Hail Hydra! Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion Review + Hada Labo Lotion Tips

The OG version of Hada Labo’s famous Gokujyun “Lotion” never held my interest for long, even though I did keep it around and occasionally changed my mind, but when I first heard about the Hada Labo Gokujyun PREMIUM Lotion, I knew I had to have it. Its five different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid called to me. FIVE. That’s a lot of different kinds of hyaluronic acid!


Affiliate links in this post are marked with an asterisk(*).


What is hyaluronic acid?

Quick refresher: hyaluronic acid is a humectant, an ingredient added to skincare products in order to bind water and deliver it to the skin. It hydrates. Hyaluronic acid is also one of the Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMFs) that occur in our skin and that, of freaking course, diminish with age.

Well hydrated skin looks plumper and firmer, with shallower wrinkles and fewer fine lines, than dehydrated skin. Hydration also gives skin a special radiance due to the refraction of light from the water in the skin. When people talk about “dewy skin,” especially in the context of the K-beauty glow, the ideal is hydrated skin with that inner radiance. Not the oil slick of highlighter on the surface of skin that tends to represent dewiness in the makeup world. Hydrating products like Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion aim to fill skin with the hydration it needs for true dewy radiance.

Review: Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion

Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion

It’s PREMIUM!

Purpose: Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion is a lightweight hydrating product.

Best suited for: All skin types, but especially dehydrated and/or aging skin.

Do not use if: You are sensitive to hyaluronic acid in any form or have problems with anything else in the ingredients list.

When and how to use: Use after cleansing and before any serum/ampoule/moisturizer steps in your skincare routine. Dispense product onto hands and spread over skin. Pat in if desired or let dry down a little, then continue with the rest of your routine.

Bonus uses: Since it’s unfragranced and doesn’t really taste like anything, Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion (and the OG Moist Lotion) makes a great lip treatment! Exfoliate lips, then dab a drop on and seal in with lip balm. This helps keep my lips soft and happy on dry days! Hada Labo Gokujyun lotions are also great carriers for other skincare products like facial oils (check out Beauty and the Cat’s tips), propolis ampoules, and pretty much any serum, letting you use less of the more concentrated (or more expensive) stuff without sacrificing your glow.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion ingredients (translated by Reddit user imnikky): Water, butylene glycol, glycerin, PPG-10 methyl glucose ether, hydroxyethyl urea, sodium acetylated hyaluronate (super hyaluronic acid), sodium hyaluronate, hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid (nano hyaluronic acid), hydroxypropyltrimonium hyaluronate (skin absorbent type hyaluronic acid), sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer (3D hyaluronic acid), aphanothece sacrum polysaccharide (sacrum), hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, glycosyl trehalose, diglycerin, sorbitol, pentylene glycol, triethyl citrate, carbomer, polyquaternium-51, PEG-32, PEG-75, ammonium acrylates crosspolymer, disodium EDTA, potassium hydroxide, diethoxyethyl succinate, disodium succinate, succinic acid, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben

CosDNA analysis

Hada Labo Premium Lotion ingredients list

I couldn’t get a good picture of the ingredients for translation until I cut them off of the label. So here they are.

Notable ingredients: In CosDNA terms, the Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion has an exceptionally clean ingredients list. Butylene glycol scores a 1 as a potential acne trigger, but that ingredient is in nearly everything and not something most people need to worry about. Same goes for carbomer, which scores a 1 as a potential irritant. Nothing else in the ingredients raises any CosDNA eyebrows. Which is not to say that you shouldn’t patch test and pay attention to your skin’s response to this product, but it does allow us to turn our attention to the star ingredients of the product: those FIVE DIFFERENT MOLECULAR WEIGHTS OF HYALURONIC ACID OMGGGGG!!!!

Having a variety of molecular weights of hyaluronic acid is beneficial because different molecular weights of HA can penetrate to different depths of skin. Theoretically, this should enable the product to plump up skin more thoroughly and from deeper within than competing products with less HA or fewer variants of it. The lower the molecular weight, the deeper it can absorb and therefore the deeper it can carry water into your skin.

With that said, there are disadvantages to lower molecular weights of HA. The biggie is that the lower the molecular weight, the shorter the amount of time the HA will remain in skin. There are also some concerns around lower molecular weight HAs being potential inflammation triggers for some people. This might explain why some people cannot handle hyaluronic acid in skincare products.

For some context, the classic Hada Labo Gokujyun Clear Lotion contains three different molecular weights of HA: hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid (nano hyaluronic acid), sodium acetylated hyaluronate (super hyaluronic acid), and sodium hyaluronate. What’s new in the Premium Lotion are the “skin absorbent type hyaluronic acid” hydroxypropyltrimonium hyaluronate and the “3D hyaluronic acid” sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer. Yay. All of these molecular weights of hyaluronic acid hold extra water against your skin or within the extracellular matrix within your skin, allowing your skin to absorb it from there.

(Many thanks to Chel, the blogger behind Holy Snails and part of the Snailcast‘s Snail Unit, for looking over my explanation to make sure it makes sense and is correct, and then talking to me about HA because I find it so interesting. Hey Chel? Fiddy luhhhh you.)

Performance

OG Hada Labo lotion is beloved by both Western AB enthusiasts and actual Asian consumers. The eternally beautiful and perfect Jun Ji Hyun shilled the brand in adorably comical CFs that I can watch over and over because she’s so pretty and sassy and has such amazing skin and I love her very much.

What I’m saying is that many people are familiar with the original lotion, and those people might be in for a slight surprise when it comes to the consistency of the newer, PREMIUM variety. Here’s a visual comparison of the two “lotions” side by side. In both pictures, the original lotion is on the left, the Premium on the right.

Where the classic Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion is a runny liquid, the Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion is thick. It’s a light gel, hardly runny at all.

As you might expect for a product substantially thicker than the original, the Hada Labo Premium Lotion takes a bit longer to absorb, even when used on skin in the same quantity as the original. Interestingly, the Premium Lotion doesn’t leave quite as sticky a finish as the original. My cheeks don’t stick to my palms when I pat this stuff in the way they did when I (and Jun Ji Hyun) used the original version. It doesn’t particularly matter to me either way, but I did find the difference notable. I’d expected the Premium to be stickier.

The difference in effects is notable too, and that matters.

In my opinion, one of the key differences between Asian skincare products and practices and Western ones is that East Asian skincare heavily emphasizes hydration and humectants. That leads to product categories like these hydrating “lotions,” which don’t have many equivalents on mass-market drugstore shelves in the West. (God, I’ve seen products here that present hyaluronic acid as a prestige active ingredient. Ha.) The classic Hada Labo Gokujyun lotion was one of my first forays into hydrating toner lotion things, and even though it bored me to death after a while, I did understand the appeal. The formulation constraints of typical moisturizers don’t allow for as much pure hydration and plumpage.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion takes that plumpage to the next level on my skin, which it suffuses with a good 5% more hydration than the original lotion does, according to a week’s worth of tests using my digital skin analyzer,. The extra hydration shows in the way my skin looks after using it. This stuff has plumping effects almost equivalent to a high-quality sheet mask. My Areas of Decreased Firmness look firmer, my Fine Line Problem Regions look smoother, and my skin gets that dewy glow overall. Locking the hydration in with a moisturizer appropriate to my skin’s needs of the day retains the glow and all that juiciness all day long.

Hada Labo Premium lotion sheet mask routine

Double-dipping hydration by using this stuff right before an ultra-hydrating sheet mask and then layering a good occlusive moisturizing cream on top is one of my favorite things to do to my face.

In my time with this product so far, I’ve only noticed two real drawbacks. The first is that this product lacks the power to help skin rapidly suck subsequent products in. It works well under a sheet mask, but as a prepping toner used immediately after cleansing, it’s not as effective as the original lotion or my favorite skin-softening, absorption-accelerating Dear by Enprani Moistfull Booskin. As a result, I generally don’t rely on this as a first-step toner. Instead, I use it as a hyaluronic acid serum, as I mentioned earlier in this review.

The second drawback may be more my fault than the product’s. Because of the thicker consistency of it and the fact that it’s less slippy than the original, I find myself using much more product at a time than I did with the OG Gokujyun Lotion. My bottle of Premium is running out much faster.

Hada Labo Gokujyun lotion vs Premium lotion

I’ve only had the Premium lotion for a month. I used the Gokujyun fairly regularly for over six. See the difference?

Conclusion: Despite those little weaknesses, Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion has earned the solid spot in my skincare routine that the original did not. Its superior hydrating abilities really show up on my skin, which makes it particularly useful when I’m short on time and can’t pat in lots of layers. I haven’t been tempted to drop it the way I constantly thought about dropping the original, and I see no reason not to repurchase after I finish this bottle. Good stuff.

Rating: 4/5

Rating scale:

1 – This should be taken off the market, or this failed at its one primary job.
2 – Caused me some problems or doesn’t work very well; would not buy again.
3 – Meh. Neither great nor bad.
4 – Pretty good. Would buy again unless I find something better.
5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.

Where can I buy Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion?

So here’s the thing. Although it was released last fall in Japan, Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion hasn’t yet become as widely available as many other Hada Labo products. In fact, I’ve heard it’s still pretty challenging to find even in some Asian countries! We can only hope that will change soon. I purchased my bottle for $16.79 on Amazon*.

What’s your favorite hydrating product?

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48 responses to “Hail Hydra! Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion Review + Hada Labo Lotion Tips

  1. Hi. I enjoyed this post very much, thanks. I’m currently using the original lotion, but I think I wanna try the gold one now 🙂

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  2. I really want to try this out! Even though it’s very possibly redundant for me with having the Scinic Aqua AIO already a regular in my routine. Maybe I’ll try to get a decant.

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    • Hiya, I don’t think it’s that redundant actually, though getting a decant is certainly smart 🙂 The Scinic Aqua AIO is hydrating but less intensively so because its antioxidant and brightening etc. yada yada ingredients take up some room within the product’s overall volume. The Hada Labo is a pure play, straight up hydrator and correspondingly more strongly hydrating.

      Like

  3. Your “glowing” review of this product has me jumping head over heels to get my hands on it! Even though I don’t have dry skin, I very much like the idea of “super hydrating” my skin during my evening routine, so that I wake up the next morning with plump, soft, intensely hydrated and luminous, glowing skin. What a way to start the day! Also, doing this just seems to make my more abbreviated AM routine all the more effective and helps to keep my skin nicely hydrated – and producing less oil – during the day. And this is as true during our cold and windy winters as it is during the summer when one has to put up with the dryness from air conditioning in cars and buildings.

    I’d also have to think that this new lotion would be really great after a full actives routine of Vitamin C, BHA, and AHA as this usually leaves my skin feeling a little dry. I’ve been using the Whamisa Organic Flowers toner for this lately, but I’m thinking this new lotion would be terrific as a hydrating serum right after. Given your comments above (and the fact that I always have the OG HL Lotion on hand), I would think that using the OG lotion to prep my skin prior to (and in between) a hydrating sheet mask (or two!) followed by the new Premium Lotion would yield simply outstanding results!

    Thank you for this review. I’ve been meaning to tell you – and I hope you don’t mind too terribly much my saying so – that your new picture here on your blog shows your skin to have a superb AB glow that is no doubt visible from way more than 10 steps away. You are such a total inspiration to me and to all of your many readers. You – and your skin – are simply magnificent!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds fab, and great bang for your buck if it actually functions more like a serum.
    International folks can obtain this from Ichibankao and AdamBeauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Fiddy, I think you confused the sides in the description above the comparison photo 😀
    Thank you for another great review (as always)!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Fiddy, great post!!

    I’m using (and loving) the Goodal Waterest Lasting Oil now per your awesome reviews. I’m kind of blowing through the bottle quickly, though. Do you think the Premium Hada Labo would give a similar amount of hydration?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does and the consistencies are similar, though the Waterest Lasting Water Oil has the micronized oils and is a bit more well rounded product for dry and/or dehydrated skin in particular–it does things like help support the skin barrier, which the Hada Labo doesn’t do.

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  7. CONSUMER: ENABLED. Snaibled? Anyway, the product is now on its way and will arrive in…May? It’s okay, it’ll be like Christmas in spring.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really like the idea of using this as a hyaluronic acid serum, as I’d love an intensive moisture boost in my routine.
    Can this be added to the use of first step essences/treatments, though? When/What order? I’m using Missha FTE & Mizon All in One Snail Cream. What about at night in conjunction with Missha’s Time Revolution ampoule?
    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Another bonus use of the OG Hada Labo, I have been testing out physical sunscreens. Problem is, they don’t spread around very well, so I dab the required amount of sunscreen on my face first, wet my hands with the OG Hada Labo and spread it all around. If the sunscreen happens to be drying, the Hada Labo will save me from its effects. Sad to see the premium version will not be as slippery, so not sure if it can work that way too. Everything else in my current skincare wardrobe aren’t slippery like the OG Hada Labo.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for this review! I’ve got the original version, and my skin reacts to something in it- I think it must be a coconut oil ingredient, somehow, as other forms of hyaluronic acid products seem fine for me… is this version formulated without it? I know I could try to work it out, but my head is spinning from all the derived ingredients, and I thought you might know. Thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I just started using hyaluronic acid products and thought there was something wrong with me that my skin wasn’t tolerating them. Thank you for the explanation of the molecular weights and all! I guess I have to keep experimenting. Any recommendations for super sensitive skin?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fiddy, if i use this along with Indeed Labs Hydraluron would it be redundant? I live in tropical country and have a very dry skin and hydraluron always save me.

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  13. Fortunately I live in Japan (yeah I’m the one posting bunnies and Gudetama loot on IG haha)… I guess now I need to go snag this from my local Matsumoto Kiyoshi drugstore haha. It’s kinda cheap here, I think around 900¥ (around $8). I’ve been eyeing it for awhile since it was released, but I knew you were gonna review it so I waited. I’m glad it wound up being awesome!i have the OG and it’s amazing but yes, very boring. I use it on my arms and legs even, since a little goes a long way.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi! I’m relatively new to your blog, and the snail cast as a whole.

    I was wondering – do you have any thoughts on their hyaluronic cleansers?

    Liked by 1 person

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  16. Thanks for the review! After reading your post I grabbed a bottle at a local Japanese deli and have been in love ever since. Like you I have tried the original and thought it was good but wasn’t impressed enough to use on a regular basis. But this version, I use religiously morning and night as a hydrating serum. The texture is odd but totally amazing and I love that it’s fragrance free. I just wish they sold it in gallon containers so I can drench my whole self in it. 😀

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  18. I have question (so sorry for spamming your blog, I been reading nonstop T.T). why do you apply this before a serum/ampoule? Since it a lotion, shouldn’t you apply it after. I really so sorry, I just make me feel bad if I just follow the instruction, could you please explain to me why. Thank you.

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    • Hi, please don’t apologize or feel bad!! Japanese “lotions” are actually meant to be used as a toner or hydrator step (sigh). They’re clear watery liquids. Products like what are called lotion in the West (milky, emollient moisturizing fluids) are called “milks” in Japanese skincare.

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      • As if skin care isn’t complicated enough, why do they have to make life so hard T.T. so it seem like it best to rather than rely on the name of the item, I should judge it by it color and consistency. God this so hard. School was soo much easier

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  20. Hi Fiddy! I have…kind of a long question. I’m thinking about adding this product to my routine – I’ve got combo skin that has some serious dehydration issues, as well as the dreaded tretface. I’m not sure where to put this stuff in my lineup, though – I normally go cleanser + two (or, erm, three) drops of LJH Vita Propolis + CosRX Snail 96 essence + tretinoin (with necessary pre- and post-application wait times) + Benton steam cream + an oil if I feel like it. Could I just pop this in as a carrier for the LJH? Can I still use my beloved snail essence on top of it? Thanks very much!

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    • Hi! I would put it right after your cleanser, before that delicious-sounding snail and propolis blend you mix 🙂 And it works fantastically as a carrier for LJH propolis!

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  21. Pingback: Review: Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion·

  22. Pingback: Review: Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion·

  23. Hi! I recently purchased this lotion. Currently after cleansing I put on the time revolution first treatment essence then sum37 secret programming essence in the evening. In the morning, i use a toner then the benton fermentation essence. Can I include this lotion along side the essences or just use this alone before my serums?

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  24. Hi! Since it doesnt speed up other product’s absorption, is it ok if i used Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner before it?

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