fashion and Travel Blogger.

Many years ago, the shu uemura team in Singapore approached Melissa to collaborate on a project, and it was then that they introduced the brand’s famous cleansing oil to her. She had dry skin and so needed a cleanser that didn’t strip the skin of moisture. This “green” version was perfect for her because of its silkier, richer texture; it has kept Melissa’s skin clean, healthy and glowing for years. She says that she likes it because it’s not harsh and is effective in cleansing away makeup, especially on days when she does a photoshoot where she has a lot of makeup on.

On Melissa: Scarf by Hermès; and dress by Roksanda at


Liv Lo, Host and Actress.

Liv leads a very healthy life. She does yoga — no, scratch that — she teaches yoga, she eats fruits on yoghurt early in the morning, and she does these amazing handstands (it’s all up on her Instagram!). I haven’t seen Liv in over a year, and this past week when I did, she was glowing. It’s the glow of happiness (she’s newly-wed!) and the glow of good skin. Yes, Liv also uses the shu uemura cleansing oil. She says her girl friend introduced it to her around 10 years ago when she first started wearing makeup and didn’t know how to take it off properly. It’s now 10 years later and she’s still washing her face with the stuff.

On Liv: Scarf by Hermès; and top by In Good Company.


Munah Bagharib, Actress and Host.

A couple of years ago, Munah received a bottle of this cleansing oil from a friend and as she says, “used it, liked it!”. What she particularly likes about the product is that it’s convenient — she can have a full day of makeup on, and it all comes off with this cleanser. Munah also has sensitive skin and the oil’s light texture works for her. She has “no weird reactions”. Trust Munah to find such a nice way to put it.

On Munah: Scarf (worn as headband); and cuff, both by Hermès; and dress by Tibi at


How to use?

shu uemura steps

After washing the face with the cleansing oil, everything comes right off and skin doesn’t feel oily at all! In fact, it feels soft and smooth. Soon, you’ll be addicted to how lovely the skin feels after each wash.


shu uemura cleansing oils are priced from $50 (for the 150ml bottle) and are available at all shu uemura counters and boutiques, as well as and

Head to the shu uemura website to redeem your complimentary 3-day cleansing oil sampling kit!



NYLON SINGAPORE wishes shu uemura a happy 50th anniversary for the cleansing oil! 

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