This is yet another product I procrastinated to make a review of because I’ve featured it often on my Instagram and I figured people would get it by now: I FREAKING LOVE THIS STUFF.
Alas, sending that message wasn’t enough. After continuous inquiries over the past few years, it’s only right that I give the proper spotlight of this product in The Fruit Compote. That way, I don’t have to keep repeating myself and I can just shove the link. LOL! Kidding! *but serious*
Meet my skin’s best friend, Imju Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner.
The main reason I wanted to try Hatomugi Skin Conditioner in the first place was because it’s said to be a more affordable alternative to the famous ALBION Skin Conditioner. The price difference was too far apart. When I was in Hong Kong in 2014, ALBION SkinCon was priced at around HKD 500 (165 ml) while Hatomugi was HKD 59 (500 freaking ml) in Sasa. It was clear that I didn’t want to commit to the more expensive one because I might end up liking it so much and repurchasing will be an issue.
Before I bought my full-sized bottle, I had a chance trying out a small portion shared from my friend’s bottle. I just couldn’t resist her offer. Even though it’s cheap, it doesn’t hurt to check for any skin sensitivity so that the large bottle won’t go to waste. Funnily enough, during my Hong Kong trip, Hatomugi Skin Conditioner was practically advertised everywhere. In the subways mostly. Plastered on the alleys and on the escalators. As it the universe was validating me in getting it. Well, I needed no convincing. Hatomugi was indeed the first on my list, beauty shopping-wise.
The name Hatomugi itself actually means Job’s Tears, the extract that’s used in the product. It is also the same ingredient in ALBION SkinCon is prized for. I wasn’t familiar with Job’s Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) but its other name, Chinese Pearl Barley, now that’s something I know. It’s widely used in Chinese medicines for a very long time. Chinese Pearl Barley, or as Indonesians know as “jali-jali”, is a gluten-free grain that I eat a lot throughout my life. My mom would make a simple dessert by boiling the barley and serve it in a sweetened water with pandan leaves. If I see any restaurants or joints serve Barley Water, I’ll take it. I like to have them both cold as it’s very refreshing and soothing inside the body. It’s great for the digestion system, regulating excess water retention, and can help when we’re feeling feverish (Indonesians, we can call this “panas dalam”).
There are a lot more benefits from Job’s Tears. I encourage you to look into it. You can benefit a lot from including Job’s Tears into your diet. I’ll provide some here (link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4). I think the words that I would conclude from Job’s Tears that it’s restorative and curative.
Another active ingredient here is Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate known as licorice root extract. This skin conditioning agent is an anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant and has skin soothing abilities. It can help to restore skin’s suppleness, reduces flaking and redness associated with acne, Rosacea, and Psoriasis. Some studies have shown it can help inhibit melanin production, hence making it a potential brightening treatment against hyperpigmentation.
Together with Job’s Tears, they sound like my kind of ingredients.
Ingredients: Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Coix lacryma-jobi (Job’s Tears) Seed Extract, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Alcohol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.
FYI, I’m well aware of the presence of paraben in the product. I don’t mind it. The whole fear-mongering is too much for something that is still debatable. I believe paraben is still one of the best preservatives in the industry. Alcohol? Don’t even mention it. A lot of my skincare products still have alcohol. It comes down to the formula as a whole.
So, what is Hatomugi Skin Conditioner exactly? It was quite tricky finding an official description but I found one that represents how I feel about this liquid.
This skin-conditioning toner contains natural hatomugi (Job’s tears) as a moisturizer. While highly moisturizing and nourishing for rough, dry patches, it does not leave the skin feeling sticky or greasy. Protects the skin with powerful hydration, fighting irritation to keep the skin soft and smooth. Soothes redness after sunburn with a pleasant cooling sensation. Although perfect for the face, it is also excellent for use anywhere on the body. Holds moisture in after showering or bathing. Contains no artificial fragrance or color.
To me, it is essentially a lotion/toner but not quite an essence. In my opinion, an essence should carry a little more “weight” in terms of viscosity. Hatomugi Skin Conditioner feels just like water with little to no emollient feel to it. Even though it says to moisturize the skin, I would still rely on a face oil or conventional moisturizer for the sealing purpose. The liquid can be used on the face and body as well; maybe that’s why it’s sold in the large quantity that it is.
How do I use it? From the very first try, I knew I wanted to use it for sheet masking. That time, I used cotton pads. When I got my full sized bottles, I made sure I also buy the sheet mask tablets. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy enough so I was rationing the use (learned my lesson since then). The cotton pads are a fair substitute but I want my face to be fully covered and a sheet mask is the one that could only do it. The mask tablets are also more efficient (less waste) because otherwise, I’d had to use several cotton pads. I drench the mask tablet generously until it’s fully soaked and couldn’t absorb more liquid. If it’s dripping down the neck once the mask is on, let it be. It’s the experience 😀
I leave the mask on for about 15-30 minutes. Making sure I don’t leave the mask completely dried out. That’s a bad move actually. I’ll be reversing what I’ve just done. The dry sheet mask will suck the moisture out of the skin. A complete opposite of what I want to achieve. So, while it’s still damp, take it off, crumple it and slather what’s left on the chest and arms. Legs, if it stretches that far.
Two things for sure, Hatomugi Skin Conditioner offers major hydration and cools my skin down like no other. My skin immediately feels soothed, comforted, plumped (thanks to the injection of hydration) and all the other equivalent words for relief. Cold, yes. There’s a hint of instant “whitening effect” (please note that I loathe this term and this is NOT what this product meant to do) that’s making me look a bit pale and ashy. Well, the liquid has a cloudy white color and the possibility is my skin absorbs that much product that it shows a similar color. It claims to not contain additional coloring, so I’m assuming the cloudiness comes from the barley water. I’m not too keen on it but thankfully, it goes away the next morning.
The naturally cool liquid was quite a surprise (it still is) once it touches the skin. It’s the immediate first aid when the weather is too hot for me to bear. My skin will start to get irritated if I don’t tend to it ASAP. I need something to lower down the temperature of the skin and Hatomugi will always be the first thing that I use after cleansing. The irony is I use this considerably often because hello, Jakarta. Just went back from a Bali trip or anywhere hot and blazing? Yep, straight for this. Needless to say, I rely on this liquid for that purpose alone, A LOT. I can use it every night straight for a week if it’s necessary and I’ve done that many times in the past. I cannot tell you how Hatomugi had saved my skin countlessly during these tribulations.
The anti-inflammatory properties are also handy when dealing with acne or blemishes. You know when this happens, the problematic area feels a little warmer and there’s often discomfort that comes with it. It’s the inflammation. So, what do I do? Hatomugi yet again to the rescue. It’s not a direct acne treatment per se, but reducing the inflammations will speed up the healing process. Technically, I can just place a cotton pad over the area but I just go ahead with my usual method, the whole face *HA*. Read more on this post about my approach in dealing with acne (make sure you read it until the end).
Hatomugi is a quick fix when I feel the level of my skin’s hydration is low. Frankly, since dehydration is my main predicament, I’m always on the lookout and must be ready no matter what the situation is. Again and again, Hatomugi will be the first on my list. It’s cheap and does a fantastic job. And it’s cheap. Sorry for the reiteration, but I just can’t get over the kind of bargain I’m getting with this product!
As a quick note, I still use a hydrating toner afterward because it works best that way. It’s too watery that I’m scared it might just evaporate away if I don’t layer something on the top. If I really need some extra love, I’d go for the richer consistencies such as Shiseido White Lucent Luminizing Infuser, RMK Skintuner Treatment, or a recent constant in my routine, Kanebo Moisture Flow Rich Lotion. If there’s a cotton pad involved, I just simply use a patting motion. What do you know, I love layering. If there’s an exfoliating or acid toner in the equation, Hatomugi comes first before the hydrating toner. I sandwich it in the middle. Same goes for clarifying/purifying mask (where it generally leaves the skin drier).
Here’s the cheat sheet:
Cleanse – Hatomugi – Hydrating Toner – so on
Cleanse – Exfoliating/Acid Toner – Hatomugi – Hydrating Toner – so on
Cleanse – Acid Peel – Hatomugi – Hydrating Toner – so on
Cleanse – Clarifying/Purifying Mask – Hatomugi – Hydrating Toner – so on
There are so many situations I can include Hatomugi in. Even when there’s nothing urgent with my skin, I’d still be inclined to use it. Seriously, there’s no reason to turn down a Hatomugi opportunity! I can literally use this every night (and day) if I wanted to. Just put on a sheet mask and enjoy it. It is that simple. And cheap!
Hatomugi Skin Conditioner launched in the local Indonesian market sometime in late 2015 or early 2016. Very affordable at IDR 98,500, not far from the Hong Kong prices so YAY to that! We can get it cheaper if there’s a promotion going on. If I’m not mistaken, there’s a face mist version sold as well (don’t know the price though). It’s available in AEON Mall BSD City, Guardian, Sogo, Century, Sociolla, etc. Widely available now so no more of me dragging around heavy bottles while walking around for hours 😂.
The sheet mask tablets, on the other hand, I’m not too fussy about what brand it comes from. I just find cheap ones and buy in bulk. Usually, I get mine in Sasa and buy hundreds at once. I know MUJI has it but unsure if it’s available here. You can try using MUJI’s cotton pads as a substitute but that’s costly IMO. I’m sure sellers through Tokopedia can be found too.
If you have tried Hatomugi Skin Conditioner, you are more than welcomed to share your thoughts below so others can read them too 😊
P.S. My apologies for the countless amount of times I wrote Hatomugi. I swear it’s not intentional and there’s no mean of brainwashing but it does feel good saying the word 😉