5 Best Korean Moisturizers for Combination Skin

One of the major trends in skincare right now is Korean branded items. These brands make their products with quality ingredients that are also cheap but effective.

Do you have a combination skin type? You might experience both dry and oily skin making it difficult to treat. In this review, we help you sort through a few Korean products that might be suitable.

Best Korean Moisturizers for Combination Skin: Our Top 5 Picks

In a hurry? According to us, the best Korean moisturizers for combination skin on the market right now are:

1. Best Overall : Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion With Birch Sap

Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion With Birch Sap

  • Texture provides hydration.
  • Vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.
  • Antioxidants for rejuvenation and fighting hyperpigmentation.
  • A strong herbal scent.

The Cosrx lotion with birch sap is oil-free, paraben-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. Without added oils, you can rest easy knowing it won’t clog your pores. It doesn’t contain dangerous chemicals either.

This is a light, non-greasy lotion with strong hydrating properties due to the birch sap at 70 percent. This naturally occurring component has a lot of antioxidants and vitamins B and C, making it great for replenishing skin cells and decreasing hyperpigmentation. Skin conditions such as acne can cause the latter.

Another plus with the Cosrx lotion is that it comes in a pump bottle which helps you avoid transferring bacteria from your hands into the container.

Users report that this birch sap lotion is ideal for combination skin since it doesn’t leave your face oily but still hydrated, and it’s not irritating on the skin, either. Some customers like the natural herb scent from the birch sap, but others think that it’s too strong.

2. Best Long-Lasting : Belif the True Cream Aqua Bomb

Belif the True Cream Aqua Bomb

  • Lightweight, oil-free cream that doesn’t make you break out.
  • Vegan-friendly brand.
  • Requires very little when applying.
  • Quite expensive.

This is a lightweight, oil-free cream from the belif brand, known for not testing its products on animals, which is appreciated. It’s formulated without synthetic fragrances too, making it great for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

There are a lot of herbal components in this moisturizer, such as lady’s mantle, which is rich in antioxidants to help fight off the effects of aging.

It’s a slightly expensive product, but customers think it’s worth the money in general. A small amount goes a long way when it comes to application, so you shouldn’t have to buy another bottle anytime soon.

An important note is that this product also contains denatured alcohol as its fifth ingredient, which is drying for the skin just like all alcohols. Some buyers also feel that it’s too thick and can make the skin feel a bit cakey as a result.

Even though the manufacturer is advertising the product as free from synthetic fragrances, the cream has a smell that customers describe as fresh but a little lingering. If strong scents bother you, keep this in mind.

3. Best for Cooling : Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream

Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream

  • Lightweight creamy texture that shouldn’t clog your pores.
  • Rich in hydrating vitamin E and antioxidants.
  • Leaves the skin soft without feeling oily.

This Nature Republic moisturizer is specifically made for combination skin. It has a thin, creamy texture that offers your skin a sufficient amount of moisture without weighing it down and causing breakouts in the process.

Customers feel like the cream leaves the skin feeling soft and they also enjoy the cooling sensation it offers.

The theme of the Aqua Max is water. You can see this in the ingredients and the first one on the list is seawater. On top of that, there are about 27 marine extracts in this cream, including kelp, seaweed, and algae. These water-living plants are rich in vitamin E which is great for hydration, along with other minerals and vitamins.

Marine plants such as seaweed and algae also have anti-inflammatory effects and lots of antioxidants that help fight the damage caused by free radicals that might lead to cancer.

However, it also includes some harsh ingredients including methylisothiazolinone that’s labeled as a human skin allergen or toxicant, even when used in low doses. The moisturizer contains coloring agents too, as well as a rather strong fragrance, according to users, which some people might be sensitive to.

4. Best for Dryness : Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Cream

Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Cream

  • Green tea extract that’s anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants.
  • Contains deeply hydrating shea butter.
  • Fresh and clean scent.

This moisturizer from Innisfree has a light, creamy texture and is very moisture-rich, which users are praising as a great combination.

It includes green tea extract at 70 percent which is rich in antioxidants and also considered as an anti-inflammatory. This should help fight the effects of aging on the skin and the anti-inflammatory quality of green tea reduces redness and inflamed pores.

Another key ingredient is shea butter, which is immensely hydrating for the skin. Do note that this component can be an acne trigger, however, so be careful if your skin is overly prone to breakouts.

What’s less ideal is that this cream contains glycerin, which is drying and not great for combination skin. There’s also cyclopentasiloxane in the Green Tea Balancing Cream which is a silicone product. These materials add a barrier to the skin that can clog your pores.

It’s free from parabens and dehydrating alcohols, however, which is a benefit for the combination skin type.

The scent is popular with customers, since it’s fresh but not overpowering. Some users feel like the cream stays on the skin as a rather sticky layer and doesn’t sink into the skin properly. People with more acne-prone skin also feel like this cream sometimes trigger pimples.

5. Best Budget-Friendly Choice : Elizavecca Aqua Hyaluronic Acid Water Drop Cream

Elizavecca Aqua Hyaluronic Acid Water Drop Cream
  • More affordable than many others.
  • Hyaluronic acid and aloe vera keep your skin calm and moisturized.
  • Cream absorbs easily into the skin.

On a budget but looking for a high-performing moisturizer? The Aqua Water Drop Cream is on the cheap side but still moisturizes your skin while preventing acne.

It includes hyaluronic acid which helps build the protective layer of your skin. You can find this acid naturally in the skin, but it starts decreasing when we turn 30 which is why it’s great to add into your self care regimen.

There’s also extract from the skin rejuvenating aloe vera plant in this cream, as well as red ginseng which has hydrating properties.

Customers love the soothing and calming effect this cream has on the skin, perhaps due to the healing properties of aloe vera. The moisturizer also absorbs into the skin nicely.

But some think that the scent is too strong and smells like a heavy perfume.

Note that this product has glycerin that might dry your skin. It’s not vegan-friendly either since it has milk protein extract listed as one of its ingredients.

Best Korean Moisturizers for Combination Skin infographic

Moisturizer for Combination Skin: Buyer’s Guide

What Does Combination Skin Look Like?

woman sitting in front of a mirror applying face cream

These are some characteristics to help you determine if you have combination skin:

  • You suffer from multiple skin issues at the same time.
  • There are some oily areas on your face. Usually, these acne-prone spots are on or around your T-zone, meaning the forehead, nose, and chin.
  • You also have dry spots on your skin. Typically around your cheeks.

What To Consider When Buying Moisturizers for Combination Skin

Choosing a moisturizer for combination skin comes with challenges but it’s not impossible. Keep the following features in mind: 

Find the Middle Ground

Moisturizers made for either dry or oily skin aren’t suitable for combination skin.

Since people with combination skin need to both deeply moisturize the dry areas of their face, and control the oil on their T-zone, what you’re looking for is something that brings these two things together.

Look for products that are oil-free so they don’t clog your pores and give more of a lightweight feel.

Shine-control is another feature to be on the lookout for. Other names you’ll find for this feature is sebum- or oil-controlling. These are basically components that help control the amount of oil that appears on your face throughout the day.

For this, skin care products might feature these popular ingredients, known for their controlling properties including: witch hazel, different types of clay such as kaolin and bentonite, and hyaluronic acid.

Witch hazel functions as a gentle astringent/toner, the clays are deep cleansing and the hyaluronic acid provides a plump like glow to diminish the shine effect.

Texture

The texture of the moisturizer should be lightweight, making lotions, serums, and gels great for combination skin. Cream based moisturizers are okay, so long as they’re not too thick and pore clogging.

Since other parts of your skin are dry and maybe even patchy, moisturizers for oily skin are too thin and won’t give these areas enough moisture. They also tend to be harsh on the skin and can be irritating for the drier areas of your face.

Ingredients

Now, you want your moisturizer to include some hydrating and soothing ingredients. These are a few popular components:

  • Aloe vera: It’s a natural moisturizer, also great at soothing the skin and reducing redness or irritation.
  • Vitamin B: Reduces dryness and inflammation in the skin, and helps the body renew skin cells.
  • Vitamin E: Stabilizes your skin barrier. If you have a damaged skin barrier, it can lead to dryness, sensitivity, and acne.
  • Retinol: Retinol is part of the vitamin A family. It’s great for hydration and has anti-aging properties.
  • Non-comedogenic oils: Things like jojoba oil make for one of the few oils recommended for combination skin as it won’t clog your pores.
  • Green tea: Has a hydrating effect on your skin and offers a boost in antioxidants to fight aging. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, making it beneficial for sensitive spots.

Also, you want your moisturizer to be able to absorb oil from your skin, prevent your pores from clogging, and fight the bacteria responsible for acne. Look for these ingredients:

  • Lady’s mantle: This plant is rich in antioxidants, and has natural exfoliating properties.
  • Vitamin C: It’s a natural exfoliator that also brightens your skin and is great for combatting acne scars or hyperpigmentation.
  • Tea tree oil: This non-comedogenic oil is antibacterial, too. It helps fight acne for this reason and only requires a very small amount, otherwise it can be too drying.

Things to Avoid

Now, since combination skin has dry areas, you should avoid harsh ingredients including: petrolatum, glycerin, urea, lanolin, and dimethicone. If your skin dries out, your body might produce extra oil to make up for that leading to an unwanted breakout.

Benzoyl peroxide is antibacterial, which means that it can help fight acne by reducing the bacteria on your skin that causes pimples. However, the most common side effect of this substance is that it leads to dry, flaky skin.

Salicylic acid is another exfoliator that keeps dead cells from clogging your pores, but one of its most common side effects is dryness, so it’s best to avoid it.

Any form of alcohol is also too drying.

Parabens are preservatives used in skincare products. Some research points to parabens as a possible cause of breast cancer, however, this is still a debated topic. If this is a concern for you, just keep it in mind when shopping.

Final Verdict

a woman in a white bathrobe holding a jar of face cream

Korean skin care is both budget-friendly and high-performing, giving you a lot of bang for your buck. These are some of the best moisturizers for combination skin that Korean brands have to offer.

But our ultimate favorite must be the Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion With Birch Sap. Not only does it have a lightweight, non-greasy texture, 70 percent of the lotion consists of natural birch sap filled with hydrating vitamins and antioxidants. On top of it all it’s oil-free and doesn’t clog your pores.

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