June 28, 2012

HadaLabo Arbutin Whitening Essence Review

Dull skin?

Show of hands?

Me too.

I’m constantly looking for ways to brighten my skin up or even whiten it further for that matter so I’m always up for trying Asian potions and lotions to do so.

Arbutin is actually a successful way to brighten and lighten skin if you have, oh, a few years to spare.

HadaLabo Arbutin Whitening Essence contains a stable form of arbutin to brighten skin while lightening dark spots and freckles, giving your skin a brighter appearance.

Supposedly there is also vitamin C in the formula to improve unevenness and give skin a more informed appearance.

HadaLabo always takes special care with their ingredients and given time and patience you’ll find with their Arbutin Whitening Essence you will see results.

I’m on my third bottle of this and I actually didn’t see visible results for at least two months prior to using the product. I find it irritating the bottles are very small because you really do have to dedicate time to arbutin in order to see results. A single bottle probably won’t yield results or you might see very minimal lightening at first. I wish they offered it in a larger size so I’m not forced to buy a new one every month or so. It’s only a 1 oz bottle so if I’m lucky I can get 90 days out of it but typically it’s only around 60.

The formula is a lightweight essence which you can smooth on prior to any of your other PM skincare treatments. I use it as a step prior to my Philosophy Miracle Worker Pads and before my moisturizer. I find the formula absorbs easily and is quite gentle on my drier skin. I don’t find it moisturizing in the least so don’t expect it to multitask for you, it’s a treatment product only.

I will continue to use it simply because it works. My dullness is eased, my skin looks brighter and lighter after constant use. On the downside, I didn’t feel it did well with dark spots or hyperpigmentation but I’m more than happy with the brighter, lighter tone of my skin. I also felt like if I stopped using it for a time, like any dark spot treatment, my skin would go back to being duller so you’ll want to add it as a constant in your skincare regime.

Overall, it’s a product that works but you’ll need a little patience for the best results. I recommend it for those desiring brighter, lighter skin but not necessarily whiter.

Likes it!

Available at www.sasa.com

I purchased this item.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

Leave a Comment


  • Jess

    I’m almost finished with my first bottle and wasn’t too happy with it. I find it to have a really sticky dry down and I honestly didn’t see much difference with it. It lasted about a month for me since I used 3 squirts for my face, neck and hands. So you really need to use it for awhile for any results? 🙁 Any other similar products you could recommend?

    • Jess

      Oh and I used it in conjunction with the matching toner and Pond’s Double White nighttime whitening lotion (which I really do like)

      • the Muse

        jess I was going to pick that up, does it brighten/whiten well!?

        • Jess

          Honestly, I didn’t notice any difference since I started using it. I prefer Skin Food’s Tomato Whitening Toner over it.

          Agree on the Philosophy Miracle Worker. I got a sample of it and used it on this one huge dark spot I have on my face and it seemed to lighten it a bit over time. Ran out though and I can’t tell if it’s darkened up a bit (probably.) Do you use Miracle Worker over your entire face?

          • the Muse

            i use the complete line jess, amazingzzzzzz ;-D miracle worker pads first, followed by the corrector all over face, and the miracle worker moisturizer to end (PM).

    • the Muse

      aw sorry jess, no stickiness here! it’s def something you have to use for several weeks before seeing results. Philosophy Dark Spot/Brightener BEST thing EVER I reviewed it a few weeks ago…seriously works!

  • Grace

    I have their lotion (the famous one that Hada Labo sells a bottle of every 4 seconds in Japan!) and BB cream 🙂 I do agree that their skincare products take FOREVER to put on and see results, but there are always results 🙂

  • nion

    I use hada labo arbutin complete range for 6 months and starting using the serum from 4 months ago, and I agree with your statement for “patience”.
    I desperately want fairer skin like you, and just starting from month 5, my friends starting to notice how fair my face become 😀 I in the other hand didn’t aware of it bcz I see my face everyday and the lightening result are really delicate.

    it really works for me, and its better to stick with routine than believing product that will brighten ur skin in one night and disappear afterwards 😀

    • the Muse

      fantastic nion ;-D thanks for adding your mini review! I love hearing success stories with skincare like this ;D!

  • fye

    its obviously that asian product doesn’t work instantly.we always believe in using product that not really strong(just like pampered your skin)and used many step skin regime to boost the result.its effective eventhough take longer time but treat your skin well and softly could maintain your child-looking skin.
    i’ve been using the lotion and it took quiet some time to absorb.i think most hada labo’s product like that,u need a technique to enhance the absorption or just leave it to dry(consumes time),patting would help a lot.

  • Daisy

    I don’t understand this obsession with lighter skin. Why do all this unessecary damage when you can just love the shade you have? I’m sure it’s beautiful if you give it a chance.

    • the Muse

      my skin is duller so the whiter and brighter I can get it works for me daisy 🙂 arbutin doesn’t damage skin.

  • Yan

    I am using Hada Labo whitening lotion alone and after 2 months.. I love it. My acne problem reduce, but my skin still dull. Maybe it took more than 2 months for fairer result. Anyway, I was so happy with the result, I just bought Hada Labo whitening cream. (Confuse which one should I choose, cream or milk) but I choose cream. Hope it works just like the whitening lotion

  • Jessica

    Ponds Flawless White rebrightening night treatment works amazing for brighter skin.

  • Ashral

    I was wondering at what time did u appiled dis essence…..? did u also used it in de morning