Many things could be contributing to your dry skin — a weakened barrier, hormonal changes, the weather, or even dehydration have all been known to cause dryness. Korean beauty, however, has pretty much taken an oath to knock out dry skin one scaly patch at a time. The best Korean skin-care products for dry skin aim to improve your skin's barrier function, so it can do a better job of keeping moisture in and irritants out, provide an instant boost of hydration and bounciness, and leave a thin, protective layer on the skin — think of this like a moat around the fortress that your skin's own barrier is meant to be.
You've probably heard about the 10-step Korean skin-care routine, and I won't blame you if that feels too much for you. But the reasoning behind this extensive regimen is that
Korean beauty products are designed to work best when you layer them. And, you don't have to start using 10 products to see more hydrated skin, layering just a few of the right skin care products works amazingly well for treating dry skin.
Layering your skin care might sound like tricky business but is actually quite simple — you always want to apply your products from thinnest to thickest. To illustrate this a bit, imagine if you applied your night cream
before your serum. Your serum might be filled to the brim with skin-loving ingredients, but it will have to make it through a hearty, viscous layer of cream before those ingredients even have a chance to reach your skin. But, if you apply your serum first, your night cream actually helps seal in your serum, preventing it from evaporating while you sleep.
While layering products is what gives Korean beauty routines their edge, this technique will be much more effective if you choose the right Korean beauty products for dry skin. After all, skin care is all about customizing a routine that works best for your skin's individual needs — and these 13
hydrating Korean skin care products are a great place to begin! 1 Layer A Hydrating Essence Under Your Serum To Boost Its Benefits
Essences are an
essential part of any Korean skin-care routine. Think of them as light serums, packed with nourishing and hydrating ingredients. Their light consistency makes them absorb easily into the skin for the perfect boost before applying serum or moisturizer. COSRX’s cult-favorite essence is packed with 96% snail mucin to nourish and repair, and sodium hyaluronate to hydrate. It’s also alcohol-free. According to one fan: “I have dry eczema type skin. My skin is a little red each morning and food sensitive. My skin reacts to everything. I put this on each morning before my moisturize, it’s so soothing and calming to my face and neck. I apply it again in the evening and I can say that I now wake up with no redness or irritation.” 2 Add A Hyaluronic Acid Serum For A Powerful Punch Of Moisture
serum from Mizon is packed with hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant that draws moisture to the skin. It also contains antioxidant-rich extracts that nourish the skin, including soothing adenosine. To get the most bang for your buck, apply this fragrance-free serum after an essence. According to one fan: “I've been suffering from flaky dry skin lately and nothing has been helping, no matter how much moisturizer I slather on. [...] I decided to order this and I've used it twice and my dry skin is GONE! It's seriously like magic.” 3 Improve Your Skin's Natural Barrier With This Protective Cream
When your skin's natural moisture barrier becomes weakened, it has trouble retaining moisture. This cream contains 41% rice bran to improve the natural skin barrier, as well as ceramides to lock in moisture without looking oily. Despite its richness, customers confirm that it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy.
According to one fan: “This is an amazing product. Softened and brightened my skin and made it so smooth and clear. Very hydrating too. Great to soften feet too.” 4 Cleanse, Tone & Refresh Your Skin With An Alcohol-Free Cleansing Water
If your skin is chronically dry, washing too often could be making it worse. Replacing your morning wash with a cleansing water — which are similar to
micellar waters — could help keep your skin become more balanced and hydrated. The Neogen Real Flower Cleansing Water Rose is formulated specifically for dry skin, and can be used to cleanse your skin in the morning, as your toner at night, or to refresh your face throughout the day. This cleansing water is made with rose water, aloe, and hyaluronic acid, all of which help to hydrate and soothe skin. And, the bottle contains real rose petals that swirl around when you shake it! According to one fan: “I've been using the Neogen rose cleansing water for about 2+ years. I LOVE it because it makes my skin luminous.” 5 Wake Up To More Hydrated Skin With This Cult-Favorite Overnight Mask
Our skin loses a lot of moisture while we sleep. Air conditioner, heating, and even just rubbing against the pillow all suck the moisture right out of you. Sleeping packs have long been a Korean beauty secret for waking up dewy. This unbelievably popular
sleeping mask by Laneige goes on as a cool, calming, thick gel and quickly dries into a thin, clear layer that protects and hydrates your skin through the night. According to one fan: “I love this product so much. It’s so moisturizing but not in an oily way. It melts into my skin and leaves me feeling soft and refreshed. I have very dry and sensitive skin so when I’m not moisturized I’m dry like the Sahara and when I moisturize I breakout. It’s so hard to find products that work for me. This one does fully and I couldn’t be any happier- especially at this price!!!” 6 Remove Makeup & Sunscreen Without Drying Your Skin
deep cleansing oil is free of mineral oil and parabens, which can irritate sensitive skin (which often goes hand-in-hand with dry skin). Instead, this cleansing oil uses botanical oils — including black bean oil, black sesame oil, and black currant seed oil — to gently remove makeup, sunscreen, and excess sebum while moisturizing and protecting the skin. It even works on waterproof makeup without stripping skin. Use this oil cleanser alone, or as the first step of a Korean double cleanse, followed by a water-based gel or foam cleanser. According to one fan: “This cleanser changed my life [...] After years of in and off severe acne, I finally decided to try a new route and chose a cleansing oil for my dry sensitive skin. I was nervous it would make everything worse but after over a month, my skin has never looked better and it is never dry!!” Editor’s note: You can find more amazing Korean oil cleansers here. 7 Use A Gentle Cleanser (That’s Even Safe For Sensitive & Acne-Prone Skin)
Many cleansers can leave skin feeling tight, which is a sign that your cleanser is drying out your skin. This
Etude House SoonJung 5.5 Foam Cleanser is designed for acne-prone, sensitive, and dry skin in mind so it deeply cleans and moisturizes at the same time. Panthenol, madecassoside, and the skin-friendly 5.5 pH level further protect the skin barrier. According to one fan: “I went from skeptical to wow this really works for me. It works for my sensitive, dry skin. I don't break out at all. It leaves my face feeling very soft and clean. I will say that to me it's not a foam as stated. It's more like a cream. I have no complaints and will be reordering once I run out.” 8 Stick To Alcohol-Free Toners That Won’t Strip Your Skin
Applying toner is an important part of any skin-care routine because it rebalances your skin's pH level, which can be disrupted when you wash your face. But many toners contain alcohol and cause more harm and irritation to the skin than they're worth. The
Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner is alcohol-free, and contains fermented yeast, lactic acid, and BHAs to promote faster cellular turnover and gentle exfoliation. According to one fan: “I’ve been using this toner for about a week and have seen improved skin texture and reduced redness. It is a “wipe off” toner rather than just a spray and go one. [...] Does not burn or irritate my sensitive/dry skin.” 9 Relax With A Moisturizing Sheet Mask Made With Skin-Soothing Aloe
When it comes to affordable facial treatments, you can't do much better than TonyMoly's classic line of I'm Real
sheet masks. For dry skin specifically, go with the aloe formula, which soothes and moisturizes dry skin in a matter of mere minutes. Pro tip: Store it in the fridge for an even more cooling and refreshing sensation when applied. According to one fan: “I have SUPER sensitive skin, that's also on the dry side. These soothe, plump and moisturize my skin like no other. Smells great and my skin is noticeably softer after use. I recently had a very bad reaction to an expensive face cream, and using these for 2 days in a row is what saved my skin. Super soothing and hydrating. Love it.” 10 Protect Your Skin With This Moisturizing SPF
Sun can do a
lot of damage to our skin, and you can add chronic dryness to the list! And unlike many sunscreens on the market, which can feel irritating or drying — particularly on already-dry skin — this COSRX sunscreen actually imparts your skin with hydration, thanks to aloe and vitamin E in the formula. An impressive SPF of 50 keeps your skin properly protected from damaging UV rays. The texture is light and absorbs quickly, so it wears extremely well under makeup! According to one fan: “This product does not leave a white cast on my medium brown skin at all [...] and I feel that it is actually quite nourishing on my skin, and even helps my skin feel softer. I would describe the finish as silken - it is definitely not matte but it isn't super shiny either, rather it leaves a soft glow or inner sheen on the skin which looks very natural and healthy (particularly in winter).” 11 Gently Exfoliate With A Peeling Gel Instead Of A Scrub
When your skin is super dry, you'll often have a layer of dried out and dead skin cells stuck to the surface of your skin, preventing your moisturizer and other products from working their best. The
Floria Peeling Gel gently removes dead skin cells without the irritation or friction of a scrub — something dry skin type should stay far, far away from! Massage this gel into dry skin after cleansing, and watch your dead skin cells ball up with the product and get washed down the drain. According to one fan: “I am on my 4th bottle. I have extremely dry skin and nothing has worked for me up until I purchased this. At first I was doubtful that it’s actually taking off dead skin so I put on rubber gloves and rubbed the product between them. It got foamy and took much, much longer to ball up than it does on my face and they were tiny sand sized pieces. On my face it starts peeling immediately and comes off in huge pieces. My face is now softer than it has ever been.” 12 Add A Moisture Boost & Soothe Irritation With This Gel Cream
Whether you use it alone or layer it with another moisturizer, this affordable
gel cream soothes and improves the skin barrier with hero ingredients like madecassoside, allantoin, sodium hyaluronate, and panthenol. The gentle formula is made for your face, but you can go ahead and apply it anywhere else that could use softening up, like your cuticles, knuckles, and even the heels of your feet. According to one fan: “My skin had developed some dry patches and had become somewhat irritated and sensitive after sudden changes in the weather. The cream helped to soothe the irritation and calmed the itchiness and sensitivity. It also helped with the dry patches. It has a cream-gel texture, sinks easily into the skin and doesn't leave an oily film. My skin felt soft and smooth after applying the cream.” 13 Give Your Eye Area Extra Attention
No matter how great your face cream is, don't forget that your eye area has different needs. The area around your eyes has fewer oil glands than other parts of your face, so they really do need some extra love while not causing irritation. This
eye cream from Etude House is a cult favorite for good reason — the formula contains a silky, luxurious blend of hydrolyzed collagen, squalane, and glycerin to nourish and moisten your eye area. According to one fan: “This was moisturizing and did not cause any milia or break outs. It has a creamy texture and is suitable for my sensitive eyes. [...] Excellent value as the size is much more generous as others in the same price range.” 14 Try A Botanical-Packed Ampoule For Dry, Sensitive Skin Korean ampoules are designed to be super-charged serums , and this mugwort-based ampoule from ISNTREE is a favorite for those with dry and sensitive skin. It also includes soothing licorice and kava kava extracts, and the formula’s watery texture quickly sinks into skin without leaving behind a sticky film. According to one fan: “I love using natural ingredients on my face because my face responds so well to them. The moisturizer soaks into my face and leaves it hydrated and very soft looking and feeling. My foundation and blush goes on easily over top of it, too.”
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This article was originally published on
April 18, 2017