Alexis Adrienne



Hey, babes!

This review is all about the newly hyped Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve loved Hada Labo’s Lotions for YEARS. As I ran out of my beloved Hada Labo in Taiwan last month, I thought I would try something new and pick up the Hada Labo Premium and compare my experiences. As far as I can tell, this product has been around for a little while but seems to have gained a bit of new momentum in the skincare world. It also comes in 170mL bottles and refill sachets like the other lotions, except that the packaging is gold with “PREMIUM” on the front in a lovely blue ribbon design.

What's in it and what does it do?

It promises to provide “mask-like hydration” using 5 different types of hyaluronic acid and anew ingredient to me called sacran. Derived from algae, sacran has anti-inflammatory effects and improves skin barrier function, therefore improving hydration of the skin. Compared to the regular Gokujyun Lotion (this is also known as Gokujyun Moist), the Premium Lotion has a far more beefed up ingredients list (with notable ingredients in bold):
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Diglycerin, Triethyl Citrate, PEG-32, Diethoxyethyl Succinate, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Disodium Succinate, Methylparaben, Sodium Hyaluronate, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Polyquaternium-51, Succinic Acid, Aphanothece Sacrum Exopolysaccharides, Ammonium Acrylates Copolymer, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Urea

And compared to Hada Labo Gokujyun Moist:

Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Disodium Succinate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Methylparaben, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Succinic Acid

And for good measure, we’ll compare it to the Shirojyun ingredient list too:

Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Arbutin, Sorbitol, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Carbomer Styrene/VP Copolymer, Methylisothiazolinone/Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate

Oddly enough, I can only see three types of named hyaluronic acid in the Premium’s ingredient list. After doing a bit of research and puzzling over this, I’m pretty sure that the two other types Diethoxyethyl Succinate and Disodium Succinate. I’m not completely sure about this because I’m not a cosmetic chemist (if you are, please feel free to jump in!) but apparently it’s possible to do this thing called ‘derivatization’ with succinic acid and hyaluronic acid, and that’s what I think the clever scientists at Hada Labo have done.

So what did I think of Hada Labo Premium?

First off, the texture is so different from the HL products I’ve used previously. It’s very thick, and not as runny as the other toners. I would say it has a thicker, essence or serum-like texture. It doesn’t have a scent (at least not to my nose). It doesn’t become sticky or tacky like the normal lotions when patted in, but rather an almost oily texture on my skin. Because of this, I can only use this at night - it’s so heavy and shiny. I actually can’t believe how heavy this is sometimes for something that isn’t a rich cream. Because of the high humidity here in Malaysia, I currently use this as my only routine step after tretinoin because it’s SO hydrating.

It leaves my skin super soft, bouncy and glowy - I love using it before a sheetmask to really amp up the mask. It's amazing how hydrating this is, but it’s unfortunately too much for my oily skin in warm and humid climates. It’s too heavy for me to layer with - it wouldn’t be a bad thing if one layer wasn’t already so much for my skin. I don’t think I could recommend this for other oily-skinned folks unless you’re on Accutane or somewhere where it’s cold and drying af. Even then, I’d reserve this for night time use as it really gives your skin a dewy sheen. Normal to dry folks will probably LOVE this stuff!

For my skin, I rate this a 3/5. It does it’s job, but it does it too well for my skin and just doesn’t fit my needs.

Have you tried hyaluronic acid toners before?

A xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Hada Labo online

purchased / contains affiliate links*



Hey, babes!

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I absolutely love the new features of Instagram stories that are being rolled out - new fonts, gifs, story highlights… The other features of the app though are a different story 🙄 but we’ll discuss that another time.

I’ve got a quick tutorial today on how to make super cute Instagram Story Covers for FREE using Canva! If you’re a blogger and you don’t already use Canva, you’re missing out. It’s a great free website and app for creating high-quality images, such as Facebook Covers, Pinterest Graphics, and obviously Instagram Story Covers. There ARE paid features, but I’ve been able to use the app so far without needing them. If you're on iOS, you can download Canva from the App Store.

Here's how my profile looks before adding covers - it's not bad, but I'd like my story highlights to look a bit more cohesive.
The first thing you’ll need to do is make an account on Canva, as this makes sure that your design is saved for you to go back to and change if you need to. In the Canva app, “Your Story” is the correct preset for Instagram Stories. With Canva, I like to find templates that I like but modify to suit what I want. I find it hard to start from scratch but you do whatever you want to do. On a computer, Canva doesn’t show the “Your Story” option but you can easily get it by clicking here or creating a new project with the dimensions of 1080px x 1920px.

Now, you can go wild! I like keeping things pretty simple with a pale pink background, diagonal lines and an italicised serif font. Canva has super handy guides for aligning things perfectly centred, so you shouldn’t have any issues centring your title texts. Here's an example of what I decided to go for:
Another way to make covers is the actual Instagram app! It's great because it's practically no fuss - you don't have to learn how to use anything new and it's automatically preset to fit in Instagram stories. I made a really short gif of how to do this. The only drawbacks of using the Instagram app itself is that you don’t get as many creative tools as Canva, such as different fonts and shapes. However, it is a great way to use gorgeous images as your cover background as well - just import the photo, instead of colouring over a photo like I’ve done.

When you’re happy with how your covers look, save them to your phone. Since I designed mine on my computer, I AirDropped them over to my phone - this is the best way to get photos to your phone for Instagram if you use Apple! It’s so easy to edit a bunch of photos at once and send them over without losing quality. If you’ve done this in Canva, you can save them straight to your Camera Roll.

Now comes the kind of annoying bit - these need to be posted to your stories in order for them to be used as covers, so they’ll be in your stories for the next 24 hours with anything else you might post in your stories. I’m personally not too bothered by this but I know some others are. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this. I posted a little warning that I’d be posting covers, it’s up to you if you want to do that or not.

Once you've posted your covers to your stories like you would any other photo, here's how to make them the cover of a highlight:
And there you have it! Two super easy ways to make great Instagram Highlight Covers for free!

I hope you've found this super helpful - I'd love it if you showed me any highlight covers you've made using Canva or IG!

A xx


DON'T BE JELLY: Annie's Way Arbutin and Hyaluronic Acid Brightening Jelly Mask Review

Hey, babes!

I know I know, I’ve been reviewing a LOT of masks lately but there are just SO many masks to review and so little time! Today, instead of a sheet mask I’ve got the O.G. Taiwanese Jelly mask - Annie’s Way Arbutin and Hyaluronic Acid Jelly mask.

These jelly masks are not sleeping packs or masks that eventually absorb into the skin - they’re super thick, hydrating masks that you’re meant to scrape and rinse off after a period of time. It’ll even stick to your hand/spatula if you turn it upside down! Jelly masks are ideal for hydration and delivering fantastic ingredients to the skin, such as arbutin, calendula, and honey to name a few. A good way to think about where these should go in your routine is in the same place as a clay mask - to clean, dry skin, then afterwards you can move on to other steps in your skincare routine. This was a new concept to me as I’m pretty used to masks that go on quite a bit later in your routine, such as sheet masks and sleeping packs.

What I like about these jelly masks is the packaging - let’s be honest, sheet mask packaging is extremely wasteful and I do want to eventually move away from using them. Annie’s Way masks provide a way to still improve the appearance of your skin, without adding more plastic waste into the world. Despite jar packaging generally being my least favourite type of packaging, it suits this product well - it’s far too thick for a squeeze tube, and the inclusion of a spatula that you can sanitize as you prefer is just perfect.

The first thing I noticed about the gel was how wonderfully cooling it was! It definitely wasn’t a menthol cooling sensation, it was literally just the temperature of the gel. I loved it! It was really thick, but easy to manipulate with the spatula. The trick to getting the most out of these gelly masks is to use a really thick layer - a thin layer will dry and become very uncomfortable on your skin, very quickly (I found this out when I applied the layer too thin on my neck and above my cupids bow). The sample packet I used had 40ml of gel in it, and I used the whole lot. There was no scent to this product at all, which I thought was great - I know scented products aren’t for everyone!

Once on your skin, the gel really stays put - it doesn’t drip or move around at all. After the 20 minutes was up, I began to gently scrape the mask off using the straight end of the spatula. ‘Scrape’ is almost too harsh of a word, but it’s the best way to describe it. You’re not scratching up your skin or anything, and it takes off the mask and probably dead skin cells too. It’s best to go over each spot a few times IMO, as the mask really sticks to and hydrates your skin. Afterwards, my skin was beautifully hydrated and bright. It also loosened a few blackheads that I was able to extract.

The ingredients list is satisfyingly short:

Water, Carbomer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Alpha Arbutin, Ascorbic Acid, Tocotrienols, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Pentasodium Pentetate, Phytic Acid, Silver Oxide, Flavor

The four key ingredients in brightening and hydrating skin in this mask are Sodium Hyaluronate (aka hyaluronic acid), Alpha Arbutin, Ascorbic Acid, and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, so it’s great to see them all clustered at the top of the list!

When I went to visit the Annie’s Way office, Sara (my contact at Annie’s Way) showed me some Korean brands that were trying to (unsuccessfully) imitate the jelly mask idea. She explained to me that Annie’s Way would always trump any other imitators as they have the most superior formulation - the other masks just dissolve away into the skin, and aren’t true jellies that deliver targeted ingredients to the skin.

It's possible to purchase the individual use sachets for TWD89-104 on the Annie's Way website, or a full-size 250ml jar for TWD525-825.

I really, really enjoyed using this mask and will definitely have to make some room in my suitcase for the full-sized jar! 5/5 from me!

A xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Annie's Way online

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