Rohto Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion Review
I just got home from a 4-day trip visiting relatives out-of-state, and as you might imagine, I’m not great at packing light when it comes to skincare (or makeup, for that matter). I do make an effort to scale down though, so when I packed for this trip, I opted not to bring along my Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion. Surely I could survive 4 days without it? Well, that was a mistake – I missed its righteous slippery, hydration every single day we were apart.
This hydrating toner was on my list to try for a very long time before I finally took a chance on it. I put it off for so long because the idea of a straightforward hyaluronic acid toner with no additional actives or plant extracts lacked the glamour I typically look for in my skincare products. Looking back, I realize that an unadulterated source of non-greasy, non-irritating, humectant moisture is exactly what my dry skin had been missing all along.
What is it?
Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion ($17) is a Japanese hydrating toner product. It promises instant, lasting, moisture with no irritation.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Disodium Succinate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Hydroxyethycellulose, Methylparaben, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Succinic Acid
The ingredient list for this formula is short and contains no SD alcohol, colorants, oil, or fragrance, making this a great product for sensitive skin types. The thing I love most about it, however, is the sheer dedication this ingredient shows to doing one thing, and doing it really well: moisturizing the living daylights out of my face with humectants.
Humectants are a class of moisturizers that differ from emollient and occlusive moisturizers. Emollients such as plant oils/essential fatty acids work by filling the spaces between skin cells, creating a smoother appearance and feel. Occlusive moisturizers such as petroleum and silicones work by creating a barrier over the skin, which prevents trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). Humectants, however, work by pulling water into the stratum corneum from the lower layers of the skin, and in high humidity areas (70% and above), from the atmosphere. Humectants are generally able to hold far more than their own weight in water, which supplies significant hydration to skin and imparts a smooth, overall plumping effect.
For more information on the difference between classes of moisturizers, check out this summary:
Moisturizers: What They Are And How They Work
C. W. Lynde, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Hospital, Western Division, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Here are the workhorse humectant ingredients for this formula:
Glycerin is an odorless, colorless, viscous sugar alcohol compound. Its humectant properties make it a popular cosmetic ingredient. Pure glycerin is able to absorb it’s own weight in water over a period of 3 days, and has been shown in numerous studies to improve skin elasticity, moisture, and barrier function.
Glycerol accelerates recovery of barrier function in vivo
Fluhr JW1, Gloor M, Lehmann L, Lazzerini S, Distante F, Berardesca E.
Acta Dermato Venereologica, November 1999
Glycerol replacement corrects defective skin hydration, elasticity, and barrier function in aquaporin-3-deficient mice
Mariko Hara, A. S. Verkman.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, May/June 2003
Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid (also called hyaluronan) is a polysaccharide naturally produced in the human body. Able to hold 1000 times its weight in water, hyaluronan plays an important role in wound healing as well as maintaining the structure and integrity of our skin. Like many of our naturally occurring beneficial skin components, we produce less hyaluronic acid as we age. Thankfully, we can topically apply some forms of hyaluronic acid and still obtain its hydrating, smoothing, wound healing, and barrier strengthening effects.
Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion contains three different forms of hyaluronic acid: hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, and sodium hyaluronate (which is actually a sodium salt derived from hyaluronan).
Standard hyaluronic acid molecules have a high molecular weight, meaning the molecules are large – too large, in fact, to effectively penetrate the skin when applied topically. Standard hyaluronic acid typically needs to be injected in order to be effective. To reap the benefits of topically applied hyaluronic acid, the molecules need to be smaller. The molecular weight of hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid is low, meaning the molecules are smaller and able to more deeply penetrate the skin.
The deeper penetration of this form of hyaluronic acid does come with a sacrifice – its small molecular size makes it less effective for holding water, so its effects are shorter lived. However, it still has fantastic temporary plumping benefits, and it works quickly to moisturize and smooth out fine lines.
Hydrolized Hyaluronic Data Sheet
Evonik Industries, 2008
Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate
Sodium acetylated hyaluronate is a form of hyaluronic acid that is patented by Shiseido. Like hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, it has a low molecular weight that allows it to penetrate the skin more deeply and quickly than a high molecular weight HA such as sodium hyaluronate. The quality that makes sodium acetylated hyaluronate unique is that it possesses both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties, allowing it to more effectively hold in water than other low molecular weight HA such as hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid. The result is longer term hydration, skin-softening, and smoothing effects.
Patent information: Low molecular weight acetylhyaluronate, skin-softening composition, method of manufacturing the same, and method of purifying the same
Takashi Oka, Toshio Yanaki, Michihiro Yamaguchi.
Shiseido Co., Ltd., 1997
Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid. It also has a low molecular weight, and is able to penetrate skin effectively and draw in and hold water. IT’s a powerful humectant, and its skin smoothing, hydrating, and softening properties make it an extremely popular cosmetic ingredient.
According to CosDNA, this formula contains no red flags for irritants or potential acne triggers.
Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion comes packaged in a plastic bottle with a white label. The contents of the label are written almost entirely in Japanese. The dispenser for the product is a small opening underneath a flip-top cap.
The product itself is a clear, slippery, viscous liquid that is significantly thicker than water, but still far more liquid than a gel or cream.
Hyaluronic acid performs best at a pH greater than 4.0 and less than 11.0. I prefer my skincare products to have a pH less than 7.0 (read more about why a lower pH is important here). Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion has an appealingly low pH of 5.0.
Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion doesn’t smell like much of anything.
Cleanse > Acid Toner > AHA, BHA, and/or Vitamin C Serum > [wait 10-25 minutes] > Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
To apply, I squeeze out a small, coin-sized amount into my hands, then spread it over my face. I’ll often gently massage or press it into my skin to accelerate absorption. When the product is mostly absorbed and my skin slightly tacky, I continue with the rest of my skin routine (serum > face oil > moisturizer).
Although you don’t necessarily need to use all the products I use in my typical routine to benefit from this HA lotion, I do highly recommend sealing it in with an oil or an occlusive moisturizer at the very least. Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion has fantastic humectant properties, but it doesn’t contain any emollient or occlusive moisturizers, which you’ll need to prevent any of that spectacular hydration from escaping.
The first time I used Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion, I could not stop touching my face. The last time my skin felt that hydrated and soft, I was in my early 20s. With continued use, here are some other benefits I experienced:
• No more flaking from AHA or BHA use
• No more flaking or peeling at the end of the day, which also meant my makeup lasted longer
• No waking up with dry skin
• Overall increased moisture
• Decrease in the slight fine lines around my eye area (though only minor changes in the one deeper line by my right eye)
• Less skin sensitivity
I did not experience any breakouts or irritation as a result of using this product. In fact, I find the Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion to be very soothing, especially after applying my acid treatments.
I don’t know how I lived without this product for so long. If you have dry skin, Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion is a bonafide game changer. If you have oily skin, you’ll appreciate its non-greasy moisturizing properties, and the fact that you can get away with using far less moisturizer than usual.
The next time I travel, there no way I’m leaving my Hada-Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion behind.
Pros & Cons
Skin & Tonics Rating
|A+||20/20 Efficacy||20/20 Ingredients||20/20 Application||20/20 Wear||20/20 Packaging|
|Total: 100||Rating system details »|
Where to Buy
|Amazon.com||$16.88||Available for Prime shipping. Ships from US.||buy|
|Traveler-com (eBay Seller)||$16.89||Ships free from Japan.||buy|
|Drugstore.com||$19.99||Orders over $35 ship free.||buy|
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