It’s not new news, per se, but as the popularity of Korean and, in this case, Japanese beauty products has skyrocketed it will definitely be new news for some! It will also probably lead to searching for DHC oil cleanser alternatives, a product which has become a staple for some and where I hope that this post helps!
Well, the relationship between Korea and Japan routinely improves as it does sour. It’s remained at a pretty fixed level of animosity, with spikes every so often, like Korea’s ‘No Japan’ boycott last year. To the outside eye, it may seem pretty petty that Japan and Korea are still fighting, but the wounds are deep. I’m not going to get into all the details right now, this is a post about cleansers, but a little context about why I’d urge you to find DHC oil cleanser alternatives (and alternatives of their other products) is necessary.
From 1910 to 1945, Korea was under Japanese colonial rule. It was possibly the darkest time in what is considered modern history for the Korean peninsula, due to the systematic and thorough attempts to destroy Korean language, culture and history. It was a horrific time to be Korean, forced to speak Japanese and watch as historical documents were burned; in the later stages Koreans were ‘graciously allowed’ to adopt Japanese surnames – though if you did not have a Japanese name you weren’t recognised by bureaucracy and denied access to necessities. The colonialists also worked to ‘bind’ Korean bloodlines to the Japanese, a huge deal to Koreans as their bloodlines (along with personality and culture) are believed to be a fundamental element of a nation, promoting marriage between Koreans and Japanese, and of course everything to do with ‘Comfort Women’. [1, 2, 3]
Additionally, due to labor shortages in Japan during the 1920’s, Koreans were forcibly moved to the ‘mainland / inland’ and dubbed Zainichi Korean. They were subject to terrible and relentless racial discrimination, as well as a targeted massacre after the Kanto earthquake in 1923, due to false rumours of a revolt. Movement at this time was still considered ‘voluntary’, bust after 1940, it was very much enforced. Roll forwards to today, and the discrimination against those considered Zainichi Korean is still prevalent, despite anti-discrimination laws being in effect, as there is a lot of grey area around nationality and bloodlines. [1, 2, 3, 4](You can read more about the discrimination in this 2014 Lawyers Association of Zainichi Koreans shadow report.)
So comments like those made by the CEO of DHC are not only crass, derogatory and wholly disgusting, they rub salt in the wounds of Koreans, especially when it comes from the owner of a brand with global positioning, active in the Korean domestic market.
So what should I do?
Well, I’m not going to tell you to throw away any DHC products that you currently have and are using, because that’s just wasting your money. I would advise to make a conscious effort to avoid purchasing DHC products in the future, until the company shows change. There are plenty of alternatives to their products, which is why I’m sharing this list of DHC Oil Cleanser alternatives.
I would also like to remind you that this is not a comment or critique on the nuances of current racism in Japan, or all companies in Japan, and that Japan and Japanese people are not bad. Korea and Koreans are also not without fault, but that’s a post for another day.
DHC Oil Cleanser Alternatives
To be honest, I’ve never purchased DHC products, but I know that the oil cleanser specifically was a holy grail for a lot in the Asian Beauty scene. An olive oil base with rosemary leaf oil, vitamin E, no added fragrance or parabens and a pretty decent cosdna score, I can see why. I’ve also seen reviews saying that it was pretty meh for the price, didn’t remove makeup very well, and felt like slathering olive oil over your face, so here are some DHC Oil Cleanser alternatives:
With polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) – gentle for sensitive skin too – this cleansing oil helps to lightly exfoliate as you cleanse. With oils like jojoba, sunflower seed and soybean, it is rich in Vitamin E. Tea Tree Oil helps to combat acne, and many of the ingredients have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbal properties to help keep pores clean and free of build up.
It rose to fame last year (2019) due to Koreans looking to take their money elsewhere after a previous DHC scandal, staying popular eve since.
At $27 / 22,000W it’s not the cheapest on the market, but it was a winner of the 2020 glowpick awards. Also, the name Asian and non-Asian markets are a little different, but it’s the same product.
A personal favourite for a DHC oil cleanser alternative is this ma:nyo Pure Cleansing Oil. It contains olive, soybean, and hazelnut oil, which are all rich in Vitamin E, as well as grape seed oil which is a great antioxidant.
In my opinion, it emulsifies well, removes even the most stubborn makeup easily, and doesn’t feel oily or like there is a residue left on my skin.
It retails for $27, so again isn’t super cheap, but it’s worth it in my opinion. Though it is less expensive in Korea at 19,000W.
A recommended DHC cleansing oil alternative over on the Asian Beauty reddit is the Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil. Not one that I’ve tried myself it comes in three different types: Deep, Speedy, and White. Each has a slightly different formula, but they all seem to contain Safflower, Apricot kernel, Jojoba Seed, and Rosehip oil.
Another holy grail product (and brand) for many in the Asian Beauty community, the Hada Labo Gokujyun cleansing oil offers a gentle cleansing experience to rid the skin of makeup and impurities easily. It has hyaluronic acid and concentrated olive oil for lots of hydration. It also contains jojoba seed oil for vitamin E.
The ingredient list does have a few quite scary sounding chemical names before you hit something familiar (oilve oil), but they are all good emulsifying or emollient agents to help cleanse the skin gently.
Not an oil exactly, but a solid balm cleanser. Solid in both appearance and the fact that its a great option as a first cleanse. It comes in four different types (original, purifying, nourishing, revitalising) and all of them take makeup and the daily dirt of the world off your face effortlessly. The different types have slightly different formulas, and not all the oils are present in all the cleansers, but clean it zero features evening primrose oil for skin soothing, sunflower oil for vitamin E and antioxidant properties, as well as green tea extract and centella asiatica extract for skin healing properties.
celimax are a newer brand making great strides on the Korean beauty scene. Focusing on transparency and cleaner ingredients, it has some products in its lineup that have quickly become skincare staples (hello, noni ampoule). This cleansing oil is a great alternative to DHC, as it has a fairly short ingredient list.
This Fresh Blackhead Jojoba Seed Cleansing Oil contains jojoba seed oil (clue is in the name) to help dissolve blackheads, whiteheads and excess sebum, as jojoba seed oil is very similar in structure to the sebum our skin naturally produces. It also includes Sunflower seed, grape seed, and olive oil too.
It is also less expensive than some of the other cleansers featured here!
This list isn’t by any means exhaustive, but it’s a start if you’re looking for a DHC oil cleanser alternative. I’ve just finished a bottle of ma:nyo Pure Cleansing Oil which I liked a lot, but because the hanskin cleansing oil and blackhead was on a slightly better offer I decided to buy as a replacement. I’m excited to try it out!
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these cleansers, or leave your own recommendations in the comments!