Tuesday, January 20, 2009

DHC Olive Essentials Set

I have a long review today which I'm so excited to share with you about the DHC Olive Essentials Set. This 4 piece set costs $79.00. The set is comprised of items which, if individually purchased, cost $104.00.

Some or many of you might have heard of this brand before. I was first introduced to DHC when I was in seventh grade. Back then, I had relatively perfect skin, with the occasional pimple. But even as a youngster, I liked to indulge myself in some serious skin pampering. DHC used to send me catalogs, and they'd always include samples. Looking back, I probably applied everything entirely incorrectly, and since my skin was already problem free to begin with, I didn't see any results. My wee self also used to wonder, gosh, why is this olive stuff all so freaking expensive?! Of course, now as a young adult, I find DHC to be decently priced. Even better, it really works. I've been using this set a couple times a week since my terrible acne/comedone outbreak, and my skin is regaining its health.

DHC is a Japanese skincare line which has been around for over two decades. Most of their products are derivatives of olive oil, which is extremely rich in antioxidants and vitamins. What makes their olive oil special as opposed to a bottle you'd find at your grocery store is the painstaking extraction process their olives undergo to deliver oil at its uncompromised purest and richest. At any rate, it goes unsaid that Japanese skincare means quality. DHC also doesn't test on animals!

I personally classify this set as a "4 step skincare system," or the "Asian skincare method." The Asian method of basic cleansing involves using cleansing oil on dry skin to loosen and remove oil, makeup, and dirt. This preps the skin for soap, which lathers away any remaining grime. A "lotion," which is the Asian version of a moisturizing toner, is then applied to the skin to add moisture. This allows the skin to better absorb moisturizer, which is the final step.

The following will be a walk-through the four products, along with my thoughts and experience. Since the website has its own directions, I wrote my own below, and only copied and pasted the price quotes and ingredients.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, 6.7 fl oz = $25.00, (on sale for $21.00 until 2/28/09), 2.3 fl oz = 12.50

Ingredients: olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, tocopherol, phenoxyethanol, propylparaben, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil

Directions: Wash your hands with soap, then dry them. Pump one or two squirts into the palm of your dry hand. Use your free hand to apply the oil to your entire face until all the oil is on your face. With both hands, massage the oil into your face in an upwards and outwards motion for a minute, focusing on congested or problematic areas, or anywhere you've applied makeup. You may use this opportunity to massage your face muscles and dissolve waterproof or longwearing makeup, like eye makeup. When you are finished, rinse your face with lukewarm water. The cleansing oil will immediately emulsify and dissolve off your face on contact with the water.

Review: This is DHC's most popular product, and it comes in a sanitary plastic pump bottle as pictured. For those of you who have never heard of using cleansing oil, and cringe at the thought of applying oil to your skin, worry not. I have extremely combination skin, and this product has never caused me to break out or clog my pores, so it is perfectly suitable for all skin types. Also, this cleansing oil is completely water-soluble, though you would think that all oils are water-repellant. Once the oil makes contact with water, it will emulsify, or melt off your face in what looks like a milky liquid, or lotion that has been diluted with water. You will not be left with greasiness on your skin--it will just feel soft and moisturized. If you have dry skin, you can probably get away with just using this as a cleanser. However, if you have combination or oily skin, you should definitely follow up with a soap type of facewash. Make sure it is mild, so it does not overstrip your skin of precious lipids.
Sometimes, I like to add exfoliants into the DHC oil to really unclog my pores. You can put sugar, coffee grounds, beach sand, (or whatever floats your boat, really), and mix it in with your regular one or two squirts of DHC cleansing oil. Apply it to your face in the same upward and outward motion, gently scrubbing your congested areas. If your skin requires daily exfoliation like mine, this is a great way to gently unclog your pores without irritating your skin. Obviously, if your skin is easily irritated or problematic, don't try this scrub everyday, as it will only worsen your condition.
What I like about DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil, as opposed to Shu Uemura's, is that it doesn't require extra steps to dissolve from the skin. With Shu Uemura's cleansing oils, you have to wet your face after massaging in the oil so it is slightly emulsified, massage your face again, and then rinse. The 4 step cleansing method is already pretty time consuming, and since I have to do so much extra work than the average person to keep my skin clear, whatever is more efficient gets my appreciation.
I currently don't use makeup remover, and this oil gets off the hardest-to-remove makeup from my face, even from my eye area, and it does not sting or irritate my eyes the slightest bit. However, it is an oil, so if it gets in your eyes, your vision will be slightly blurred from a film of the oil, but this has never bothered me--it goes away after the second cleansing step. The only thing that this cleansing oil doesn't remove is fiber/polymer based/tubing mascaras, so don't go crazy rubbing your eyes trying to get those off. Rinse off the cleansing oil, and the tubes should be easily removed in the process.
I definitely recommend this product for all skin types. It's gentle, moisturizing but never leaves a greasy film, and it really works. The large size individual bottle is on sale right now, so be sure to check it out if you're interested.

DHC Mild Soap: 3.1 oz = $15.50, on sale for $12.00 until 2/28/09, see link for other sizes and prices

Ingredients: sodium palmitate, sodium palm kernelate, water, sucrose, glycerin, sodium isostearate, alcohol denat., sorbitol, sodium oleate, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, tetrasodium etidronate, honey

Directions: Splash your face with lukewarm water. Rub the soap between your wet palms until you have a lather. Apply the lather to your face and gently massage your skin with your fingertips in a circular motion. This soap may also be used in conjunction with a washcloth, face brush, loofah, or Clarisonic. Swipe the bar onto the tool after it's been wet a couple of times, and apply it directly to your face in a circular motion. It will work up a lather as you cleanse your face. This step is perfectly fine to use after cleansing with the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil or alone. Rinse your face thoroughly after the desired time has elapsed.

: I normally don't use bars of soap on my face because I find it harder to work them into a lather. DHC Mild Soap is not an exception--when I first started using it, I thought it was a bit hard to get a rich lather by just rubbing it with my hands. I think this soap just requires a little more work than your regular bar of soap, but the lather it produces is really nice--extremely gentle, foamy, and fluffy. Also, when I used this with my Clarisonic I was able to achieve an even better, richer lather. Unfortunately, if used alone, I don't think this soap does a very efficient job at cleansing. I've come to believe that cleansing thoroughly is a rigorous process, and you can't expect to remove a day's worth of grime off your face if you just use this and tone, unless you own a Clarisonic or a manual brush. Personally, I think this soap should be paired with the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. The oil does all the hard work, and the soap takes off any any excess oil or moisture the oil leaves behind, without overstripping your skin. This soap is extremely gentle. Your face will never feel tight or dry after you use it. It also doesn't have a scent, so if you are susceptible to fragrance, this is perfect for you. At the same time, like most of DHC products, this soap does contain olive oil and honey, which have amazing healing and nourishing properties. Though I do not recommend using this soap on its own if you have combination to oily skin, if you have normal or dry skin, this soap is excellent to use alone. You can wash your face with it as many times a day as you'd like, and it will never dry you out or cause any irritation or stinging.

DHC Mild Lotion: 6 fl oz = $34.00, 3.3 fl oz = $23.00

Ingredients: water, glycerin, butylene glycol, cucumis sativus (cucumber) juice, placental protein, methylparaben, dipotassium glycyrrhizate

Directions: After you have thoroughly cleansed your face, pat your skin dry with a towel. You can apply this lotion either with a cotton pad or your hands. If you use a cotton pad, soak the pad until the other side of the pad is wet, and gently rub it into your skin in a circular motion. If applying with your hands, squeeze out a dime size into your palm, rub both palms together, and gently pat or blot your palms onto your entire face.

Review: Asian "lotions" tend to be different than Western lotions. What we know as an emollient rich, more diluted version of a cream is actually a hydrating toner in Asia. After cleansing your skin thoroughly, the Asian lotion is meant to soften up your skin and moisten it in preparation for your actual cream, lotion, or oil product. This is so when you follow up with your final moisturizer, it will seal in additional nutrients and water into your skin, so your skin receives the most hydration possible. An Asian lotion is not meant to "tone" the skin, or remove additional dirt, makeup, or residue from it. Treat it as you would any serum--you want to apply it to a clean face, and ensure you apply a thicker moisturizer over it, to guarantee the deepest penetration.
The DHC Mild Lotion is a clear gel-like liquid that reminds me of the essence found in Asian paper facial masks. However, it doesn't have any of the stickiness I've encountered in the essence from Asian paper masks. It goes onto your skin much more smoothly. I much prefer using my palms instead of a cotton pad to apply it to my face since I don't need the cotton pad for exfoliation or "toning." One or two pea sized drops are plenty enough for your entire face. After I shake them into my palm, I rub my palms together, and gently blot and press them over my entire face until it has been entirely covered with the Mild Lotion. The Mild Lotion feels slightly oily to the touch when I'm rubbing my palms together, but I think this is because of the glycerin. Once I've applied it to my face, it does not feel greasy or oily at all, just incredibly moisturized. If you have oily skin, you could probably end your skin regimen here, because the Mild Lotion feels so light yet very hydrating. I have oily to dehydrated combination
skin, and I never skip or make this my last step. A couple times a week, I will substitute this product with whatever serum I am applying at the moment.
An interesting tidbit is that this Mild Lotion used to have an actual liquid rather than a gel formula several years ago. I'm not sure why DHC changed the formula (maybe they added more glycerin?), but I like this version better. The old liquid wasn't very hydrating to me, and it felt like I was just applying water onto my skin. If I had been using makeup before they discontinued the liquid version, I would have probably only used it as a substitute for MAC's Fix It spray to apply powder mineral makeup.

DHC Olive Virgin Oil: 1 fl oz = $39.00, on sale for $29.00 until 1/31/09 (if you're considering purchasing this alone, hurry before the sale ends!)

olea europaea (olive) fruit oil

Directions: After cleansing and toning your face, pump one or two drops onto one of your dry palms. A small amount of the oil goes a long way, do not be generous with the product. Rub both palms briskly together. This will warm the oil and make sure you have covered your palms evenly for even distribution. In the same way you would apply the DHC Mild Lotion, gently pat your palms onto your face until it has been entirely covered with the oil. Your face should NOT look oily or shiny.

Review: Again, DHC has us putting oil onto our skin, and is completely shattering any negative preconceptions about it. If you have combination or oily skin and are cringing at the thought of applying this to your skin, please don't feel dubious. Like I said previously, I have combination skin myself. Sometimes I get horrible dry, flakey patches, especially in the winter, but I struggle with finding a thick moisturizer for my skin that won't break me out or clog my pores. This oil is perfect for that. Unlike the thick, vitamin E oil I used to apply to my skin, this clear oil is much thinner and lighter in consistency. I didn't realize until recently that I have always been applying skin oil incorrectly. You only need a teeny bit to pat all over your skin, just like you would with La Mer cream. However much olive oil you want to apply is actually up to you; you can apply a lot until your face looks oily (not recommended unless you're going to bed), or you can apply just one or two drops. With this rubbing/patting application method via the palms, I guarantee that one or two drops will be nearly indiscernable on your face, it will absorb quickly into your skin, and your skin will still reap the natural oil's benefits.
This oil has been amazing with allowing my moisturizers and serums to sink even more fully into my skin. I usually only apply it at night (the sunscreen I'm currently using doesn't go on moisturized skin well), and in the morning, my pores have all shrunk considerably, and my skin is radiant and glowing. This extra olive virgin oil contains all sorts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients. It really protects and nourishes the skin without clogging your pores, and a wonderful anti-aging measure. My grandmother is in her eighties, but her face has hardly any wrinkles because she has been slathering on facial oils for years. This oil is also great with dry or split hair and other areas of the body.

In the past, I've felt DHC is pretty good about giving newcomers samples. If you call their toll-free number (1-800-DHC-CARE) and give them your email address, you can request a free catalog with skincare samples. I'm actually not sure if they'll make you pay $2 for shipping, since that's what the request a catalog section specifies. Eek. I hope not.
Or, if you want to try this set for less, you can purchase the mini set, which comes with mini version of the 4 products and only costs $17.50. It's also perfect for travel if you go on vacation and need to pack light.

If you are considering purchasing new skincare, I definitely recommend this set from DHC.
If I had to choose my favorites in this set, they would be the Deep Cleansing Oil and the Olive Virgin Oil. I use those two products the most, and I will always keep a bottle of each in my bathroom. I could probably do without the Mild Soap and Mild Lotion, but I would definitely give them a try if you haven't already before discounting their efficacy. The entire set is extremely nourishing and moisturizing, works for all skin types, and lasts quite awhile. I rotate it between my other skincare products and now my skin has a rosy, healthy glow. I love it!

1 comment:

fuzkittie said...

Thanks for the great thorough review! I'm very interested in the cleansing oil, and also the olive oil! But I think I will go ahead and try P&J's facial oil first. Hehehe.