For a lot of us, when it comes to anti-aging concerns, the eye area is either at or near the top! Dark circles, crow's-feet, sagging skin—who wouldn't want a cream that could fix all that?! Addressing those concerns is the hook of Hada Labo Tokyo's Age Correcting Eye Cream, but it just doesn't have the ingredients to live up to its claims—and it contains a potentially irritating preservative.
The brand says this lightweight, fragrance-free cream can treat the major signs of aging, visibly transforming the eye area. While it does contain some good emollients, such as glycerin and squalane, alongside some antioxidants and the moisture-binding ingredient urea, it lacks ingredients that would truly make a difference in reducing the signs of aging in the eye area (see More Info for why you might not even need an eye cream!).
Like most of Hada Labo Tokyo's products, this includes the brand's "Super Hyaluronic Acid," a combination of hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, and sodium hyaluronate. While that might sound impressive, on closer inspection, this ingredient blend isn't as special as it seems.
Without a doubt, hyaluronic acid is a beneficial ingredient—able to boost skin's moisture content, reduce inflammation, and help prevent moisture loss (Dermatoendocrinology, 2012). The various forms of hyaluronic acid used by Hada Labo, though, are also present in plenty of other skincare products, so this blend isn't proprietary. More important, the blend shows up fairly low on the ingredient list, meaning you're not getting a whole lot of it. In fact, there's more of the potentially sensitizing preservative methylisothiazolinone in here than two of the types of hyaluronic acid (Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia, 2014). Methylisothiazolinone is particularly problematic in leave-on skincare products such as this one.
Overall, the Age Correcting Eye Cream earned its rating for its average formula, which doesn't include the ingredients necessary to live up to its anti-aging claims and does include a potentially irritating preservative. You'll find much more effective options on our list of Best Eye Moisturizers.
There is much you can do to improve signs of aging around your eyes, but this doesn't have to include using an eye-area product. Any product loaded with antioxidants, emollients, skin-repairing and anti-inflammatory ingredients will work wonders when used around the eye area. Those ingredients don't have to come from a product labeled as an eye cream or gel or serum or balm—they can come from any well-formulated moisturizer or serum.
Most eye-area products aren't necessary because so many are poorly formulated, contain nothing special for the eye area, or come in packaging that won't keep key ingredients stable. Just because the product is labeled as a special eye-area treatment doesn't mean it's good for the eye area or any part of the face; in fact, many can actually make matters worse.
You would be shocked how many eye-area products lack even the most basic ingredients to help skin. For example, most eye-area products don't contain sunscreen. During the day, that is a serious problem if you aren't wearing it under a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30+ as it leaves the skin around your eyes vulnerable to sun damage—and that absolutely will make dark circles, puffiness, and wrinkles worse. Of course, for nighttime use, eye-area products without sun protection are just fine.
Whatever product you put around your eye area, regardless of what it is labeled, must be well formulated and appropriate for the skin type you have around your eyes. You may prefer using a specially labeled eye cream, but you may also do just as well applying your regular facial moisturizer and/or serum around your eyes.
This lightweight, multifunctional eye cream is formulated to address the major signs of aging and fatigue, visibly transforming the entire eye area.
Water, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol PEG/PPG/Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/3 Glycerin, Squalane, Triethylhexanoin, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Mica, Agar, Albizia Julibrissin Bark Extract [Pink Silk Tree], Alpha-Glucan, Aluminum Hydroxide, Arginine, Caffeine, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Citric Acid, Darutoside, Dimethicone, Dipropylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Glucosyl Ceramide, Hydrolyzed Collagen (Marine), Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Methylisothiazolinone, Physalis Angulata Extract [Camapu], Silica, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Titanium Dioxide, Triethyl Citrate.
Hada Labo Tokyo At-a-Glance
Strengths: Reasonably priced; products are alcohol-free; most products are fragrance-free; a good cleanser for normal to dry skin; most of the products are packaged in containers that will keep their light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable; complete product ingredients are listed on the brand’s website.
Weaknesses: The potentially sensitizing preservative ingredient methylisothiazolinone is used in every product; the brand’s “Super Hyaluronic Acid” is not as impressive or exclusive as claimed; mostly average formulas that don’t offer a lot in the way of anti-aging benefits.
When it comes to skincare, what’s popular can often be as trendy as the fashion styles of any given season. Where French skincare used to be the height of what was once considered by some to be en vogue, beauty editors are now raving about the benefits of products from South Korea and Japan, leading to a rise in interest in East Asian skincare products among North American consumers. So it is that we have Hada Labo Tokyo, a brand that is the first Japanese skincare line to launch at U.S. mass retailers like Target and Ulta.
Hada Labo Tokyo is manufactured by Rohto Pharmaceutical, which got its start as a humble drugstore in Osaka, Japan, back in 1899. Rohto Pharmaceutical is now a major corporation, and owns the Metholatum Company, which is behind such drugstore stalwarts as Oxy and pHisoderm. As for Hada Labo, it’s a relatively recent addition, having only launched as a brand in 2004.
Most skincare lines have a hook, and Hada Labo’s is twofold: First, it claims to operate under the premise of “Perfect and Simple,” meaning it’s free of unnecessary ingredients and additives. Second: It contains a “Super Hyaluronic Acid” blend that is supposed to be proprietary and unique.
While Hada Labo’s products are alcohol-free (which is fantastic), the concept of purity is in the eye of the beholder. If we define “purity” as being free of potentially irritating ingredients, then Hado Labo isn’t as “pure” as the brand would have you believe. Its sole sunscreen contains two potentially irritating fragrance ingredients, and all of Hada Labo Tokyo’s products contain the preservative methylisothiazolinone, which once earned the dubious distinction of being the American Contact Dermatitis Society’s Allergen of the Year. In rinse-off products, such as cleansers and scrubs, that’s not a big deal, but methylisothiazolinone has the potential to be sensitizing if left on skin, and most of Hada Labo’s skincare products are leave-on products.
As for the “Super Hyaluronic Acid,” it’s a combination of hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, and sodium hyaluronate, which are salts of hyaluronic acid. To be clear, these are all great ingredients for skin, but the combination of the three in a skincare product is not a proprietary mix and it does not make the products that contain it unique; these forms of hyaluronic acid are available to just about every skincare brand out there.
As for the products themselves, the standout is a gentle, nondrying cleanser, but the other products’ inclusion of the previously mentioned methylisothiazolinone is a problem. Even without that, many of the formulas are basic, and while basic isn’t always a bad thing, in this case, they’re so lackluster that they don’t live up to their anti-aging claims.
Note: These reviews cover Hada Labo Tokyo products sold at North American retailers such as Target and Ulta. Hada Labo Tokyo has a much more extensive line of products sold outside the United States.
For more information, visit http://www.hadalabotokyo.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!