Oil Cleanser Showdown: $4 Softymo vs. $10 DHC

When I started using an oil cleanser (and double cleansing), I nosed in gently with a very budget friendly choice, Softymo DEEP. At about 400 yen for 230 ml and readily accessible here in Japan (pretty much every konbini, supermarket and drugstore carries it), it seemed like a safe bet. It worked amazingly. So amazingly, that I never branched out into the middle or luxury sections of the oil cleanser market.

oil cleanser
If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it.

Sure, I ventured into Softymo’s Speedy (pink bottle, total shit compared to DEEP) and White (very awesome as well, did not notice any brightening or any differences from DEEP) but for a couple years, I was fat dumb and happy with my cheap Softymo. Plus you can buy refills for it in super easy-to-use pouches for a few yen less (and less waste to the landfills, hurrah!).

In case you haven’t tried an oil cleanser before, you put it on to dissolve and remove anything oil based before cleansing with a standard cleanser (that removes everything else). They are especially excellent at busting through makeup and sunscreen, particularly if you use a water resistant variety. Some oil cleansers (and cleansing balms) are found to leave a residue by some people. I have never had that problem with Softymo; it emulsifies and removes well without needing a cloth (though you may like the exfoliating and deeper cleaning benefits of removing with a cloth anyway, especially if you’re prone to blackheads).

So why change? (I generally follow a ‘don’t spend your skincare dollars on cleansers since they’re on your skin for such a short time’ sort of viewpoint). I don’t know other than, perhaps, Instagram made me do it? I think being a bit obsessive about beauty/skincare stuff makes you want to try other things too. On my list to try eventually is Haba’s Squa oil cleanser, but at about 4000 yen for 240 ml, it’s a little bit Oprah money for me right now.

More affordable, and the first oil cleanser I ever heard of, is the cult classic DHC cleansing oil. I picked up a little bottle when I ran out of my Softymo at Aeon, an itty bitty 70 ml bottle ran me around 1000 yen at Aeon, from the grocery section (if you shop the cosmetic section of the department stores or Don Q, you can find larger bottles as well as specialty packaging like Alice in Wonderland packaging). The Rycom mall in Okinawa has a standalone DHC store too, by the way, but they sell more health supplements than skincare products.

cleansing oil
DHC’s deep cleansing oil

How did the DHC cleansing oil stack up? Well, the price point was obviously much higher. It works great; it removes makeup and sunscreen, emulsifies and rinses clean without a cloth … sounds familiar, right? I use about a pump and a half to efficiently cleanse my face, same as ye olde Softymo. Effects are pretty much dead nuts same.

This summer, reach for Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50+. Now at NORDSTROM.

Differences between DHC and Softymo? The DHC oil is very slightly thicker in texture/viscosity than Softymo. I don’t have issues with Softymo being runny or DHC being too thick so this is moot for me. Scent is the biggest difference. Softymo has no discernible fragrance for me. DHC smells (not overpoweringly) of olive oil … it’s not a coincidence, DHC is based on olive oil (much like Haba is based on the more pricy squalane oil and Softymo, inexpensive oryza sativa bran and mineral oils).

And that’s where I would make my decision, if you are a would-be consumer reading this. If you don’t have sensitivities to Softymo’s base oils (mineral oil can be problematic for some) … go for Softymo. Why pay more? But, if you do, or you enjoy the scent of olive oil (it’s a bit soothing for me, to be honest, it’s a clean and honest scent), give DHC a try. I will put out there, I am very acne prone; cystic, whiteheads and blackheads can all be found on my shit show of a face … I personally do not have any issues with breakouts using Softymo compared to any other cleanser. So with that n of 1, what can go wrong?!

If you’re stateside and interested in trying any of these products out, consider using my affiliate links below.


4 thoughts on “Oil Cleanser Showdown: $4 Softymo vs. $10 DHC”

  1. I use and love softymo but was considering branching out, so this post is eerily and amazingly relevant and helpful.

    Thank you!

    1. It just didn’t clean as effectively as the other versions, at least for me. I found it still leaving behind mascara and makeup. I just picked up a new (to me) softymo though, it’s Honey type (?!). I’m curious to see how it compares.

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