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Hada Labo Lotion: Japanese Lotion Guide

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If there is one Japanese skincare product that has a cult following, it would have to be Hada Labo lotion. This product range is incredibly popular; with one bottle of their Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion sold every 2 seconds in Japan. These light lotions are centred around hyaluronic acid, making them super hydrating and leaving skin feeling plump. They are pH balanced and wonderfully affordable, just a little bit of product goes a long way.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

What is Japanese lotion?

Lotions (also known as skin conditioners or toners) are an essential step in Japanese skincare routines and are a unique product in Asian skincare that don’t really have a Western equivalent. While they have a watery consistency and are applied right after cleansing like Western toners, Japanese lotions are not astringent but are softening instead. Lotions are used to hydrate and soften the skin, preparing it for the deeper moisturizing steps that follow. To learn more, see our Japanese Skincare Routine guide.

What is Hada Labo lotion?

Hada Labo (肌ラボ) is the number one skincare brand in Japan and translates to mean ‘Skin Lab’. This skincare range features a combination of hyaluronic acids as the key ingredient and is produced by Rohto Pharmaceutical. They offer a wide range of lotions suited to various skin concerns and many products share similar packaging, so it can be difficult to know which product to choose. This guide outlines their current Japanese product offering, along with links to find them online!

Is Hada Labo lotion a toner?

Kind of. Hada Labo lotions are sometimes described as toners, as they have a similar liquid consistency and are applied at the same point in a skincare routine, immediately after cleansing. However, they serve a different purpose to the Western concept of a toner. Japanese lotions are not astringent, instead they are gentle and soften the skin, acting as a first layer of moisturization and preparing it for the steps that follow.

Is Hada Labo lotion a moisturizer?

In a way! Japanese lotions are considered a preparation step, one that sits in between cleansing and moisturizing. Designed to soften the skin, they are often followed with other moisturizing products (such as milks, emulsions and creams) which are layered on top. That said, though it’s not recommended by the brand, depending on your skin type and needs some people do use this as their only moisturizer. The Hada Labo range features hyaluronic acid which acts as a magnet for moisture, providing intense hydration to help smooth the skin.

Hada Labo Lotion vs Milk

In addition to the Hada Labo lotions, there is also a range of ‘milks’ also known as ’emulsions’ or ‘moisturizers’. Though similar in consistency these are designed to be used after the lotions, as an additional moisturizing step. See our guide on Japanese skincare steps for more details. Also, note that these lotions and milks have very similar packaging.

How do you use Hada Labo lotion?

  1. Apply Hada Labo lotion immediately after cleansing or exfoliating.
  2. Be sure to start with clean, dry hands.
  3. Pour a small amount of lotion (around the size of a large coin, such as 500 yen) into the palm of your hand. A tiny bit of product goes a long way so be careful not to overdo it, the more product used, the longer it will take to absorb.
  4. Rub or pat your hands together to distribute the product using the warmth of your hands. It is not recommended to apply these lotions with a cotton pad.
  5. Gently apply the lotion over your face and neck in a wiping motion and then start patting the product into your skin. Use your fingertips around the eyes and palms around the cheeks, forehead and neck.
  6. At first your skin will feel slightly sticky. Be sure to continue patting gently all over the face in an upward direction until the the product has fully absorbed into your skin.
  7. If your skin is feeling extra dry, you can apply a second layer of lotion.
  8. Follow with the next step in your skincare routine. These lotions should usually be followed with a moisturizer at some point, such as one of the Hada Labo milks (also known as emulsions).
  9. The lotion can also be used on the whole body, including arms, chest and hair.

Hada Labo Product Range

The Hada Labo range has a number of product lines for different skin concerns.

Hada Labo linesPackagingProduct focusContains
GokujyunWhiteMoisturizingHyaluronic acid
Gokujyun PremiumOrangeRich moisturizing5 kinds hyaluronic acid
ShirojyunLight blueBrighteningArbutin
Shirojyun PremiumDark blueRich brighteningArbutin
Medicated GokujyunGreenAcne preventionPearl barley
Gokujyun AlphaRedAnti agingCollagen
Kiwamizu Pink / greenPolar waterAmino / pearl barley

Which is the best Hada Labo lotion?

The following rankings are based upon the average product ratings across a range of Japanese (and global) beauty and shopping sites.

#ProductRatingPrice
1Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion4.1See price
2Kiwamizu Amino Penetrating Lotion4.1See price
3Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Lotion4.0See price
4Shirojyun Medicated Whitening Lotion3.7See price
5Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion Light3.6
6Kiwamizu Hatomugi+ Penetrating Lotion3.6See price
7Shirojyun Premium Medicated Whitening Lotion3.5See price
8Shirojyun Premium Medicated Whitening Lotion Moist3.5See price
9Hada Labo Medicated Gokujyun Skin Conditioner3.5
10Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Lotion 3.3
11Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Lotion Moist3.3
12Hada Labo Shirojyun Medicated Whitening Lotion Moist3.2

Hada Labo Lotion Guide

There are quite a few Hada Labo lotions available, all suited to different skin types and concerns as outlined below. It can sometimes be difficult to understand the range, as some product packaging is very similar and product names are often translated differently, which causes inconsistencies. This guide is based on translations of the current product names on their Japanese website.

As a whole, the Hada Labo lotions are all very similar with only slight variations in particular ingredients. They are all formulated with a pH level between 5.0 and 6.5 and the brand is focused on using short and simple formulas; they contain no fragrances, no coloring and no mineral oil. If you’re still not sure which lotion to choose after looking at this guide, the basic Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion is their bestseller, top-rated and a good place to start. It’s also worth noting that most of these lotions are available in handy refill packs (simply unscrew the lid and refill) which is a great environmentally-friendly option.


Gokujyun Line

Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion

1. Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion

For all skin types, including sensitive
This best-seller has a cult following and is suitable for all skin types. The lotion is designed to deliver moisture straight to the skin and contains 3 types of hyaluronic acid. It’s a great starting point.

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Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion Light

2. Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion Light

For oily or combination skin
This variation of the Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion is a little thinner in texture and is lighter in application. It also contains 3 types of hyaluronic acid.

To identify the bottle
The labelling is similar to Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion but contains a vertical green text box.

Haven’t found this on Amazon, try searching and let me know if you have any luck!


Gokujyun Premium Line

Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Lotion

3. Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Lotion

For mature or dry skin
This variation from the premium range has a thicker consistency than the two options above and has a richer, heavier texture. This means it can take a little longer to absorb. It contains 5 types of hyaluronic acid, to work deeper into the skin for lasting hydration.

To identify the bottle
While this is the only lotion in a gold bottle, it is very similar to the Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Emulsion (also known as Milk). The lotion comes in a taller bottle.

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Shirojyun Line

Hada Labo Shirojyun Medicated Whitening Lotion

4. Hada Labo Shirojyun Medicated Whitening Lotion

For normal to oily skin
This range is focused on brightening. In Japanese skincare this refers to a lightening effect from evening out skin tone, such as hyperpigmentation and sun damage. This range is designed to suppress melanin production to help prevent spots and freckles. In addition to hyaluronic acid this lotion contains the active ingredient arbutin and a vitamin C derivative to brighten.

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Hada Labo Shirojyun Medicated Whitening Lotion Moist

5. Hada Labo Shirojyun Medicated Whitening Lotion Moist

For normal to dry skin
This variation of the Shirojyun Medicated Whitening Lotion is thicker in texture. Designed to help moisturize and brighten skin, it contains hyaluronic acid, arbutin and a vitamin C derivative.

To identify the bottle
The labelling is similar to Hada Labo Shirojyun Medicated Whitening Lotion but contains a vertical red text box.

Haven’t found this on Amazon, try searching and let me know if you have any luck!


Shirojyun Premium Line

Hada Labo Shirojyun Premium Medicated Whitening Lotion

6. Hada Labo Shirojyun Premium Medicated Whitening Lotion

For normal to oily skin
This premium range features more concentrated versions of the Shirojyun range. In addition to hyaluronic acid and vitamin C derivative, the active ingredient is tranexamic acid, an effective whitening ingredient.

To identify the bottle
The labelling is similar to Hada Labo Shirojyun Premium Medicated Whitening Lotion Moist but the third last line of text is shorter and the last character is ‘水’.

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Hada Labo Shirojyun Premium Medicated Whitening Lotion Moist

7. Hada Labo Shirojyun Premium Medicated Whitening Lotion Moist

For normal to dry skin
This variation of the Hada Labo Shirojyun Premium Medicated Whitening Lotion is thicker in texture. It contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C derivative and tranexamic acid.

To identify the bottle
The labelling is similar to Hada Labo Shirojyun Premium Medicated Whitening Lotion but the third last line of text is longer and the last character is ‘り’.

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Medicated Gokujyun Line

Hada Labo Medicated Gokujyun Skin Conditioner

8. Hada Labo Medicated Gokujyun Skin Conditioner

For acne-prone skin
In addition to hyaluronic acid this lotion contains anti-inflammatory and moisturizing ingredients that soothe, such as hatomugi and chamomile extracts. Contains squalane, menthol and alcohol. This product can be a little harder to get your hands on!

Haven’t found this on Amazon, try searching and let me know if you have any luck!


Gokujyun Alpha Line

Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Lotion

9. Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Lotion

For normal to oily skin
The Gokujyun Alpha range is focused on anti-aging for firmer skin. In addition to hyaluronic acid, they also contain collagen and elastin.

To identify the bottle
The labelling is similar to Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Lotion Moist but the second last line of text is shorter and the last character is ‘水’.

Haven’t found this on Amazon, try searching and let me know if you have any luck!


Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Lotion Moist

10. Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Lotion Moist

For normal to dry skin
This variation of the Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Lotion is thicker in texture. In addition to hyaluronic acid, it also contains collagen and elastin.

To identify the bottle
The labelling is similar to Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Lotion but the second last line of text is longer and the last character is ‘プ’.

Haven’t found this on Amazon, try searching and let me know if you have any luck!


Kiwamizu Line

Hada Labo Kiwamizu Amino Penetrating Lotion

11. Hada Labo Kiwamizu Amino Penetrating Lotion

For oily, sensitive or combination skin
This oil-balancing lotion (often labelled as cosmetic water) is from the Kiwamizu line. It contains one kind of hyaluronic acid, two amino acids and six minerals. Out of all the Hada Labo lotions, it is the highest-rated product on Amazon US and Cosme Japan.

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Hada Labo Kiwamizu Hatomugi+ Penetrating Lotion

12. Hada Labo Kiwamizu Hatomugi+ Penetrating Lotion

For oily or combination skin
This oil-balancing lotion is from the Kiwamizu line and designed for those with pore concerns. It contains one kind of hyaluronic acid, two amino acids, five minerals and hatomugi extract (coix seed extract). Also contains alcohol.

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Is Hada Labo good for normal skin?

For normal skin, you can’t go wrong with the classic Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion. While the whole product range is suitable for most skin types; for normal skin any of the lotions in the blue Shirojyun line are suitable for brightening, and any of the lotions in the red Gokujyun Alpha line are suitable for anti-aging.

Is Hada Labo good for acne-prone skin?

Oily or acne prone skin is often a sign of dehydration, which causes the skin to secrete more oil to compensate. A key ingredient in the Hada Labo range, hyaluronic acid, can help hydrate the skin to balance this out. The green Hada Labo Medicated Gokujyun Skin Conditioner has been specially formulated for acne-prone skin. Alternatively, the classic Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion is noncomedogenic, so it won’t contribute to clogged pores and has plenty of positive reviews for acne-prone skin.

Is Hada Labo good for sensitive skin?

The Hada Labo range is focused on using minimal ingredients and the lotions contain no fragrances, no coloring and no mineral oil. With the exception of two products (noted above) they contain no alcohol. They are also pH balanced to help reduce irritation and have some glowing reviews from those with sensitive skin. Be sure to patch test before beginning full use.

Is Hada Labo good for dry skin?

The Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Lotion is formulated especially for dry and dehydrated skin. It has a rich texture, contains five kinds of hyaluronic acid for intense hydration and has quite the reviews.

Japanese Hada Labo vs. American Hada Labo

The products sold under Hada Labo in Japan by Rohto Pharmaceutical are different to those sold in the US under the brand Hada Labo Tokyo by The Mentholatum Company in New York (also owned by Rohto). While there are similarities between the ranges; they differ in terms of formulations, product names and packaging due to regional regulations. The US formulations have labels in English and are widely sold outside of Japan, including Europe. This guide is focused on the Japanese formulations. The closest American equivalent to these lotions is the Hada Labo Tokyo Anti-Aging Hydrator.


More from our series on Japanese Skincare:

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