Best Pick: Oshima Tsubaki Oil

Oshima Tsubaki Oil is one of those really Japanese products that has been around for decades. Almost everybody no matter their age or gender has tried it at some point or at the very least, have heard of it. There’re a few Japanese companies that make tsubaki (Japanese for Japanese camellia flower) oil but Oshima is the most well known and famous — after all, Oshima (a very small island in Japan) is renowned for their Japanese camellia flower!

This oil is marketed now as a hair and scalp treatment product since that is what most people are using it for but back in the days, it was actually a multi-purpose oil. It’s very economical too!

For the hair: I use a few drops on damp freshly washed hair to smooth and protect my hair. It works better than any other salon product or oils I’ve tried. A drop or 2 on dry hair to tame flyaways and frazzled ends. My hair looks super healthy and soft with no build-up to worry about. It works wonders on flaky irritated scalp too (perhaps due to chemical processing).

For the skin: I use it on arms and legs (sometimes mixed into a base) to give skin a really nice healthy glow. A drop or 2 takes care of any cold weather-induced flakiness without leaving my skin greasy as well.

I also want to make a few notes since it seems that there’s some misinformation going around online about the oil:

The oil actually has a faint floral scent if it is really fresh. Unless you live in Japan and you buy directly from the company, the oil is not going to smell like anything. Either way though, the oil shouldn’t smell bad or unpleasant at all. If yours has an odd odour, it has gone rancid and should be tossed. According to the package insert, the shelf life for unopened product is 3 years if stored in a cool dark place. Once opened, it’s good for 6 months to a year maximum.

Camellia japonica is the species of the flower in Oshima and the type found there is red (as pictured on the box). Camellia oleifera is the most common type of camellia flower (typically white) used in for pressing oil outside of Japan and it’s originated from China. Most online shops with “camellia oil” carry the latter type.

Anyway, I’ve used Oshima Tsubaki Oil since I can remember. I have not tried other brands but why buy imitations when there is the original from a renowned source available?

Oshima Tsubaki Oil in the 60ml glass bottle is ¥1,182 from Amazon Japan.

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4 years ago

I assume short(er) hair with oily hair/scalp wouldn’t benefit from this as the oils from scalp reach the hair ends by themselves, right :d (stopped using conditioner several days ago and my hair is a lot better in texture and less greasy, though latter not an issue as you mention with this tsubaki product)

Teresa Riley Castro
Teresa Riley Castro
5 years ago

Hi Ratzilla, I have read that Camillia Oil is very good for skin so I purchased this brand and have been using it on my aging, dull, wrinklely, sun spotted face. I love the oil but I just want to make sure that I am using it properly or is there another brand of Camillia Oil that would better benefit my face? I know this blog is a few years old but hopefully you will get his post 🙂 It’s taking me time to read through everything thoroughly 🙂 Thank you so much!!!!

7 years ago

this was one of the products i bought during my first few months of being in japan. i liked it because it REALLY made my hair noticeably nice, i often got compliments. but, i stopped using the oil. it’s because i noticed that it made my hair charge static electricity like mad! i’m not really sure, though. my comb is anti-static already. but whenever i have it on my hair, i keep on shocking myself to metals for the whole day (i skipped wearing my jacket with metal buttons, it tortured me whenever i put it off). but if no… Read more »

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