Korean skincare has been making waves recently. From TikTok videos to dermatologists, everyone is raving about K-beauty products, including basic things such as a moisturizer. It’s no surprise, though, as South Koreans are known for their elaborate skincare routine with products that use a lot of natural ingredients.
While that does call for a lot of effort and commitment, you can take small steps towards that almost religious dedication to the smooth and supple skin that Korean skincare offers. You can begin with a moisturizer as per your skin type, as any good skin care regimen takes the skin type seriously.
The good thing is that Korean beauty products have gone global. You don’t necessarily need to order them from abroad or book a flight to Seoul. Many Korean brands supply to beauty chains and are easily available online.
- Korean moisturizers use all-natural ingredients that are gentle on the skin and impart lasting benefits.
- You can find moisturizers for all skin types, including sensitive skin, which is normally prone to irritation from a variety of ingredients.
- Korean skincare products, in general, have preventive benefits as well, fixing problems before they even become ‘problems.’
- Most Korean moisturizers have a very light texture and don’t leave a greasy film on the skin after application.
- Some of the most notable Korean skincare brands for moisturizers are COSRX, Etude, and belif.
What Makes Korean Moisturizers Different?
Korean skincare or K-beauty, as it’s colloquially called, isn’t just a fad. The Koreans have it all figured out. While for years, when western companies have been focusing on cosmetics, Korean brands were focusing on using natural ingredients to enhance skin and fix problems. That’s not to say that you can’t find quality products in other markets; Korean products do seem to be in a league of their own.
Korean skincare does require a lot of products, though. The famous 10-step skin routine has its roots in Korean culture. At the same time, even the individual products are good enough to incorporate into your skincare routine. And a moisturizer is the perfect way to go about it.
The best Korean moisturizers use natural ingredients, no toxins or chemicals, and help resolve common skin problems. In other words, they go beyond just hydrating skin. Plus, many of these moisturizers are suitable for all skin types.
Speaking of skin type, if you have sensitive skin and seem to react to almost every other product, you may find some solace in Korean moisturizers. Many products are suitable for people with acne-prone skin and skin conditions like rosacea or eczema.
You’ll find all sorts of innovative yet deeply grounded in natural ingredients in Korean skincare products.
So it’s no surprise that South Korean skincare brands and products are getting global acclaim.
The Importance of Moisturizing
If you were to choose just one type of skincare product to apply for the rest of your life, what would you choose? Probably a moisturizer!
Moisturizing is essential, period. No matter what type of skin you have, you have to moisturize it daily. This is because doing so doesn’t just improve skin texture or keep it hydrated, but also helps with a slew of common skin issues.
If you have normal or oily skin and are under the impression that you don’t need moisturizing as much as those with dry skin, you’re mistaken. It won’t take long for your normal skin to become dry as it naturally loses moisture, aided by the horrific effects of environmental stress.
And as for oily skin, all that access sebum production is actually your skin’s cry for help to feed it some moisture.
Going back to how moisturizing can help prevent skin problems, it can do so by strengthening the skin barrier. Research has shown time and again that an impaired skin barrier is like a welcome mat for problems like acne, hyperpigmentation, and early aging.
Also, moisturizing is important for all, whether you’re a man or a woman, or whether you’re young or old. Speaking of old age, we tend to lose moisture more readily as we age. This makes moisturizing even more important for those over 30.
You can use all the fancy anti-aging products you want; if you’re not moisturizing in the AM and the PM, you won’t see much impact.
10 Best Korean Moisturizers
Here are the top picks for Korean brand moisturizers. Some are good for all skin types, while others are better for some skin types or may target certain conditions.
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Korean skincare products use innovative ingredients from nature to bring out the best in your skin. COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All-in-One Cream is a great example of that, as it features snail secretion filtrate, which is snail mucin. This ingredient can hydrate the skin and protect it from environmental impact, including microbes.
This is a multi-purpose cream that anyone can use, including those with sensitive skin and conditions like rosacea. The snail mucin, along with other ingredients like hyaluronic acid in this moisturizer, can soothe and repair damaged skin.
COSRX is one of the most popular Korean skincare brands that use natural and rare ingredients that are well-researched.
This product has a smooth, gel-like texture which is a little sticky. However, it absorbs well into the skin and doesn’t leave much residue. This is why you can even use it in your PM routine.
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Here’s another wonderful product for sensitive and acne-prone skin: Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream. As the name suggests, this formula is designed to soothe the redness from breakouts or skin conditions.
The key ingredient in this calming cream is Centella Asiatica extract, which is obtained from a plant native to Madagascar. This extract heals damaged skin, and more importantly, prevents scars and spots, which are a major concern for people with acne breakouts or frequently appearing pimples.
It can also be a good choice to soothe redness from sun damage. Those who are extra sensitive to UV rays can use this every day to minimize photodamage.
This Midnight Blue Calming Cream also has ceramides, which are well-known for improving skin barrier. The brand also recommends its use after intensive skin procedures or pore care.
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The innisfree Intensive Hydrating Cream with Green Tea Seed uses Jeju green tea seed oil and extract, which imparts hydrating benefits for the skin. This is one of those creams anyone can use, regardless of the skin type, including oily and combination skin.
What’s best? innisfree uses green tea and its seed oil from organic fields of the Jeju Island in South Korea. Plus, these are USDA-certified green tea plants, so you can be sure about the quality and safety.
These natural super ingredients are combined with panthenol, which is vitamin B5. It has protective properties that help improve the skin barrier to help trap in the skin’s natural moisture.
This can be used both during and evening, as the texture is quite light and not oily.
Since it’s extra hydrating, it can help those with dull skin immensely. Using it after hydrating serums may increase the water content in the skin and lock in the moisture to keep the skin supple.
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If you have dry skin, belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb is one of the best Korean moisturizers for you. It’s packed with powerful, naturally hydrating ingredients like comfrey leaf.
The company claims that it has been tested to keep skin hydrated for up to 26 hours straight. This is good news for those with overly dry skin or those whose skin gets drier in winters. You don’t need to reapply the cream multiple times a day; just once should do the job. Although, the brand recommends using it twice a day.
You can pair this with other belif products for a complete Korean skincare routine. Pair it with a hydrating serum like hyaluronic acid for instant hydration. Over time, it will improve the tone and texture of the skin as well, as it stays more hydrated.
This one is really popular in South Korea, so that goes to show that it does work and people love it.
The Etude Moistful Collagen Cream doesn’t just hydrate and moisturize, it can also increase collagen in the skin, which, in turn, targets fine lines and wrinkles. So it’s a double whammy for the aging skin, which naturally loses hydration.
The moisturizing ingredient in this cream is tocopherol or vitamin E, whose rich moisturizing impact is no secret in the world of skincare. However, it also contains baobab oil, which is responsible for collagen stimulation.
Only a pea-sized amount is enough to cover the face and neck. It has a lightweight, gel-like texture, so it’s also good for oily skin.
This is also an apt choice for those who don’t have the time or budget to use many different products for different concerns. This Etude cream can help with both moisturizing and fighting aging signs.
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Besides being good for your skin, Korean skincare products also have the best names. I Dew Care is one such brand using an intelligent pun-based name. However, you ‘moist’ take them seriously because the products are simply great.
The I Dew Care Say You Dew Moisturizing Vitamin C Gel + Cream uses lemon extract for delivering the all-rounder vitamin C to your skin. With its antioxidant properties, it can prevent free radical damage, as well as brighten skin complexion. That’s a given when you use vitamin C diligently.
This is a unique product with two different textures: cream and gel. You’re supposed to mix it before use with a small spatula that comes with it. This creates a hybrid texture that has the absorptivity of the cream and the lightness of the gel.
It also has banana extract, which can help prevent moisture loss. This is a daily use moisturizer you can also use during the day.
All I Dew Care products are paraben and cruelty-free.
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The Hada Labo Goku Jyun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist uses three different types of hyaluronic acids that help deliver hydration deep into the skin layers. It comes in a clear lotion form that’s super absorbent and appropriate for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
This product is free of fragrances, mineral oils, and any toxic elements. Think of it as a cross between a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer in terms of texture. Just applying a little amount goes a long way as it has plenty of hyaluronic acids. It’s suitable for both day and nighttime use.
If you’re familiar with mainstream skincare ingredients, you probably don’t need much convincing about the benefits of hyaluronic acid. Contrary to popular belief, even people with oily skin can benefit from hyaluronic acid, as excess oil production is a sign of dehydrated skin.
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COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap is especially great for dehydrated oily skin because it’s an oil-free moisturizing lotion. However, normal, combination and even dry skin can benefit from it. The birch sap or willow bark water concentration of a whopping 70 percent delivers deep hydration.
This is also pH balanced with a pH of 5.5, which is near the skin’s natural pH.
Add it to your AM and PM routine as the last element, after cleansers, toners, and serums. The texture is super light, and you’ll feel instantly calmer, softer skin. It can also help you offset the drying impact of certain ingredients, for example, retinol.
It comes in a pump bottle, which is pretty easy to use. You don’t need much, just a small amount for your face and neck, twice a day.
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The MakePrem Hydrate Me Micro Tension Cream can increase moisture levels in the skin by as much as 80 percent. It can help dry, normal, oil, and combination skin with its hydrating, natural ingredients that penetrate deep into the skin to deliver the best impact.
This one is also formulated with three types of hyaluronic acids, as well as raspberry extract. It can also help improve the elasticity of the skin.
The hypoallergenic formula is ideal for people with hypersensitive skin, who easily react to any potent ingredient.
Much like other Korean moisturizers on this list, this one also has an airy, lightweight texture, unlike those cheap oily moisturizers that leave a visible layer on the skin. So this can also work great if you live in a humid, hot climate.
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The Mizon Black Snail All-in-One Cream is an all-rounder moisturizing cream that can help you with a number of skin issues, aside from hydrating it. Its ingredients list is quite impressive, with the star ingredient being snail mucin (90 percent concentration). The other ingredients are plant extracts, so it’s a completely organic product.
From open pores to uneven skin tone, this Mizon cream can deal with many different problems. This is why it’s an ideal solution for those who are not that skincare-savvy and need a minimal number of products to keep their skin healthy.
Another notable ingredient is Centella Asiatica extract which offers anti-aging benefits. With a collagen boost, your skin will feel firmer and radiant. Moreover, it can also help reduce acne scars and blemishes.
This is compatible with all skin types. It’s a strong formula, so better for evening use. However, the company says it can also be used in AM.
Tips on Using Korean Moisturizers
- Even though many Korean moisturizers have high compatibility, make sure to choose a cream or lotion that suits your skin type.
- See the list of ingredients to see what benefits they offer, in particular.
- You can also find two-in-one and all-in-one moisturizing creams that can help deal with multiple skin concerns.
- If you have oily skin, go with an oil-free, lightweight moisturizer so you don’t get that greasy look on your skin.
- Expensive isn’t always better, so go with a product that meets your needs and is within your budget.
- Make sure to moisturize twice daily, as most dermatologists recommend that (regularity is key).
- If you’re vegan, pay attention to the ingredients as Korean skincare also uses animal-derived ingredients, and products aren’t normally certified or labeled as vegan.
- Moisturizer always goes last in the skincare routine, so apply it after cleansers, toners, and serums.
If you’re looking for that ‘glass skin’ Koreans have championed, start with the best Korean moisturizer. In fact, if you’re thinking of taking up a Korean skincare routine, start with a moisturizer. With safe and effective ingredients, these creams can fix dehydrated skin and brighten the complexion.
For those with fine lines or wrinkles, it’s best to go with a moisturizer that also has anti-aging benefits like collagen production that helps increase skin elasticity.
Just to be extra cautious, do a patch test when you first use the product. If it’s safe, go ahead and use it on your face and neck regularly.