The popularity of Korean skincare products has exploded in recent years as the availability of Korean skincare has expanded throughout the globe. Koreans are serious about their skincare, as evidenced by Korean skincare routines, known for layering several products, sometimes 10 or more, to treat all skin types, including dry, oily, combination, normal, and even sensitive skin on a daily basis.
Korean beauty, or K-Beauty, is here to stay, and the quality of effectiveness of Korean moisturizers is a testament to advancements made in Korean skincare products. Before we take a look at the best K-Beauty moisturizers, let’s find out what is so special about Korean skincare.
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Why Use Korean Moisturizers and Skincare?
Korean skincare is where many trends begin and is where innovative products are birthed, i.e. sheet masks, BB cream, or glass skin. Seoul, South Korea leads the way and is the center of the K-Beauty world, so to speak. This is where innovations in Korean skincare routinely occur.
Korean skin products are always at the forefront of innovation, whether your goal is jelly skin with a springy, bouncy texture or achieving cream skin with nourishing toner-moisturizer hybrids.
There is a Korean moisturizer for everyone in the following list of products. These moisturizers are best-sellers for a reason: they work by moisturizing and protecting the skin.
The Best Korean Moisturizers:
COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream is formulated with 92% Snail Secretion Filtrate (Mucin) for healthy, nourished skin. The high amount of Snail Secretion Filtrate helps to soothe irritation and evens skin tone. Snail Secretion Filtrate also repairs and hydrates with ingredients including hyaluronic acid, copper peptides, proteoglycans, antimicrobial peptides, and trace elements. This 2017 study from the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists found that snail music even has antibiotic activity.
The gel-cream formula has a somewhat tacky texture initially from the snail secretion filtrate, but your skin is left silky smooth without any greasiness or oiliness after it dries.
The brand name COSRX comes from the words “cosmetics” and “prescription (RX).” Their goal is to provide individually customized skin solutions for their customers.
Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb is clinically proven to retain moisturizer for up to 26 hours. It contains apothecary herbs and several plant extracts, including comfrey leaf, a powerful hydrating ingredient.
The moisturizer is ideal for normal to dry skin types and those concerned with the loss of elasticity and firmness. Antioxidant oat kernel extract helps soothe dry, itchy skin, and marigold extract contains flavonoids that provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb is a best-seller in Korea. It was the number one selling product in Korea’s beauty market across all categories. This cream works best on dry, flaky, and dull skin with its supple cream format formulated to “burst” when applied to the skin. It provides intense nourishing hydration leaving skin feeling soft and smooth.
Innisfree Green Tea Seed Cream is formulated with Jeju green tea and green tea seed oil for hydration and protection. The green tea and green tea seed oil come from Innisfree’s USDA-certified organic fields on Jeju Island, Korea. Green tea seed oil is rich in 16 amino acids plus antioxidants, which protect the skin from environmental aggressors.
The green tea used in this cream is chosen from 3,301 varieties specifically for its skincare benefits. The cream seals in moisture without feeling greasy or oily. The lightweight formula sinks into the skin, providing nourishing antioxidant benefits. Perfect for combo, dry, dehydrated, and even sensitive skin.
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AHC Essential Eye Cream for Face is one of the most unique Korean moisturizers on this list since it’s an eye cream that is intended to be used for the entire face. Aesthetic Hydration Cosmetics (AHC) Essential Eye Cream for Face is so popular that per AHC, one tube is sold every three seconds in Korea. You get all the benefits of specialized eye cream for your entire face in this lightweight formula.
AHC uses microemulsion technology that helps the cream sink into the skin easily and quickly. It contains plumping hyaluronic acid and improves the appearance of fine lines and dullness around the eyes and on the entire face. The formula contains a host of plant extracts, niacinamide, squalene, ceramides, five peptides, and vitamins to reduce the appearance of the signs of aging.
Apply to the t-zone, along the undereye area, on laugh lines, along the jaw and your neck, and massage in using gentle pressure to reduce dullness and for dewy, glass-like skin.
Related Post: What is a Skincare Emulsion?
Purito Deep Sea Pure Water Cream is a savior for dry, dehydrated skin. This unscented water cream is formulated with 60% deep seawater, ideal for dryness or other skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. Suitable for all skin types, even sensitive, this cream is rich in marine ingredients, such as green caviar, seaweed extract, and green tea extract. The cream supports water-oil balance and leaves your skin hydrated and soft without any thick sticky finish.
This Purito cream also contains niacinamide with brightening and oil-balancing properties, and Salicornia Herbacea Extract, a plant extract to support the skin’s barrier. Adenosine is wound healing and also supports the skin’s barrier. Sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, moisturizes and plumps the skin.
Wondering what exactly the brand name Purito means? Purito combines the words “Purify” and “To” which describe their skincare philosophy. Purify signifies creating safe and clean products through purifying natural ingredients. To means returning back to basics and the focus on strengthening and repairing the skin barrier.
Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream offers rich hydration to dry and sensitive skin year-round. It soothes red, irritated, and overheated skin to reduce the appearance of pores and reduce redness. It is formulated with yeast-derived beta-glucan to soothe and firm the skin, nourishing shea butter and ceramide 3 to form a protective layer to help prevent moisture loss. It also contains soothing jojoba seed oil, several plant extracts, and lipidure to help skin retain moisture and protect it from irritants.
Ideal for dry skin and especially sensitive skin, your skin will feel soft and smooth, never sticky after applying this moisturizer, which has a pH of 7.11. It is free of dyes, fragrances, and animal-based components.
Mizon Black Snail All in One Cream is formulated with 90% black snail mucus filtrate and 27 plant extracts such as garlic, bokbunja, elder fruit, brown sugar, and cocoa. The ingredient list is chock full of anti-aging all-stars, including peptides and ceramides to support the skin barrier and nourishing shea butter.
It also contains Centella Asiatica extract, which supports collagen formation and has anti-inflammatory benefits. This study published in Advances in Dermatology and Allergology in 2013 determined that Centella Asiatica can even be used to treat photoaging in skin.
The cream also contains all-star skincare ingredients niacinamide to help balance oil production, calm the skin, reduce the appearance of pores, and brighten the skin. Notably, niacinamide is listed as ingredient #3 in this cream, which means it is in higher concentrations than other ingredients in the product.
This moisturizer is a true multi-tasker, as it helps with healing blemishes and damaged skin, soothes and lifts dry skin while moisturizing and plumping the skin. While this cream can be applied both AM and PM since it is a richer, more concentrated formula, you may want to save it for evenings, so you don’t have to be concerned with applying makeup on top.
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Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream contains 63.4% hydrolyzed collagen and has been verified by the Environmental Working Group to contain safer, more natural ingredients. This cream delivers hydration to the skin, plumping it, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains tocopherol (vitamin E) for the ultimate in hydration.
It also contains antioxidant-rich baobab oil, supports collagen formation, minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, protects the skin barrier, and even fights acne.
Its texture is similar to a gel-cream, and it’s rich but not sticky, so you don’t need to apply a lot. It absorbs quickly without any greasy or sticky feeling and leaves skin soft and moisturized. Great for dry, normal, combination, and dehydrated oily skin.
TONYMOLY The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream is a gel cream formulated with pure fermented green tea extract instead of distilled water. Pure fermented green tea extract is high in antioxidants, has moisturizing properties, and makes up over 63% of the cream. This lightweight cream also contains lemon seed oil for antibacterial and antifungal protection and rosewood oil that soothes the skin.
The star ingredient in this product is ChungTaeJeon, a fermented Korean green tea that is fermented for over 365 days in the sun to provide lasting hydration and moisture. This cream can also be used as a 5-minute moisture mask to rescue dry, parched skin.
MAKE P:REM’s Micro Trans Moisture technology is used in their Hydrate Me Micro Tension Cream. It provides a stable delivery system of ingredients that penetrate deeper, leading to greater effectiveness of their products.
The texture of this moisturizer is described as a pudding-like gel that is quickly absorbed into the skin without any greasy or oily feeling, improving elasticity, and creating bouncy skin and a hydrated glow. This moisturizer is good for all skin types and would be especially helpful for combo/oily skin, as the texture is lightweight but still highly moisturizing.
If you were wondering what the interesting brand name “MAKE P:REM” means, it’s a combination of make, pragmatism, and remedy, i.e. make p:rem. The company’s goals for its products are functionality, effectiveness, reasonable cost, and convenience without excess packaging.
Meebak Cica Cream Age-Repair Moisturizer is formulated with Centella Asiatica, a popular ingredient in Korean skincare, to support the skin barrier, soothe and repair the skin with its amino acids and antioxidant properties. Cica in the name stands for cicatrizing or healing through scar formation. This cream is therefore ideal for damaged, sensitive, or irritated skin.
This moisturizer also contains retinol, peptide 8 complex, and niacinamide to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet around the eyes, stimulate collagen formation, improve elasticity and brighten dull and uneven skin tone. Hyaluronic acid hydrates and plumps the skin, shea butter nourishes, and Dioscorea Japonica root maintains moisture levels in the skin.
This rich yet non-greasy cream not only repairs but also protects the skin against environmental factors. Perfect for mature or dry skin but ideal for all skin types. Free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
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I Dew Care Say You Dew Moisturizing Vitamin C Gel + Cream harnesses the antioxidant power of vitamin C in a unique cream + gel formula. The top layer of the product is in gel form. The gel is formulated with lemon extract and vitamin C, both antioxidants that brighten the skin.
Lemon extract will help to reduce the appearance of imperfections and target the signs of aging, while vitamin C will even the skin tone and protect against environmental factors such as free radicals and pollution.
The bottom layer of the product is in cream form formulated with banana extract which helps skin to retain moisture. Use the spatula provided to mix together the gel and the cream to create a hybrid gel-cream for application to the face and neck. K-Beauty at its most fun, this sunny yellow moisturizer will hydrate your skin and help reduce the appearance of the signs of aging.
This vegan formula is formulated without harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and formaldehydes.
Huxley Secret of Sahara Ant-Gravity Cream is your K-Beauty anti-aging secret that minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This cream is formulated for all skin types and lifts and hydrates with 51% Sahara cactus extract. Sahara cactus is a plant that survives in harsh desert climates and helps to lock in moisture while firming the skin.
The cream also is formulated with Moroccan prickly pear cactus oil which contains vitamins E and K, and essential fatty acids for antioxidant protection. Hyaluronic acid hydrates and plumps the skin and SC-glucan supports collagen production and improves elasticity.
This antioxidant-packed cream protects from environmental stressors such as pollution and heat and supports the skin’s barrier. The texture is that of a cream oil and should be warmed between your fingers prior to applying it to your skin. This rich cream sinks in quickly and is ideal for dry skin.
Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream does exactly as the title suggests: calms and soothes redness and irritated skin from breakouts and acne, sunburn, or other environmental stressors. Midnight Blue Calming Cream helps strengthen the skin barrier and balance the skin.
Guaiazulene, a plant-based element extracted from camomile oil, is what makes this cream blue. The cream creates a protective layer over the skin. This cream also contains Centella Asiatica Extract, also known as tiger grass. Centella Asiatica Extract kick starts healing in damaged skin and also prevents scarring.
This cream is ideal for after sun or if you have oily skin and want a soothing cream. Only a small amount is needed of this concentrated cream. Nighttime is the best time to apply this cream to allow the skin to regenerate and to avoid having makeup break the protective layer.
COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap contains 70% willow bark water (birch sap), which helps treat inflammation and support the skin barrier. Birch sap is also high in amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants, and minerals.
The lotion is formulated at a skin-loving pH level of 5.5, making it ideal to use both in the morning and evening. This lotion is oil-free making it perfect for combination/oily skin types. If you have dry skin you will also benefit from birch sap’s ability to maintain hydration and moisture. The lotion absorbs quickly without any greasiness.
COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion can be used after alpha-hydroxy acid or beta-hydroxy acid chemical exfoliating treatments or vitamin C treatments. This concentrated lotion will hydrate and moisturize your skin after these exfoliating treatments.
Why You Should Moisturize Your Skin
Whether your skin is dry, oily, combo, normal or sensitive, everyone’s skin needs moisture. Moisturizers hydrate the skin and protect the skin barrier from environmental stressors and pollutants. Be sure not to over-moisturize, use about a nickel-sized amount, as too much product can clog pores and lead to breakouts.
How to Incorporate A Korean Moisturizer Into Your Skincare Routine
Be sure to wash your face prior to applying a moisturizer. If you are only applying moisturizer, apply after cleansing while your skin is still damp. This will help to seal in the hydration from your moisturizer. Be sure to use a moisturizer both in the morning (followed with sunscreen) and in the evening.
Depending on your skincare routine, you may have additional steps prior to applying a moisturizer such as applying a toner, essence, or serum. Applying a moisturizer will be one of the last steps in your skincare routine. For a basic skincare routine, follow these steps in order:
- Sunscreen (AM only)
Related Post: The Best Korean Mineral Sunscreens
How to Apply A Moisturizer to Your Face
Apply a small amount to the palm of your hand and rub your hands together to warm the product. Apply with your fingers to your cheeks in a circular motion, and to your forehead, chin in upward and outward strokes. Use your ring finger to pat moisturizer into delicate areas. Never tug or pull at your skin. Don’t forget your neck! Use gentle upward strokes on your neck.
Final Thoughts on The Best Korean Moisturizers for All Skin Types
Korean brands produce some of the best moisturizers in the world. Korean moisturizers are formulated for serious skincare and address issues such as dryness, oiliness, acne/blemishes, aging, hyperpigmentation, irritation, pollution and more. Best of all, most are very reasonably priced and easy to find online.
More Korean moisturizers based on skin type:
Thanks for reading and until next time…here’s to your good skin health!