Hado Labo Gokujyun and Erborian Yuza Double Lotion: Same But Different

If you’re new to Asian skincare, the term lotion may be confusing as in the West, the term lotion has equated moisturizer for a long time. In Asian skincare, a lotion is a lightweight moisturizing layer, sandwiched between your toner/essence and serum/ampoule/oil/moisturizer. They come in various consistencies, from a very liquid, essence-like quality, to more viscous and can utilize any number of active ingredients to try and tackle, well, whatever it is you want your skincare doing for you.

Case in point: Hada Labo Gokujyun is a very popular (and in the West, a cult classic) lotion from the drugstore in Japan. It prominently features hyaluronic acid as its active ingredient of choice. Erborian Yuza Double Lotion is from Korea, and features the yuza fruit, which is a citrus fruit, from Jeju island. Both are called lotion, but vary in how they look and feel (and of course, what they claim to do).

Note: I have only used the Hada Labo lotion in the ‘premium‘ variety as, for an extra 100 yen or so (less than $1 USD) I could upgrade to five (5!) different types (molecular weights) of hyaluronic acid. How could I say no?

Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium and Erborian Yuza Double Lotion — such sunny packaging!
How each lotion looks/feels on the skin

The Hada Labo lotion is clear and has an interesting slip to it. I don’t notice any scent in mine (mine is from here in Japan, so I don’t know if that’s the same for exports). It takes about 3 drops, which come out of the bottle easily, and it absorbs quickly into my skin, and my skin doesn’t feel sticky afterwards. Like most Japanese products I’ve tried, it doesn’t leave an emollient or greasy feeling to my skin once it’s absorbed.

The Erborian Yuza lotion is a two-part lotion; it contains oil, and needs to be shaken before using it to emulsify everything. It has a light, citrusy scent that I personally enjoy, and which goes away pretty quickly. It is more watery feeling than the Hada Labo and is opaque and white. In fact, it comes out of the bottle quite fast, maybe because of the thinness of the formula, and is tricky to not go overboard with. Once on the skin, it absorbs quickly, and maybe because of the oil, leaves the skin with a slicker feeling than the Hada Labo lotion (it feels like you’ve applied a beauty oil, if that makes sense).

Ingredients and Claims

Here is a link to Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium lotion’s ingredient deck (in English). It uses glycerin and, like stated before, five different hyaluronic acid ingredients. Hyaluronic acid is used for moisturizing, but specifically it’s a humectant. That means it pulls water out of the air and delivers it, ever so gently, to your skin. If you live in a humid climate (like, you know, all of Asia), this is a really, really fantastic thing. If you live in Siberia and it’s winter, the amount of water in the air is pretty negligible, making it a rather useless product. Also, if you’re a paraben avoider, listed last in the Hada Labo ingredient deck is methylparaben.

Here is a link to Erborian Yuza Double Lotion’s ingredient deck. It uses oils to hydrate the skin and the yuza extract (plus a couple others) to brighten. No parabens, but fragrance is listed for avoiders of those.

My personal thoughts on the lotions

The Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium runs around $10 USD and is readily available in Japan (like, grocery store, drug store, pretty much everywhere with a roof and a cash register will carry it). It is lightweight and doesn’t make me feel greasy. I don’t personally get the “WOW” cult classic status of it, but I think it will be a very useful product in my skincare arsenal, especially when summer rolls around.

The Erborian Yuza Double Lotion costs $36 from Sephora. It’s definitely not as readily available here in Japan. I really love this product. It plumps my skin and makes it feel very moisturized, but also doesn’t make it greasy-feeling or looking. I enjoy the scent quite a bit. If I still lived in Alaska, this would be in heavy rotation year-round for me.

Final thoughts; I like both products, and they both moisturize, but in very different ways. And they are both called lotion. So let that be a lesson learned. In skincare, particularly in Asian skincare with the seventeen billion steps and products, don’t let the product’s label be your guide.

Note: The following may be affiliate links, which don’t cost you anything but can send money my way.


Innisfree is doing their ‘Buy 10, Get 10 Free’ Promotion on the It’s Real Squeeze masks again!

Like sheet masks? Or maybe you just want to try them out at a low price and see what the hype is about? Korean beauty brand Innisfree is doing their ‘Buy 10, Get 10 free’ promotion on the It’s Real Squeeze masks for a limited time. The deal nets you some pretty nice masks for 60 cents a pop! Additionally, if you sign up for their email program, you immediately get (no waiting a day or two) a promo code good for 15% off. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to the It’s Real promotion, but it can make rounding out your cart to get free shipping less painful.

It's Real Sheet Mask Promotion
Photo from Innisfreeworld.com

Innisfree focuses on natural botanicals and sells a few k-beauty cult favorites that make pretty much every ‘must have’ list. Many of their products feature ingredients from Jeju island, including their massively popular clay mask.

It's Real Squeeze Mask Promotion
Innisfree’s best sellers (photo, innisfreeworld.com)

If you decide to try this out, they’re offering FREE shipping (everybody’s favorite!) at $60 USD orders and up. Your order will ship from Korea, not a U.S. outlet, so keep the longer ship times in mind. Innisfree’s website will NOT ship to P.O. Boxes, which includes APO/FPO addresses. If you are stationed in Japan, you can still take advantage 0f free shipping by utilizing your local Japanese address at the same price point. You also will likely get your products much faster that if they were shipping to your APO address.

Keep in mind two things that come up when you use your Japanese address though:

  1. An alert will come up in Japanese that gives you a heads up on customs fees. Americans are quite spoiled with our mail system and not paying import duties. The alert says you will incur customs duties if your order is 16,500 yen or more (that’s a LOT of It’s Real Sheet masks!). Keep your order sane (or split it into multiple orders if you’re laying down Oprah money, and you should avoid duty.
  2. A second alert will come up in Japanese saying that a few prefectures strictly prohibit import of certain natural items (which Innisfree uses in some of their products), and they will contact you if they cannot ship certain items to you. Okinawa was not included in their example prefectures, so if you’re out here, you should be fine.

I want to know–did you take advantage of the sale? If so, what did you buy? The cucumber mask is apparently their top selling It’s Real Squeeze mask, and the rice ones are pretty awesome, too.

I Did The Thing: Ultra Premium Korean Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream, On The Cheap

If you’ve ever looked into Korean skincare, also known as k beauty, you have for sure heard of Amore Pacific’s ultra premium brand, Sulwhasoo. Sulwhasoo is the shit. Their ingredient decks are impeccable and amazing, the Ivy league of ingredient decks. Their products are also amazingly priced. And by amazingly, I mean ridiculously. This beautiful, magical beast here, the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewal Cream, costs a mere $220 on Sulwhasoo’s U.S. website. For 60 ml (about 2 oz.).

To quote a random Frenchman in Siem Reap, “ooh la la!”

I’m vain AF but, frankly, NO. I can’t justify that price tag personally,  no matter how much unicorn blood it contains. To be totally fair (and balanced!), if you can/do spend these kind of sums, more power to you. Seriously. I am not judging, but merely mentioning that $220 for one jar of goo is not in my own particular budget.

What’s a vain, product junkie to do when faced with this gold-plated, ginseng infused carrot dangled in front of their nose? Instagram knows — you buy a shit ton of samples on eBay and squirt them into your own container.

Ghetto? Probably. Cost effective? For sure.

My Sulwhasoo samples purchased from eBay, about to head to their new home.

Having never tried this cream, I didn’t really want to buy a full 60 ml in case it was a hot mess for me, so I ordered 20-1 ml packets from a Korean eBayer, for about $12 including shipping. I used my Japanese mailing address and had the packets in about a week, give or take.

The Math on decanting the Sulwhasoo ginseng cream

In case math isn’t your jam, I’ll break down why I decided to try this somewhat ghetto operation: Regular Sulwhasoo.com price from the states (this is not available locally to me in Japan): $3.67 per ml, or $73 for the 20 ml I ordered. I paid .60 per ml, saving me $61.

One down, just 19 more to go

I used an empty skin cream jar that I ran through the dishwasher prior to re-using. And yes, you will lose a small amount by nature of moving the product from the packet to the jar. For me, it ended up being my patch test, as I used the tiny bit that stuck to the packet opening on my neck and back of hands. Needless to say, my neck and the back of my hands were gloriously moisturized that day.


Did I feel like a major weirdo? Honestly, yes. For me, it was worth it as a. I wanted to try this super amazing sounding product and b. $61. Also, I had been itching (not literally) to try ginseng as an active ingredient as I had read it was helpful for both acne and dark circles (yes I have both, and no, I’m not bitter. At all).

“Help me, I’m poor.”

So … the discerning reader may be wondering … WHY? Why would a cream cost $220? Why would this crazy-ass lady squeeze all these tiny-ass packets into a jar?

Beyond the reviews (because let’s be honest, people buying luxury products often get some placebo affect from the luxury pricepoint and packaging alone), the ingredient list of this Sulwhasoo cream is super intoxicatingly intriguing: three different forms of ginseng (five year old ginseng!) which is purported to be anti-aging and skin brightening, squalane (not only moisturizing, it also can help treat eczema and a host of other skin conditions), and a shit ton of other high quality anti-aging ingredients. It’s a real kitchen sink product, which has it’s up and downsides.

First Impressions on Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream

This is not a moisturizer for a very oily skin, at least at my first use and impression. I also, having combo skin, would not use this during the day, mostly for time constraints. It did fully absorb, but it took around a half hour before I didn’t feel greasy.

The scent smells exactly like ginseng, which if you aren’t familiar with the scent of ginseng, smells exactly like what putting raw burdock into your vitamix smells like. No? OK–It’s similar to fresh ginger root, but a bit mustier.

What’s amazing is, like many Asian food and beauty products, the shnozzberries taste like shnozzberries. What I mean is, even at a humble McDonald’s in Japan, a strawberry milkshake tastes like real, fresh strawberries (versus in the U.S. where it tastes like “artificial strawberry flavoring” and “Red 30” or whatever). So of course, when you ratchet up the price point from McD’s to a $220 face cream from Sulwhasoo, it’s definitely going to smell exactly like what is in it. Which shouldn’t be impressive, but being from the land of Red 30, it is.

And on my skin: so far, excellent hydration and short-term brightening effects, no breakouts or skin irritations (my skin runs a bit sensitive and very acne-prone). Definitely worth $12 and ten minutes so far. I’ll update as I use the product more.

The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Peel-Off Clay Nose Mask: Moldable Biore Strip-like Fun!

Remember Biore strips? Of course you do! You’ve probably been seeing and hearing about clay nose masks, perhaps like the Hell Pore mask, which goes on like a pack or mask but cleans out the pores like a Biore strip. It’s also oft-mentioned as “the most painful mask on the planet” (dying to hand over your cash yet?!).

I recently picked up a similar product, Jeju Volcanic Lava Peel-Off Clay Nose Mask, from a The Face Shop outlet in Cambodia. The Face Shop is a Korean beauty company that sadly doesn’t yet have any outlets where I live, so I feel like a kid in a candy shop whenever the opportunity becomes available to shop at one.

The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Peel Off Clay Nose Mask

I found it in the “men’s care” section of the store. It has no discernible fragrance and the clay nose mask consistency is very thick and white. It has a very shiny finish.

After double cleansing, I applied the mask rather thick over my nose and alongside, where my pores tend to get most congested (aka where the old biore strips would sit).

Double Masking with the clay pore mask and a hydrating mask under the eyes from Paula’s Choice.

I like to double mask, especially when using a more drying mask like clay masks typically are. I usually apply a very hydrating one under and around my eyes to sit while my nose is cooking. This one is from Paula’s Choice.

It takes 10-15 minutes or so for the clay nose mask to set all the way. Your experience will vary depending on the humidity level of your house. When it’s completely dry, start at one side and start gently peeling it off.

When you have it off, flip it over and see what kind of goodies you’ve fished out of your pores (be honest, this is the best part, am I right?).

The Lowdown on The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Peel-Off Clay Nose Mask

Scent: none

Pain level: low, for me slightly less uncomfortable than Biore strips

Pros: with a clay mask, you can customize the fit to your own nose and needs. The skin under the mask felt very soft after I peeled this off. Also, I found this to be more effective than the black peel off masks I’ve found in Japanese drug stores.

Cons: for me, not available locally so must be purchased online or while on vacation.

Cost: around $7 USD plus shipping/tax as applicable.

Recommend: yes!

Top Asian and K Beauty Trends: Peel Off Clay Nose Masks