If you’re struggling with dry, patchy, and flaky skin but don’t want to break your budget by buying rich, hydrating creams, look to Korean skincare.
Cheaper than its Western counterparts but as effective, it’s sure to not let you down. In this article, we’ll present our best choices for dry skin, complete with a guide on how to pick out moisturizers for dry skin.
In a hurry? Our top 5 Korean moisturizers for dry skin on the market right now are:
Best Korean Moisturizers for Dry Skin: Our Top 5 Picks
1. Best Overall: Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream
- Thick, creamy texture.
- No artificial fragrances or colors.
- Moisturizes throughout the whole day.
- A little goes a long way.
- No sticky residue.
This is a thick cream-based moisturizer specially created for dry and sensitive skin. The Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream contains hydrating ingredients such as shea butter, ceramide 3, and lipidure that helps cells function normally.
It’s free of parabens, alcohol, and artificial fragrances and colors, which makes it great for sensitive skin according to customers.
There’s a silicone component in this cream called cyclopentasiloxane, which some scientists have linked to uterine cancer, but it’s still considered rather safe.
Users rave about the hydrating properties of this product, and like that it doesn’t leave your skin feeling sticky. It leaves your skin moisturized for the whole day and you don’t have to reapply it several times.
A small amount really goes a long way with this cream as well, which makes the 60ml (0.5 oz) tube last for up to a year.
But some buyers report that the distribution of the cream from the tube is unreliable and you can’t control how much you squeeze out. Also, people feel like the size of the tube is misleading since it’s not completely filled up with cream.
2. Best for Sensitive Skin: Korean Skin Care Snail Repair Cream
- Super hydrating and soothing.
- A cream that doesn’t feel heavy on the skin.
- Reduces wrinkles and dark spots.
A popular ingredient in Korean skincare is snail serum. While this may sound odd at first, snail extract has skin-repairing and anti-aging properties. This makes it great for sensitive dry skin. It reduces flakiness, cuts down on dry patches and helps even out your skin tone.
This cream also contains aloe vera, jojoba oil, shea butter, and vitamin E which makes it hydrating and soothing. Its texture is creamy but rather lightweight. This makes it blend well into the skin, without leaving any residue behind.
Buyers are saying that it moisturizes dry skin very well and reduces dark spots and the appearance of fine lines. Some even report that it eliminates dark circles.
One great thing with this cream is that the manufacturer guarantees that you’ll see results within the first few days, in the form of a brighter and more youthful-looking complexion. If you don’t, you get your money back.
Other users report that they’ve broken out because of this product. Note that this might not be the best moisturizer for acne-prone skin.
3. Best Hypoallergenic Choice: Etude House SoonJung 2x Barrier Intensive Cream
- Natural ingredients great for sensitive skin.
- Good at protecting your skin barrier.
- The tube has a smart design that prevents bacteria from growing.
The SoonJung cream mixes water- and oil-based ingredients to leave your skin ultra-hydrated.
Natural ingredients make up 93 percent of the cream. These include:
- Shea butter which has moisturizing properties.
- Extract from the healing, anti-inflammatory centella asiatica plant.
- Sunflower seed oil which is a natural oil rich in vitamin E. It strengthens your skin barrier.
This cream also includes panthenol which prevents water from leaving your skin and can help seal-in moisture.
Etude House advertises the cream as being hypoallergenic. According to customers, this is true. It’s great for sensitive skin because the cream contains mostly natural ingredients and is also fragrance-free.
Users appreciate the tube’s design. You open a cap and twist the tube, and then the product comes out in a ring. This design prevents bacteria from getting into your face cream.
But, buyers also feel like the cream leaves a rather sticky, almost greasy residue on your skin after application. Also, the moisture doesn’t last too long and you might have to reapply again later in the day if your skin is particularly dry.
One great point is that this cream is pretty affordable.
4. Best Budget Choice: Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Moisture Watery Cream
- Lightweight cream.
- Works great for day-time use under makeup.
- Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
The Super Aqua Max Moisture is a lightweight cream made specifically for dry skin. It aims to replenish maximum moisture and prevent it from leaving your skin.
This line from Nature Republic has taken inspiration from the ocean, and uses many sea-based ingredients in their creams. The Moisture Watery Cream version consists of deep sea water from the Hawaiian Konan Sea along with extracts from 33 different marine ingredients.
Some of these are the vitamin B-rich spirulina, plankton, skin-rejuvenating sea cucumber, and corral.
While the manufacturer advertises the Super Aqua Max Cream for dry skin, users report that this isn’t the most hydrating moisturizer on the market. It’s not super thick and has a texture that is somewhere between a cream and a gel.
For night time use, choose another product. But customers still think it works well as a lightweight daytime moisturizer you can wear under makeup for example.
Some features that turn users off include the strong scent and the fact that this might be a trigger for sensitive skin.
5. Best Vegan Choice: Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream
- Vegan-friendly and cruelty-free product.
- Contains deeply moisturizing hyaluronic acid.
- Works great in all weather conditions and climates.
Cosrx is a vegan-friendly, cruelty-free brand that doesn’t test their products on animals.
The cream includes hyaluronic acid which has hydrating properties. It holds on to moisture in your skin and it’s also anti-aging.
This is a non-scented cream and it absorbs quickly on your face.
Users report that it moisturizes your skin immensely. It’s really thick so you should only use it if you don’t struggle with oily areas on your skin. If you find that your skin gets shiny after applying the cream, combine it with some shine-controlling products.
People have used this cream in all weather conditions and they state that it works great in hot and humid climates as well as in dry, cold winters. In general, you only need a small amount of the cream to fully cover your face, though you might require more when the cooler months approach.
But some buyers report that it looks like someone broke the seal of the jar before they received the moisturizer, while others seem to have gotten a counterfeit product. Most users seem to have received the real deal, however. To be safe, double check the website specs before purchasing.
Moisturizer for Dry Skin: Buyer’s Guide
What Does Dry Skin Look Like?
Note that all parts of your skin don’t have to be dried out for you to have dry skin. Here are some common features people with this skin type tend to share:
- The more hydrated parts of your skin should be normal, not oily. If you have an oily T-zone and dry cheeks, for example, you most likely have combination skin.
- You may experience patchy and flaky skin due to your skin peeling off.
- Redness is another common feature, especially in areas where your skin has peeled.
- It’s not uncommon to also have sensitive skin.
Here are the most common causes of this skin problem:
- Caused by lack of moisture in your skin due to genetics or dehydration.
- External factors such as a dry climate can also cause this condition.
- You can damage your skin by using harsh products.
What To Consider When Buying Moisturizers for Dry Skin
Dry skin comes with specific treatment measures, so be on the lookout for the following features in a moisturizer:
Since you want your skin to stay hydrated, opt for a moisturizer with a cream texture. This style is usually thick for the best results. If your moisturizer is too thin and has more of a gel or lotion consistency, it probably won’t be potent enough for you.
You’ll also do good in using oil for extra moisture. This could be in the form of an oil-based cream or by applying a natural oil (like olive oil, jojoba or coconut) before you moisturize. Since people with dry skin don’t suffer as much from oiliness and acne-prone skin, you don’t have to worry too much about oil potentially clogging your pores.
Ingredients To Look For
Hydrating ingredients that might be suitable for you include:
- Hyaluronic acid: This acid has anti-aging properties. If you want to prevent wrinkles, it could help with that as well.
- Snail mucin extract: A popular component of Korean skincare, this extract is very hydrating and soothing for your skin.
- Panthenol: Prevents water loss in your skin which makes it maintain more moisture.
- Vitamin B: Great for reducing dryness in the skin, and helps the body create new skin cells.
- Vitamin E: Stabilizes your skin barrier. Common effects of a damaged skin barrier are dryness and sensitivity.
- Shea butter: A natural ingredient with highly hydrating properties.
Your skin will also benefit from ingredients that are soothing and smoothing and can help even out the patchiness of your skin:
- Aloe vera: This plant comes with healing properties and acts against inflammation. It can help minimize redness and patchiness.
- Ceramides: Moisturizers with ceramides might improve the skin barrier function.
- Green tea: It’s packed with antioxidants and is an anti-inflammatory, great for brightening and smoothing your skin.
You should also gently exfoliate dead, flaky skin to make space for new skin cells. An ingredient like PHA could help. It’s a mild acid with large exfoliating molecules. It also has antioxidant properties to help fight the aging process.
Ingredients To Avoid
Harsh substances made for oily skin such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are a no-no. They’re suitable for treating acne, but damaging for dry skin.
You should also avoid alcohol in any form for the same reason.
No matter your skin type, it’s good to avoid parabens which are preservatives used in lots of skincare products. Research shows that they might be a possible cause of breast cancer, however, it’s still unclear if this is actually the case.
Many skin care products include different types of silicon. Do note that there are some potential negative side effects connected to using silicone products such as uterine cancer. Even though there’s still more research needed on this topic, you should skip silicone-based products if possible.
So. which one of these Korean moisturizers is your favorite? We think they’re all great buys based on science-backed formulas, but our top pick for the best Korean moisturizer for dry skin is Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream.
This product is thick, hydrating, and soothing without leaving your skin feeling sticky. It has all the vital features of a good moisturizer for dry skin. The moisture it gives also lasts throughout the whole day. Features such as being free from artificial fragrances and colors make it well-suited for sensitive skin as well.