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The Best Korean Night Creams

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By Marissa DeSantis
Elite Daily/Amazon

From BB creams to sheet masks to acne patches, Korea has introduced the world to some of the most game-changing skin care products of all time. But even if you prefer to stick to the basics, you can still reap the benefits of Korean beauty in your daily — or nightly — routine. When it comes to your p.m. moisturizer, the best Korean night creams focus on restoring moisture and repairing your skin using gentle, innovative ingredients that target specific skin concerns. That means the best one for you will depend entirely on your skin type (and accordingly, your skin care goals).

Anyone who’s after intense moisture will want to look for richer creams that pair ingredients aimed at both softening your skin and attracting/locking in moisture (think butters, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid). On the other hand, those with oily or acne-prone skin will likely prefer lighter-weight moisturizers, like lotions or gel-creams. Breakout-prone skin types may also find it helpful to look for ingredients that help control sebum production or have antiseptic and antibacterial properties, like green tea extract or peppermint extract.

In short: finding your perfect Korean night cream all comes down to your skin. The list ahead includes eight options listed according to common skin concerns — and each one pairs just as perfectly with a simplified skin care routine as it does with a more comprehensive 10-step regimen.

1. Best Repairing Korean Night Cream

If you're hesitant about using a night cream that contains snail slime, fair enough. But the ingredient has become popular in Korean beauty because it's effective (particularly at healing), versatile, and suitable for all skin types. (And in case you were wondering, the snails aren't harmed, as animal testing is illegal in Korea.) COSRX harnesses the ingredient’s multitasking powers with their Advanced Snail 92 All In One Repair Cream, a highly concentrated formula with 92% snail mucin. While the snail mucin helps to repair and plump skin, protect it from moisture loss, soothe irritation, and fade unwanted scarring, COSRX doubles down on the hydrating benefits by adding hyaluronic acid into the formula, which helps bind more water to your skin.

2. Best Firming Korean Night Cream

Retinoid treatments have seemingly been touted by every dermatologist on the planet for their ability to increase collagen production, resurface dead skin cells, and fade unwanted hyperpigmentation. But the prescription-only ingredient (and its over-the-counter counterpart, retinol) also tends to come with an adjustment period that includes redness, dryness, and flaking. For sensitive skin types, those side effects become even more likely, which is why natural alternatives like bakuchiol have become so popular.

Derived from plants, bakuchiol is the hero ingredient in I Dew Care's night cream. It works to increase your skin’s firmness and even out hyperpigmentation without the skin-drying side effects. Even better, bakuchiol can actually help soothe irritated skin. I Dew Care pairs bakuchiol with vegetable collagen to provide further plumping and moisturizing benefits, as well as a mineral complex that includes zinc, magnesium, and copper to soothe, protect, and strengthen your skin.

3. Best Soothing Korean Night Cream

Whether you're experiencing irritation like redness or swelling, or you're just looking for an extra boost of hydration, Tony Moly The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream is the ultimate skin-soother. Instead of the traditional distilled water base, Tony Moly uses a green tea extract base made from a fermented Korean green tea called ChungTaeJeon. According to the brand, fermented green tea boasts more moisturizing benefits than your average green tea extract, and it's higher in the antioxidants that help protect skin from environmental damage. This night cream can also be used as a mask if you need a quick hit of soothing hydration by leaving it on your skin for five minutes and using a tissue to remove it.

4. Best Korean Night Cream For Acne-Prone Skin

Fans of Korean beauty will already be familiar with Banila Co's best-selling cleansing balm, and unsurprisingly, the brand's Dear Hydration Boosting Cream is another wildly popular favorite. The lightweight moisturizer is formulated with multitasking ingredients like bamboo extract and fermented lotus water, which help improve your skin’s hydration and are also thought to aid in strengthening your skin barrier and controlling excess sebum production. Peppermint extract, which has both antiseptic and antibacterial properties, can also help calm the irritation and inflammation that’s commonly associated with acne. Ingredients like basil and neem leaf extracts are also included in the mix, which serve to further bolster your skin barrier (another bonus for acne-prone skin, as breakouts can be a sign of a damaged skin barrier).

5. Best Korean Night Cream For Oily Skin

Those with oily skin know that heavy moisturizers can leave their skin shinier and even more congested. But skipping out on moisturizer entirely can make the problem worse, as sometimes, increased oil production is a result of dehydrated skin (our skin care loves to keep us on our toes). Rather than using a rich, oil-based night cream, try a gel cream like Belif’s cult-favorite The True Cream Aqua Bomb. The gel formula feels cooling and refreshing on skin and is much more lightweight than your average night cream. It’s also oil-free, but moisturizers like glycerin and ceramides still work to keep your skin hydrated, while a blend of herbal ingredients help to repair your skin and boost its elasticity.

6. Best Multitasking Korean Night Cream

Many of the creams on this list are lightweight enough to be used as part of your morning routine, too (just don't forget the SPF!). But the Too Cool For School Egg Mellow Cream takes its multitasking abilities to the next level as it also serves as a serum, neck cream, eye cream, primer, and overnight mask, according to the brand. The unique formula includes egg white and egg yolk extracts to nourish and firm your skin, and to further increase your skin’s elasticity, the brand added collagen fiber that’s been freeze dried to better maintain its efficacy. This versatile cream gets bonus points for its pump-top bottle, which helps keep the product fresh and prevents it from becoming contaminated by outside germs.

7. Best Splurge

This Amorepacific night cream is the biggest splurge on the list, but it includes three decadent ingredients that are amazing for dry, dehydrated skin: green tea seed oil, lotus flower extract, and the brand’s Bamboo Nectar — a blend of two rare, bamboo-derived substances, sap and essence. Hailing from Korea’s top luxury beauty brand, AMOREPACIFIC, the silky cream melts into skin, providing long-lasting moisture and boosting your skin's overall health thanks to the various minerals and amino acids that are found in the formula. Additional ingredients like meadowfoam seed oil and squalane help lock in hydration for skin that's noticeably plumper and dewier when you wake up in the morning.

Studies referenced:

Green tea extract: possible mechanism and antibacterial activity on skin pathogens, by Anjali Sharma, Sonal Gupta, Indira P Sarethy, Shweta Dang, Reema Gabrani; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22868144/

Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of Mentha piperita L. by Rajinder Singh, Muftah A.M.Shushni, Asma Belkheir; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878535211000232

Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans, by S. Manjula Jegasothy, Valentina Zabolotniaia,and Stephan Bielfeldt; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3970829/

Bakuchiol: a retinol-like functional compound revealed by gene expression profiling and clinically proven to have anti-aging effects, by R K Chaudhuri, K Bojanowski; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24471735/

Bamboo’s Extract for Rejuvenating Skin, by Harshada Vasave, Deepak Wasule, Rujuta Bobade; https://www.ijsdr.org/papers/IJSDR1907024.pdf

Acne Vulgaris and the Epidermal Barrier, by Diane Thiboutot, James Q. Del Rosso; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3579484/