Whamisa Organic Flowers Cleansing Oil Review, aka, the Mystery of the Emulsifier and Preservative Free but Water-Soluble Cleansing Oil

It took a while, but I am now a full-fledged double-cleansing convert – my face just does not feel clean without it! That said, I’ve still yet to find a oil-cleanser I love. I like Innisfree Apple Juicy cleansing oil, a lot even, but I don’t love it and life is too short to stick with cleansers I don’t love, ya know?

whamisa organic flowers cleansing oil

WHERE I BOUGHT IT

The real reason I chose this oil, I admit, is because it was cheap. I purchased this off GMarket where it was heavily discounted, with Avecko’s help, for about $8. It is possible to order this from Gmarket directly, but EMS shipping is the only option if you go that route. It is also newly available on TesterKorea but in a different bottle.

APPEARANCE AND PACKAGING

As always, Whamisa impresses with its packaging design. I mean, look at the etching of flowers!

whamisa organic flowers cleansing oil

It comes in a light but sturdy plastic bottle. It seems like Whamisa has been revamping its packaging based off this image posted to their website recently and this seems to be the new packaging for their cleansing oil.

About a week into using the oil, the pump started to malfunction. I have to push down really hard to get the pump to budge and after I manage to push it down, it takes forever to come back up. I usually do 2-3 pumps of this oil when washing my face, and the pump issues have made this oil extremely annoying to use.

This cleansing oil has a thin consistency and is very fluid. It’s got a yellow tinge to it and has a smell that is neither sweet nor floral, but rather a bit herbaceous and musty – I think chrysanthemums are the large contributor to this scent, although I’m not sure. It is not overpowering in any way, but I can’t say I’m a fan.

whamisa organic flowers cleansing oil

PERFORMANCE

This oil removes makeup well and does not irritate my skin. It glides across my dry face better and faster than Innisfree’s Apple Juicy cleansing oil (warning: lots of comparisons with IAJCO in this post because that’s my standard of a good oil cleanser and the one I’ve mostly used) and as a result, I find myself having to use less product than I did with IAJCO. For the most part, I am digging the thin and smooth consistency, but sometimes I wish the oil were thicker!

The thin consistency is definitely different from what I’m used to with IAJCO. Even though this oil cleanser removes makeup, the makeup doesn’t really melt or mix with the oil. It forms a chunkier makeup/oil face soup than I get with IAJCO. I’ve heard the mantra “like dissolves like” many times to explain why oil cleansing works, but with this oil there’s less dissolving than I’m used to. It still works, it just confuses me a bit.

Another downside of having such a thin consistency is that it’s less conducive to face massages. First of all, this stuff runs down my arms faster than I can react to it. Also, a few times a week, I will oil cleanse for a prolonged period of time in a yet-to-be-successful attempt to get grits (fyi no grits yet with this cleanser either). I try to massage as delicately as I can, of course, but sometimes the urge to really get in there and rub something out takes over. It may be entirely psychological, but Innisfree’s AJCO, because it is so thick, forms a nice, substantial barrier between my fingers and my skin and makes me feel like I have an extra layer of protection to minimize any excessive roughness I may be exerting. With Whamisa’s cleansing oil, the safety net feels a lot smaller.

whamisa flowers arm swatch

Base makeup, eye, brow, and lip point makeup easily removed.

The main question I had with this oil is understanding how it works. This oil emulsifies and rinses off fairly cleanly, but doesn’t contain any obvious emulsifiers! Here’s the full ingredient list, with cosdna acne triggers and irritants indicated, to see what I mean:

Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Lactobacillus/Chrysanthemum Sinense Flower Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus/Nelumbium Speciosum Flower Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus/Dandelion Leaf/Root Extract Ferment Filtrate, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Fragrance

whamisa organic flowers cleansing oil

There are lots of good and interesting ingredients there, but when I looked it up on cosdna, I noticed there are no emulsifying agents identified. With all-natural brands that avoid adding / listing chemicals in their products, I usually look for esters or saponified oils in the ingredient list to explain emulsification but with this oil, even those indicators were not to be found. I had two theories as to why this product works and, determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, worked my way through both.

  1. Capric / caprylic triglycerides: These are medium chain fatty acids that are derived from coconut oil, glycerin, or some other source. In the paleo / body-building / fitness supplement world, they are known and marketed as MCT Oil (medium chain triglyceride) and consumed because they provide quick energy, something fats usually don’t do. In the skincare world, capric / caprylic triglycerides are used because they have a light and silky texture, a virtually unlimited shelflife, and acts as a solvent for oil-soluble actives. I thought they might help with emulsification because they also have a high polarity. I messaged a friend and former trainer who introduced me to MCT oil because I know he puts it in his coffee. He told me MCT oil stays separated when added to hot coffee, so it seems like this theory is bunk.
  2. Fermentation: The only other ingredients in this cleansing product, other than oil (and fragrance), are handful of fermented extracts and ferment filtrates. Specifically, these are Lactobacillus/Chrysanthemum Sinense Flower Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus/Nelumbium Speciosum Flower Ferment Filtrate, and Lactobacillus/Dandelion Leaf/Root Extract Ferment Filtrate. I haven’t taken a chemistry class since I was 15, but I have taken tours of breweries and recalled fermentation is responsible for the formation of alcohol. A quick google search indicated that alcohol does in fact have emulsification properties. Actually, alcohol is sometimes used to emulsify essential oils into room sprays. This by itself seemed very promising, but what’s more is that fermentation also results in the formation of esters! Esters are largely what give beer its flavor, but more importantly can be used as emulsifiers in cleansing oils!

I should reiterate at this point that my understanding of chemistry is remedial at best, so its very possible this fermentation –> esterification –> emulsification theory is all wrong, but it makes enough logical sense to me so I am declaring this mystery solved, barring new information!

The TL;DR

Thin and light cleansing oil that effectively removes makeup. It’s a decent, non-irritating cleansing oil but, I don’t know, I’m still not in love. If it were a little thicker and washed off a bit better, it would be an excellent oil cleanser. Next up in my cleansing oil roster are (this ridiculously beautiful) RECIPE’s marine mineral cleansing fluid and a deluxe sample of the (very highly regarded) Shu Uemura cleansing oil (pink bottle).

Pros: lightweight, applies smoothly, emulsifies pretty good

Cons: not a fan of the scent, a little too thin

whamisa cleansing oil review

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7 thoughts on “Whamisa Organic Flowers Cleansing Oil Review, aka, the Mystery of the Emulsifier and Preservative Free but Water-Soluble Cleansing Oil

  1. mina says:

    Enjoyed your review and hope someone can comment on your emusification hypothesis, very interesting!

    I also bought this oil from Gmarket and had the same issue with the pump being defective. It’s really frustrating and is messing with my enjoyment of an otherwise lovely product. I’ve been reduced to screwing off the pump top and pouring it out, which is lame, messy and potentially unsanitary. Will eventually decant some into something less lovely that, you know, works.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rin says:

    Hi! I’m an absolute believer in double cleansing, especially in using a cleansing oil for the first step. It’s unfortunate you haven’t found a cleansing oil you love, but I thought I’d share my favorite cleansing oil: Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil.

    Not sure if you’ve heard of it, but I’ve been using it for years and I really love it (yes, love!) It is viscous enough without losing its fluidity, and really gets out all my makeup but leaves my skin cleansed without any tightness. (I also reviewed it in detail on my blog if you’re so inclined)

    Maybe you can give it a whirl one day if/when you run out of stuff to try on your roster 🙂

    Like

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