June 30, 2020

5 Best Korean Moisturizers for Dry, Oily, and Combination Skin

Best-Korean- Moisturizers

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Your essenceserum, or sheet masks might be more forgiving on your skin if you miss a day or two.

But the standard is different for the 10-step Korean skincare routine. The essential step? Moisturizer.

Without it, you’re bound to ask why your skin isn’t improving.

Many people are envious of the flawless radiance seen in Korean skin.

It’s true that genetics influence skin characteristics.  But that isn’t the only reason. We can take a step-by-step approach to that coveted complexion by doing what they do every day.

And because your skin works hard for you, it’s important to show it a little love. 

I rounded up the best skincare Korean beauty moisturizers and categorized them based on skin compatibility so it’s easier to find the perfect one for you.

5 Best Korean Moisturizers

Our Pick

It’s not easy to pick an overall best when it comes to skin care Korean products, but this one is a no-brainer. Packed with quality ingredients, this is the best Korean moisturizer for every type of skin and season.

If you want to subscribe to the 10-step Korean skin care routine, this is a good place to start.

The Experience

It might seem like a heavy formula, but this Korean moisturizer is actually a lightweight cream. It almost feels like a water gel. Because of this, it sinks right into the skin upon application.

Users have noted that this has no added fragrance. This is good news for those with sensitive skin since fragrances can cause irritation.

Because of it’s lightweight feature, this is the best Korean moisturizer to use for both morning and evening.

The Mizon Black All in One Snail Repair Cream is a gentle product that helps with a lot of skin problems including blemishes, scars, and dark spots. It also improves complexion by decreasing pore size and smoothening out fine lines.

Because of its lightness, many users have used this moisturizing face cream as a primer.

What’s Inside

The black filtrate formulates 90 percent of the product. Apart from resilient species origins, it is also able to survive harsh conditions.

This snail slime is a powerful ingredient for skin rejuvenation, which makes it perfect for Korean moisturizers.

It boosts collagen production and repairs skin cells. The anti-aging properties make it good for users of all ages.

Aside from that, this cream has a lot of antioxidants that include cocoa, mushroom, and grape extract, as well as garlic. Sounds like ingredients for a weird dish you don’t want to try out, but trust me, they do wonders on your skin.

What’s Not Inside

Unlike other creams that come in a pot, this one does not include a spatula for application. This means that you have to use your fingers, which can be unhygienic for obvious reasons.

But the good news is that it also has no parabens, fragrance, or artificial color.

If you want some more detailed info, please check out our Mizon Black Snail Cream review here.

Pros

  • Contains 90 percent black snail filtrate that rejuvenates the skin
  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Artificial color-free
  • Contains a lot of antioxidants
  • Addresses multiple skin problems

Cons

  • No applicator

Best for Dry Skin

People who have dry, damaged skin are more likely to reach for moisturizers. This is obvious because the benefits of a moisturizer work wonders for dry skin.

The most important factor to consider for dry skin is not only the product’s ability to hydrate but also to keep the moisture in throughout the day. This can be challenging, but the Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream is up for it.

The Experience

At first, the moisturizing cream will feel heavy and thick. But after a few moments, the cream is completely absorbed and your skin feels plump without any greasiness. That’s why this is the clear choice for treating dry skin.

Compared to other ultra-hydrating moisturizers out there, this feels almost water-like.  This sensation can calm and soothe your dry skin while offering super aqua moisture.

And because the skin absorbs the cream so well, it does not leave any greasy residue or a heavy feeling. This is a hard balance to achieve when it comes to hydrating creams, but this product does it well.

Floral Fragrance Fun

The first thing you will notice upon opening the product is its scent. It has an added floral fragrance some people don’t mind, but other users have reported it can be too much.

Depending on your sensitivity to the smell, you might think twice about this product. An important thing to note is that the smell lasts throughout the day.

What's Inside

The first ingredient you’ll probably notice is water. This is common enough, but in actuality, this moisturizer uses hydro-ionized mineral water.

This differs from ordinary water because of six extra minerals: manganese, sodium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and calcium. No wonder it has that super aqua effect.

It also comes with squalene which is a substance known for balancing oil production. Its primary purpose is keeping moisture at a healthy level.

Pros

  • Uses hydro-ionized mineral water
  • Moisturizes without the greasy feeling
  • Hydrates dry skin and keeps the moisture in throughout the day

Cons

  • Scented
  • Contains silicone

Best for Sensitive Skin

Finding the right skincare products for sensitive skin is not easy. A lot of moisturizing creams may offer promising benefits, but sometimes, it does more harm than good. Your skin isn’t always compatible.

This is where Klairs’ calming cream comes to the rescue. Users with sensitive and acne-prone skin praise this product’s soothing effects.

The Experience

What’s great about the Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream moisturizer is its ability to sit well with sensitive skin. Yes, even with rosacea and eczema. While some users experience irritation at times, this face cream isn’t all bad. In fact, many can attest to its compatibility with super delicate skin.

We suggest using the applicator instead of your fingers for application. This is because heat from the fingers lessens the cream’s cooling sensation.

The heat is also another reason why we recommend using this after sun exposure. It can help sunburns heal easier and provides the soothing effect users rave about. It also gives the same effect to irritated skin caused by shaving or laser procedures.

What’s Inside

This Korean moisturizer boasts its Centella Asiatica ingredient. Used for generations in India, the herbaceous plant produces anti-aging and anti-oxidative properties.

A 2008 study published in Experimental Dermatology discusses the benefits of this plant. With continuous treatment, centella asiatica photoages skin and prevents skin aging. What a treat indeed!

Another note-worthy ingredient is guaiazulene, a dark blue hydrocarbon that calms the skin. This is perhaps what gives the product its famous blue color. It also has anti-inflammatory properties so for sensitive skin, that’s a plus for you.

What’s Not Inside

You’ll be happy to know this face cream is made cruelty-free. You can also leave your beauty worries behind if you’re thinking of any harmful ingredients like Ethanol, parabens, and silicon. 

It also has no artificial coloring or artificial fragrance that usually don’t sit well with sensitive skin.

Pros

  • Perfect for sensitive skin
  • Soothing
  • No artificial coloring or fragrance
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Expensive for its size
  • Does not effectively reduce the appearance of red spots

Best for Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, you might be thinking twice about moisturizing. Isn’t your skin oily enough? Why pile more things on there?

But as it turns out, moisturizing may be the solution to your problems. This is counterintuitive, but skipping the moisturizer can cause more problems. Your keyword here is hydration. And quite frankly, more moisture simply means more water. And water isn’t harmful at all.

This moisturizer has birch sap, packed with all the goodness you need to hydrate the skin. So if you’re looking for a solution to sebum overproduction, this might be the best Korean moisturizer for you.

The Experience

If you’re looking for a good summer moisturizer, the COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion is a go-to product. You won’t have any greasy residue issues since this absorbs into your skin quickly.

In addition, it is a lightweight moisturizer that works for all skin types. But it is still perfect for tackling oiliness because it can hydrate without feeling heavy. In fact, you can add on as much of the product as you want since the finish will feel the same thanks to complete absorption

What most users love about this product is its satin finish. The tea tree oil component also helps soothe the skin. However, some users feel the tea tree scent is not everyone’s cup of tea. (Pun intended)

What’s In a Name?

While the name suggests it’s oil-free, this is not the case. A perusal of the ingredients list shows that it has two oil types: lemon peel and tea tree oil. Although to be fair, these are listed at the end of the list, which means they may only be in trace amounts.

What’s Inside

COSRX emphasizes the use of Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice in this particular moisturizer. Don’t let the name intimidate you though. You can also refer to it as birch sap or birch juice.

This is what makes this moisturizing lotion such a strong bet for oily skin types. Birch juice contains 11 amino acids, antioxidants, and minerals that help hydrate the skin.

You might be familiar with hyaluronic acid, a common hydrating ingredient in a lot of skin care products. This is even more powerful than that thanks to its high water content.

What’s Not Inside

This product contains no parabens and sulfate. There is also no added fragrance. The scent comes naturally from the tea tree oil, which happens to be one of the ingredients.

Pros

  • Contains birch sap that treats irritated skin
  • Does not have a greasy residue
  • Does not clog pores
  • Contained in a pump bottle for easier control

Cons

  • Has tea tree scent
  • Not for those who are sensitive to moisturizing alcohols

Best for Combination Skin

Balance. That’s what this moisturizer offers. For those with combination skin, this will do wonders for you. Since this skin type is both dry and oily, it can be hard to find the right middle-ground.

Luckily, this balancing cream from Innisfree does just that.

The Experience

As a balancing cream, this product is neither too thin nor too thick. It has a lightweight formula but is also deeply moisturizing. It is able to hydrate the skin without leaving any greasiness.

Apart from the texture, users also love the cream’s scent. The fragrance is so strong it lingers even after applying other skin care products.

And if you’re thinking allergic reactions and skin irritations, don’t worry. Users share the strong benefits this cream provides. Even with delicate skin, this Korean moisturizer is a good choice.

What’s Inside

The researchers for this cream studied about 2,400 varieties of green tea (Camellia sinensis) before getting the right one. They chose one extracted from fresh leaves in Jeju Island, a South Korean paradise frequented by tourists.

Jeju Island is renowned for its beauty and abundant plant life.

The benefits of the tea’s extract for skin health have been proven by many studies before. A 2003 study from the Medical College of Georgia shared how the extract is linked to skin cell rejuvenation.

Because it is rich in antioxidants, it is an excellent anti-aging substance. This is a highly important characteristic to look for in moisturizers because we seek to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

Aside from antioxidants, it also has Vitamins B and E. The former helps increase skin elasticity and collagen production, while the latter promotes cell regeneration.

Pros

  • Formula is neither too light nor too heavy
  • Paraben-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Deeply moisturizing without being greasy

Cons

  • Not the best choice for colder months because it is thinner than most moisturizers

What are the Benefits of Using a Moisturizer?

Moisturizers not only hydrate the skin but also serve as a protective barrier throughout the day. At night, it provides nourishment for your skin since cleansing strips away natural oils.

No matter the skin type, every person would benefit from moisturizing.

This is even more evident in those with dry skin who lack moisture. The water in hyaluronic acid, for example, benefits all types of skin since it contains more water-moisture effects without any greasiness.

Those who moisturize have less chances of developing premature aging symptoms and so are more likely to gain youthful radiant beauty. Face creams can help prevent lines from forming because of their well-researched ingredients.

They help the skin heal at a faster rate. With the amount of pollution and UV rays exposure, we need to be more conscious of how we protect our skin.

Choose a moisturizer that goes well with your type of skin. The top Korean moisturizers above are great options to start with.

It is also important to choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer (does not clog pores) to do justice for your skin.

As with any beauty skincare product, moisturizers are commonly used during the day and before going to sleep. You may also consider the season when choosing a moisturizer because temperature plays a role in its effects on your skin.

A Few Reminders To Share for Every Skin Type

Dry Skin

With dry skin, moisture is a must. Beauty doesn’t just happen because you have the best skin. Beauty also matters most when you know what to apply that’s perfect for your skin’s needs.

What you should look out for are Korean beauty products with good hydrating properties and can keep the moisture in for long periods.

Some ingredients to take note of include hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Although, hyaluronic acid would be the ideal option because of its high water content thus, better moisture.

While we recommend the Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream for dry skin, another product also deserves a special mention for all its benefits: The COSRX Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream and we’ve made a detailed review just for you guys.

Oily Skin

As discussed earlier, moisturizing is essential for all skin types. In many cases, this happens because the skin is trying to work harder to produce more oil and protect itself.

Applying moisturizer allows the skin to relax more and produce less oil because it already senses the presence of a moisture barrier. Too much oil production leads to breakouts. So giving your skin a break keeps the acne at bay.

The important thing to remember in choosing a moisturizer for this skin type is to stick to those with little to no oil components as these can worsen the oiliness.

Sensitive Skin

For this skin type, it is recommended to find what substances trigger skin irritation. Beauty also means you have to be smart by subscribing to the best choice.

By reviewing the ingredients list first, you have less chances of skin irritation. Look for Korean moisturizers whose ingredients support your skin type.

It is also best to stay away from moisturizers with added fragrance because they can easily irritate sensitive skin. Subscribe to gentle products that are dermatologically-tested.

Look out for the following as they can trigger skin problems for some people:

• Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

• Sodium Laureth Sulfate

• Artificial Fragrance

• Formaldehyde

While we recommend Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream for sensitive skin, in case you’d like a deep dive into a different product, we’ve made a comprehensive review for the COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream right here.

Combination Skin

When looking for the perfect moisturizer for you, pick one that is neither too hydrating nor too drying. I know your skin is hard to deal with because it is characterized by the worst of both worlds.

Find the proper balance. Choose a product that works well with your skin issues. Not all combination skin types are the same. Some may experience more problems with the T-zone, while others struggle more with dry areas.

However, if you really can’t find any product that solves your problems, it might be time to use two types of moisturizers for different areas of the face.

Summary

Choosing the right moisturizer entails a lot of research and trial.

My lightweight moisturizer of choice is the COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap, which is great for the hotter months.

However, if you’re looking for a heavier Korean moisturizer that suits colder weather, it’s preferable to go for the Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream.

Overall, the Mizon Black All in One Snail Repair Cream trumps all other Korean moisturizers listed because of its skin rejuvenation abilities, giving you glowing skin.

But as with a near perfect beauty glow goal, it’s good to read the ingredients first and do some research too. You might not be a chemist, but you sure can sure seem like one when you’ve mastered the labels.

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.