Beauty, Cosmetic Reviews
Comments 8

Review: Hada Labo Tokyo Hydrating Facial Cleanser

My mission for the perfect non-foaming cleanser seems to be a never-ending journey. I swore off foaming cleansers due to my skin feeling stripped & irritated after use; but it would seem that the trifecta of non-drying, pH balanced & good ingredient list for cleansers is non-existent.

CeraVe Hydrating failed me with the filmy residue. Innisfree Anti-Trouble Gel lacked the strength to even remove the oil of my first cleanser. Sum37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick burned my eyes, both literally and the high price tag. Then my journey led me to this: The Hada Labo Tokyo Hydrating Cleanser.

I had hope again for the perfect cleanser.


Hada Labo is Japanese company that started in 2004, the brand name translating to “Skin Lab”. Their skincare lines emphasize hydration with Hyaluronic Acid being a key ingredient for all their products, a naturally occurring compound that attracts & binds water agents.

The company is owned by Rhoto Labratories, which is a leader in Japanese cosmetic development; but unfortunately is not as corporately transparent or as sustainably oriented as I like when using my consumer purchasing power.

However, this product seems like it may be perfect for me, even Paula’s Choice loves it!


The product is a lotion water-based cleanser, formulated for normal to dry skin types. However, this could be considered universal for skin types unless the user have highly sensitive skin.


This is the 2nd cleanser in my Double Cleansing Method routine. It is a water-based cleanser that is meant to wash away the impurities & daily grime removed by the initial oil-based cleanser.



I made a rookie mistake[Let’s be honest, it was noob thing to do] by not completely reading the packaging. While it is a hydrating cleanser, it does build to a mild foam. It likely would not be noticeable to the average person, but it may feel striping to anyone with sensitive enough skin.

The cleanser is a very dense, opaque cream that is even heavier than the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, but leaves your face much cleaner. It doesn’t feel overly thick though, it thins out incredibly well once added to water & washes off cleanly.


One of my favorite features is this product features no added fragrance, which I try to avoid in cleansers because it can irritate my eyes. Yet it is still one of the most neutral smelling products I have tried despite this. Scent is a huge factor for me since certain types trigger migraines for me.


I prefer pump-packaging to tube-packaging for cleansers. Nothing is worse than playing hot potato with a cleanser tube when you have slippery hands from just finishing your oil cleanse cycle. It is a small tube made out of silicone that is not particularly stiff so the product is not incredibly difficult to dispense.


Everything sounds great so far, right? This is where my personal consumer experience goes awry because in practice this cleanser is just completely wrong for me.

The mild foaming is incredibly drying for me. My skin routine is built upon hydration since I have dry skin with no acne issues, yet this cleanser parched my skin no matter what subsequent products I used. The worst was this product made me prone to dry skin flakes on my chin, around my eyes, and smile lines. More embarrassingly even had a flaky mustache for a week.

The best compliment I can give it is that it was effective at removing my make-up & daily grime. When I moved from Chicago to Vienna, last-minute skincare product sacrifices had to be made in order for my luggage to make weight. This meant that my only oil cleanser with only 1/8th of product left did not make the cut, leaving me oil cleanser-less for about two weeks in Vienna until my Jolse order arrived [Literally the first thing I did after establishing wifi in my new apartment, order skincare].

This cleanser worked wonderfully, it can definitely stand on its own!


This might not seem that effective initially, but once must take into consideration that these are the effects of the cleanser without any makeup remover or oil cleansing assistance against water-proof make-up. Considering only a bit of Nyx liquid lipstick & Urban Decay mascara is left behind, this is probably the most effective water-based cleanser I have used & it has the perfect pH of 5.5!

There are 5 acne triggers (One is considered highly irritable) &  2 low irritant triggers according to CosDNA.

Ingredient List

Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Butylene Glycol, Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Decyl Glucoside, PEG-400, Water, Sodium Lauroyl Aspartate, BHT, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Lauric Acid, Methylisothiazolinone, Mica, PEG-32, Phenoxyethanol, Polyquaternium-7, Polyquaternium-52, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Stearic Acid, Titanium Dioxide


Alcohol & Fragrance Free

I never really mention ingredients that are NOT on  products, but this is so important for my eye sensitivities. I have moderate dry eye issues and it is incredibly painful to rub products with these ingredients on my eyelids to remove stubborn mascara.

Coconut Oil Derivatives

There are 3 coconut oil derivatives on here. This is what makes this product extremely effective at removing make-up & sunscreen without an oil cleanser, it makes this cleanser incredibly rich & creamy as well. It should not be as comedogenic as regular coconut oil, but they are all listed as possible acne triggers so this is something you may want to consider if you are acne-prone

Super Hyaluronic Acids

Hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient by itself, but the specific formulation in this product is supposed to be more in-line with the compound found in your skin than other types. This product does not just have one superior HA in this product either, they have two!

Lactic & Stearic Acids

Stearic is an emulsifier, but a good one. Lactic is a naturally occurring AHA derived from milk. It is a great ingredient, but it is not as effective in a cleanser as a leave-on product & it can potentially cause drying issues on skin types like mine.


This is the true bad boy of this product. It is a known irritant with studies linking it to increased allergen sensitivities [Named Allergen of the Year in 2013]. It is not a particularly unique ingredient, it mostly known for being a preservative; but there are much better preservatives available so why choose this one? It has some anti-bacterial properties, but that has been shown to be very weak as well.


There is just one ingredients I completely don’t understand, Titanium Dioxide. It is a thickener that provides UVA & UVB protection. It is not a bad ingredient, but it just seems entirely unnecessary in a cleanser.


Product Price:  $9.99 / 3.5oz = $2.85 per Ounce

This is an economical product, particularly considering it has a good ingredient list & appropriate pH. This bottle easily lasted me 5 months while using it as an AM & PM cleanser.

It is also incredibly accessible if you are in the USA [Unfortunately not so much in Austria or other EU countries]. Amazon Prime is my regular virtual shopping center, but this cleanser graced the selves of every drug store in Chicago so I could have easily run out to buy it on a lunch break for only $2.oo more.


Rating: 3.5 / 5

This cleanser was everything I should’ve wanted, in theory. This cleanser is a great example of Your Mileage May Vary in skincare because this was unbelievably drying on my face & made my face a flake nightmare. It wasn’t harsh enough that I discontinued use, but I am definitely not repurchasing



  1. Just discovered your blog. Amazing detail in your reviews. I have really enjoyed reading them. Sorry can’t think of any cleansers that I love that aren’t foaming a little bit. My favourite the last few years is one from Taiwan – Naruko Rose Foaming Wash. I also love the Penelopi Moon Facial Cleansing Soap. Good luck with your next cleanser purchase! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica says

      Thank you, the compliment means a lot 🙂 ah, I love naruko! I’m so sad that I only have 2 naruko sheet masks left! Have you tried their night jellies?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I have. I have tried the Rose one and one other one. They smell lovely, especially the rose one. Consistency-wise, quite similar to the Laniege sleeping mask. I just lather them on before I go to bed in the winter. 🙂


      • Jessica says

        I’ve only tried the magnolia night jelly, I’ve had my eye on the Job’s tears though! I have loved everything I’ve tried by naruko, I just wish their products were more easily accessible?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica says

      Always so kind =] Thank you!

      I have only ever tried the Missha Super Aqua Cleansing Milk & it just didn’t wash off super clean [Better than CeraVe Hydrating though], but I am totally open to trying others!


  2. I suffer from combination/oily skin so afraid I am not much help, especially if you want something non-foaming! But I would suggest maybe trying something 100% organic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Methylisothiazolinone: A Risky Preservative - Dermotopia

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