The 5 Best Korean Moisturizers
Science-backed formulas, innovative ingredients, affordable price tags — there's a reason people are obsessed with Korean beauty products. Whether you're a longtime K-beauty obsessive or just foraying into the world of Asian skin care, finding a solid face cream is the most important place to start. But how can you tell the best Korean moisturizers from the just-okay? It all comes down to figuring out exactly what your specific skin type needs.
The beauty of Korean skin care is that brands make finding a targeted formula pretty easy. Most brands will clearly mark as to whether a product is best-suited for oily, or dry, or sensitive skin. But you can also familiarize yourself with terms and ingredients: people with dry skin should look for creams that say they're moisturizing (duh), while dehydrated skin types will want something that's hydrating (though it's worth noting many moisturizers will do both). Oily skin types should go for formulas that are oil-free and noncomedogenic, while folks with sensitive skin need to be more wary of specific ingredients (a safe rule is to avoid anything with alcohol, parabens, and synthetic fragrances and dyes).
But if all that seems like too much work, you can scroll on to scan this curated list of the five best Korean moisturizers for every skin type, ahead.
1. For Dehydrated Skin: Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb
One of the most popular moisturizers on the market, Belif's The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb is a godsend for skin in need of some serious hydration. With a refreshing whipped texture and botanical-rich formula, this cream works to hydrate skin for up to 26 hours, according to the brand. Plus, the formula is free of parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum, and synthetic dyes, in addition to being vegan.
"Best face cream in the world! ... Keeps my skin hydrated all day long. It has such a nice subtle and clean smell to it. Feels very nice on, not greasy at all. Does not cause me to break out either," raves one fan. Another calls it "the best skincare product possibly ever."
2. For Dry Skin: AKEP:REM Hydrate me. Micro Tension Moisturizing Cream
This moisturizer from MAKEP:REM has a gel-cream texture that feels heavenly on dry (or really any type of) skin. Enriched with skin-strengthening ceramides and plant-based oils, it works to nourish, plump, and soften skin that's feeling irritated or tight. Skin will look dewy and healthy, but never oily, and the lightweight gel texture ensures no greasy residue is left behind.
I'm going to be honest — this moisturizer and Belif's Moisturizing Bomb are both great for dry and dehydrated skin types. But because this one contains a unique technology that encourages skin to moisturize itself over time, it might be the better choice for dry skin, since dry skin is a type that requires more long-term management (whereas dehydrated skin is a condition).
3. For Oily Skin: COSRX Oil Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap
Oil-free and lightweight, this moisturizing lotion from Cosrx is just the ticket for oily skin types. The main ingredient in this moisturizer is birch sap, a vitamin-rich skin-soother that nourishes and calms, which comprises 70 percent of the formula. It'll provide just enough moisture to keep skin smooth and soft without exacerbating oil production.
Though this moisturizer is technically lightweight enough to be worn under a heavier-duty face cream, oily skin types who find most lotions and creams too heavy or greasy for their skin will love using this instead.
4. For Acne-Prone Skin: Dr.Belmeur Clarifying Moisturizer
This unique clarifying moisturizer from The Face Shop's Dr.Belmeur line works to keep skin balanced by helping it maintain optimal water/oil levels, which is crucial for preventing breakouts in acne-prone skin. The ingredients in the formula also work to moisturize skin and soothe signs of irritation, which can help current breakouts heal faster. Free of synthetic fragrance, alcohol, propylene glycol, and other common irritants, this hypoallergenic moisturizer is even safe for use on sensitive skin.
5. For Sensitive Skin: Atopalm Intensive Moisturizing Cream
Created by a doctor looking for a solution for his young son's sensitive skin, this gentle moisturizing cream is ideal for dry, finicky skin types. It hydrates skin and helps strengthen its natural moisture barrier by replenishing lost lipids, so skin stays protected from external aggressors. This also helps prevent the loss of moisture in the long term, and makes it an excellent option for encouraging post-procedure skin to repair itself.
The formula is free of parabens, mineral oil, ethanol, and propylene glycol — a common allergen — and instead contains plant-based ingredients like jojoba oil and olive oil to keep skin moisturized, and portulaca to soothe irritation. It's worth noting that this cream does contain fragrance, but it's on the very end of the ingredients list, and sensitive-skinned reviewers dealing with everything from rosacea to perioral dermatitis have reported dramatic relief.
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