Shopping for skin care products can be quite a daunting task. Moisturizers, in particular, can be tricky because there are so many different types on the market. From melting creams to cloud creams, the list goes on; not to mention, the marketing hype and wordy product names can makes things a little blurry. To make it easier on you, we’ve sorted out the details on some of the newest moisturizer options available today—all of which are inspired by K-beauty—that you’ll be seeing much more of this year.
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“I love that there are so many different textures of moisturizers, which is what Korean beauty brands are so great at developing,” says Alicia Yoon, founder of K-beauty e-tailer Peach & Lily. “The different textures provide a unique experience, but also a different way the product will moisturize the skin, so that every skin type and preference has an option. Because moisturizers are the last step of your routine, the way it applies and sits on your face is so important—it’s the last thing you’ll feel. This has led to a really diverse range of moisturizer types so everyone can find that perfect one their skin loves.”
“These have a texture that is a bit wax-like at first, but upon application, they literally melt onto the skin,” says Yoon. “They’re known to be extremely comforting on skin and intensively hydrating without feeling heavy.”
Gel Cream (also Water Cream)
According to Yoon, these creams are usually water-based, totally lightweight and very refreshing. “They come in a range of very-watery to slightly more viscous textures, and they’re great for summertime and more humid places. They’re a good option for those with oily and acne-prone skin, too.” You may also see these types marketed as water creams, which cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson says release water into the skin to provide intense hydration. “They typically deliver a cooling sensation when applied to the skin, too,” she adds.
Product Pick: boscia Tsubaki Swirl Two-Part Gel & Cream Deep Hydration Moisturizer ($38)
A great choice for very dry skin, this type is incredibly hydrating and usually sinks right into skin without leaving a greasy feeling despite what the name might connote. “However, there is a range—I’ve seen some oil creams that are much oilier than the standard,” says Yoon.
Product Pick: Kicho Sheep Oil Cream, $58 (Yoon says it’s incidentally, maybe her favorite moisturizer ever. “And I don’t say that lightly! This particular one is amazing because it includes lanolin, which is most like your skin’s own lipids, so it doesn’t leave behind any residue and absorbs quickly.”)
This new category of light, fluffy creams is proving to be rather popular. “Cloud creams are lightly textured and claim to moisturize skin while also brightening it,” says Wilson. Some of them contain a highly concentrated dose of hyaluronic acid to really flood skin with moisture.
Product Picks: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream ($52); Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream ($55); Dior Diorsnow Brightening Refining Moist Cloud Crème ($120)
“It’s like a primer, except it really ensures hydration and skin protection throughout the day,” says Yoon. “At the same time, it doesn’t pill at all and wears incredibly well under makeup to prep skin for a flawless finish.”
Product Pick: Atopalm Daytime Undermakeup Moisture Cream, $20 (“This one also reduces redness and works great for those with rosacea and eczema,” says Yoon.)
If your skin is dry, sensitive or eczema/rosacea–prone, this type of moisturizer might be your best bet. “Your skin barrier (the outermost layer) requires intense moisture, and these creams focus on keeping that barrier undisturbed and reinforced,” explains Yoon.