What are the best Korean moisturizers for all skin types?
Korean skincare is known for having many steps—up to twelve, in some cases—but one of the core essentials remains moisturizer. We love looking to South Korea for the latest beauty innovations, like BB cream, and creative ingredients, like snail extract, but Korean skincare brands excel in the basics, too. The innovations that place Korean skincare at the forefront of the market make South Korean moisturizers some of the best in the game, no matter your skin type.
Best Korean moisturizer for dry skin
Skin that is dry, dehydrated and downright thirsty is in dire need of a nourishing moisturizer that is fast-acting and will get to work hydrating and replenishing right away. Dry, thirsty skin needs a moisturizer rich in emollients and humectants to bind and keep water in the skin.
The best skin-quenching moisturizer that we’ve found is a total winner that gets to work stopping dry skin from looking dull and patchy. It’s a rich and comforting formula that’s the perfect concluding step to a soothing, nourishing Korean skincare routine for dry skin.
Cremorlab Smooth Pudding Cream is our favourite Korean moisturizer for dry skin, and it’s suitable for dehydrated skin too. As the name suggests, it has a fun pudding-like texture, with a jelly-like body that feels thick and hydrating on the skin. This cream absorbs readily but leaves a feeling of deep hydration long after you’ve used it.
The Smooth Pudding Cream is Cremorlab’s most popular product, and for good reason. It is richly hydrating but not at all heavy on the skin. As well as being rich in texture, it’s rich in vitamins—containing vitamins A, B1, B2 and C, in addition to skin-energizing caffeine and a host of botanical extracts. As dry skin is at a major risk of showing signs of aging, more than any other skin type, these ingredients are key in warding off early wrinkles and loss of elasticity.
Cremorlab Smooth Pudding Cream is also loaded with sodium hyaluronate, or hyaluronic acid, which is the ingredient of choice for dry skin as it can bind to up to 1000 times its weight in water. Paired with glycerin to hold that water in the skin, hyaluronic acid delivers the punch of hydration your skin needs.
As a bonus, Cremorlab products are free from mineral oil and parabens, so there’s no risk of this causing any irritation or clogging your pores.
Best Korean moisturizer for oily skin
If you’re an oily-skinned person, the thought of using a moisturizer that’s described as a rich, emollient formula sounds terrifying. Moisturizing is still essential, however, so don’t even think about forgoing moisturizer. Instead, think about trying our favourite Korean moisturizer for oily skin—a lightweight gel-cream that’s balancing and restoring without feeling heavy. This Korean moisturizer is packed with innovative moisturizing ingredients.
Mizon Watermax Aqua Gel delivers all the hydration that oily skin needs without introducing any oils, as everyone knows an oil-free moisturizer is the best choice for oily skin. After all, your skin’s producing enough oil on its own! But oily skin can still be suffering from a lack of water-based moisture and is at risk of dehydration, so it’s essential to focus on bringing water into your skin with your moisturizer step.
The lightweight, gel texture of Mizon Watermax instantly feels comfortable on oily skin. It absorbs quickly and leaves skin feeling boosted without any film or residue. The light formula is suitable for use year-round but feels extra refreshing in hotter months when you’re loathe to put any creams anywhere near your skin.
We love Mizon Watermax Aqua Gel because, as well as restoring the moisture balance to oily skin, it prevents excess oil production throughout the day. Gentle and natural (but effective!) astringent ingredients like witch hazel and licorice root extract help tighten the pores and moderate the production of sebum (oil) as time goes on.
Mizon Watermax Aqua Gel is suitable for morning and evening use, lessening the stress of finding an oily-skin-friendly moisturizer for both AM and PM. Pat it on after the last step of your routine.
Best Korean moisturizer for sensitive skin
Sensitive skin can be oily, dry, or somewhere in between, but if your skin is sensitive and prone to irritation, you should be choosing a moisturizer that is specially targeted for your needs. Luckily, Korean skincare is at the forefront of innovation when it comes to blending formulas that won’t make sensitive skin redden or itch. Many Korean skincare brands have whole ranges dedicated to sensitive skin, which can help you choose, but there’s one in particular we favor over all the others.
Loaded with ingredients whose sole purpose is to restore and strengthen a damaged moisture barrier—the main cause of skin sensitivity—Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream is our Korean moisturizer of choice for sensitive skin. This cream is comforting and deeply nourishing, giving a soothing feeling as soon as it is applied and a sense of hydrating long afterwards.
Sensitive skin can present in many ways, whether through redness, bumpiness, or itching, and Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream can actually minimize the signs of irritation, as well as promising never to cause them. The gentle formula will banish flakiness, dry patches and scales after only a few applications.
Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream is so effective for sensitive skin because it’s full of ceramides, which are natural chains of fats that make up much of the structure of your skin. Your skin knows ceramides, so adding them will never cause irritation, and supplementing them through a cream like this will restore your skin’s natural ability to repair itself.
Another key ingredient of this formula is beta-glucan, derived from wheat. It calms and soothes redness and is often used to treat eczema and dermatitis.
The Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream is cruelty-free, vegan, alcohol-free and paraben-free, banishing any chances of irritating ingredients that could cause flare-ups for sensitive skin.
Best Korean moisturizers: conclusions
No matter your skin type, there is a Korean moisturizer out there customized to suit you. But because there are so many to choose from, we hope this selection we’ve shown you today will point you straight to the best!
If you only need a light moisturizer, you could always just stick with a multi-purpose BB cream (see this article) that already includes moisturizing ingredients. If you need a separate moisturizer, we suggest that you look at our 9-step Korean skincare routine guide for more ideas on daily use.