Talk about minimalism, and we don't mean in a good way! Replenishing Hydrator is a lightweight, fragrance-free moisturizer that comes with promises of preventing premature signs of aging. However, its lackluster formula means you are not getting much at all in the way of beneficial ingredients.
The bulk of Replenishing Hydrator's ingredients are slip agents, preservatives, and thickening agents. These aren't bad ingredients, but they aren't going to give your skin the support it needs to look younger—certainly not enough to truly "replenish" skin that is unhealthy or in need of repair. While this does include hyaluronic acid (more on that in a moment), it lacks antioxidants and a variety of skin-identical ingredients that can serve to truly repair skin's moisture barrier and keep it from becoming dehydrated.
Back to the hyaluronic acid: This does include Hada Labo's "Super Hyaluronic Acid" combination of hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, and sodium hyaluronate. While that certainly 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 used by Hada Labo Tokyo, though, are present in plenty of other skincare products, so this blend isn't proprietary, and, more important, it 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!
Replenishing Hydrator earned its low rating because of its lack of beneficial ingredients. Rather than compromise your skincare goals with this moisturizer, we recommend one of the much more advanced and better formulated choices on our list of Best Moisturizers instead.
An instant boost of hydration infused with Super Hyaluronic Acid™. This lightweight, fast absorbing hydrator replenishes lost moisture as it combats skin dehydration, helping to prevent premature signs of aging. Skin will look and feel supple and radiant.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Dipropylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Methylisothiazolinone, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hyaluronate.
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.
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