Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: HadaLabo Shirojyun Arbutin Whitening Essence

This is not a new product that I've been using but a product that I go back to every so often because it gets me results. Whitening is one of my top concerns and I'm always curious to try different products, such as the Skinfood Omija Whitening Mask, Cream and Serum, but I find that I always come back to this one. I went to Asia for one month this summer. I get tanned very easily so as you can expect, I got a lot darker. I came back and I knew I needed to do some intensive whitening to get my skin a bit lighter (I don't think any product can actually revert my skin color all the back to what it was before summer).

Description (taken from
  • Contains the effective whitening & anti-ageing ingredient -arbutin- which penetrates deep into skin and effectively inhibits the formation of melanin, dark spots, and freckles, leaving you a bright skin tone with high translucency.
  • Vitamin C derivatives help improve uneven skin tone, and effectively improve the skin dullness.
  • Weak acid, no fragrance, no alcohol and no oil. 
  • After cleansing and toning, apply an appropriate amount on entire face or target areas.
My impression:

I always appreciate skincare products that actually contain an active ingredient that directly targets the root of the problem. Arbutin is known to inhibit melanin production. Melanin is the primary determinant of skin color, and dark skinned people have more melanin than light skinned people. The Shiseido White Lucent line, in comparison (and correct me if I'm wrong) contains no active ingredients. Looking at my Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Protective Emulsion SPF 15, the two active ingredients listed are two sunscreens and nothing for whitening. The advantage is that this mild emulsion is unlikely to break anyone out, but it will work very slowly (or not at all in my case) whitening line.

You also have to take into consideration that your body's own system is also regenerating new skin cells and getting rid of those scars slowly. So if your whitening skincare line is slowly effective to the point where it's at the same pace as your own body system's speed, then there's no point.

Anyway, I immediately started using this essence after I came back and used it consistently for a month until the beginning of September. My skin color didn't go back to its pre-summer color, but I saw it gradually getting lighter and by the end it got a shade lighter. And that effect stays. I haven't been using it for more than 2 weeks now and the shade of my face is still the same.

This is one of my two favorite products from this line. The second one is the Hadalabo Shirojyun Arbutin Whitening Mask. Both are as effective. The mask gives you a quick whitening boost whereas this essence is more for long-term and is nicer on your wallet. The mask is $17 for 4 masks whereas the essence is $22 for 30g which will last you at least a month if you're using it nightly.

The products of this HadaLabo Shirojyun line also contain hyaluronic acid for water retention in the skin. It's extremely moisturizing and maybe because of that my face is sticky and looks shiny. So I only use this at night (I think they only recommend you to use this at night anyway). It also takes awhile to get absorbed, so I would put this on right after I shower and then after it has absorbed a bit, I will put on Missha's Super Aqua Cell Renew Sleeping Mask. But the morning after, the essence has completely absorbed and has lessened the discoloration of my face overnight.


Most effective and efficient whitening product I've tried so far, with lasting effects
Moisturizing even though its an essence
Makes my face stick and shiny

$22 for 30g on Sasa plus shipping

Quality: 4.5/5 because it's the most effective whitening product to date but I'd prefer if it wasn't so sticky

Value: 4/5 A bit expensive compared to Korean skincare products but I do think it's worth the money because it works and works fast

Repurchase? Yes, in fact, I already have a spare one saved up for next summer's tan ^^;;


  1. I'm currently in hunt of whitening products, I can't bare with my uneven skintone but I'm sooo glad I found your blog!
    I'll definitely try this product out ^^!
    Thank you for your honest and informative review!
    Hope you keep the work :D!

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog!^^
      Yes, definitely try it out. This is the only product so far that consistently gives me results.

  2. have you ever tried the history of whoo seol line? i think that product is the most effective than the most product ive ever tried

    1. Really? Is it their whitening line? I'm not too familiar with History of Whoo.. I've only tried one of their eye creams..I should check it out. Thanks for the tip! :)

  3. i will definitely try this product! Thanks for your awesome blog !! I stumbled across it a few minutes ago and im already in love with it!!!! I just followed you <3

    have you tried the etude house im blooming line?

    1. Hey, no I haven't. Have you? Is it good? I actualy didn't even know about it until you told me :P

  4. its uneven skin tone no more bt its work slowly.

    1. Yes it does work slowly but I find that the changes are pretty permanent (that is, until next year's summer comes again...)

  5. Hi! I've always searching for whitening & brightening products. Good thing your blogs are awesome & very informative. Hope you add some pics to see the before & after effects though... :)
    By the way.
    For how many weeks did you notice the whitening effects?

    1. Hi there! It takes about 2-3 weeks for me to notice whitening effects and around 5-6 weeks for its full effect.
      I've tried to do before and after photos before but it's almost impossible to get the same lighting and angle. Maybe I'll try again some time soon!