Dr.Ci:Labo Aqua-Collagen-Gel Enrich-Lift-Ex Review

Seeing “Dr.” in the name of a skincare product usually kills any interest I have in it. Not only is the product guaranteed to lack any skincaretainment value but I also don’t like it when brands pander to “serious skincare” seekers. There have been two exceptions to this rule: Dr. Jart, which pretty consistently churns out products that I like, and Dr.Ci:Labo, who’s MO of throwing every buzzy skin ingredient in their products makes me willing to overlook their name and their love of abusing punctuation.

Today we are going to look at one of their more popular products, the Aqua-Collagen-Gel Enrich-Lift-EX.

Product Name
Dr.Ci:Labo Aqua-Collagen-Gel Enrich-Lift-EX / ドクターシーラボ アクアコラーゲンゲルエンリッチリフトEX 

Invisible veil keeps skin lifted-up strongly! You can get elasticity, resilience, gloss to the skin with only this one! This is ultimate gel combating the sign of aging! ACG Enrich-Lift EX has eight function as skin toner, Emulation, Serum, Eye-treatment cream, Massage cream, Facial pack, make-up base

Where does it fit in your routine?
The instructions say to apply this after cleansing. It’s intended as an all-in-one product.

Size and Price
This stuff comes in a few different jar sizes. The one I have is 50ml. I purchased it as part of a limited-edition bundle (that also included the VC100 lotion) from Amazon JP through a shopping service. It’s also available on Amazon for $41.16 or Rakuten for ¥3580 ($31.14 USD before shipping).
Shopping tip: If you’re ok with slower/cheaper shipping through Rakuten, leave Kenko Express a note during checkout requesting Small Packet or SAL shipping.

Comes in a gold colored plastic jar.

Smells like oranges!

Color and texture
This is pale yellow in color, looks almost like a light custard, but feels like a gel.

What’s in it? 

117 ingredients, including a bunch of extracts, peptide, amino acids, αla, coq10, a vit C derivative, 5 types of ceramides, cholesterol, and some oils. Sounds cool right? But not so fast:

  • This product contains 50 ml of gel, which is roughly 50g in weight, and costs about $31 in Japan
  • Gold is the 8th ingredient on the list (platinum is 9th). As far as I know, Japanese labels require ingredients to be listed in order. This means that the 109 ingredients listed after gold are in smaller concentrations than gold
  • In a 50g product, 1 gram of product = 2% concentration. The current market price of gold is $39 per gram. This means 1 gram of gold (again, 2% concentration) as a raw ingredient would cost MORE than what the whole jar costs in Japan (btw platinum, which is listed right after gold, is $32 a gram). There’s probably very, very, very, very little gold in this, much less than 2%. This also means there is even less of all of the enticing sounding extracts, antioxidants, amino acids, ceramides, and other ingredients that come after gold

And so, this is another one of those products where we cross our fingers and hope that the teeny tiny amounts of the individual ingredients are collectively doing something.

The ingredients that are in higher concentrations are water, glycerin, butylene glycol, squalane, pentylene glycol, betaine, and glycosyl trehalose. There’s some good stuff in there – I’m happy to see squalane and have no opposition to water or glycerin- but these are pretty much just your normal gel-cream ingredients.

Acne Triggers & Irritants
Cosdna identifies butylene glycol (1), squalane (1), tocopherol (2), jojoba seed oil (2), algin (4), and sorbitan laurate as acne triggers and tocopherol (2), jojoba seed oil (0-2), algin (4), carbomer (1), and sorbitan laurate (1) as irritants.

Full Ingredients 

Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, squalane, pentylene glycol, betaine, glycosyl trehalose, gold, platinum, hydrolyzed collagen, hydrolyzed elastin, methyl carboxymethylphenyl Aminocarboxypropylphosphonate, procollagen, porphyrridium cloudentum extract, acetyl dipeptide -1 cetyl ester, quercus suber bark extract, dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline, cyathea cumingii leaf extract, plankton extract, porphyridium polysaccharide, soybean extract, rosa hybrid flower extract, prunus mume fruit extract, passionflower (passiflora edulis) fruit extract, α-lipoic acid, ubiquinone, resveratrol, soy isoflavone, pueraria mirifica root extract, pomegranate extract, soluble proteoglycan, placenta extract, cucumis melo (melon) phytoplacenta extract, trifluoroacetyl tripeptide-2, soluble collagen, succinyl allerocollagen, hydrolyzed keratin PG-propyl methylsilanediol, isostearoyl hydrolyzed collagen, sodium hyaluronic acid, hydroxypropyltrimonium hyaluronate, hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, sodium acetyl hyaluronate, C12-13 alkyl glyceryl hydrolyzed hyaluronate, ceramide 1, ceramide 2, ceramide 3, ceramide 5, ceramide 6 II, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, taurine, lysine HCI, glutamic acid, glycine, leucine, histidine HCI, serine, valine, sodium aspartate, threonine, alanine, isoleucine, allantoin, phenylalanine, arginine, proline, tyrosine, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, sodium riboflavin phosphate, pyridoxine HCI, trisodium ascorbyl palmitate phosphate, tocopherol, pueraria lobata extract, polygonum cuspidatum root extract, cimicifuga racemosa root extract, angelica root extract, aloe vera leaf extract, hibiscus esculentus fruit extract, red clover flower extract , cypress oil, pelargonium graveolens oil, lavandula angustifolia oil, Mthymus mastichina oil, cymbopogon martini oil, peppermint oil, vetiveria zizanoides root oil, citrus grandis peel oil, hydrolyzed starch hydrolysate, diglycerin, dipropylene glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, capri glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, phytosteryl macadamiate, jojoba seed oil, cholesterol, phytosphingosine, glycine soja, octyldodecanol, algin, xanthan gum, carbomer, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, hydroxyethylcellulose, sodium lauroyl lactylate, dextran, pullulan, isostearic acid , hydrogenated lecithin, sorbitan laurate, PEG-12 dimethicone, sodium bicarbonate, potassium hydroxide, pentasodium pentetoate, caramel, phenoxyethanol


I like this gel better than some other ones I’ve used. It’s a little heftier, probably due to the squalane, and I like the scent. However, at the end of the day, gels are never moisturizing enough for my dry skin and for me to use them, I need to be able to layer another moisturizer over this one. Unfortunately, this is intended as an all-in-one, which means it’s not designed to layer very well.

This gel doesn’t really absorb into my skin. It just kind of dries down and takes a really, really long time to do so. Even after this gel dries down, it leaves my skin extremely sticky, like hair stuck in lip gloss sticky. After having had this for 5 months, the only way I can now tolerate using it is as a wash off mask. I put on a quarter-sized amount after cleansing, let it sit on my skin for 10-15 minutes, and then wash it off. On days when my skin is super dehydrated, this helps rehydrate a bit (although not as much as a normal sheet mask or lotion mask), but it doesn’t seem to have any noticeable anti-aging or elasticity-boosting effects, as advertised. It does indeed increase gloss by leaving my skin extremely shiny, but that’s one effect I’d rather not have.

The Takeaway

This is a really overpriced gel product. It includes a TON of ingredients, many that sound beneficial and promising, but they’re in laughably small concentrations. If you have dehydrated skin, you might notice an improvement from this gel, but IMO you’re better off buying a cheaper gel (here are some popular ones) and investing the $ amount you save in a good serum or essence that actually does something.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Disclaimer: This product was purchased by me. This post contains an affiliate links. Purchasing an item through an affiliate link does not add any cost to the customer but does help support this site’s upkeep.

10 thoughts on “Dr.Ci:Labo Aqua-Collagen-Gel Enrich-Lift-Ex Review

  1. Lilly says:

    Which shopping service did you use? Your blog has made me need some Japanese products so badly and I need to know how to get them!


    • V. Rex says:

      Tenso is the one I’ve used historically but it’s kind of clunky and expensive. Someone recently recommended blackship to me and it looks more straightforward and cheaper to use, so that is what I will likely use going forward. There are some sites that don’t accept US credit cards, in which case you might need a shopping service instead of a forwarding service (white rabbit express is the one I hear about most). You can also check Amazon JP and Ippin, which both ship internationally!


  2. Penelope says:

    I agree with your review! I sampled this product in a duty free store in Tokyo’s Narita airport. Initially I was intrigued by the branding as one of Japan’s most-loved skincare lines by a dermatologist. And the gel consistency felt like it had promise when it first touched my skin, giving it a cool sensation. But this gel never dries, even after a half hour and left my test area sticky and shiny. Not a product I would ever use.


  3. Mabz says:

    Where was this review when I needed it?? I was looking for reviews on this product. And you have confirmed precisely what I have experienced. It sits on the face. I think there is some plumping effect but its too minor to even notice. Not worth purchasing.


  4. Belle says:

    If it sits on your face, it simply means you have put on too much.

    I have a different experience. After trying products from Sulwhalsoo, I have always come back to this Dr Ci Labo Aqua Collagen Gel Enriched Lift EX. I am never out of it. I live in Singapore, which has hot and humid weather, so a a very amount is all I need. The box contains size suggestions. However, when I travel in Japan during spring or autumn when it is drier, I find I need to put on much more and it just gets absorbed super quickly. I sometimes put on a lot overnight, even when it is a bit sticky, as a sleeping mask. The next day, after washing off, there will be a sheen.


  5. MAGDALENA says:

    I have been using Dr. Ci Labo Aqua collagen gel for almost three years. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, very dry, summers we reach temperatures of 120 degrees (49 celsius) This product has been nothing but one of my most precious discovers. I am 55 years old and I use the gel right before bed time. The gel can have tons of ingredients but leaves my skin like porcelain with a glowing looking. I LOVE IT.


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