mini review: hada labo shirojyun arbutin lotion

In search of a lightening face product, I bought this lotion. Hada Labo calls it a “lotion” but it doesn’t have a creamy texture. In my understanding, the Japanese call their toners “lotions” and their moisturisers “milk.” It can be confusing so make sure you’re getting the right product.

Picked this item specifically for its arbutin and MAP (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable derivative of Vitamin C) content, two lightening/brightening powerhouses. I had previously used a generic arbutin cream and another Vitamin C product with success so I can vouch for the efficacy of these ingredients when it comes to lightening/brightening.

Within a week of use, it changed my skin. It brightened my face, but in an artificial sort of way. It gave me this glossy plasticky shine on my forehead that makes it look like I have a layer of plastic on my face. It’s not necessarily bad, but it was unnatural. Looked like I had an oily forehead, except there was no oil and it was squeaky to the feel. The last time I experienced this was with Stridex in the red box.

The bigger bummer was that with such a short ingredient list, this lotion still managed to break me out. It gave me whiteheads on my forehead – only on my forehead, none elsewhere. I read that somebody else experienced the same thing, too.

In terms of application, this product feels tacky and a bit sticky. It always goes away within a couple minutes, though, so it’s not a big issue. It also has the texture of sticky water and I find that it adds hydration to the skin, but just a tiny bit.

A tip when you look for this product: You will find that some merchants use “albutin” instead of “arbutin.” It’s the same thing. The Japanese just don’t use “R” in their language sometimes; they change it to “L”.

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