Review | Oshima Tsubaki Camellia Hair Care Oil

I’ve been using this bottle of Oshima Tsubaki Camellia Hair Care Oil for a few months, ever since I received it from Mandom for review.

The bottle contains 100% natural camellia japonica seed oil (I’m assuming it comes from the Japanese island of Oshima, famed for its camellias). It promises to repair damaged hair and is recommended for coloured/chemically-treated tresses. Besides the hair, it can be used on the face and body too, to nourish and moisturise skin. Not only is camellia oil an emollient with excellent moisture-retaining ability, it is also known as a good moisturiser because it easily penetrates hair follicles and skin. Interestingly, this is an edible oil  and can be used in cooking (!) as well.

It can be used on dry or post-wash/towel-dried hair but I prefer the latter. I usually apply two to three drops of this oil – this amount is appropriate for my hair, which is of medium thickness and just grazes the nape of my neck. After pouring the drops onto my palm, I’d rub both hands together and run my fingers through my hair, usually avoiding the scalp. An oil with a very light sweet scent, it can be mixed with other oils if you prefer your coiffure to have a certain fragrance. Some people actually heat this up, using it as a hot oil treatment. What a great idea!

The Pros

  • It alleviates dryness

I highlighted my hair twice within a span of two months but this oil saved it from being frizzy and unmanageable. My hair still has a touch of dryness to it but I’m certain it’d be far worse without the use of this oil.

  • It protects my hair

This oil not only restores my hair’s moisture levels, it also protects my tresses from environmental dryness. I love that it prevents my hair from frizzing up in an air-conditioned room and that it protects it from cold blasts of air that blow down on my head when I’m on the bus (the air-conditioning system of Singapore buses is wonky; it is  usually either too hot or too cold on the buses – warm air circulates the bus on hot days, while blustery cold air blasts down relentlessly on passengers on cold days).

  • It makes my hair feel soft and smooth

Its conditioning effect is so effective that I often marvel when I run my fingers through my hair, expecting some resistance but feel the strands glide instead.

  • It adds shine to my hair

An added bonus to the softness and silky feel is the shine. I’d admit that my hair could look better (I used to have shinier hair before I dyed it) but I’ll take what I can – I’m just glad it doesn’t look like straw, thanks to this oil! ;)

  • It has a light texture

Although it is moisturising, it doesn’t have a sticky or overtly greasy sensation. As such, it doesn’t weigh my hair down. I appreciate that it doesn’t give my hair an oily I-haven’t-washed-my-hair-in-ages appearance and especially like how comfortable my hair feels with this on/in it.

  • It comes in a retro-looking bottle

Admittedly, it’s nothing much to shout about but the bottle is so quaintly retro (it reminds me of something my grandmothers would’ve used) that I can’t help but feel a wave of nostalgia every time I see it. The red camellia and its green leaves emblazoned across the chrome yellow box, together with the kanji in a simple font, add to the old-style feel too.

The Cons

  • It doesn’t have a dropper or pump dispenser

Although a pump would ruin its retro appearance, this would make it so much more convenient and hygienic to use. It does have a stopper with a little hole in it but I sometimes find it hard to control the number of drops with this.

  • The glass bottle can be unwieldy

I know that the glass preserves the integrity of the product but I always have a fear of dropping the bottle because of my oily fingers. Thankfully, this product isn’t so oily that the bottle is hard to manage.

In Singapore, this lovely oil can be found at Watsons stores. It is priced at S$21.90 (40 ml) and S$29.50 (60 ml), while the oil-in-water version is S$23.50 (150 ml).

Image source: Oshima Tsubaki


  • AtelierGal says:

    I have been using this on and off. It’s not as oily as stated on the description. Have you tried all 3 methods mentioned in the pamphlet? The hot oil treatment doesn’t work well for me though, my hair is far too damaged haha!

  • stella says:

    i think this has to be used consistently once opened. i left a bottle i used a few times on my self for months, intending to come back to it once i finish something else… and half of the contents evaporated!!! it’s not my imagination since i started to keep track of the level of oil in the bottle after a while and it just continued moving downward! another unopened bottle i have in my stash is ok though

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi Stella,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with this. This hasn’t happened with my bottle (yet?) but I’ll keep a closer eye on it now!

  • nurul says:

    hon do u knw when surf baby will be released in sg?

  • shahida says:

    Hi I just got this tsubaki shampoo and conditioner,cos I was desperate to save my hair from the damage that has be done by too much rebonding and colouring.I still can’t believe it but with first wash my hair is so much smoother and controlable.Do they still sell this tsubaki oil in watsons.I wanna check it out.

  • shahida says:

    Hi!! its me again.Got the tsubaki hair oil.Boy it s great.My hair is on the mend.Thank God at last I found something that works.My hair is looking great.Now I am waiting to get the hair mask from this same brand.Will let you all know its effect.Take Care.

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