Lurk around the skin-obsessed forums of Reddit for more than five seconds, and you’ll see one product mentioned over and over again, generally surrounded by hearts and odes and declarations of life-changing, skin-changing love: the Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist, which is less like a lotion and more like a super thin, ultra-lightweight liquid that sinks into your skin to deeply moisturize it, leaving it shockingly plump and dewy.
And when I say shockingly, I mean shockingly. Because as a dry-skinned human who has a complexion akin to stale melba toast, I’ve tried literally every single “remedy” for dry, dehydrated skin, and most of them—including layers of Vaseline—barely make a difference in my skin. So despite the zillions and zillions of positive reviews on both Amazon and the internet at large, I was skeptical when I ordered the $12 bottle from Amazon (which took about six weeks to receive from Japan).
The formula, which is housed in a bottle that’s covered in almost zero English (so you’ve really gotta trust the internet, if your list of native languages is limited to one, like mine is), contains three different types of hyaluronic acid that attract and hold water like tiny magnetized sponges, making everything you apply on top of it (like your usual serums and moisturizers) a billion times more effective and hydrating. The result? Plumped fine lines, softened bumps and dry patches, a happier skin barrier, and all-around dewy, glowing, brightness.
Writes one Reddit user, “I have dehydrated and dry skin that basically needs constant basting, and since using Hada Labo twice a day, I've noticed a massive improvement...I can feel my poor, sad face slurping it up,” while another user on Amazon (just one of 600 five-star reviews, mind you) writes, “[My skin] now looks 10 years younger. I was able to see results from first time of use, [and] after few weeks, I can’t even believe my skin condition has improved so much without any effort.”
The user goes on to explain the right and wrong way to use the toner, which is to massage it into slightly damp skin, rather than dry skin. The reason? Hyaluronic acid pulls water into your skin and holds it, so you want to give it some water to cling on to. “If you use it on dry skin, it’ll make your face look ever drier, so don’t forget to wet your face, first,” they write.
As for me, I noticed that my usually dry, irritated skin felt significantly less itchy and calmer after three days of morning and night use, and the dry flakes that tend to creep up on me throughout the day at my bone-dry office were surprisingly MIA. I do feel like the lotion leaves my skin a little bit tacky or sticky when I use too much, but the feeling quickly gets squashed when I slather on my moisturizer and primer. Overall, though, I’m honestly in love with this little bottle of happiness, and I plan to continue slathering it on my skin until I die.