June 09, 2008

Product Review: DHC 4-Step Skincare System

Because I've long been in favour of the 4-step system (which involves double-cleansing) this is not a review of the system itself, but of the DHC products marketed by DHC as the "basic 4-step skincare system" or, "Olive Oil range".

About DHC
DHC is a line of skincare products from Japan that has a long history and is tried, tested and beloved. Don't be fooled by the childish packaging, DHC has produced ground-breaking, sophisticated formulations. Prices range from crazy expensive to surprisingly affordable as the line, unlike most, seem to price products according to the cost of the ingredients. Which makes them, in the beauty world of pricing for branding - slightly nutty.

Newly landed in the UK, DHC is out in force giving away lots of free samples at subway stations. Registering with their site also gets you a welcome pack with more free samples of their basic system. A word of warning though, the sample pack is incredibly annoying as the oils come in sachets. SACHETS. Oils are messy enough to start with , putting them in tiny little packets isn't going to help. Also, although the sachet says "one application" that's not true. I've decanted 5 sachets of the Deep Cleansing Oil (yes I've been getting the samples left and right!) and have enough to last me at least 2 weeks.

Alrighty, on to the reviews!

Step 1: Deep Cleansing Oil
One ingredient you'll find DHC waffling on and on about is extra virgin Olive Oil. It's in this cleansing oil, it's in the soap, and by gum it's a moisturiser all on its own. I found the cleansing oil to be quite rich feeling and it removed all my makeup, including waterproof eyeshadow, easily. It also emulsifies completely on contact with water and rinses leaving skin clean and soft - without oils and not stripped of moisture. It also promises to reduce clogged pores, blemishes and blackheads with regular use - although that can be said of any 4-step system with an oil cleanser.

However, I find that it causes blurry vision for awhile if I got too enthusiastic with the oil removal, and it also did not remove as efficiently as Shu Uemura's cleansing oil. Plus, you also need more of the product to cleanse than with Shu Uemura. It's also pricey at £16 - for the price I'd be more willing to pay £19 for Shu Uemura. The product I really find myself longing for though is Shiseido's Tiss Deep Off Cleansing Oil. It's so much cheaper (£10), and it works just as well. I used to be able to get it for only £5 in Malaysia so M'sian girls, check out Sasa and see if the oil is still around!

Shu does however contain mineral oil which is a big no-no to many ladies out there. If you're one of them, DHC is entirely vegetable oil based and a great alternative.

Mild Soap

My reaction to this product is basically, "meh". It's not great, it's not bad. It hasn't radically changed my skin, it doesn't feel amazing, and it's just well.. "meh". On the other hand, it would be a great cleanser to take travelling as it won't spill or take up your precious liquid quota at airport security. I suggest poking holes in a ziplock bag and toting a sample-sized one around that way. If you do love this cleanser to death though, you can buy a full-sized 90g bar for £10.

Mild Lotion

Confusingly, this isn't a moisturiser, it's a toner. And a nice gentle one at that. It contains cucumber and feels soothing and cool on application. It also helps moisturiser absorb faster and claims to help it "go the extra mile" - something I can't attest to. It feels great in the mornings and helps with the dull skin and baggy eyes. But for what it is, £16 is too steep a price to pay in my opinion.

Olive Virgin Oil
This is where DHC appears to go more than slightly nutty. The only thing that convinced me to try this oil on my face is my dedication to this blog! The oil is odourless and colourless, and DHC swears, free of impurities. You don't slather it on like a moisturiser, you put a few drops in your palm, rub your hands together to heat it up, and gently pat it on your freshly toned skin.

Despite reassurances from DHC that the oil is non pore-clogging, anti-aging, and will form a protective barrier between my skin and the elements - I have as yet, not been able to leave it on my skin longer than 30 minutes. The mere idea of adding to the oil on my face is shudder-inspiring. Also, my skin was oily at the end of 30 minutes and I went to wash it off. I suffered no ill-effects though and with recommendations like these, and how this oil made a stubborn dry patch under my chin disappear overnight, I tried using this on my face all night. While definitely feeling greasier going to bed than I normally do, I woke up with skin that was no worse than usual and looked a whole lot better!

I've been touching my face all morning, no breakouts, even, calm, and glowy. I'm not even rushing to put on makeup like I usually am so I don't have to see my naked face in mirrors. I don't think I'll try this every night as that may be pushing it, but twice or three times a week as a night-treatment should be great!

But "one drop only needed" or no, at £25.50 for 30 mls, the extra virgin olive oil sitting in my kitchen cabinet is looking increasinly attractive.

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