I’ve had dry skin for as long as I can remember. Even back in my youthful college days, I always went back to my mom’s old fashioned Korean moisturizer for dry skin to survive the New England winters. I didn’t love the look or smell of the cream but using anything else would make me feel like my face was being stretched and tortured.
Now I live in Minnesota where minus 30 degree winters take my skin to a whole new level of pain. Since moving here, I’ve developed eczema for the first time in my life and I now have to take Aveeno oatmeal baths as a regular part of my winter skincare routine.
I love the huge selection of advanced Korean skincare products we enjoy in the US and while there are many great choices for toners, serums, sheet masks, and cleansers, finding a good moisturizer for my super dry skin has not been easy. Through sheer necessity and a lot of trial and error, I’ve landed on 5 great creams that help me survive even the harshest and driest conditions.
Here are the only 5 Korean moisturizers that pass the Minnesota winter test on my very dry skin:
The best Korean moisturizer for dry skin
To get straight to the point, the Sulwhasoo Ginseng Renewing Cream is hands down the most wonderful thing I’ve ever put on my face. Yes I’ve tried all the super expensive French creams that start with ‘La’ but nothing comes close to this Korean miracle. This cream works beautifully for normal as well as dry skin and adjusts to the level of moisture you need.
Korean health and skin experts have long been familiar with the powerful healing effects of ginseng, and it is indeed Korean red ginseng that is the active ingredient in this anti-aging moisturizer. This intensive cream is both rich and light at the same time and immediately feels and smells different from anything out there in the market.
Aside from the powerful ingredients and wonderful smell, this Korean moisturizer goes on so smoothly and quickly soaks into the skin leaving just the right amount of glowiness behind. It moisturizes my parched skin perfectly and my skin feels bouncier more plump.
The only down side is the price but a little goes a long way. And if you’re lucky, there is often a free gift included. There’s a smaller size available if you want to try the product before purchasing a full size.
This wondrous workhorse is truly a miracle in a jar. The price is right and this cream leaves my dry skin hydrated all day. It applies beautifully and also melts into the skin quickly leaving a nice dewy finish.
This Face Shop cream contains collagen and extract of pomegranate, which is a fruit that helps skin cell regeneration and is packed with vitamin C. It also helps promote collagen production in skin.
The only thing I don’t love about this cream is the scent. I don’t like perfume and this cream has a floral perfume scent that isn’t terrible, but takes some getting used to. If you like perfume you may have found a unicorn in this lovely cream.
#3. AHC Eye Cream for Face, $39
AHC believes that anything that works wonders for the skin around your eyes will work equal wonders for the rest of your face too. This humble Korean moisturizer in a tube is not quite as luxurious as the Sulwhasoo, and on the dryest days my skin will need an extra application. But it’s a great bang for the buck and is my back up product on days I don’t need as much hydration.
Great for normal to dry skin.
#4. Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream, $24
This Korean moisturizer for dry skin doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a luxury cream in terms of application or finish, but it gets the job done. It also gets an A+ for being cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, ethanol-free, paraben-free, steroid-free, artificial coloring-free, artificial fragrance-free.
The finish is matte so you won’t have to worry about any leftover shine on your face.
#5. Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream, $19
With a name like Moistfull Collagen, this cream promises and delivers a lot. This cream is enriched with Etude House’s super collagen and tocopherol to provide a high dose of moisture and vitamin E.
It’s a light cream which is great on most days but does not make it all the way through the coldest winter days and nights. It also doesn’t sink into the skin as quickly as the other creams on this list so give it a few minutes before applying your sunscreen in the mornings.
Although this is my least favorite on the list, the Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream is still a winner for most days and I really love the bang for the buck.
The only non-Korean product on this list, Cerave Skin Renewing Night Creme is a budget-friendly godsend for those times that your dry skin breaks out in a rash or you’ve overdone it with the retinol. First recommended to me by my dermatologist when I broke out with eczema, Cerave Night Creme is a clean formulation that delivers relief for the driest of skin types.
The cream doesn’t go on as smoothly as the best Korean moisturizers and my skin feels a bit too matte after I use this cream, but I always have a tub on hand for when I need some soothing relief from eczema. I also use the night cream during the day since the day cream is doesn’t provide enough moisture for my skin.
Apparently Cerave is having supply chain issues, so you may not be able to find it in stores. But if you order online and wait a few weeks you will be very happy that you have this in your beauty/first aid stash.
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