PSA/Rant: Do NOT trust Muji Ingredient Stickers

Awhile ago, I posted about the Muji sensitive skin cleansing oil, still one of my favorites. Since then, I have gone through three different bottles of it (in various sizes) and have noticed that there are (at least) two versions. After cross-referencing the English ingredients (provided on stickers applied to the bottles), it seemed that the key difference was that one version contains octyl palmitate, and the other contains ethylhexyl palmitate. The version I preferred (thicker, darker in color, heavier olive oil scent, cleanses & washes off better) had an octyl palmitate sticker and so I made a mental note to check the stickers and buy that one in the future. I also told everyone else (on reddit, instagram, who knows where else) to do the same.

However, when I was at Muji earlier this week, I noticed ALL of the bottles had the same ingredient stickers, which made me realize trusting the stickers was a mistake. UGH.

L to R: 70ML, 200ML, 400ML

It’s hard to tell in this (crappy, Instagram story) photo, but the cleansing oil in the 200ml (middle) bottle is slightly but noticeably darker than the other two bottles. Based on this, it seemed reasonable to suspect the oils are different.

I searched the bottles for Japanese ingredients, and found them printed on the plastic. I can’t more than like 10 words in Japanese, but visually the lists looked completely different, so I took a picture, went home, and resolved to GET TO THE BOTTOM of this debacle.

L to R: 400ML bottle, 200ML bottle. See how the bottle on the right is darker and more yellow? SEE???

The ingredients for the bottle on the left are:


Hydrogenated polyisobutene, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, Ethyl oleate, Sorbitan oleate, Olive oil, Jojoba oil, Hybrid sunflower oil, Dipropylene glycol, Orange flower water, Water, Butylene glycol, Tocopherol, Peach leaf extract, Apricot juice, Glycerin, Propylparaben, Butylparaben

The ingredients for the bottle on the right are:


Olive Oil, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polysorbate 80, Sorbitan Oleate, Water, Pentylene Glycol, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, Glycerin, Portulaca oleracea extract, Polyquaternium-51, Grapefruit seed extract, Tocopherol, Butylene Glycol

If we were to trust the Japanese text, that would not only confirm that the formula in the 400ML bottle (left) is different from the formula in the 200ML bottle (right), but also the ingredients on the sticker does not match EITHER ingredient list printed on the bottle. I really don’t like this because does that mean that there is a THIRD versions of the sensitive skin cleansing oil? WHY make it this unnecessarily complicated and confusing to buy cleansing oil? WTF Muji. Get your act together.

The point of this post is this:

  • Be cautious of stickered ingredient lists
  • If you’re trying to figure how to distinguish the two versions of the sensitive skin cleansing oil, it is NOT by reading the sticker, which I have previously recommended. Your best bet is to:
    • If there are multiple versions in store, look for the darker version (in the Hollywood store in LA that seems to consistently be the 200ML bottle)
    • Check to see that the Japanese ingredient list (printed on the bottle, not the sticker) matches the second set of ingredients above
    • Cross your fingers and hope for the best

Now I need to figure out how to condense this post into an email of reasonable length so Muji’s customer service doesn’t immediately delete it. Wish me luck!

16 thoughts on “PSA/Rant: Do NOT trust Muji Ingredient Stickers

  1. Hana says:

    Personally, I’ve found the easiest way to distinguish between the two is the length of the Japanese name! The one with Hydrogenated Polyisobutene has a short first line and a longer line for its Japanese name (like a triangle pointing up), while the one with Olive Oil one has a longer first line and shorter second line (like a triangle pointing down). Saves so much time since I don’t have to even look at the ingredients list haha

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vida says:

    I have always wanted to try the Korean face cleaning method a while ago but got nervous because I have acne/sensitive skin. I stumbled upon your blog thru instagram and felt more confident to try…. your in depth product reviews, relatable acne photos & amazing scientific breakdowns speak to my inner nerd. I even started using Curology (thanks for your awesome discount code btw).

    So….I bought the Muji Cleansing Oil 200ml bottle months ago, thinking it was the correct formula. I loved how easily it removed my makeup, but it didn’t feel as thick as you described so I dbl checked the ingredients. Yikes…. it has parabens, which I try to avoid. Which meant I had the incorrect version. After seeing this post I immediately ran to the Muji store. To my surprise they only had the 50ml size bottles, there weren’t even spaces for the larger bottles. It’s like they moved all the cleansing oil bottle sizes off the floor. Hmmm maybe they are becoming aware that there’s an issue. Either way I examined the 50ml bottle, they covered all the Asian writing with the English sticker so it was hard to read. I put it up in the light, reading the Asian writing backwards…lol. And bang I could at least make out 30, 80 & 51 which are in the above ingredients for the correct grape seed, paraben free version. I made the 2ND purchase. When I came home I ripped off the English sticker and dbl checked the Asian writing against what you wrote above and it checks out to be the correct formula. It even looks darker then the 200ml incorrect bottle I 1st purchased. So fingers crossed, trying it out tonight.

    Liked by 2 people

    • V. Rex says:

      Aww your post is so sweet! I’m glad my ramblings here have been helpful! I think one of the reasons I’m really annoyed with this is because A LOT of cleansing oils have broken me out so I really like to know what’s in the oils I’m putting on my face, you know? I hope your new bottle works out!


  3. aki says:

    you can check which is which by looking at the little square that has the actual original title label that has the name of the product. there are only two versions, one from the sensitive skin line and one thats from their general line of cleansers. They both have “oil cleansing” written in english letters, but the sensitive line has “oil cleansing” in katakana followed by kanji on the front label. The general cleansing oil has “mild oil cleansing” in katakana. its pretty easy to tell the difference in japanese stores and on their jp site. I’m not sure if its a consistent problem within intl muji stores, but I’d definitely look at the front label for differences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • aki says:

      I personally would not look at any of the english labels they place if there was a complete difference in the english label from EITHER of the oils, because who knows, that might happen with other products. I would get myself familiar with whats sold in the JP muji stores and then become familiar with the labels, and then from there figure out whats actually sold in the US stores, when buying muji products like skincare.

      Liked by 1 person

      • V. Rex says:

        Relying on the Japanese ingredient list and or product names is the way to go. I’ve noticed in my local Muji they don’t even bother to label the sensitive skin cleansing oil separately anymore. They have both versions but they’re all labeled under one “cleansing oil” category


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