In 2015, I published a review of 15 first-step, mainly oil cleansers. The winner was an unlikely contender called Leejiham Dr’s Care Cleansing Oil. It retained the top spot in my personal list of best oil cleansers even after a reformulation, so when I found out the cleanser was getting yet another reformulation complete with an entirely new formula, I was quaking in my booties over the many ways this love story could go wrong.
The formula is certainly different. Gone is the wildly liquid texture and almost ruthless ability to strip off makeup and sunscreen. The reformulation edges closer to standard oil cleansers, but retains enough of the liquidy, easily emulsifying properties that made me obsessed with the earlier incarnations of LJH cleansing oil.
One of my only frustrations with the product in the past was the size-to-cost ratio and the unability to buy a bottle easily. The price is still fairly steep considering the speed at which cleansing oil gets used, but it’s now dead easy to buy the product if you’re in the US: LGH has an official Amazon shop with Prime shipping.
Leegeehaam (LGH) Life Pure Cleansing Oil Review
About the brand: LGH is a Korean dermocosmetics brand that mainly makes skincare. They were first known as Leejiham (LJH), but the brand’s name changed about a year or so ago to better reflect the way the brand name is said aloud.
What it is: an oil-based, first-step cleanser. Use this to remove makeup and sunscreen, then use a second-step, water-soluble cleaner.
Where to put it in your routine: in the first cleanser slot. Need a basic outline of when to use your products? Here you go:
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Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-30 Sorbitan, Tetraoleate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract, Tocopherol, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil. CosDNA analysis.
Ingredient breakdown: theoretically comedogenic oils (I never had a problem with them) have been replaced and what remains are a few potential acne or irritant triggers down the list. More concerning is the use of many different types of essential oils, which have the potential to cause irritation.
Since oil cleanser is very much an on and off thing, pretty much always followed by a water-soluble cleanser, the essential oils aren’t a big concern for me, but they might be an issue for more sensitive skin. Since oil cleanser is left on one’s skin for about 30 seconds, I’m not going to go into the science of the ingredients because the whole point is to get the product (and any makeup, sweat, sunscreen, and oil) off ASAP. You just need something to get your skin more or less clean (which is why the price is so irritating to me).
Consistency: this oil is runny and thin (but less runny than the previous version!), allowing it to have great slip on my skin, even when I’m wearing a ton of makeup and have dead skin flakes that need to be exorcised. The thin consistency allows it to mix with everything and then the emulsifiers help it to immediately turn cloudy and even thinner once water is added, meaning every single thing on my face gets off FAST and without any stray makeup hanging around or oily residue.
What type of skin might like this: this should work for most skin, provided that you don’t have an ingredient sensitivity. Kbeauty fans with more sensitive skin reported that earlier formulations felt stripping, but I find this version to be less ruthless.
Packaging: the oil comes in a hard plastic bottle with a standard oil cleanser pump and a locking mechanism. I find the top/pump to be much sturdier in the reformulation and the bottle’s weighting seems to prevent tipping, which was a problem with versions one and two. I may
or may not have had to pluck the earlier version of the bottle out of the bathroom cat box and disinfect it before, urgh.
Smell: it smells like a blend of inoffensive essential oils and I don’t find it to be overpowering. I don’t detect any sort of plasticky scent, which is good.
Price: about $25 or so including shipping for a bottle, depending on where you buy it and the shipping mode you select. This oil used to be available in a 180ml size, but the 2015 reformulation changed the ingredient list slightly and introduced a 155ml size, which stuck with the 2018 reformulation.
Value: this isn’t the cheapest cleansing oil on the market. I use three pumps per day and I’m working through my bottle fast. It would be great to find a wonderful, cheaper cleansing oil that I love, but so far, everything else has come up short.
What’s not good: I don’t know why essential oils need to be in an oil cleanser. I mean, I do (to make people excited to drop $25 on oil cleanser and make the thing not smell like plastic), but really now. If you’re a fan of liquid waterproof eyeliner, be prepared to put in some muscle to remove it; while this oil cuts through base makeup easily, it requires some work to get off eyeliner (not really a dealbreaker for me because wearing contacts prevents me from oil cleansing seriously around my eye holes). As with most cleansing oils, you’re fucked as far as glitter removal: expect some traces of fairy dust for days after removing something like Stila’s Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows (which are pretty awesome btw).
What’s good: this is STILL the best first-step cleanser I’ve ever used. I sort of groan when having to test others because it cuts through makeup, oil, and disgustingness with zero problems. It leaves no residue. It emulsifies like a champ. It doesn’t irritate my skin at all. Each version really hits the spot, miraculously.
Will I repurchase it: yup, I’m so happy to have the option to just order on Prime once my bottle gets low. While I’d love to find an oil cleanser that’s cheaper, I do feel like — unless we’re talking La Mer or whatever — the cheapest thing in your skincare stash is the product you love using and aren’t trying to dupe. You know what I mean? Do you have any idea how much I’ve spent trying to find a “cheaper” version of something I love? Then I end up with five bottles of half-finished stuff I don’t even like and a bill that equals several bottles of what I really wanted. Eff that. I’m just buying what I like from here on out unless something really grabs my interest.
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