Hada Labo Shirojyun Arbutin Lotion Review

When I first got started with AB, I discovered Skin & Tonics, and her amazing routines, and the /r/AsianBeauty/ sub on Reddit.  And everybody loves the Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion.  So I snagged it off of Amazon, and was prepared to be amazed.  I got blackheads instead.  I still wanted to try Hada Labo, so I kept my eye out, and eventually decided I needed the Hada Labo Shirojyun Arbutin Lotion instead.  It even has better ingredients!

The Description:
Instructions for Use:  After cleansing with Hada Labo Gokujyun Face Wash, pour a pea size amount into your palm and rub between hands to heat.  Gently pat onto face until thoroughly absorbed.  Follow with Hada Labo Shirojyun Milk for additional hydration.

Price: ($$)

This is a very affordable toner.  For around $14-16 (with Prime shipping!), you get 170 ml of wonderful, multipurpose toner.  That's around $0.09/ml, which I consider very reasonable.  It's also quite a lot of product, so you won't have to look at replacing a new one for at the very least a half a year.  [5/5]


Water, Butylene Glycol(1), Glycerin, Arbutin, Disodium Succinate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Methylparaben, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbitol, Styrene/VP Copolymer, Succinic Acid

  • Potential acne triggers are listed in red.
  • Potential irritation triggers are listed in orange.
  • Potentially hazardous ingredients are listed in purple.  (Note:  this is according to the rating system on CosDNA, which rates them according to reports from CIR, RTECS, and the FDA on if these ingredients could be harmful with long term usage to the skin, cells, or human body.)
This looks like the ingredients list for a sheet mask, especially with the first three ingredients being Water, Butylene Glycol, and Glycerin.  I'm assuming this is intentional, as this toner is perfect for doing lotion masks ala Chizu Saeki's method.

This is such a nice, short ingredients list, but it's packed with ingredients backed by research, and not just emotions and trends:

  • Arbutin contains hydroquinone, and has great skin lightening/melanin-inhibiting properties.  Again, no, doesn't bleach your skin, deals with PIH and unevenness.
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate is actually the reason why I bought this.  MAP is a form of Vitamin C, like L-Ascorbic Acid, although much more reasonable and stable.  It can whiten/brighten, act as an antioxidant, stimulate collagen production, reduce PIH, and all kinds of other fun stuff.  I don't think that its concentration in this toner is enough for collagen production, but I definitely appreciate it being included.
  • Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid/Sodium Hyaluronate are forms of hyaluronic acid, which is a great humectant.  It's known for being able to hold 1000 times its weight in water.  Hyaluronic acid on its own is too large to penetrate the skin, so companies shear hyaluronic acid to different weights, also known as LMW (Low Molecular Weight) hyaluronic acid.  This article on Barefaced Truth is a must-read on Hyaluronic Acid.  Other humectants in here are glycerin and sorbitol.  


5ish, which is perfect.  [5/5]


I'd be lying if I said this was just like the Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion, but with better ingredients.  It doesn't perform the same.  For whatever reason, the Gokujyun sucks up everything I put on my face.  When I apply it at night, in the morning, my face is dry to the touch.  When I apply this, or any other toner, my face looks dewy, and you can kind of still feel some of last night's moisturizer and other add ons.  But the Gokujyun breaks me out, so here we are.

The Hada Labo Shirojyun Arbutin Lotion comes in a no frills plastic bottle with a pop up cap.  It's very easy to use, hygienic, and takes up very little room.

The toner (or "lotion") is a cloudy liquid that has the same consistency as water.  It's pretty odorless, and absorbs quickly with no sticky residue.  

On the left, just over a month ago, PIH that's been hanging around for ages.  On the right, taken today, much less PIH.

Now I'm not proclaiming this is some sort of miracle product that erases all PIH.  This is combined with other actual actives used in high concentration (15% L-AA, 5% Niacinamide, and a bunch of other things).  But I do think that the Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion helped to rid my skin of all that pesky PIH.  I wish it would have that same moisture sucking effect that the Gokujyun lotion did, but I'm assuming if it did, it might also break me out. [4/5]

Personal View:

I think this is an excellent toner for an excellent price.  The ingredients are great, and it can also be used for quick sheet masks.  I would definitely repurchase, and recommend to others even though it doesn't quite perform as dramatically as the Gokujyun line.  I'm even going to pick up the Shirojyun Milk one of these days, when I'm finally running low on emulsions and creams to test out.  [5/5]


The Good:  Good ingredients (arbutin, Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid), affordable, can multipurpose as lotion mask.

The Bad:  Does not soak everything into skin as well as Gokujyun line.
  • Price:  5/5
  • Ingredients:  5/5
  • Performance:  4/5
  • Personal View:  5/5
  • Average:  4.75/5