Oshima Tsubaki Oil | 6 reasons why this is a huge miss

For those of you who are planning a trip to Japan, you might have come across Oshima Tsubaki Oil. It’s often listed as a Japan Must-buy beauty product and has garnered pretty good online reviews. That really sets me wondering why!

Oshima Tsubaki Oil
Oshima Tsubaki Oil

I bought one in Japan after doing the same online research. And guess what, this is definitely a miss for me, and there aren’t many misses among my haul in Japan. 

Truth be told, I’m about to throw Oshima Tsubaki Oil away, probably after this review is published.

There’s still 60% of the oil sitting in the glass bottle. No, I’m not being wasteful. Read on and you’ll know why I have no other choice.


About Oshima Tsubaki Oil

Oshima Tsubaki Oil is said to be multi-purpose and can be used on skin and hair. It is made of Camellia flower and comes in two sizes. The one I bought was a 40ml bottle that cost ¥820 (SGD10). It has a larger size at 60ml – check out the latest price on Amazon and Ebay.

Oshima Tsubaki Oil
Image Credit: Oshimatsubaki.co.jp

When I bought this, I couldn’t understand the product description and instruction as they were in Japanese. With some help from the pictorial illustrations and some characters that are similar to Chinese, I could make out the following:

  • 100% vegetable oil
  • Free of fragrance and colour
  • For Hair Treatment, use 1-3 drops on damp hair, then blow dry (see illustrations on website)
  • Other uses: It can also be used as scalp care, oil pack and skin moisturizer (check out its website for more information). I’m guessing from some illustrations that it can also be used as a makeup remover.


Cure for Cold Itch?

My initial motivation for getting Oshima Tsubaki Oil was due to cold rashes. It was so cold and dry in Japan that I was itching all over since the third day. I guess the daily onsen (hot spring) session might have aggravated or worsened the itch.

A good solution I thought was to get the richest moisturizer I could find. And OIL it shall be.

Oshima Tsubaki Oil

After applying Oshima Tsubaki Oil religiously and generously for two whole weeks, my itch did not get any better. I won’t penalize Oshima Tsubaki Oil for this since it is not marketed as a cold itch reliever. But in case you want a cure for cold itch, this is NOT the one.


Why Oshima Tsubaki Hair Oil is a Huge Miss for me

In this session, I’ll be reviewing Oshima Tsubaki Oil as a hair treatment because it’s not possible for me to use this oil as a skin moisturizer in hot and humid Singapore.

1. Too Oily

The texture is viscous. It’s very oily even for the dry, thick and coarse hair that I have. I used only 3 drops for my chest-length hair and could see oily streaks on it that last for hours.

Oshima Tsubaki Oil
After Application

This is definitely the oiliest hair oil I’ve tried. Among the two that currently sit on my dresser (Asience Leave-on Treatment Oil and Kae Nutri-Radiance Hair Serum), Oshima Tsubaki Hair Oil is the least preferred.

2. Inconvenient Application

The application instruction of ‘using on damp hair, and then blow-drying it’ is not exactly in line with my regular routine. For the health of my hair, I try to avoid blow-drying it unless absolutely necessary. I also don’t have the habit of using oily hair product on freshly-cleansed hair.

Is it only me who would reach out for hair serum/oil only when the hair is frizzy and not damp? Cause damp hair won’t look frizzy, right?

This explains why I didn’t get much chance of using Oshima Tsubaki Oil.

3. Smells Bad after a While

This is the deal-breaker. Within less than 6 months, Oshima Tsubaki Oil started smelling funny. It has turned rancid and will make your hair smell bad too. Mind you, the smell will stay with you for the entire day….ouch!

There’s no way I can empty the bottle within 6 months. In fact, if it wasn’t for the intensive use of this oil as a body moisturizer in Japan, there might be more of this going to waste. 

Based on industry average, a more reasonable shelf life should be 2-3 years from manufacturing date.

4. Not Easy to Spread

Due to the viscosity, it wasn’t easy spreading the oil. That’s probably why the first few contact points appeared streaky.

Oshima Tsubaki Oil

5. Prefer Pump Dispenser

This may be a personal preference. I do find pump dispenser more appealing and convenient for daily usage than twist-open-pour bottle.

Oshima Tsubaki Oil

6. Not Travel-Friendly

Now, this is not a major miss for most of us. For frequent travelers, do note that this oil comes in a heavy glass bottle.

Oshima Tsubaki Oil
Oshima Tsubaki Oil



This is not recommended for those who are:

  • Looking for an anti-frizz serum that can be used on-the-go (or on dry hair)
  • Living in a hot and humid environment
  • Scrambling last minute, looking for a cold rash treatment *smile*

Oshima Tsubaki Oil is recommended if you are:

  • A minimalist and are looking for multi-purpose moisturizer for your hair, face and body
  • Fine with having oil on cleansed hair and have the habit of blow-drying it
  • Confident that you’ll be a fervent user of Oshima Tsubaki Oil and would finish it before it turns rancid.

To round this off nicely, my hair did feel softer with Oshima Tsubaki Oil. It just doesn’t suit my routine and hence my craving for this is not high. Rating: 2/5

View latest price on: Amazon | Ebay


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8 thoughts on “Oshima Tsubaki Oil | 6 reasons why this is a huge miss”

  1. The reason why the longevity of this product is 6 month is because it doesnt contain preservatives nor chemicals. Natural products should be thrown away after 3-6 months and keeping skin care products for more than one year is unhygienic imo
    This product is 100% natural.

  2. Your point is reflected in my recommendation. Oshima Tsubaki is good for those who can use up the product quick enough. As for me, I’ve never been able to finish skincare or hair product within 3 months. So I have to look for other brands to prevent wastage.

  3. I actually love this oil and although it says to apply to damp hair, I find that I can apply a drop to dry hair too and it still works. I have naturally curly hair, and my hair soaks this oil up, leaving my hair soft, not frizzy, and not oily. I like to use one to two drops daily at night, to keep my hair conditioned. Also since my hair is curly, I try to avoid heat and over-manipulation, so I don’t use a blow dryer in order for this oil to work. It works even without that. I take those instructions more as suggestions.

  4. Your main problem is that you are not using it as her directions suggest, which would be hard since they are in a different language. (Although it could still not be a product for you). It says you can use it on the hair, skin or scalp. For the hair as a leave in conditioner (the one you read), an oil pack right before you shampoo, And/or styling where you apply to the hair and brush your hair like normal.

    It can be applied to damp or dry hair, and only use 1 drop or less for short hair, 1 to 2 drops for medium (probably you), and 2 to 3 for long hair.

    For the skin, it can be used as a makeup remover, moisturizer for particularly dry areas on face or body (recommended immediately after bathing), and/or oil pack your face and then wipe off 10 minutes later.

    It has more specific in depth instruction for each application type and says it’s good moisturizer and good for frizz and prevents dry and split ends. It also states to keep in not too hot or cold condition and to STORE IT IN THE BOX to maintain product quality.

    Plus if it’s smells rancid, it probably is rancid And you should therefore stop using it, because it expired. Also you are supposed to apply it one drop at a time. Not all three drops at one time.

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