If there's one thing the beauty world can't get enough of, it's Korean skincare—especially staples like Korean sunscreen and Korean moisturizers. "The Korean philosophy for skincare is very hydration-focused," explains Alicia Yoon, founder of K-beauty brand Peach & Lily. "Korean beauty moisturizers strive to ensure deep hydration regardless of texture or if the formula is oil-based or oil-free."
A gentle reminder: Everyone needs to wear a moisturizer, even if you have oily skin (oil does not equal hydration!). The beauty of Korean skincare is that products like serums, cleansers, and moisturizers are filled with naturally hydrating, plumping, and skin barrier-repairing ingredients. If your T-zone is often glossed in oil, you should opt for water-based gels or creams, while drier skin will benefit from any one of the nourishing and vitamin-packed creams popular in Korean skincare.
And it's never been easier to invest in Korean skincare, thanks to curated online retailers like Peach & Lily and Soko Glam, which only feature the best Korean beauty brands. With hundreds of options out there, we've put together a guide to the absolute best Korean moisturizers that you'll be excited to apply twice (or more) every day.
Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb
Belif heard one too many cries of exhaust from the oily skin community who have been using countless greasy creams for way too long. A water-based moisturizer you can believe in, the Aqua Bomb is a cult favorite for a reason simply due to its cooling effect and lightweight feel that absorbs into the skin as quickly as it was applied.
Xuyoni Pure Intensive Care Cream
Xuyoni (pronounced sú-yo-ni) is a natural K-Beauty skincare brand whose mission is to provide mindful and harmonized solutions for your skin through minimal, genderless, and natural formulas. Like this lightweight moisturizer featuring rose extract and Centella Asiatica (aka cica) that soothes and hydrates sensitive skin. The brand is eco-conscious, too—to reduce single-use plastic, Xuyoni offers the option to purchase refill cartridges at 20-percent off. Chic.
Laneige Lavender Water Sleeping Mask
It's everything we love about the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask but in the form of a gel moisturizer that you can slather all over your face. The product seeps into your skin like, well, water, but with all the revitalizing benefits of an overnight mask. It's called beauty sleep for a reason.
Jung Saem Mool Essential Mool Cream
Moisturizer is the key to celebrity Korean makeup artist Jung Saem Mool's signature "natural glowing skin" looks. So it's no wonder she's formulated an intensely hydrating moisturizer featuring fermented pearl extract with increased absorption, creating a long-lasting, dewy finish, not unlike the lustrous crystalline gem.
Schwanen Garten Antioxidant Moisturizing Cream
A proprietary antioxidant complex is the signature of Seoul-born skincare brand Schwanen Garten's power formulas. This lightweight daytime moisturizer, which is particularly excellent in hot weather, brightens and hydrates skin, leaving it smooth and plumped with a healthy glow.
Glow Recipe Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream
Unless the redness on your skin perfectly aligns itself on the apple of your cheeks for a constant blush, inflammation and skin sensitivity are not worth it. The whipped texture of this soufflé smells as decadent as it feels, with a formula of magnesium and cica that doesn't irritate but helps rebalance and soothe the skin.
Be The Skin Botanical Nutrition Power Cream
Dry skin needs all the moisture it can get—not just a thick formula that slides off in the middle of the night, but one that locks in all the good pore-loving hydration. "I love the Be the Skin Botanical Nutrition Power Cream," says Yoon. "It's an award-winning icon as it hydrates deeply without irritating skin and delivers beautiful, time-tested Asian herbal extracts to nourish skin."
Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream
Three frustrating skin concerns that usually travel together—sensitive, irritated, acne-prone skin—are no match for Klairs magical blue cream. The not-so-secret ingredient is centella asiatica extract that calms skin and helps repair newly picked or popped pimples. It can also be used as an all-over sleep mask for when your acne needs some extra TLC.
Peach Slices Citrus-Honey Aqua Glow Hydrating Moisture-Gel
Universal skincare products might seem far-fetched, but this water-based moisturizer from Peach Slices understood the assignment. That is if the assignment is a lightweight gel hydrating formula that doesn't leave your face sticky or overly oily and is full of epidermis-softening goodness.
Sweet Chef Ginger + Vitamin C Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer
This oil-free moisturizer reduces the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and acne scarring. The gel formula is a favorite amongst oily and acne-prone skin, but it's also hydrating enough to soften skin with eczema, rosacea, or severe dryness. Ginger, vitamin C, aloe water, and turmeric are just a few of the natural ingredients that help brighten skin and even texture, proving that clean beauty is the best beauty.
Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream
Step one: Bookmark this eye cream. Step two: If anyone tells you that "you look exhausted" during a Zoom call, send them the link with your Venmo attached so they can buy it for you since they're all in your business. Dark circles—whether genetic or from lack of sleep—soften with the barrier protection from the avocado, while peptides brighten and plump skin.
Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask
We're convinced that this mask actually contains tiny estheticians that give your pores thousands of mini facials overnight. True to its name, this is an overnight formula that's a perfect blanket for dry skin during cold winter nights.
Innisfree Intensive Hydrating Cream with Green Tea Seed
The health benefits of green tea are endless, so it's no wonder it's also a hero ingredient in Korean skincare. The Jeju green tea extract repairs any and all dryness while locking in its precious nutrients. So kick back after your skincare routine with a cup of tea to start your morning, or drink decaf to end your night.
Peach & Lily Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream
Sometimes our skin can freak out even though we use gentle products, don't exfoliate too hard, and so forth. So whenever you're having a really sensitive skin day, opt for this pudding cream from Peach & Lily. The matcha helps with any inflammation and doesn't add to the distress on my skin. Yoon says the matcha is "a rich antioxidant, that helps combat external stressors as well as visibly calms skin."
Laura Lajiness Kaupke is a freelance writer and editor covering fashion, accessories, fine jewelry, and lifestyle topics, including beauty, home, fitness, and travel. You can see her work across various outlets, including VOGUE, Harper’s BAZAAR, ELLE, Glamour, Town&Country, InStyle, Esquire, Women’s Health, Brides, Refinery 29, Coveteur, The Zoe Report, Popsugar, Byrdie, WWD, Footwear News, Well+Good, The Editorialist, among other titles and brands. Laura has worked in the fashion industry for over 11 years and held senior fashion editor positions at Popsugar and The Zoe Report, with additional experience as a copywriter and fashion publicist.
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