Slathering moisturizer onto oily skin doesn't seem like a smart idea. But to stay healthy and, though it might seem counterintuitive, to help manage oily skin, your skin does need some hydration. So if you're looking for products that can keep your skin hydrated while balancing the oil level of your skin, try Korean moisturizers! K-beauty has taken the world by storm, and their moisturizers are well-loved for the lightweight formula that will drench your skin in moisture without any of the greasiness.
But choosing the appropriate moisturizer for your skin will take a lot of time, so we've done the work for you! Among all the Korean moisturizers available online, BELIF's The True Cream Aqua Bomb seems to steal people's hearts with its ultra-hydrating ingredients like ceramide and glycerin. If you want to find out what other products can help with your oily skin, keep scrolling down!
Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
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Now that you know our favorite Korean moisturizers for oily skin, the next step is to see which one is the right product for you. Usually, when choosing a moisturizer, you should take into consideration factors such as the effectiveness of the ingredients.
Finding suitable moisturizers is quite challenging, since there are various ingredients that can clog your pores and trigger breakouts. But don't worry, we've done the work for you! Continue reading to see the ingredients that will work for your oily skin.
Putting snail slime on your face might sound like a strange idea. But snail mucin is a crazily popular ingredient in K-beauty products for good reason!
It consists of moisturizing agents that can restore the skin protective barrier, seal in moisture, and fight off free radical damage. It's also jam-packed with allantoin, which helps accelerate cell regeneration, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and improve your skin's elasticity and complexion.
Not to mention, snail mucin contains a high level of glycolic acid, an ingredient well-known for its exfoliating properties. Indeed, glycolic acid can remove all of the stubborn skin debris, unclog your pores, and allow your oily skin to breathe.
When it comes to preventing moisture loss, hyaluronic acid, squalane, and dimethicone are definitely some of the best options available!
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring substance in our skin that can retain over 1,000 times its weight in water within the skin cells. Using products formulated with hyaluronic acid will not only keep your skin plump and hydrated all the time, but will also help fade away wrinkles, fine lines, and other skin blemishes.
Another superfood for your skin is squalane, a lipid that comes naturally from your skin cells. It can increase the moisture level within your skin layers without weighing down your skin or clogging your pores.
And with strong anti-inflammatory properties, squalane can restore and enhance the skin's moisture barrier as well as soothe redness and swelling to leave your skin feeling healthy and soft to the touch!
You might also want to consider dimethicone, a kind of silicone well-loved for its moisturizing properties. It creates a water-resistant film on the skin to seal in moisture, and thanks to its light texture, dimethicone doesn't clog pores. Plus, it helps control shine to make your skin look less greasy.
These ingredients are great if you have sensitive skin as they are gentle and very hydrating. They can be used on rosacea-prone skin or if you have eczema. Squalene in particular can help repair the skin barrier and soothe irritated or chapped skin.
Hyaluronic acid can also be used on all skin types and is helpful for those who want to fight the signs of aging as it provides hydration to the skin, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. These ingredients are non-comedogenic and are a great option for those who may be dry from an acne regimen.
Sebum is necessary for the skin to stay healthy, but too much sebum can lead to shiny skin and breakouts. If you have oily skin, you should find ingredients that can regulate sebum production. And guess what - antioxidants are it.
Antioxidant-rich ingredients like green tea, niacinamide, and zinc are not only effective in neutralizing the harmful damages of free radicals but can also reduce sebum oxidation and rejuvenate the condition of your skin.
Applying those antioxidants consistently might actually make your acne scars and skin blemishes become much less visible and brighten your overall complexion.
Green tea and niacinamide are not only great for skin with active acne pimples, but they can also help with post-inflammatory erythema that may develop after acne lesions resolve. They can help reduce redness and inflammation in the skin and are usually gentle enough to be used on most skin types.
Butter and oil-based ingredients like almond oil, wheat germ oil, and coconut oil are wonderfully nourishing to your skin, but they are some of the culprits behind clogged pores and breakouts. Indeed, they are too heavy for oily skin to handle and will make your face look even greasier.
Emollients like petrolatum and mineral oil are a terror for oily skin as well. They are often used in cosmetics as refatting substances and are generally safe for the skin. However, they can be too rich for oily skin and might cause clogged pores as well as breakouts.
If you use a moisturizer with coconut oil as an ingredient and have baseline oily skin, you may end up with pityrosporum folliculitis or "fungal acne." This looks like small pink pimples that can be very itchy. They don't go away with traditional acne treatments and require an antifungal. See your dermatologist if you think you have this condition.
The list of pore-clogging ingredients is extensive and might be quite tough to remember. So if you're not sure which ones to avoid, simply choose products labeled oil-free or non-comedogenic. Since some oil-based ingredients tend to clog pores and make your skin feel greasy, oil-free products will ensure that there are none of them!
Non-comedogenic products also guarantee that there are no pore-clogging ingredients. However, they might still consist of oils that do not block your pores such as jojoba oil or shea butter. Don't be scared away by them!
Ingredients such as parabens, fragrances, and alcohols are often used in cosmetic products for various reasons. For example, parabens and alcohols act as preservatives to extend a product's shelf life and prevent bacterial contamination. While most people are fine with them, some actually have allergic reactions.
So if you have sensitive skin, it's always better to do a patch test beforehand. You might also want to pay attention to the ingredient list to ensure that nothing can be irritating to your skin.
If you have eczema or dermatitis, you should look for fragrance-free products and those with the fewest preservatives. All-natural does not necessarily mean allergen-free.
Fragrances and preservatives are the most common causes of contact dermatitis or skin allergy and should be avoided if you are eczema-prone. I also recommend avoiding products with essential oils as these can cause outbreaks of dermatitis if you have sensitive skin.
For those with oily skin, a moisturizer with a thick and creamy texture won't do any good. A thick, creamy moisturizer won't absorb quickly into the skin, tends to leave behind an annoying oily residue, and can feel clammy on the skin, especially when you have an oily skin type.
Go for products with a lightweight texture and, if possible, gel- or liquid-like consistency instead! Because they're water-based and water molecules are tinier and more easily absorbed by the skin, gel products sink into the skin faster and won't leave behind a greasy residue.
This isn't to say that all cream-based moisturizers are bad, especially if they contain ingredients that can help mattify or treat your skin concerns, such as dimethicone or squalane, which we mentioned earlier.
However, a lightweight consistency will allow your moisturizer to penetrate right into your skin's layers and deliver the needed nourishment. It is less likely to turn your face into an oily mess, and can actually make your skin feel refreshed!
You may have noticed that there are various consistencies: gel, cream, and gel creams. Gels are generally lightweight and water-based, making them refreshing and non-greasy, while creams contain more fats and oils to soften and nourish. As you can guess, gel creams mix properties from the two, so can be lightweight but still richly nourishing.
Even if you have oily skin, you should still use a moisturizer to get the benefits of skin hydration. This will help with skin health and reduce the signs of aging in the long run. Gel moisturizers are water-based and very lightweight, so they're great if you have oily skin.
However, if you use antiaging products or are on an acne treatment regimen (using retinoids or AHAs), your oily skin may become dry and you may have to switch to a cream-based moisturizer.
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The True Cream Aqua Bomb
Best for Healthy and Glowing Skin
Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion
Best Dermatologist-Tested Moisturizer to Soothe Irritated Skin
Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask
Best for Vitamin E, Niacinamide, and Adenosine to Rejuvenate Your Skin
The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream
Best Used to Help Retain Moisture Within Skin Layers
Moistfull Collagen Cream
Best for Plump, Youthful-Looking Skin With Super Collagen Water Particles
Multi-Function All-in-One Anti-Aging Snail Repair Cream
Best Anti-Aging Cream to Brighten Your Complexion
Balancing Cream With Green Tea
Best for Balancing Skin With Natural, Organic Ingredients
Snail Recovery Gel Cream
Best for Doubling as a Primer and Delivering a Matte Finish
Premium Peach Cotton Juicy Cream
Best for Natural Sebum Reduction and a Sweet, Fruity Scent
Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream
Best for Tightening and Refreshing Oily Skin With Natural Extracts
The True Cream Aqua Bomb packs some serious hydration but still has a lightweight gel texture that glides onto your face. It contains a mix of ingredients to soothe inflammation caused by free radicals, tighten pores, and of course, moisturize your skin.
There are some reports that this moisturizer caused breakouts on more sensitive skin, so you may want to take care if you've had a history of reactions in the past. But for the most part, The True Cream Aqua Bomb is popular for how it hydrates your skin and creates a glow after consistent use.
COSRX's product has a lightweight consistency that can penetrate quickly into the skin without making it feel greasy or weighed down. It's also packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Better yet, it's dermatologist-tested and approved! This moisturizing lotion is known for leaving users' skin feeling hydrated and refreshed.
A few users with sensitive skin did warn that a few ingredients like the lemon peel oil and willow bark water were irritating to their skin. On the other hand, this COSRX's product is lauded for how well it clears and hydrates the skin. You can apply it without worrying about a greasy film, making it a good choice for oily skin types.
DearKlair's moisturizing cream is a gentle, nourishing cream solution intended for PM use. Among other things, it contains vitamin E, which slows down the aging process and rejuvenates the skin. It's been formulated to gently hydrate sensitive skin and leave a healthy glow, although a few reports warn that it can actually irritate those with cystic acne.
Still, the sensitive skin community favors DearKlair's mask for its soothing consistency that absorbs without making the skin feel too greasy. If you're struggling with sensitive or overly dry skin, this vitamin-boosted moisturizer is said to bring a plump, hydrated glow back into your cheeks.
What sets Tony Moly's moisturizer apart from its counterparts is its powerful key ingredient: pure fermented green tea extract. It helps retain moisture within your skin layers and contains more antioxidants than regular green tea.
While a few complaints have been voiced that it isn't moisturizing enough for dry skin types, this lightweight moisturizer is a must for those who enjoy natural ingredients.
Etude House's moisturizer has a quick-absorption ingredient and delivers long-lasting moisture. This light gel moisturizer has been formulated to benefit aging skin as well, providing nourishment and deep hydration.
The most recent formula change added a light rose fragrance to Etude House's moisturizer that isn't always a hit with more sensitive users. Still, its powerful hydration properties make it a great choice for dry skin.
SeoulCeuticals offers a lightweight cream that helps effectively smooth out, hydrate, and soften the skin. It can be used daily in the morning and night and works to immediately treat dry spots, too.
Make sure to check the ingredient list carefully to make sure the ingredients are safe for you, but it's said that this moisturizer really works to keep skin hydrated and soft to the touch but also treats hyperpigmentation effectively.
What really makes Innisfree's moisturizer stand out from other products is green tea seed harvested straight from a USDA-organic farm on Jeju island. Green tea is well-known to help balance skin and inhibit sebum production.
Some say the product may not work the whole day through, but also note that their skin felt much smoother and softer after using the product. Those with sensitive skin found the moisturizer gentle on their skin as well.
Mizon's hydrating moisturizer combines the power of hyaluronic acid and snail mucin extract to provide long-term dewy skin and repair any blemishes or damage.
Some do experience breakouts and allergic reactions, so patch test if you have sensitive skin. It's great for oily skin, though, as it's a popular moisturizer for soothing ingredients that kept skin hydrated without weighing it down.
This moisturizer by Skin Food is effective in controlling sebum production and reducing breakouts. Your skin will feel soft and moisturized but without all the greasiness.
After application, skin feels softer, non-greasy and there is a noticeable reduction of oil on the face. There are some reports that it even helps prevent acne and doesn't trigger allergic reactions.
Nature Republic's option is enriched with deep seawater to give your skin an instant moisture boost! The minerals from its seawater content will also nourish and pamper your skin throughout the day.
While the scent can be hit-or-miss, it can be managed by applying small amounts and it fades quickly. On the other hand, there are reports that the product helps soften skin, hydrate, and control oil levels effectively.
Before picking out which Korean moisturizer is best for you, you might have a few questions left unanswered. Here are some questions that we've noticed are frequently asked and what experts have to say about them!
Even though you know you have the signs of oily skin, that doesn't necessarily mean that you actually have oily skin. Like we mentioned earlier in this article, your body might be producing more sebum in order to combat the lack of water, a sign of dehydrated skin.
The first thing you need to know is that oily skin and dehydrated skin are not actually categorized the same when you're talking about skincare. Oily skin is a skin type based on genetics, while dehydrated skin is a skin condition you develop based on your environment. So you can still be dehydrated even if you have oily, combination, or dry skin.
Of course, the typical signs of oily skin are a shiny face and a greasy feel, but dehydrated skin means that your skin has a few additional symptoms like skin feeling tight and you may see fine lines show up around the eye and mouth area and general dullness of complexion, among other signs.
Healthline also suggest trying a pinch test - pinch your facial skin and if it takes a bit of time to retract, then you're likely dehydrated. And once you know, you can adjust your skin routine.
Oily skin is a genetic condition, so there isn't a way to actually prevent it. But you can find ways to control or hide greasiness with skincare and cosmetics with the right ingredients. You can find some options for face masks, primers, toners, and other products that we've picked for oily skin based on plenty of research on our site.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you can also take simple steps to control oily skin, such as making sure to wash your face regularly, avoid alcohol-based cleansers, and use oil-free cosmetics. When cleansing, you want to make sure not to irritate your skin with harsh cleansers or face washes and to use mild, gentle options instead.
With toners and moisturizers, you don't want to dry out your skin with alcohol either. It may be gratifying to see the shine reduce immediately, but it's better not to give your face a chance to produce more sebum.
Other, more immediate ways to address greasiness can be to use mattifying primers or makeup products containing silicone or using blotting papers. Despite oily skin being a category of skin type, everyone is ultimately different so you will have to experiment to find the exact products that work best for you.
Unlike its Western counterpart, which focuses more on aftercare and strong ingredients that help to peel back layers of skin, Korean skincare is all about nourishing and soothing skin and early on prevention of skin imperfections and signs of aging. In other words, Western skincare treats problems after, but Korean skincare focuses more on preventing problems from occurring in the first place.
Based on these two philosophies, Korean skincare is also a bit slower, focusing on gently caring for the skin to create a healthy, dewy glow, while you may see more immediate results with Western skincare. Both have their merits, so it really depends on the person as to what they prefer. However, there are brands that are stepping up to combine Western and Eastern skincare ideals into their products.
Ultimately, the reason why Korean skincare is so popular nowadays is because of globalization and the rise in popularity of K-pop and Korean culture.
Idols with flawless skin and a healthy glow have become the standard and, in Korea, where beauty is a huge deal for much of the population, a constant demand for better skincare drives the industry to create new and advanced formulas with unique ingredients, keeping K-beauty and K-beauty trends relevant in modern times.
According to Cruelty Free International, in 2016, the Korean National Assembly passed a bill to completely ban the testing of cosmetics on animals by 2018 - but only in cases where alternative methods of testing are not possible.
In addition, if a K-beauty brand sells their products in China, then they opt into animal testing outside of South Korea, as many places in Mainland China are legally required by the government to test their products on animals before human consumption.
So, to identify a cruelty-free product, you'll want to look for official certifications. Many labels, such as PETA and Leaping Bunny conduct vigorous reviews to make sure that companies are following their standards. Along with looking for certifications, it's a good idea to also do your research. You can find lists of cruelty-free brands on Find That Glow and Ethical Bunny, as well.
Oily prone skin can also lead to a lot of issues with acne. But treating acne doesn't have to be as difficult as it seems! Licensed dermatologist Dr. Davin Lim has three simple steps to help you get rid of those pesky blackheads.
All you'll need is a salicylic acid cleanser, retinoids, and moisturizer. For the how and why check out the video!
Korean skincare doesn't end with just one product. We're here to help you find the best ones to add to your daily and nightly routine!
Check out this list of best sellers on Amazon. There are plenty of options for great facial creams and moisturizers that work for various skin types.
No. 1: BELIF | The True Cream Aqua Bomb
No. 2: COSRX | Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion
No. 3: DearKlairs | Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask
No. 4: TONYMOLY | The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream
No. 5: Etude House | Moistfull Collagen Cream
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