Moisturizer is one of the the trickiest skincare products to get right, sunscreen aside. It’s one of those products that needs to fit our skin type, but it’s also a product that often has to fulfill a list of wants too.
Can’t be too heavy, greasy, must work with makeup, needs to absorb quickly — can all be lists of wants when it comes to picking a moisturizer. And that can complicate matters!
So in the interest of serving up some excellent moisturizer recommendations that may fit your skin type and your skin wants, here are 6 excellent moisturizers in my collection at the moment!
Skin That Wants Breathable, Non-Suffocating Layers:
Both of these happen to have very interesting textures, if that’s your thing!
Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask
One of the few sleeping mask/wash off mask/moisturizer hybrids that actually works as a moisturizer!
Best for: Dehydrated, dry and/or combo skin types.
Avoid if: Sensitive to essential oils, issues with rich ingredients/products (designed as a sleeping pack originally!).
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carrageenan, Gellan Gum, Betaine, Algin, Mannan, Ceramide NP, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Chlorphenesin, Arginine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Centella Asiatica Extract, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Phragmites Communis Extract, Adenosine, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil
Texture: Called a pudding texture or memory cream, this is a bouncy jelly cream that satisfyingly returns to a smooth texture in the jar after every use! Absorbs into skin in a thin (remember, this is designed as a sleeping pack so it was made to layer) and nourishing layer. Nicely balanced between occlusive and humectant ingredients, this locks down your skincare and hydration without suffocating the skin or making it shiny!
Works well under makeup and sunscreen; make sure to not apply too much — a little goes a long way with this one!
Benefits: Brighter skin, this is full of skin brighteners like niacinamide, and adenosine in addition to the vitamin C. This is designed to pair with Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop for boosted brightening benefits. Will make skin glowy on its own!
Missha Time Revolution Bridal Cream Intense Aqua
Best for: Dehydrated and/or combo/oily skin types.
Avoid if: Fragrance isn’t your thing (light scent).
Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Vinyl Dimethicone, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Arachidyl Alcohol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Sodium Polyacrylate Starch, Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract, Arachidyl Glucoside, Acrylates/Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Fragrance, Trehalose, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Adenosine, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Paeonia Officinalis Flower Extract, Propylene Glycol, Tromethamine, Dipropylene Glycol, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Piper Methysticum Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Diamond Powder, Freesia Refracta Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Sodium Isostearate, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Citric Acid
Texture: It’s called an icy sorbet texture but kind of looks like a balm cleanser! Once you spread this across your face it just melts into a thin and protective layer that feels very hydrating and refreshing. While this isn’t exactly meant to cool the skin, it definitely has that refreshing and cooling hydrating feel that is such a comfort to dehydrated skin.
This dries down quickly and doesn’t have a finish. In fact, it actually has a bit of a primer effect that allows sunscreen and makeup to cling to it well (I think this is where the bridal cream name comes in, like prepping your face for the big day). This is particularly helpful for skin types that need more hydration and nourishment but can become an oily mess in the afternoon!
Really nice balanced cream; neither too humectant nor too occlusive, this allows skin to breath while still protecting against water loss.
Benefits: Quick absorb time means no wait time in the morning for sunscreen and/or makeup, saving time. Creates a nice primer effect, preps your canvas for its next layer.
$30 50ml Yesstyle*
Skin That Wants That Chok-Chok Feel
Both of these are very humectant creams that rely on hyaluronic acid to draw hydration to your skin all day long, creating plump and juicy skin.
They are also the stickiest of the bunch.
Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Cream
Best for: Combo/oily skin, humid climates.
Avoid if: You live in a dry or arid climate (check this post to find out why).
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Diglycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Behenyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Glyceryl Stearate, Methylparaben, PEG-20 Sorbitan Isostearate, Phytosteryl/Octyldocecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Propylparaben, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Stearyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine
Texture: Thin, very humectant cream texture that feels very hydrating on skin. Can dry to a sticky finish (telling of the amount of hyaluronic acid in this) and should be used in small quantities to avoid hair sticking to face for first hour! Instantly hydrates and smooths skin while plumping it up with its low molecular weight hyaluronic acids.
This has a few occlusives and moisturizers that help to balance the cream, but in my experience this is a very humectant cream. Meaning, it works well to draw hydration to your skin all day long. but may not be best for those with super dry skin or struggling with water loss (TEWL) throughout the day; it won’t provide enough protection. Dehydrated types should particularly be aware of using this cream in dry environments.
Benefits: Chok-chok skin! Your skin will plump up and feel quenched with hydration!
Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream
Best for: Dehydrated, combo/dry skin.
Avoid if: Sensitive to fragrance (light scent).
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Dipentaerythrityl Hexa C5-9 Acid Esters, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Hydrogenated Lecithin, C14-28 Alkyl Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Adenosine, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Argania Spinosa kernel Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ceramide NP, Trehalose, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Cucurbitaceae (Gourd) Extract, Orchid Extract, Honey Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Phytosphingosine, Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Citrate/Lactate/Linoleate/Oleate, Fragrance
Texture: Weird! This is probably one of the more unique textures you’ll encounter on your K-beauty journey. This is pretty similar to Elmer’s glue actually. It’s stringy and has that characteristic humectant cream stickiness to it (not nearly as sticky as the Hada Labo, though!).
This cream is really well balanced between humectants that draw hydration to your skin and nourishing moisturizers that help keep that hydration locked in, making this a good choice for those suffering from TEWL or who need more nourishment from their creams.
Benefits: Some intriguing hanbang (traditional Korean) ingredients here, but the stars in my mind are the whole host of barrier beneficial ingredients — niacinamide, centella, shea butter, ceramide NP, and phytosphingosine to name a few!
Skin That Wants Comforting
These are both great irritation soothers and offer a lot of gentle moisture to skin.
Olivarrier Emollient Extra Comfort Cream
Best for: Dry, irritated or sensitized skin.
Avoid if: Sensitive to coconut oil.
Ingredients: Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Panthenol, Pentylene Glycol, Squalane, Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate,Cetearyl Olivate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Canola Oil, Xanthan Gum, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Leaf Extract
Texture: She thicccc! Rich creamy texture that can pretty much be summed up by its name, emollient, extra comfort cream. Super soothing to skin, this is what you reach for with dry and irritated skin. Absorbs into skin well and is very nourishing but never greasy. This is a medium weight cream that leaves a bit of a rich finish on skin but it’s not bothersome and won’t interfere with makeup.
Benefits: This is very moisturizing on skin and will do a great job at protecting dry and vulnerable skin from moisture loss throughout the day.
Iope Derma Repair Cica Cream (Derma Gentle Cream in US)
Best for: Dehydrated, combo/dry, sensitive and damaged skin.
Avoid if: Any issues with the ingredients list. (but seriously, a very clean and mild list)
Ingredients: Purified water, propanediol, squalane, cetearyl alcohol, polyglyceryl-10, polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate, vitellaria paradoxa (shea butter), caprylic/capric triglyceride, chamaecyparis obtusa leaf extract, panthenol, allantoin, madecassoside, glyceryl stearate, glyceryl caprylate, di-C12-13 alkyl malate, butylene glycol, stearic acid, ethylhexylglycerin, hydrogenated lecithin, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, disodium EDTA
Texture: It’s light but has an ointment-like feel to it (this is a positive thing). Unlike other comfort creams that can get heavy or overly rich on the skin, this manages to stay light and has a quick absorption time. This also dries down quickly and creates a nice matte-ish finish for sunscreen or makeup.
Works perfectly to lock in skincare and protect against water loss.
Benefits: Lots of soothing ingredients, this will keep sensitive or irritated skin happy with its mild formula. This also seems to help strengthen skin over time and helps keep vulnerable skin protected. Good choice for irritated or damaged skin.
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