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?

lotion
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.

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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.

Cure Gel vs. Daiso Peeling Gel: Is this a Cure Gel Dupe?

Cure Gel, which I reviewed before, is one of the biggest skincare cult classics to come from Japan. A gommage peel, you apply it to clean and dry skin, rub it in, and beads of skin start balling up as you massage your face. You’re left with smooth, soft skin and dry patches are obliterated. Magical. In Japan, a mondo sized bottle of it runs 2500 yennies (around $23 USD give or take) before tax.

Another cult classic product of Japan, Daiso, is an amazing dollar store wonderland of (mostly) 100 yen items, most of which are manufactured in Japan and of much higher quality than their price tag would suggest. Daiso has a modest sized beauty and skincare section, offering hidden gems like plain sheet masks (insert your own essence), false lashes and oil blotting papers amongst the ranks. They also sell three flavors of their own version of exfoliating peel, called Face Peeling Gel (straight to the point–I like your style, Daiso). While it’s a smaller bottle, it’s offered at the standard Daiso price of 100 yen before tax. Much cheap, so wow. But, can it compare to Cure gel’s mystical powers? Is it a Cure Gel dupe? There’s only one way to find out …

Cure Gel dupe
Voila, the peach variety of Daiso’s Face Peeling Gel

Note: this post may contain affiliate links.

There were three flavors as I mentioned at my humble local Daiso. I picked peach because, I don’t know, I like the smell I guess. Also they look like a butt, so that’s fun.

The Face Off: Cure Gel vs. Daiso Face Peeling Gel

Cure Gel dupe
Only one can remain

I double cleansed my face, and dried it and my hands thoroughly. In my left hand, I put half the normal amount of Cure Gel I use (roughly 1.5 pumps), and in the right (somewhat clumsily at this point), a similar amount of the Daiso Face Peeling Gel. Cure is a cloudy clear color with no noticeable fragrance, and the peach variety of the Daiso gel was a cloudy pink color with a light, slightly artificial but still pleasing peach scent.

I applied the gels at the same time to my face, one hand (and product) per side, and massaged it in like I normally do with Cure. Before long, those satisfying little beads (of fibers from the product, oils from your skin and dead skin) sprung up on both sides. I continued massaging the product until I was happy with the number of balled up bits I had created (maybe a minute?), then rinsed everything off.

Results of the Cure Gel dupe duel

Both sides of my face were smoother than before exfoliating. The Cure Gel side felt more hydrated, and the Daiso Gel side a bit more stripped. These were very, very small differences, however. The amount of balled up bits of stuff felt similar on both sides of my face. I would indeed consider the Daiso Face Peeling Gel a worthy Cure Gel dupe.

Of course, you are getting more product in the Cure product. The price per ml is still much higher. It’s a more cosmetically elegant product, for sure, and unscented if scent is an issue for you (though the Daiso gel is only lightly scented). If you are following the peel with a decent skincare routine, I think the Daiso product is a worthwhile product.  What could be an issue for meticulous skincare junkies is that I can’t find an ingredient list (in English or online in Japanese) for the Daiso gel; perhaps you know where to find this information?

 

Spring Wardrobe Refresh, or Stitch Fix, part deux: my stylist is the best and my spring wardrobe is ready to transition out of winter (and out of hobo)

Today was a real shit show. My anxiety levels were over the top as adulting proved itself to be the overrated pile of garbage it often does. As there often is though, there was indeed a rainbow after the rain today, which came in the form of my (eagerly anticipated) second Stitch Fix. I was hoping my stylist, whom had already done a great job with box one, was going to transform me from craptastic hobo to stylish hobo in one fabulous capsule of five spring transition pieces. Hello new spring wardrobe!

Stitch Fix winter transition to spring
There she is! My second spring transitioning Stitch Fix!

Last month, I ended up keeping 3 out of five of my fixes. The two I sent back weren’t bad, they just didn’t fit my ‘if I don’t LOVE it it can’t stay’ ethos, courtesy of konmari.

While I’m sure you’ve heard of Stitch Fix, the subscription box of stylist-curated clothing and accessories, you may be wondering what actually gets sent your way, and how invested the stylists are in getting you down pat.  Well, in my experience, they are very organized and, utilizing your input and feedback from their site along with a Pinterest board link if you have one, they send five items at your preferred interval.

Here’s what I got in my second box, my spring wardrobe box (after one box sent, with feedback provided by me on every item sent previously).

Indianan Graphic Print Mixed Material Tee
Item one, a mixed material tee from Indianan.
Stitch Fix Winter transition into spring wardrobe
Item 2: Verse Dilis Dress
Stitch Fix Winter transition to spring wardrobe
Item 3: Jensine Split Neck Blouse, made in the USA!

 

Stitch Fix Accessories
Item 4: Gold feather pendant necklace from Romolo
Stitch Fix shorts spring wardrobe
Item 5: Dear John cuffed denim shorts

Like before, my Stitch Fix stylist sent a note (nicely asking how my trip to Cambodia went as I had asked for travel-friendly pieces for my first fix) along with cards showing different outfit ideas for each of the pieces. I love these, as I am fashion-challenged.

I was excited when I looked at the sneak peeks in the app once I got my shipping notice. I was a little concerned about a. the print on the split neck blouse and b. how the denim shorts were going to fit in the booty. Butt fit is a crucial thing with denim as we all know, and after searching the interwebs and striking out on a butt pic of these shorts, I was a bit concerned.

I try on all the things

Fret not though, everything in this fix fit great. The split neck blouse was much better in person, and it was just enough outside my comfort zone to be fun and fresh (part of the reason to sign up for Stitch Fix, right?).

On my particular booty, these shorts are cute but they aren’t life changing, if you know what I mean. The length and color are cute and wearable. They are a good level of coverage for a spring wardrobe (versus the short shorts I see in the summer here). For reference, I’m 5’8″ish and wear a 6 in Express jeans. My stylist sent these in a size 28 and they fit fine, no weird bagginess or tight spots anywhere.

My Stitch Fix stylist sent a piece of jewelry this time too, a gold toned feather pendant. The chain is very delicate and feminine, and the length is perfect with each of the tops and dress. I’m not always a big accessory person (remember, I’m also hopelessly unstylish), but I really love this pendant. Very nice addition to my new little spring wardrobe.

spring wardrobe choices from stitch fix
Mixed material tee with the pendant

Note that my shoulders do look rather broad here, it’s not really the shirt’s fault, my shoulders are just like that. Beeeeeefcaaaaaake.

All of the tops and the dress she sent are not clingy. They are figure forgiving, without being baggy, shapeless or unflattering. They’re all long enough for my ridiculously-long torso, and all show off my shoulders, which is a feature I enjoy about my bod.

The Verse dress is a very wearable length and the arm holes adequately cover a bra–no gaping! The top is made of a double layer of the dress fabric, and the skirt is lined with a silky separate layer, which should eliminate the need for extra layers when it’s hot out.

Stitch Fix spring wardrobe sundress
Here’s the dress with a belt.

The dress doesn’t hug the body at all, so I tried it belted as well. I don’t have much of a waist so I don’t typically wear belts, but I thought it looked cute.

stitch fix spring wardrobe
Booty coverage! Hurrah!

Both tops dipped in the back for a good amount of butt coverage, which is nice as well when you are looooong as your back stays covered too, even when you sit or stretch or do whatever you need doing when you don’t want your bizness showing.

My Conclusion on Stitch Fix #2, Spring Wardrobe Edition

Loved everything, kept everything. You get 25% off everything if you keep it all, which can put you in a conundrum if four things are rad and one is meh, because the fifth thing is often freeish if you buy the whole box. But, this wasn’t a problem with my spring wardrobe Stitch Fix. I am very excited to wear everything. And hopefully NOT look like a hobo.

If you’re interested in trying out Stitch Fix, please consider subscribing through my referral code. I’m not an affiliate in any way with Stitch Fix, and using this code won’t cost you anything; it just credits my SF account with a nice little bonus if you sign up.

Haba Squalane Oil: I bought it for my son’s eczema, and found a real winner for my skincare regimen, too

My youngest has eczema in a bad way, and it’s especially attacking his chubby little cheeks. We have tried a kitchen sink worth of remedies and nothing has reduced it, at all. His doctor always calls it “dry skin” (is something getting lost in translation here?) and recommends moisturizer. Gee, thanks. I got a good product recommend from the skincare community on Instagram though, which got me researching squalane oil, something I hadn’t tried prior. I read some good reviews on (Japanese department store skincare brand) Haba Squalane oil, so we schlepped down to San-A (not available at Aeon, FYI) to grab a bottle. We’d tried everything else so what did we have to lose?

Haba Squalane Oil
The kitchen sink … some of it, anyway.

I’ve been putting it directly on his skin for about three days now, give or take, about three times a day. We follow up with a “sealing” product, either cortisone ointment or Aquaphor depending on how it looks at the time. So far … no change.

BUT … being the vain and curious beauty junkie, I have also been experimenting with it on my own face. I have used beauty oils in the past and liked them, but my current rotation is lacking one.

What is Squalane oil?

Indie Lee, which sells a competing oil, touts squalane oil as ‘promoting skin elasticity, diminishes age spots and hyper pigmentation, and boosts cell regeneration and oxygenation. Improves texture and tone.’ It’s also non-comedogenic, so acne-prone peeps can use it too. In fact, it’s supposed to help inhibit excess oil production and be antibacterial. Whew. Sounds amazing, right?

The oil I purchased is made from shark liver; however, squalane oil is also naturally produced by your skin (and like all good things in your skin, this diminishes with age. Boo). Hada Japan sells a vegetable based Squalane oil as well, Squalane II, made from olive oil (the US site only sells the original). The Indie Lee product is also made from olives.

How did Haba Squalane oil feel on my skin?

Short answer: awesome. I’ve only tried a handful of oils on my face: coconut (not my favorite), argan (blech, sits on my skin and never sinks in or hydrates shit), Fresh Seaberry ($52/50 ml, consists of a variety of oils, and I liked it ok but not enough to repurchase), and Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster ($36/.67 oz, and another blend of oils, and yes yes yes, so much yes, this stuff is so amazing under the eye, everything is perfectly plumped and moisturized and, just yes).

Haba Squalane oil is my new favorite. It sinks in quickly, is moisturizing without being heavy, and my skin hasn’t freaked out anywhere. I haven’t used it long enough yet for long term results, but as a beauty oil, I think it’s up there as one of the best.

Japanese squalane oil shark liver derived
Haba Squalane Oil, 30 ml

Price (in Japan):

15ml 1500 yen

30 ml (1 oz) 2700 yen ($24-25 USD)

60 ml 5000 yen

… and the big boy, 90 ml 9200 yen

This oil is 100% squalane oil. The vegetable-based version is the same price.

Competitors

Haba is of course not the only company in this 100% squalane oil market:

Indie Lee: olive oil based, 1 oz for $32 USD.

Peter Thomas Roth: sugar cane based, 1 oz currently on sale for $28.50 USD.

Deciem’s The Ordinary: plant based (specific plant(s) not specified), 30 ml for $12.90.

Haba Squalane Oil Conclusion

Is Haba Squalane oil a magic bullet ingredient for eczema? It hasn’t been an overnight cure, not for us. Eczema is a tricky fish though, and it could work for others.

Is it a cosmetically elegant facial oil? For sure, yes. All of the yes. Will I be buying it again? Most likely, and probably I’ll go for the larger size next time. Haba’s Japanese website says it’s also good for hair and safe for babies and children so if it’s in your budget, it’s a nice thing to have around for sure.

**This post may contain affiliate codes (the ones below), which don’t cost you anything extra, but could benefit yours truly.**