These ultra-hydrating Korean Moisturizers Can Give Your Skin Radiant Glow!
In my Korean skincare series to address dry skin, this article introduces the 5 best Korean moisturizers for glowing skin.
Dehydrated skin can do harm. Your face may feel rough or tight. Worse, you may experience some redness or even itchiness. All of these can result in wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity. Yikes!
Moisturizing your face can help relieve dryness and protect the skin from environmental stress by strengthening the barrier. When your skin is fully hydrated, you can achieve naturally radiant, glowing skin.
Before diving in, I want to let you know that I am writing this article based on my personal experience. I carefully selected only a handful of efficient and effective products that worked well for me after trying out ALL of them (and many more) in the past few years. These opinions are my own, 100% honest and non-sponsored. I may earn small commissions if you click to buy through affiliate links, though. (Thank you for your support!)
Hey, I know you want naturally radiant glowing skin! Check out my other K-beauty articles, too.
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Why Choose Korean Skincare for Dry Skin?
Korean skincare and makeup have taken the world by storm, along with the growing popularity of K-pop and K-drama. However, I don’t believe the Korean culture is the only contributor to K-beauty’s success today. Korean skincare is truly a game changer. Why?
1. Good ingredients: By good, I mean naturally-derived, high-performing ingredients without harsh chemicals. My skin is not super sensitive, but I like to avoid any carcinogen Toxic 20 chemicals. I also use this app (only supports Korean; iOS, Google Play) to check ingredients.
2. High Value: My favorite K-beauty products are not cheap by any means. But in general, they are more affordable than comparable non-Korean brands while effectively achieving what they promise. I’m speaking from my own experience that I was more satisfied with Korean skincare than the other kinds I previously used.
3. Multi-functional Play: Don’t get me wrong, I am the last person to use all-in-one beauty products like shampoo/conditioner. But I do like that many Korean skincare products address diverse skin concerns. The Korean moisturizers I recommend in this article, for example, not only hydrate the skin but also help sensitive, irritated and aging skin. It helps to simplify my routine, as my skin can only take so much at once.
Good Ingredients for Dry Skin
Oils from some flowers, fruits and seeds
Korean Skincare Routine for Dry Skin
I used to have a combination skin type with a slightly oily T-zone in spring and summer. In recent years, my skin has gone dry to the point where nothing is enough to keep an inner layer of skin moisturized. (Aging could be a factor.) When the season changes, my face feels rough and dull.
I frantically looked for options. I read many beauty product reviews online (in English and Korean) by beauty bloggers. Honestly, I was unsatisfied with sponsored blog posts lacking genuine experience and unbiased opinions. Also, many recommended moisturizers did little for my dehydrated skin. So I spent gazillion dollars to embark on a mission to find the beauty products that actually worked for me.
What else have I learned? I realized that I needed to change the entire skincare routine. Swapping out a moisturizer itself was not going to cut it.
However, forget about the 10-step Korean skincare scheme. Once, it was super popular and praised as the complete skincare routine you should follow. But can your skin fully absorb all the (expensive) ingredients you apply? Does it work for everyone? So why waste money? It may work for someone else, but it does not for me.
I believe that too much of anything is good for nothing. Your skin also needs to go on a diet. I like to keep it simple. But like a healthy diet, what everyone needs can be different. So you will need to find the routine that works best for you.
I stick to this 5-step daily skincare routine: cleanser → skin toner → eye cream → serum → moisturizer. Once or twice a week, I would add facial masks.
Insider’s Tip: My skincare routine does not change by season, but the products do. For example, I may use a lightweight serum and moisturizer in spring and summer, then switch them out with heavier ones in fall and winter. Sometimes I use different products in the morning and evening. It all depends on my skin condition.
Best Korean Moisturizers for Dry Skin
#1. ROUND LAB Soybean Nourishing Cream
ROUND LAB Soybean Nourishing Cream (80ml) is made with the extract of black soybeans and packed with other nourishing ingredients such as ceramide and glycerin. Ceramide creates a barrier to protect the skin from external stress.
Worth to note that the superstar product from ROUND LAB is its Dokdo series. The brand also has a Birch Juice Moisturizing Cream specifically for skin hydration. However, my favorite is the Soybean Nourishing Cream, which is on the heaviest side of the three.
This fantastic cream reaches a deeper layer of my dehydrated skin while creating a moisture barrier. Its consistency is thicker without being greasy; I had no problem applying makeup after using this cream. I love how my face feels smooth and brightened.
Type: Thick Cream
Key Ingredients: Black soybeans, ceramide, glycerin
Recommended for: Morning & Night, Age 20s-30s
#2. COSRX Propolis Cream
COSRX has two popular skin care products: Propolis and Snail Mucin. Both work for hydration. But if your main goal is hydration, I recommend Propolis Cream.
Snail Mucin Cream, using snail secretion filtrate, helps rejuvenate and repair damaged skin. While it may sound great for mature skin, I think its lightweight texture and repair properties make it work better for acne-prone skin.
Whereas, Propolis Cream works best for dry and flaky skin. This cream contains 65% propolis/honey/royal jelly extracts. Besides moisturizing, its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help soothe skin irritation and fight the signs of aging.
The Propolis Cream is relatively lightweight and absorbs well. I like to use it in the morning before putting on makeup. And it is an ideal choice even for summer to manage dry skin. Although I prefer to use a heavier cream at night, it can be used morning and night, depending on your needs.
Note: Be aware if you have allergies to bees or propolis.
Type: Lightweight Cream
Key Ingredients: Pro-barrier complex (64.5% Propolis Extract, 1%Honey Extract, 1% Royal Jelly Extract)
Recommended for: Morning & Night if you want something light. Age 20+
#3. Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb
Belif is another notable K-beauty brand with a cult following. The brand’s mega-hit moisturizer is The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb, which is an excellent daily moisturizer for all skin types.
It soothes dry and dull skin with comfrey leaf and oat husk as its key ingredients. The rich yet whip cream-like consistency leaves skin fresh and supple.
If you want something slightly lighter, consider the lightweight gel cream version, Aqua Bomb. I recommend it for normal to combination skin, though.
Type: Rich and whipped texture
Key Ingredients: Comfrey Leaf, Oat Extract, Panthenol
Recommended for: Morning & Night. Normal to Dry Skin. Age 20s-30s.
#4. ISOI Waterfull Cream
ISOI Waterfull Cream is an ultra-moisturizing cream made with shea butter, sunflower seed oil and olive oil. These plant-based EWG-verified ingredients keep skin hydrated all day long.
For those concerned about dehydrated and rough skin, Waterfull is an excellent daytime moisturizer. While the cream is thick, it absorbs quickly, so putting on makeup is not a problem. For that reason, I like to use Waterfull Cream in the morning.
Also, ISOI is known for using very precious Bulgarian rose oil enriched with vitamins A and C. Three thousand bunches of Damask Roses are picked to extract 1ml of Bulgarian government-certified prime-grade rose oil. And it smells lovely, too.
Type: Thick Cream
Key Ingredients: EWG Verified; Bulgarian Rose Oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, Olive Leaf Extract
Recommended for: Morning & Night, Age 30+, Safe for sensitive skin
#5. ISOI Intensive Energizing Cream EX
ISOI Intensive Energizing Cream EX might be the winner for extremely dehydrated skin. This ultra-moisturizing, anti-aging cream exclusively contains EWG-verified, all-natural, plant-based ingredients. Its intense formula is perfect for aged 40+ who need a skin care product for skin hydration, lifting and firming.
The renewed version came with a higher concentration of Bulgarian Rose Oil, which justifies a high price tag. It is compact with other ingredients like Chrysanthemum, Rhus, and Olive flowers that help brighten skin and reduce wrinkles.
ISOI Intensive Energizing Cream EX is a splurge but ideal for winter. This is the cream you need if you turn the heater up at night! It applies smoothly and keeps my skin hydrated all night. My mom, who has super-dry skin, also swears by this product.
But if you are in your 20s, this could be too rich. I recommend this for ages 40 and up, or 30+ if you have extremely dry skin.
Type: Rich Cream
Key Ingredients: EWG Verified; Bulgarian Rose Oil, Chrysanthemum Indium Flower Extract, Rhus Semialata Gall (Rhus Chinensis) Extract, Olive Fruit Oil
Recommended for: Night, Age 40+, Safe for sensitive skin
Traveling to the Winter Wonderland? See what I packed for Snow Country Japan >>
I genuinely hope that my recommended K-beauty products can help relieve your dehydrated skin as much as they helped me. I am curious to know how they work for you. And what other beauty topics would you like me to write about? So please share your experience in the comments below, or drop me a note.
To Your Glowing Skin!
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What season did you use the Round Lab Soybean Nourishing creme?
I can decide between the soybean or the corcx propolis. I just turned 30, but I’m looking for spring/summer cream that will feel amazing on my dry skin.
I have used the Round Lab Soybean in all seasons. This winter, I use it in the morning and ISOI Intensive Energizing EX at night because I run a heater while sleeping. The latter is thicker and keeps me moisturized better. I don’t know how dry your skin gets, but both should work for spring. The COSRX Propolis is lighter than the Round Lab Soybean. Hope that helps.