Popular Korean Beauty brand Neogen just recently added three new cleansing products to their Real Cica skincare line: a cleansing oil, a foam cleanser and a cleansing water.
I was really happy with the Real Cica Pads from this Neogen line which were released last year, so when all these new Real Cica cleansing products came out I was super intrigued! I had just arrived in Korea, totally avid for new K-Beauty stuff, and needed a new double-cleanse combo anyway, so I decided to give the oil cleanser and the foam cleanser a try (alternatively, you can combine the cleansing water with the foam cleanser).
Now let’s have a closer look at the NEOGEN Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Oil first!
Brand: NEOGEN Dermalogy – 네오젠더마로지
Product Name: Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Oil – 리얼 시카 미셀라 클렌징 오일
Product type: Cleansing oil
RRP Korea: KRW 23,000 (KRW 77 per 1 ml)
- lightweight and non-sticky texture,
- perfectly removes makeup and other impurities from skin, while having a soothing effect at the same time,
- does not dry the skin out, leaves skin refreshed and hydrated,
- suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Besides oils, cleansing oil formulations do typically also include surfactants to make the product easier to rinse off. Oil isn’t soluble in water and the soap in the surfactants can help with this by dissolving all the oils from your skin when you wash the product off with water. This is the reason why cleansing oils are usually easier to rinse off as oil cleansers formulated without surfactants.
The Neogen cleansing oil uses isopropyl palmitate and caprylic/capric triglygeride as main oils and PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate as surfactant.
It also contains the following plant oils: soybean oil, olive oil and bergamot oil.
Other key ingredients of the Neogen Real Cica Cleansing Oil are (as the ‘Cica’ in the product name already indicates) five different components of the centella asiatica plant (tiger grass):
- centella asiatica extract,
- madecassic acid,
- asiatic acid, and
The K-Beauty trend ingredient centella asiatica is super rich in antioxidants and known to have anti-inflammatory, healing and soothing properties. I can’t think of anyone who couldn’t benefit from its effects! It’s a real multi purpose ingredient that can help with acne scarring, fighting breakouts, skin brightening and anti-aging.
Another noteworthy ingredient of the Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Oil is water! This doesn’t sound very stunning, I know, but in fact, cleansing oils usually don’t contain water. As I mentioned before, they are normally based on a blend of oils and surfactants, so why the heck did they add water to the the formula of this cleansing oil?! Hm, I’m not an expert in skincare formulation, but I’m pretty sure it’s because they wanted to make it a blend of cleansing oil and micellar water. Micelles aren’t a “real” skincare ingredient, they are – in non-expert terms – more like an effect that occurs when you mix a surfactant (soap) with water in a certain way. They are like little bubbles that effectively soak up oil and grime when they get in contact with skin. So to make micelles form in the product, they needed to add water.
The Neogen Real Cica Cleansing Oil is free from:
- mineral oil,
- synthetic fragrance,
- synthetic dye,
Like so many skincare products in K-Beauty, it’s not free from essential oils, as it contains bergamot oil. The concentration of bergamot oil in this product is very low, so it should be fine for those with non-sensitive skin, but it can be irritating for those with sensitive skin.
Some background info first: I have dry skin and usually wear a decent amount of foundation, concealer, eye and lip makeup. I also apply sunscreen every day, so I need cleansers that can handle and melt away all these layers without stripping, irritating or clogging up my skin. Double-cleansing turned out to be the best method for me to get rid of all the makeup, sunscreen and other impurities sitting on or in my skin, so I use an oil based cleanser first followed by a water based cleansing foam or gel every night. I guess this is the ‘traditional’ way to double-cleanse. I usually use an eye makeup remover separately before the first cleansing step. It’s just easier I think and I don’t want to smudge my mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow all over my face, too lol.
I included the Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Oil as my first cleanser in my evening routine around one month ago and have been using it every night since then.
The product has no color and a very subtle lemon-ish/citrus/cheese cake scent coming from the bergamot oil. The consistency is very thin and runny, almost watery.
I usually need to pump two times to have the amount of product I need to remove sunscreen and makeup.
The product is applied with dry hands on the dry face. It’s easy to spread on the face and by gently massaging your face with the product, makeup and sunscreen will come off from the skin without a need to rub too hard. The cleansing oil can basically also deal with waterproof mascara and eyeliner, but you’ll need to use more product in this case to remove everything completely.
Due to the runny and watery texture, the Neogen cleansing oil feels indeed really lightweight, non-sticky and it’s very easy to wash off. I also haven’t experienced any irritations or other side effects from it. I didn’t feel that the product was drying or stripping my skin at all, but cleansing oils rarely do in my opinion (I guess this is more a typical second cleanser problem). The finish after rinsing it off looks wonderful – so clean, fresh and dewy! I really love it and sometimes wondered if it’s necessary at all to follow up with a second cleanser?! I’m not sure if I have experienced any actual soothing effects from the centella asiatica derived ingredients, but it’s possible that these ingredients help to make the product a less irritating experience for people with more sensitive skin than I have. As I’ve hardly ever experienced irritation from cleansing oils or other first cleansers, it’s really hard to tell! I’m also a bit undecided if the product really cleanses better than other cleansing oils because of the micelles. I mean it certainly does a great cleansing job, but a lot of other cleansing oils do so, too, and I didn’t perceive a big difference between this and other cleansing oils to be honest.
Overall, I’m very happy with the Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Oil. It holds true to most of its claims. There was no big wow effect or something, but this wasn’t what I was expecting from a cleansing oil in the first place anyway. In my view, a good cleansing oil should completely remove makeup and sunscreen without irritating my skin and the Neogen cleansing oil did this very well!
What I liked:
- the overall good looking and decently clean ingredients list, especially the omission of synthetic fragrance!
- the beautiful finish! I really consider to try to use this as a stand-alone cleanser, because the finish after rinsing it off looks so beautiful lol!
- the great cost effectiveness! You get a 300ml bottle for KRW 23,000 (I hope there won’t be too heavy markups outside Korea…). The average cleansing oil comes in a 150ml to 200ml bottle and most of them are way more expensive per ml than this one!
- not really sure if the micelles actually bring added value to this cleansing oil in comparison to other cleansing oils. I didn’t really notice that it cleanses better than similar cleansing oils without micelles.
- I’m also not sure if the centella asiatica derived ingredients are actually doing something or not. As I mentioned before, it’s possible that it lowers the irritation potential of the product. It would be really interesting to know how people with more sensitive skin see this!
- I don’t really enjoy the super runny texture, but this is more a general (and acceptable) issue I have with almost all cleansing oils.
- I think I needed a little more product per use as with other cleansing oils I tried which dilutes the price advantage a bit.
- Good for you if you have normal or dry skin and are looking for a decent and affordable cleansing oil option with a fairly clean ingredients list and a rather low irritation potential.
- Can be okay for you if you have sensitive skin and haven’t experienced any issues with bergamot oil or essential oils in general before.
- Can be okay for you if you have acne-prone skin and haven’t experienced any issues with soybean oil and olive oil (they are said to be comedogenic) before. I heard that many people with acne-prone skin don’t have issues with these two oils in wash-off products.
- Not for you if you are allergic to bergamot oil or essential oils in general.
I hope that this review was helpful to you and would love to hear your thoughts, questions or suggestions!
Have a good skin day!