Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (Rich) Review

The YS Beauty Lab

“One drop locks up an ocean.” That’s the tagline for this Hada Labo bestseller, and while it’s a catchy phrase that’s not the reason I tried it. Cliché as it seems, I chose the Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion because I’ve been seeing this TV commercial featuring Jun Ji Hyun all the time.

(Image: Elle HK)

Not that I’m a huge fan of hers, nor do I find the commercial groundbreaking (Big porcelain face and a big product shot plus some water-splashing CGI – what else do you expect?), but the ad does tell me that there are four interlocked hyaluronic acids in this compact toner. Also, the ad informs that the product tops the charts for toner sales in Japan where one bottle of this toner is sold every two seconds. That, together with all the 5-star reviews from YesStyle customers, hooked me.

(Image: Hada Labo Singaporean website)

Over the past month, I’ve been combatting acne – it could be due to expired sunscreen or a change in weather but I still haven’t figured out the cause. “Go see a dermatologist!” they said. But before I did that, I still wanted to experiment with one simple method: to stop wearing foundation. It’s a vicious cycle if I keep clogging the acne spots with makeup, so why shouldn’t I give my skin a break?

At first, I felt terrible looking into the mirror with all the inflammation and scars on my face, but after a few weeks, soaking the infected areas with tea tree oil improved it a bit. The side effect was that my skin became disastrously dry, like snakeskin. I could feel my skin flaking, and this was where the Hada Labo Lotion came in.

In case you’re wondering about the brand name, “Hada” means “skin” in Japanese and “Labo” stands for laboratory. So this brand actually means Skin Lab. The Hada Labo skincare line is a joint effort between The Mentholatum Company and Rohto Pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical backgrounds of these two companies add to the toner’s credibility as an acne-friendly product, especially since it’s free of fragrances, additives, oils and alcohol-free.

With its serum-like texture and clear appearance, I’d rather call this a toner instead of lotion. You apply it day and night after cleansing your face, but there’s no need to use a lot. Just 1 or 2 drops, maybe 3 at most, will keep your face hydrated for the whole day (which roughly means the 170ml bottle could last for at least 2 months). It might feel a bit sticky when the fluid first touches your face, but it spreads beautifully on the skin and is absorbed quickly, so there’s no need to fret! Not only is it non-sticky and non-greasy, it’s also extremely effective. Two weeks later I could see my skin significantly moisturized. I’m now less prone to acne, and the peeling problem was solved.

Left: before use; right: after two weeks

Jun Ji Hyun’s credibility aside, I’d say Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion would be my recommendation of the year, alongside Annie’s Way Arbutin + Hyaluronic Acid Brighting Jelly Mask. Picking some up would be smart because it’s the end of the year, meaning it’s a good time to finally ditch all your expired beauty products and the ones that are clearly ineffective for your needs.

Last but not least, I’d suggest trying not to wear any makeup at all to give your skin a break. I know it’s hard to look rather bare, especially during the holiday party season, so how about making this your New Year’s resolution instead?