The Newest Japanese Brand Taking Skincare by Storm

If you walk into a drugstore in Japan, you’ll be confronted with thousands of skincare products from hundreds of brands—masks, moisturizers, serums, toners, cleansers, things you didn’t even know existed—and one small section of hair products. It’s no secret that Asia’s obsessed with skin, and when Japanese products make their way stateside they’re usually not of the drugstore variety. Think SK-II, Kanebo Sensai, Shiseido, or Tatcha—all boasting excellent products at prestige price points. The latest, however, is Hada Labo Tokyo, whose Skin Plumping Gel Cream, the most expensive of five products just launched at Ulta, maxes out at $25.

What’s Hada Labo Tokyo? Rohto, a major Japanese pharmaceutical company, launched the brand in 2006. The brand believes that moisture is the key to anti-ageing (a scientifically proven belief), so Super Hyaluronic Acid, a mix of three different hyaluronic acids, is at the heart of their products. (Hyaluronic acid, by the way, is what your body uses to attract and bond moisture to your skin.) And since Japanese women include so many steps in their regimen, all of the products are incredibly lightweight; the Protecting Day Lotion SPF 18 ($17) might be heavy enough for August, but you can layer that Gel Cream on top come October and your skin will still breathe. The Anti-Ageing Hydrator ($17) boasts retinol and collagen to boost elasticity, but the brand maintains that moisture, above all else, is the real secret to anti-ageing.

Don’t want to take our word for it? The brand’s Replenishing Hydrator ($17) is sold every two seconds in Asia—a statistic worth paying attention to!