I think everyone interested in Asian skincare has heard or come by Hada Labo (HL) at some point. They are one of the most popular brands in Japan and outside of it. However, today’s focus will be on Hada Labo Tokyo, which is technically Hada Labo’s Gokujyun line, but with a different name. I don’t know why Rohto (the parent company) have decided to change the name for export, but I will take the goodness inside in any packaging. From my Google research, it turns out that the brand is sold in four parts of the world: Poland, Serbia, the USA and Latin America. The packaging of the products is different between the European and American versions and also the contents seem to be different, so I will speak for what I use. Products that I’ve bought in Poland are made in Japan, besides the cleanser which is American made. Thus, I assume the majority of them is very close to the original products sold in Japan.
Hada Labo’s Gokujyun line is all about hydration and replenishing moisture to the skin. From Hada Labo Tokyo, which seems to be the export equivalent of the Gokujyun line, I have tried the cleanser, serum, cream, and the sheet masks. I must admit that these products never fail. Honestly, I enjoy every single item from the line. They are very skin friendly, and I cannot imagine not having them around. All of the products are fragrance-free, with relatively non-irritating ingredients. Easily, people with sensitive skin can use them. I would say that anyone can use each of the products without any worries, but be cautious if you have allergies. After all, everyone needs hydration, and I think these products do a great job. They make the skin incredibly soft and hydrated after a single use. Once you try them, you will fall in love with them. For comparison, I will include ingredients lists of HL equivalents to HL Tokyo.
Hada Labo Tokyo, Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
It seems to be the only product that is made in the US, at least amongst the products that I’ve picked. Like all of the products, it contains Super Hyaluronic Acid, which is Rohto’s technology of using three different types of hyaluronic acid. If you like foamy cleansers, this is the way to go. It lathers like a proper foaming cleanser, but it does not dry out the skin even a bit. I ditched foaming cleansers a long time ago because I found them very drying, but thanks to this cleanser I can indulge in foams again. It leaves no residue and washes off easily; it removes sunscreen and makeup with a bit of massaging. I took it with myself to Italy last summer, and it had no problems with removing thick layers of sunscreen both off my face and body; if you are in a rush, it can serve as a shaving foam, not ideal but does the trick. Certainly worth to try.
Ingredients: Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Butylene Glycol, Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Decyl Glucoside, PEG-400, Aqua, Sodium Lauroyl Aspartate, PEG-32, Polyquaternium-52, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Lauric Acid, Polyquaternium-7, Stearic Acid, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Citric Acid, Titanium Dioxide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Decylene Glycol, Mica.
So this product isn’t similar to other HL cleansers. According to COSDNA, the closest match to this cleanser is Hada-Labo advanced nourish hyaluron cleanser, a line released in Vietnam. It isn’t close to the original one at all; I have never tried it so I can’t compare. However, if you can get this one then go ahead as it’s a great product. A 150 ml tube retails for 41,99 PLN which equals to 9.95 EUR. Bargain I would say.
Hada Labo Tokyo, Concentrated Water Serum
As the name says, it is a concentrated serum. It is the best fix for dehydrated skin. You need a tiny bit of it, and it does the magic. You can always apply more, but a pea-sized amount, not even a pump, is more than enough. It lasts a long time, much longer than other 30ml serums would; so don’t let the small size mislead you.
From the moment I used this, I knew it would become my go-to serum. It was love at first use. I tried it on the same day I bought my first bottle, the next day I went back to the shop and picked up two more because I was so obsessed with it. I use the serum whenever I feel that my skin needs extra hydration or when I don’t know what’s going on like oiliness, spots or irritation in general. It may not fix them, but it won’t aggravate the issue. Instead, it will give my skin time to heal on its own if needed. It may be a bit discouraging at first because it leaves a sticky layer upon application, but it disappears quickly.
|Hada Labo Tokyo||Hada Labo Gokujyun Serum|
|Butylene Glycol||Butylene Glycol|
|Pentylene Glycol||Pentylene Glycol|
|PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether||PPG-10 METHYL GLUCOSE ETHER|
|Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride||Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride|
|Sodium Hyaluronate||Disodium EDTA|
|Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer||Disodium succinate|
|Squalane||Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer|
|Limnanthes Alba Seed Oil||Limnanthes Alba Seed Oil|
|Disodium Succinate||Polysorbate 60|
|Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate||Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate|
|Disodium EDTA||Sodium Hyaluronate|
I compared the ingredients of my serum with the Japanese version, using a list available on COSDNA. There is not a big difference between these two; components are the same but just shifted around. Perhaps due to regulations or texture goals. Regardless, the serums seem similar to each other, and if you want to try HL serum, this looks pretty close to the original. It is also produced in Japan. One word on packaging yet, I do not usually mind any packaging as long as it keeps the product from leaking, but this airless pump is just superb. As many airless bottles tend to leave a lot of product underneath the pump, this one literally leaves a drop. When I opened the bottle for the first time, I was surprised. There was not enough serum even for one application – bravo for limiting the waste. This serum is 57.99 PLN or roughly 13.70 EUR.
Hada Labo Tokyo, Moisturising Cream
This cream is something between gel and cream, it has a thick texture, but it feels like gel. I must admit that it is quite heavy and I only use it when my skin needs extra moisture. I would say it feels more like a sleeping pack than a cream. Though, it makes a perfect eye cream if you struggle with dry skin around your eyes, as I do. Without a doubt, anyone with dry skin will love it; it’s very hydrating and cocooning. It may feel occlusive at first, but as with the serum, the stickiness disappears after a while. As a bearer of acne-prone skin, I must warn my fellows. Contrary to the serum, this cream can cause breakouts. It brings up a whitehead or two when used regularly. So I would recommend to use it only in need of deep hydration or as a sleeping mask.
|Hada Labo Tokyo||Hada Labo Gokujyun Cream|
|Dipropylene Glycol||Dipropylene Glycol|
|Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride||Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides|
|PEG-20 Sorbitan Isostearate||Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate|
|Stearyl Alcohol||Stearyl Alcohol|
|Sodium Hyaluronate||Behenyl Alcohol|
|Behenyl Alcohol||PEG-20 SORBITAN ISOSTEARATE|
|Glyceryl Stearate||Glyceryl Stearate|
|Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate||Triethanolamine|
|Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate||EDTA-2Na|
Here is the same situation as before; the ingredients are similar. I am not sure why and how different they would be, but I assume the products are close to each other. Also, the Hada-Labo Advanced Nourish Hyaluron Cream released in Vietnam is almost identical to the creams above, according to COSDNA. Here’s the COSDNA page for the Japanese version. So if you are interested in this product, I would go for any of these three as they are identical. This one costs 51.99 PLN which makes 12.30 EUR.
Hada Labo Tokyo, Moisturising Facial Sheet Mask
Last but not least, the glorified by Asian beauty lovers — sheet masks. Again like previous products, this one is marvellous. It’s one of the sheet masks that leaves a lasting effect; it is not just a pre-party sheet mask. It is a sheet mask that will leave your skin hydrated for the next day, especially if you follow with the cream above — your skin will be grateful. The sheet itself is pretty good, easy to apply and doesn’t dry out quickly. It doesn’t fit my face, but I am yet to find a sheet mask that would fit me perfectly.
|Hada Labo Tokyo||Hada Labo Gokujyun Mask|
|Dipropylene Glycol||Dipropylene glycol|
|Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate||Carbomer|
|Sodium Hyaluronate||Disodium EDTA|
|Glycosyl Trehalose||Glycosyl Trehalose|
|Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate||Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate|
|Carbomer||PEG-80 hydrogenated castor oil|
|Methylparaben||Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate|
|PEG-80 Hydrogenated Castor Oil||Sodium Hyaluronate|
The ingredients seem quite similar in both. As before, the list of the Japanese version is from COSDNA. Not a big difference, I don’t think they would act differently. It seems that in Japanese versions preservatives are in larger concentrations, like methylparaben which here and in the serum is higher on the list. Instead, HL Tokyo’s mask and serum have more Sodium Hyaluronate than the Japanese versions, thus more moisture-retaining properties. This mask costs 12.99 PLN which equals to 3 EUR, not bad at all compared to others on the market.
In general, the products are similarly formulated to the original Japanese versions. So if you can access either, you won’t regret it. Hada Labo Tokyo line is all about delivering moisture and hydration. The products will benefit all skin types, as we all need to hydrate our skin which we usually forget to do enough (!). If your skin has tendencies to dryness or dehydration, then it’s definitely worth to look at Hada Labo Tokyo. These products are great for keeping the skin moisturised, and they are relatively affordable.
Update 06/06/2021: They are now widely available across Europe.