Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: Ishizawa Lab Urea and Hyaluronic Acid Lotion

I'm going to review a Japanese lotion/toner that I've been using this year. 

After I cleanse my face, I apply witch hazel toner and then a Japanese lotion. A Japanese lotion is in liquid form like a toner. So it may seem like overkill to have both a toner and a Japanese lotion, but in my mind, the two serve different purposes. The toner is an extra step in cleansing (gets what your face wash left behind) while it moisturizes. The Japanese lotion is for hydration and helps your skin absorb things like moisturizer or makes make-up apply more smoothly. 
Ishizawa Lab Urea and Hyaluronic Acid Lotion. The label's pretty worn out, because I've been using the lotion religiously!
Water, glycerin, dipropylene glycol, pentylene glycol, urea, sodium hyaluronate, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, hyaluronic acid, hydroxyethyl urea, St. John’s wort extract, chamomile extract, tilia cordata extract, calendula extract, cornflower extract, roman chamomile extract, peach leaf extract, apple extract, grape water, lactic acid, sodium citrate, dipotassium glycyrrhizate (licorice root) extract, butylene glycol, phenoxyethanol  
Ingredient ♥
*I don't know Japanese, but I used a combination of Google Translate and web resources to make sure I have the correct translation. I don't like to rely on the translated ingredients given by the importers. They're often more incorrect than my own crude translations!

Here is the original. If anyone sees any mistranslation on my part, alert me and I'll change it accordingly!

全成分 : 水・グリセリン・DPG・ペンチレングリコール・尿素・ヒアルロン酸Na・アセチルヒアルロン酸Na・加水分解ヒアルロン酸・ヒドロキシエチルウレア・オ トギリソウエキス・カミツレエキス・フユボダイジュ花エキス・トウキンセンカ花エキス・ヤグルマギクエキス・ローマカミツレ花エキス・モモ葉エキス・リン ゴエキス・ブドウ果実水・乳酸・クエン酸Na・グリチルリチン酸2K・BG・フェノキシエ

Experience: I apply this directly after my toner, though I usually let my toner dry up a little bit. The lotion comes in a heavy glass bottle with a orifice reducer which helps prevent you from wasting to much, so you can sprinkle out a few squirts. I had thought that I was supposed to use a cotton square like I do for my toner, but DON'T! It's super wasteful. You're supposed to use your hands to apply. Jean explains why that is better than I can. I put some in my palm and pat this onto my skin. Like this:

This helps my thick sunscreen glide effortlessly onto my skin. And it makes my skin so hydrated I can't stop touching my cheeks!
This isn't one of those in-your-face, change-your-life miracle products. However, after using it, I can't imagine going without it. It definitely makes its presence felt in its absence.  When I went to Canada, the 3 oz. liquid rule forced me to abandon my lotion at home. And boy, my skin was not looking pretty after four days. While my handy travel cleansing wipes did what they were supposed to, there was nothing actually hydrating my face. My face got soo rough and dull after ten days. It was only when I returned home and started up my skincare regimen again that my skin returned to normal. Whew!

Looking at the ingredients, its obvious competitor is Hada Labo's lotions. However, I prefer it to Hada Labo for the following reasons: 
  1. Though Ishizawa and Hada Labo both have hyaluronic acid (the main hydrating agent), Ishizawa has two additional urea-based moisturizers: urea and hydroxyethyl urea. Of course, the natural response to urea is ewww. Urea is an effective moisturizer! Why do you think babies' bottoms are so smooth?! :P
  2. Ishizawa contains more botanical extracts, whereas Hada Labo is more bare bones. This includes soothing extracts like chamomile and calendula along with dipotassium glycyrrhizate, a whitening agent derived from licorice root. 
  3. Ishizawa contains no parabens! I know many people are wary of using parabens. Hada Labo uses parabens as a preservative in their products. One of the preservatives in Ishizawa is phenoxyethanol. Read more about this preservative here.
I'm so certain of this product's effectiveness that I don't feel the need to try another Japanese hyaluronic lotion. And I'm a certified shopaholic!

Cost-effectiveness: I paid $19.99 for the lotion. It retails in Japan for ¥1500. This is 120 mL of product. Price-wise, it's more expensive than Hada Labo lotions, but worth it for the reasons stated above. I started using this back in early may and I only used up a quarter of the bottle! You just have to be careful to not dispense too much lotion per use. 

Availability: I purchased this at the Mitsuwa supermarket. You can also find this in online retailers for around $20. 
Update (5/22/11): Sasa has started selling the lotion for a pretty good price. See here


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