Review | Dermalogica PreCleanse Oil-Busting Emulsifyer & Wipes | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

30 March, 2015

Review | Dermalogica PreCleanse Oil-Busting Emulsifyer & Wipes

Press Sample

One of the biggest skincare game-changers for me was the discovery of cleansing oil. For years I struggled with never being able to remove all of my foundation using regular foaming cleanser... I'd scrub and scrub, but inevitably there'd always be a bit of residue left behind. Nowadays I use an oil cleanser to dissolve my makeup and follow up with a foaming cleanser to make sure my face is totally clean, and do you know what? It really works! The process is quick too. Keeping that in mind, today I'll be reviewing an oily product that promises to make your cleansing life easier: Dermalogica's PreCleanse system.

Dermalogica PreCleanse Oil-Busting Emulsifyer & Wipes #DoubleCleanse #IFabboMember

Dermalogica's PreCleanse comes in two formats: A traditional cleansing oil and oil-based cleansing wipes. You can purchase them as a set or separately. I think the idea here is that the wipes are an on-the-go version of the oil, but they both have their pros and cons, so I'll be taking a look at them separately.

Dermalogica PreCleanse Oil-Custing Emulsifyer ($38 for 5.1oz, or $10 for a 1oz sample)
"Deep-cleansing oil melts impurities and make-up from skin. As the first step in your Double Cleanse regimen, PreCleanse thoroughly melts away layers of excess sebum (oil), sunscreen, waterproof make-up, pollutants and products that build up on skin, allowing your prescribed Dermalogica Cleanser to penetrate even further for professional cleansing results."

In simpler terms, this is a basic cleansing oil. Oil is better at dissolving oil-based products like foundation and sunscreen than water alone, so this stuff is meant to be used as the first step of your cleansing routine for makeup/face grime removal. Many folks (including myself) would follow up with a foaming cleanser to get off any last bits of residue.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, PEG-40 Sorbitan Peroleate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (To-mato) Extract, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Decyl Olive Esters, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Citral, Limonene, Linalool, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben.

I looked up the ingredients on CosDNA and it flagged Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Prunus Armenjaca Kernel (Apricot) oil as possible acne triggers. Personally I've never had a problem with these two ingredients, but if you're extremely acne-prone it might be worth watching out for them. I'm also noticing a large number of natural extracts on the list... nothing inherently wrong with that, but citrus and lavender can cause allergic reactions in some people. Be careful if you're sensitive, yo.

The oil itself is clear and fairly light in texture:

It's practically invisible. Secret oil. When I say that it's "light" in texture, I mean that it feels thin to the touch and doesn't drag across the skin. I find that mineral oil and castor oil are usually responsible for those draggy feelings in cleansing oils, but they're absent here, so yeah.

In terms of effectiveness, I thought the PreCleanse oil worked reasonably well. It did remove my makeup thoroughly, though I feel like I didn't get as deep a cleanse as I would with some other oils. This is better suited to makeup removal than deep-cleansing or grit-removing, I think.

Dermalogica PreCleanse Oil-Custing Emulsifyer Wipes ($18.00 for 20 wipes)
"Achieve ultra clean and healthy skin on the go with the Double Cleanse regimen that begins with PreCleanse. Each biodegradable wipe melts away layers of excess sebum (oil), sunscreen, waterproof make-up, pollutants and products, allowing your prescribed Dermalogica Cleanser to penetrate even further for professional cleansing results."

As I said earlier, these are meant to be an on-the-go version of the oil. I can think of many situations in which packet of wipes would be more convenient to tote around than a bottle of oil: During air travel, in your gym bag, etc. Each wipe measures 8x6", which I think is an adequate size for cleansing the whole face. They have a standard wet wipe texture, no special bumps or ridges for exfoliation.

Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Dicaprylyl Ether, Glycerin, Sodium Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Mentha Viridis Leaf Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Sodium PCA, Sodium Benzoate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Chloride, Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Citral, Phenoxyethanol.

The formula of this product is not identical to the PreCleanse oil, but it contains many of the same ingredients. CosDNA flags Tocopherol and apricot kernel oil as possible acne triggers yet again, as well as Butylene Glycol.

The PreCleanse wipes turned out to be surprisingly good. I've tried oil-based wipes before but have often been let down: Either the wipes are too small or not saturated enough to actually dissolve makeup fully, but that wasn't the case here. PreCleanse wipes dissolved all of my makeup with ease, no follow-up oil cleanse necessary. I'm not in love with the price though... $18 for 20 single-use wipes isn't exactly a bargain. In that sense the PreCleanse oil is a better value, because a little goes a long way.

Both the PreCleanse oil and wipes performed reasonably well, but I do have one major gripe with them: They stink. Not in terms of quality, but the scent is very unpleasant to my nose. Imagine citrus and lavender combined in the most medicinal way possible... the end result? Something along the lines of bath and tile cleanser. Not what I want to rub on my face everyday. They don't seem to contain any artificial fragrance though, so I guess that's a plus.

Overall, my opinion of the PreCleanse oil and wipes is sort of mixed. I think they're effective, but a bit expensive for what they are (especially in the case of the wipes). That coupled with my personal distaste for the scent means that I wouldn't buy them in the future, but I won't deny that the wipes were very convenient. If only they didn't smell like a public restroom...

For more information or to purchase the PreCleanse set for yourself, visit the Dermalogica website.

What do you think of Dermalogica's PreCleanse? Would you be more likely to use the oil or the wipes on a regular basis?

Disclosure: The products featured in this post were provided to me for review purposes by iFabbo, however any opinions expressed above are honest and my own. I did not receive any other form of compensation. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy. #DoubleCleanse #iFabboMember


  1. I love the PreCleanse Oil, I've had my bottle for well over a year now and use it practically everyday! I love it especially for removing mascara and brow product. I'll definitely be repurchasing, not sure about those wipes though, like you mentioned they are pricey for the amount, and I'm "thrifty" lol.

  2. I reviewed these as well and I wish they had sent a cleanser to go along with it, since these were the "precleanse" steps. I liked the oil (lol secret oil), but I found the wipes to be too oily for me. I have oily skin already and it left too much residue. But I suppose if I followed up with a cleanser that would take care of that problem.

  3. The oil is definitely a better value. I think it takes me about six months to get through a bottle of cleansing oil that size, so $38 divided over that amount of time isn't bad at all. I'm way too "thrifty" for the wipes too though, lol. Maybe if it was $10 for 20 wipes...

  4. If you have oily skin, I would definitely use a foaming cleanser to follow up. I just used the CeraVe foaming cleanser I always use when I was testing these - but I agree, it would have been nice to sample Dermalogica's gel cleanser at the same time!

  5. I really love Dermalogica, but oh wow are they expensive! I'm not found of oil products but I've never tried a 'Precleanse' before so maybe I will like these.

  6. Mmmmm, public restroom-scented face products! I don't have a lot of success with oil as a cleanser on my skin, but I do love it as a moisturizer. Wow, those wipes are pricey! Love the idea of oil in a wipe form though.

  7. I really can't recommend oil cleansers (in general) enough. Even if you have oily skin. The beauty of oil cleansers (as opposed to plain oil) is that they emulsify when you add water, which means they wash away from your face pretty cleanly.

  8. Sounds delicious, right? Out of curiosity, did you try plain oils in the past or a dedicated oil cleanser? I ask because oil cleansers (such as this one) usually have an emulsifier added, which helps it wash away more cleanly when you add water. My favorite cleansing oil is still Innisfree Apple Juicy... shh, don't tell Dermalogica. :P I reviewed it here a million years ago:

  9. I actually check out the pre-cleanse oil in Ulta a couple of weeks ago (I was chatting with the Dermilogica specialist/salesperson), and liked the texture of it. Took a whiff and looked at the ingredients and immediately put it back on the shelf. :(

  10. Haha yup, that's about how I felt when I first opened the bottle. There's nothing wrong with the texture, but that smell... oof.

  11. I've tried both, but it's probably been a million years since I've tried an oil cleanser so my opinion might change. That Apple Juicy looks really good! I'm in a pretty committed relationship with CeraVe products right now and my skin reallllly likes it, so I'm scared to switch it up. I am obsessed with rosehip seed oil mixed into my moisturizer though!

  12. I'm in a LTR with CeraVe's foaming cleanser, lol. He seems to get along pretty well with Apple Juicy, at least on my face. Rosehip oil is one of my faves too! Mixing a couple drops in with my moisturizer has seriously saved my skin this winter.

  13. Who would want their face to smell like a public restroom? lol That's so crazy! Coconut oil is my favorite thing to use as an eye makeup remover, and it smells great!

  14. Well I'm sure whoever developed it didn't think it smelled like a toilet, haha! Coconut oil certainly sounds a lot more appealing scent-wise.

  15. I might be interested in the wipes, actually, althouh the scent description is a bit of a turn off LOL Glad you reviewed these! There are those loooong nights where I do my skincare in bed because I can't drag myself to the bathroom to double cleanse, and I was loving the It's Skin MangoWhite makeup removing wipes- I was using them first and then a regular cleansing wipe immediately after and they worked really well together removing my makeup and cleansing my skin- although I would like to see a cheaper alternative- I plow through cleansing wipes like crazy since I also use them in the morning to remove my sleeping packs and spot treatments! Thanks for the review on these!