HADA LABO SKIN PLUMPING GEL CREAM REVIEW • essellesse talks Japanese skincare

This post is LONG overdue.

In fact, the entire topic of Japanese skincare on essellesse is beyond overdue & I have a HUGE post coming with EVERYTHING.

Easily, without question, this is the number one thing I get asked about on Instagram since I talk about this product SO MUCH.

& it’s also one of my favourite things to talk about.


One of my goals with essellesse is to be a source for YOU for Japanese skincare.

It’s something I strongly believe in & for the most part, I use exclusively Japanese products {the exception being Whole Foods Beauty & a couple of French Pharmacy products}

It’s no secret my love for Japan.

I’d move there tomorrow if I could & as many of you know, I’m currently taking Japanese lessons. It’s a country I am very passionate about.

In fact, a big reason why I am learning Japanese is so I can both work with and completely understand Japanese brands. It’s both for personal & professional development.

When it comes to skincare, LET ME TELL YOU, the products there kick the ones here’s ass.

Seriously, it’s next level.

Think the perfect fusion between nature & science.

I talked about the drugstores here but the drugstores in Japan are OFF. THE. CHARTS. with some of the most amazing products you will discover & so inexpensive. I can confidently say that some of the drugstore products there are better than the luxury products here {spoiler alert: we pay for a LOT of marketing here}

The one brand that has REALLY caught my eye since we last went to Tokyo is Hada Labo.

HADA LABO SKIN PLUMPING GEL CREAM REVIEW • essellesse talks Japanese skincare

In fact, I use 3 of their products regularly: the hyaluronic acid cleansing foam, the hyaluronic acid lotion {aka toner}, & the best moisturizer in the world: the skin plumping gel cream.

I’ll make dedicated posts in full on the other two but today is all about the Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Cream.

True story: it is the ONLY moisturizer I have used regularly since we last went to Japan almost exactly a year ago.

I have probably gone through 6 jars of it. I use it so regularly, that we have it on Amazon subscription.

That’s how much I love it.

The Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Cream is a serum / moisturizer hybrid that will give your skin the most gorgeous dewy, glassy finish.

Gel cream textures are my favourite. In fact, this was a product that the SECOND I put it on my skin, I knew it was going to be a winner.

HADA LABO SKIN PLUMPING GEL CREAM REVIEW • essellesse talks Japanese skincare

It’s very lightweight & absorbs fast. It’s also fragrance, paraben, dye, & mineral oil free. It has been scientifically proven that it provides a full 24h of moisture to skin with ONE application.

Instantly when you put it on, your skin will feel QUENCHED, bouncy, & plump. After about a month, I REALLY started to see a difference in my skin & texture. Fine lines were filled in & minimized, I started to see a youthful glow in my skin, & my skin texture was the smoothest it has ever been in my life.

In my 30’s, I feel like my skin looks better than it ever did when I was in my teens or 20’s… & along with being a water psycho, I strongly believe using this gel cream in conjunction with a retinoid has a lot to do with it. In fact, my skin was AWFUL in my 20s… in fact, if we are being real, my skin was looking bad in the beginning of 2018.

Let’s go through the key ingredients:

Super Hyaluronic Acid: this is their trademark blend of 3 types of Hyaluronic Acid. HA is #trending majorly these days {throwback mention to it here!} but it’s a very powerful hydrator. Hydrated skin = plump skin.

COLLAGEN: y’all know I love my collagen. Again, the same throwback 2015 post because collagen & hyaluronic acid is one dynamic duo. It helps improve skin textures & reduces wrinkles. { ps – collagen is HUGE in Japan. there are full on collagen aisles in the drugstore… in fact you can buy straight shots of it at 7-11! }

Arginine: an amino acid that maintains moisture

Ceramide: a naturally occurring lipid which helps maintain moisture and restores the protective barrier of the skin

Here is the full list of ingredients
HADA LABO SKIN PLUMPING GEL CREAM REVIEW • essellesse talks Japanese skincare

I can say with full confidence that this moisturizer does not & will not ever break me out. It has completely transformed my skin & texture.

Here is how & when I wear it:

I wash my face {double cleanse}, apply my lotion {aka Japanese toner – whenever I mention lotion, this is what I am talking about}, a sheet mask {I do these daily too but post for another day}… & while my skin is still damp, I apply a pea-sized amount!

A little goes a long way

BUT VERY IMPORTANT: make sure you do it when your skin is still damp. Hyaluronic Acid needs damp skin to realllly work it’s magic.

HADA LABO SKIN PLUMPING GEL CREAM REVIEW • essellesse talks Japanese skincare
{ no makeup & unedited – Hada Labo Gel Cream on, but not rubbed in }
HADA LABO SKIN PLUMPING GEL CREAM REVIEW • essellesse talks Japanese skincare
{ no makeup & unedited – Hada Labo rubbed in }

Sometimes, I like to mix it with a little moisturizer or cc cream. I find it doesn’t blend well but smooths easily with a beauty blender or makeup brush. It’s an extra step but WELL WORTH IT. Even though it doesn’t blend easily right away, once you buff it out, the finish is flawless.

Since it leaves my skin so dewy, I love to use this as my morning moisturizer. Night cream for another day.

To make it even better… it’s less than $25 {the price fluctuates often online but I never have seen it more than this, just less} & you can buy it on Amazon. If you get it on subscription like me, then it’s only like $21.

HADA LABO SKIN PLUMPING GEL CREAM REVIEW • essellesse talks Japanese skincare
{ Hada Labo on with light makeup & unedited }
HADA LABO SKIN PLUMPING GEL CREAM REVIEW • essellesse talks Japanese skincare
{ light makeup over Hada Labo – this is actually my daily “work” look }

In the photos right above, I am wearing it with this cc cream, this lipstick that’s an $8 Pillow Talk dupe {it may not be Japanese but it deserves a post of it’s own}, this brow gel, & this $8 clear Japanese mascara. The other two have absolutely no makeup on except for a lip balm & my skin is unedited.

I can’t rave about this product enough. Don’t believe me? Check out the reviews here, here {I buy a lot of Japanese skincare via ebay, DO YOUR RESEARCH & check ratings. This one is legit & any links you see here on my blog, I’ve vetted – same with Amazon}, here, here, here, or search it on reddit. It’s holy grail status.

Any questions? LET ME KNOW!

Any other Japanese brands you love that I should try?? Again, LET ME KNOW.

I’ve been ordering & testing a LOTTTT of products, as well as a whole laundry list of products I brought home from Tomod’s last March. In fact, I love so many of them that it’s been hard to narrow down my GO TO routine, but the Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Cream has been a no-brainer since first application. I love it & I know you will too.

On that note… off to study my Japanese! Ja mata じゃ、また !


+++ buy the Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Cream here – more Hada Labo in the widget below.

+++ check this post for my favourite Japanese mascara

about essellesse

essellesse is a lazy luxury lifestyle platform by Shannon Silver focusing on everything that’s important to living your best life – great food, wine, travel, vintage style, fitness and skincare. essellesse evokes a style of lazy luxury that’s fun, intimate, and easy breezy.