Sunday, 28 August 2011

Review : Hada Labo's Retinol Lifting + Firming Lotion

Product : Hada Labo's Retinol Lifting + Firming Lotion
Made In : Japan
Purchased From : Mannings, Hong Kong
Quantity : 170ml
Price : $109HK

In the early days, it seemed that most people were visiting to read my review on Hada Labo's Super Hyaluronic Acid [SHA] Lotion. In hindsight, the piece wasn't perfectly written but it was my first attempt at introducing a brand and a product in the one post. It is much harder than you think! For those who have not read it, I have nothing but praise for the SHA Lotion. I feel that it really has helped me hydrate, soften and even out my skin.

I am generally happy with most of the Hada Labo products that I have come into contact with and intend to try as much from the line as possible. So when I heard that Hada Labo was coming out with a Retinol range, I had to get my hands on it. Admittedly, I am in my early 20s but my skin is showing signs of wear and tear.  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that I've had very sensitive and dry skin throughout my entire life, and it has always been my nightmare. 

In a way, my skin is dry because it's sensitive. It's also sensitive because it's dry. It's this never ending cycle that even my dermatologist could not fix. I guess I also have myself to blame. I sleep late, I thrive under pressure and I am results driven. Coded language for 'stress-head', I've been told!

So it is really no surprise that I have wrinkles under and around my eye, and on my forehead. Not to mention that my face is starting to lose its overral elasticity! This is why I really wanted to try the new Hada Labo Lotion which, in addition to the line's main ingredient Super Hyaluronic Acid, has Retinol and Collagen to combat the signs of aging. 

I bought the Lotion in Hong Kong and it was the only Hada Labo product that had 'Made in Japan' printed on it.

Hyaluronic Acid is used in beauty mainly to moisten and plump the skin through deep hydration. The Hada Labo website explains that 1 gram of Hyaluronic Acid is able to hold up to 6 litres of water and that Super Hyaluronic Acid is able to retain twice this amount of moisture.

Using a SHA or Hyaluronic Acid in your skincare regime preps the skin for any subsequent serum or moisturiser. It has the potential to boost the hydrating effect of any other products applied afterward.

Retinol is also known as vitamin A and is used as an anti-aging chemical to increase the skin's turnover rate. Theoretically, this directly leads to more vibrant, glowing and youthful skin. It can also help increase our body's collagen production which will give us smoother and firmer skin.

Collagen is a type of protein that is essential for supporting the body's tissues. In skincare, collagen is responsible for firming and strengthening our skin. As we age, collagen degradation occurs which causes wrinkles and facial sagging. Products with collagen as an ingredient have the potential to stimulate the production of skin cells to combat these tell-tale signs of aging.

The steps for using this Retinol Lotion is the same as the original Hada Labo SHA Lotion. You use the lotion directly after you cleanse your face and slowly pat it into your skin until it dries.

For extensive directions, please visit the SHA Lotion Review where I wrote about in much more detail!

The main differences would probably have to be the colour, texture, amount of product I use and the feel of my skin after I use it.

The SHA Lotion comes out a clear, raindrop-like liquid and is very runny and fluid. Usually, I'll pour three drops onto my palm, compress my hands together and pat it into my face. My skin drinks the product up quite quickly and easily. My face feels refreshed and bouncy after the product.

For the Retinol Lotion, the colour of the liquid is slightly yellow and is sticker than the SHA Lotion. I can get away with using one drop for my entire face. I will usually start off by patting the liquid into my face and then swiping the product in an upward motion. After it has settled, my face feels much more moisturised in comparison to the SHA Lotion.

After a good few months of using this product religiously day and night, my skin felt a lot smoother and looked much more resilient. It has seriously improved the look and feel of my skin - not an overstatement! Moreover, the increased smoothness and resilience of my skin has allowed my make up to sit better and last longer on my face.

Having said that, this is not a miracle anti-aging product and there are some issues that I need to address. Firstly, the concentration of retinol in non-prescription products are usually very small and therefore the results are not necessarily immediate or visible. In all honestly, I don't think this product has really done anything for my wrinkles or has helped lift or firm my face in any way. Sure, it plumps my lines when the product immediately touches my face but the effects wear off during the day. 

Another thing is that when retinol is worn on the face, your skin becomes prone to sun damage such as redness, irritation and freckles. This is why products with retinol in them are usually Night products. Touch wood, I've had no irritation with the Lotion and it has not caused any redness whatsoever. But it's better to be safe than sorry! So in the morning, I stick to my SHA Lotion which works just as well and at night I use the Retinol Lotion.

This is a tough one. According to my age, I shouldn't be needing anti-aging products. I am still in my early 20s and under normal circumstances, I should not be looking or touching anti-aging products until a good three-four years later. Instead, I should be more preoccupied with looking for products that hydrate and protect me from the sun.

I don't mind using the Retinol Lotion. In fact, I prefer the texture and finish of this product on my face. But because it is an anti-aging product and there is no way to know whether using these types of products prematuraly will cause any damage, I'm choosing not to re-purchase this anytime soon.

However, in a few years time, this will be an absolute staple in my skincare regime. Just you wait and see!


  1. I also have some wrinkles under my eyes and when I don't moisturise well enough, foundations sets in the lines =( I think I should start looking into Retinol and Hyaluronic Acids!

    Thanks for the review~ xo

  2. nice review, I'm sorry to hear about your skin condition but yes definitely be sun safe so it doesn't further damage your skin/wrinkles and I hope it gets better :)

  3. This is a great review and I had no idea what was the difference between retinol and collagen! I think you did a fantastic job explaining the difference and I am sorry to hear you are battling dry skin. I have combination skin and trying to find products to fit it is a nightmare...I do buy just products for the greasy and dry products only and apply separately!

  4. you give such great reviews!!! i have wrinkles under my eyes when my skin gets a bit dry towards the end of the day from my bb cream/foundation. i have like 1 deep wrinkle under each eye -_- SHA is def a must!! thanks for the review, Hada Labos been on my must try list for awhile!

  5. Real? I may better give it a go someday soon then! ;)

  6. I just ca't get over how expensive things can get in Australia! We really do have it good in the US and I can't imagine what $100 would buy in the land down under!

  7. Seems like a great product! Yes definitely you don't need it at a young age, it'll spoil your skin. :} xx