Brand Spotlight: Hada Labo (Plus Skin Care for Dry Air)

It may sound like total insanity to start tailoring one’s daily skin care routine based on the weather forecast, but, you know, it is what it is, and I accept who I am, so I’m okay with that.

Late last week, I caught a local weather forecast that predicted a very warm and dry weekend. Warm I can deal with, but I absolutely hate dry days, especially windy ones. My eyes get all dried out, my sinuses shrivel up, and my skin, if unprepared, feels like it’s about to crack and peel right off my face. Dry air does not feel good. This time, though, I got through the entire ultra-arid weekend without a single uncomfortable moment, and I owe almost all of it to my Hada Labo products.

Hada Labo Gokujyun cleanser, lotion, and mask

Plain, unadorned hydration. That’s what Hada Labo do.

Owned by Japan’s Rohto Pharmaceutical Co., Hada Labo is one of those skin care brands that focuses on doing one thing, and doing that one thing incredibly well. In Hada Labo’s case, that one thing is humectant hydration. Hada Labo has three distinct lines–the original Gokujyun moisturizing line in the white packaging, the Shirojyun brightening line in the blue packaging, and the Gokujyun Alpha anti-aging line in the red packaging–but the cornerstone of all three lines is hydration, in particular through the use of hyaluronic acid variants at various molecular weights, with the higher molecular weight HA forms able to attract and bind more water but less capable of deep skin penetration and the lower molecular weight HAs able to penetrate more deeply, though with a slight trade-off in hydrating effects. (For a more detailed rundown of the three forms of hyaluronic acid present in the famous Hada Labo Gokujyun lotion, check out the Skin and Tonics review.)

It’s that focus on hydration that I wanted when I heard how dry the weather was going to be. I own three products from the Hada Labo Gokujyun line, and all three of them came into play.

First up is the Hada Labo Gokujyun Foaming Face Wash, a gentle, low-pH bubble cleanser that has almost completely replaced the Missha Super Aqua Oxygen Micro Visible Deep Cleanser in my skin care routine.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Foaming Face Wash

Cleanser and konjac sponge make a handsome couple.

Like the rest of the Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid line, the foaming cleanser has a short and relatively simple ingredients list, with several humectants, few extraneous ingredients, and no fragrance, making it a promising choice for people with sensitive or reactive skin. I appreciate it for the way it thoroughly cleanses my skin without leaving it dry, tight, or itchy.

Hada Labo Gokujyun cleansing foam dispensed onto konjac sponge

One pump of fluffy white foam is enough for face and neck.

Next up is Hada Labo’s signature product, the Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid lotion, which the company claims is so popular in Japan that a bottle is sold every few seconds.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid lotion

You want hydration? Hada Labo gives you hydration.

The clear, slippy liquid,which should be used shortly after cleansing in your skin care routine–right after cleansing when possible and right after acids/first essences when those are used–feels like concentrated water and contains all three of the hyaluronic acid variants that Hada Labo uses. The hydration it gives is immediately visible from the first time you use it. Skin becomes softer and plumper, fine lines seem blurred, and the complexion takes on a translucent glow thanks to all the water packed into and between those cells.

Hada Labo Gokujyun lotion dispensed into hand

Seriously, it looks like nothing but does a whole lot.

Humectants like the ones that Hada Labo uses are fantastic for drawing moisture from the deeper layers of the skin up into the upper, visible layers, so if you’re well hydrated, you’ll most likely enjoy an immediate improvement. It’s important to remember, however, that humectants alone aren’t enough to keep skin hydrated, especially in dry conditions. Preventing all that lovely moisture from escaping requires some kind of emollient or occlusive final layer. When the humidity is high, I seal it all in with a dab of Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream, which is light enough to allow the Hada Labo humectants to draw in yet more water from the outside air. When the humidity is very low, however, failing to seal the hydration in with a stronger occlusive product can lead to increased moisture loss. All through that desert-dry weekend, I used Benton’s Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream as my final moisturizing step before sunscreen–but any relatively heavy cream will do.

Under normal circumstances, these two Hada Labo products and the rest of my regular routine are enough to keep my skin hydrated and happy, but I had a feeling that that weekend wouldn’t be normal, so I whipped out my heaviest hydration hitter: a pack of Hada Labo Gokujyun sheet masks.

Hada Labo Gokujyun sheet masks

They’re a little pricier than my precious My Beauty Diary sheet masks, so I save them for special occasions and emergencies.

Normally, I might use a Hada Labo sheet mask once every couple of weeks, if that, or if some new product I was trying had irritated or dried out my skin. For the predicted super-dry weekend, however, I used one of these masks every single night, and every night, I wore the mask for 45 minutes to an hour instead of the recommended 10-15 minutes so that my skin could soak up every last available drop of ultra-concentrated humectant hydration.

It worked. The air was indeed ridiculously dry all weekend, and my eyes and sinuses definitely suffered, but my skin felt and looked perfectly fine and just as moist as usual.

Hada Labo isn’t fancy. Its packaging is plain (which I prefer) rather than cute or pretty (though the US-specific Hada Labo Tokyo rebranded, reformulated products do have a more feminine aesthetic). The claims are simple. But Hada Labo products just work. They do what they say they’re going to do, and for me, they do those things extremely well. Good stuff.

How do you protect your skin when the weather is plotting against it?

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22 responses to “Brand Spotlight: Hada Labo (Plus Skin Care for Dry Air)

  1. Great review! Hada Labo is my all time favorite brand for skincare. Their Shirojun moist lotion (toner) has really saved my skin this winter. Have you tried their amazing sunscreens and bb creams?

    Great blog in general by the way. I just looked through all of it and found so many useful posts. Looking forward to your updates~

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  2. ” heaviest hydration hitter: a pack of Hada Labo Gokujyun sheet masks.”

    Yep, that’s a pretty accurate assessment. 😀 Great post about Hada Labo! My routine is pretty good so I can’t justify buying more products from them besides maybe their UV Creamy Gel and the Perfect Gel when winter comes back around again. The lotion has lasted me forever though, I bought my first bottle last May and I’m still using it. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Long time lurker here.
    Firstly I love your blog, I came across it via a UK parenting forum where you are a guru! My skin has never been better since switching to an Asian beauty regimen.
    Anyway….I haven’t bought any lotion yet but when I do you recommend putting it on after cleansing or after vit c/bha/aha? I still get confused with the routines.
    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! What forum? I didn’t know!

      If you mean the Hada Labo style lotion, which is really a hydrating toner, then it goes after cleansing if you aren’t using actives, and after actives if you are. If it’s a regular moisturizing lotion, then it’d be the last step in your routine, whatever you’re using.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  4. Hi.. I’m new in AB… still confused but getting there… I’m confused which one to go first, Missha FTE or the Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Lotion? So if i have vit c in my night routine where does it go? Thanks a lot… your blog is helping a lot of people like me…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi.. I’m new in AB… still confused but getting there… I’m confused which one to go first, Missha FTE or the Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Lotion? So if i have vit c in my night routine where does it go? Thanks a lot… your blog is helping a lot of people like me…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hiya! If you are doing those three items in your routine, I would put them like this:

      -Vitamin C right after cleansing, on bare skin. Leave it for 15-20 minutes so that it can absorb.
      -Missha FTE to rehydrate/soften your skin after the wait time.
      -Hada Labo lotion

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  5. As far as you know, is packaging the only difference between the US and Japan lines? No hubbub in the blogger streets about US line being weaker/stinkier/drier? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just search the product and generally a few options will come up, though not always with Prime shipping and sometimes shipping straight from Japan (and kinda slow). Are you using Amazon US site?

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      • Thanks. I am on the US site. I heard so much about fake products I’m not sure who to trust. Just looking for drugstore items mostly. Hada Laba, Kiss Me mascara, etc. Thanks again!

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      • I think you’ll be okay with brands like that. The inexpensive drugstore stuff is not gonna be as much of a target for counterfeiters since the original is not prohibitively expensive for consumers anyway. But definitely check seller and product reviews for extra confidence!

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