Want to make your skin glow? Korean serums are mild, lightweight, and contain a high concentration of active ingredients that can help all skin types. Some common skin-nourishing ingredients are ginseng, green tea, and aloe vera. Korean skincare also utilizes more unique ingredients, like snail mucin, placenta, and propolis!
Check out our buying guide, where you'll find all the necessary information regarding Korean serums, and our top 10 highly recommended products. Innisfree's Green Tea Seed Serum is our top-ranking product because it absorbs quickly, soothes irritated skin, and prevents signs of aging. If you want to know more, don't forget to check out the rest products on our list!
Cos De BAHA
Green Tea Seed Serum
First Care Activating Serum
Day Glow Serum
Rich Moist Soothing Serum
White Truffle Serum In Oil Drop
AHA 8% Peeling Serum
Snail Mucin Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Peach Sake Pore Serum
The Best-Selling Organic Green Tea Serum
A Nutrient-Dense Serum to Improve Overall Skin Health
An Affordable Vitamin C Serum Packed With Active Ingredients
A Gentle and Lightweight Serum for All Skin Types
A Rich, Hydrating Serum With Natural Ingredients
A Lightweight, Anti-Aging Serum Perfect as a Makeup Primer
Exfoliate Dead Skin Cells for a Clearer Complexion
A High Concentration of Snail Mucin Free From Harsh Chemicals
A Great Solution for All Skin Problems
A Mattifying Serum Suited for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
|Formulated with||Green tea, cocoa extract, citric acid||Ophiopogon japonicus root extract, honey, castor oil||Vitamin C, witch hazel, orange stem cells||Cica extract, fig extract, aloe water||Cica extract, licorice root extract, grapefruit extract||White truffle, niacinamide, hyaluronic Acid||Glycolic acid, lemon peel oil, papaya||Snail secretion filtrate, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide||Red ginseng extract, green tea leaf extract, licorice root extract||Rice ferment filtrate, peach extract, butylene glycol|
|Highlights||Free from parabens, mineral oils||Free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates||Cruelty-free; free from parabens, sulfates, alcohol, phthalates||Cruelty-free; free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates||Cruelty-free; free from parabens, alcohol, fragrance||Free from parabens, sulfates, alcohol||Free from sulfates, silicones||Cruelty-free; free from parabens, alcohol, fragrance, sulfates||Free from parabens, alcohol, mineral oils||Free from sulfates|
|Amount||2.7 oz.||2.02 oz.||1 oz.||1 oz.||2.7 oz.||1.69 oz.||1.69 oz.||4 oz.||1.01 oz.||1.52 oz.|
Here are the best Korean serums that you can buy online. They have different ingredients, texture, and packaging. Make sure you choose one that will address your skin concerns!
※These rankings were decided based on user reviews and popular rank lists from Amazon gathered on August 2nd.
|Formulated with||Green tea, cocoa extract, citric acid|
|Highlights||Free from parabens, mineral oils|
|Formulated with||Ophiopogon japonicus root extract, honey, castor oil|
|Highlights||Free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates|
|Formulated with||Vitamin C, witch hazel, orange stem cells|
|Highlights||Cruelty-free; free from parabens, sulfates, alcohol, phthalates|
|Formulated with||Cica extract, fig extract, aloe water|
|Highlights||Cruelty-free; free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates|
|Formulated with||Cica extract, licorice root extract, grapefruit extract|
|Highlights||Cruelty-free; free from parabens, alcohol, fragrance|
|Formulated with||White truffle, niacinamide, hyaluronic Acid|
|Highlights||Free from parabens, sulfates, alcohol|
|Formulated with||Glycolic acid, lemon peel oil, papaya|
|Highlights||Free from sulfates, silicones|
|Formulated with||Snail secretion filtrate, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide|
|Highlights||Cruelty-free; free from parabens, alcohol, fragrance, sulfates|
|Formulated with||Red ginseng extract, green tea leaf extract, licorice root extract|
|Highlights||Free from parabens, alcohol, mineral oils|
|Formulated||Rice ferment filtrate, peach extract, butylene glycol|
|Highlights||Free from sulfates|
Here, we'll be introducing the following three important points to check when you choose a Korean serum.
Points to Consider:
Choose a Serum According to Your Skin Type
Look for Popular Korean Skincare Ingredients
Decide Between Types of Packaging
Different skin types need different skin care products. Thus, it's important to know your skin concerns to find a perfect skin solution.
Snail mucin is one of the most popular ingredients in Korean skin care. It contains glycolic acid, glycoproteins, and hyaluronic acids, all off which can prevent dryness, improve collagen production, and promote dewy skin.
Although snail mucin can't penetrate deeply into the skin because of its large molecule size, it helps to improve overall skin texture and quality. Additionally, it helps to treat eczema by soothing itchy and inflamed skin, too!
Hyaluronic acid can draw and lock moisture into your skin, which results in firmer and healthy-looking skin. It also protects the skin from environmental damage, like sunlight, pollution, and harsh chemicals. Some studies have found that combing hyaluronic and vitamin C can create more effective results in skin elasticity.
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and is another ingredient that suits dry, flaky, or irritated skin. It helps to boost hydration, reduce redness, soothe inflammation, and improve skin texture or pigmentation.
Aloe vera is a popular ingredient for Korean skincare because of its numerous benefits, including moisture-retention. Some studies have shown that aloe vera can improve skin elasticity and collagen production. It also helps to treat sunburn and prevent peeling skin.
Glycolic acid is an effective anti-aging agent as well! It helps to reduce dark spots, wrinkles, and scars, and it can even out your complexion while gently exfoliating skin. As a result, it leads to smoother, firmer, and younger-looking skin.
Peptides are a broken down form of collagen, and their small molecules can penetrate the skin. They help to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness. Moreover, they help to increase collagen production. Other anti-aging ingredients that you may look for in Korean serums are neuropeptide, matrixyl, and argireline.
Honey and propolis have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammation, and anti-fungal agents. Some studies have found that they can cure pimples, treat acne vulgaris, reduce inflammation, and improve collagen production. Although these ingredients can’t prevent hormonal acne, they help to speed up healing time.
Tea tree oil is a fantastic ingredient for oily and acne-prone skin because it helps to control oil, calm redness, reduce acne, and prevent breakouts.
Cica is a plant that has been used in many Korean skincare products, as it’s high in antioxidants that are great for acne-prone skin. It helps to treat acne as well as soothe irritated and inflamed skin.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants, which can slow down the aging process, heal blemishes, and reduce scars while also improving skin complexion and texture. As a result, your skin becomes brighter, cleaner, and more radiant!
Vitamin E helps to regenerate new skin cells and reduce dark spots. It's also effective at hydrating and strengthening skin. Vitamin C is also idea for brightening skin, as it helps to restore collagen, repair damaged skin from sunlight and pollution, and improve skin tone.
Luckily, many Korean skincare products contain natural ingredients and can be used by most skin types. But allergic reactions can be very different from person to person, and you may not know which ingredients can irritate your skin. Thus, we recommend doing a patch test before using new products.
Another way to prevent skin trouble is to avoid common irritating ingredients, like alcohol, parabens, sulfates, essential oils, and fragrances, unless you know that your skin can handle these ingredients.
Ginseng is known as a Korean superfood, thus, it’s used in many high-end beauty brands such as Sulwhasoo and The History of Whoo.
It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help to protect skin cells from damage while regenerating healthy new skin. Additionally, it helps to balance oil, reduce fine lines, brighten skin, eliminate puffiness and redness, as well as calm acne.
Sake is made from fermented rice and is rich in amino acids, fatty acids, and vitamins E and B. It also contains ferulic acid, which is known as a powerful anti-aging ingredient.
In addition to that, it helps to moisturize, tighten, and brighten skin. It can also minimize enlarged-pores and acne, control sebum production, and soothe inflammation, as well as reduce eczema symptoms.
It may sound gross to use a placenta serum, but it’s very common and has been used widely in Korea! The extract comes from an organ that is used to protect and nurture babies during pregnancy. The extract can come from sheep, pig, or horse placenta.
Placenta extract provides all-in-one benefits, like tightening and brightening skin, increasing collagen production, treating acne, and reducing the signs of aging. Since placenta extract is natural, it’s safe and can be used for all skin types.
Most Korean serums usually come in glass dropper bottles, but you may also find some products that come in plastic bottles, too!
Glass bottles can provide better protection for natural ingredients, which can increase the shelf life compared to plastic bottles. On the other hand, plastic bottles are lightweight, making them more convenient to carry.
In general, darker bottles are better than transparent bottles. They can provide better protection from light and heat. Heat and light can harm the effectiveness and potency of vitamins, so dark bottles are highly recommended for vitamin C and vitamin E serums.
With summer approaching, you may want to switch to lightweight skin care products. Besides serums, there are other types of skin care products that suit hot and humid climates. Check out our other suggestions for lightweight moisturizers, face mists, and sunscreens!
The main difference between Korean and other serums is the key ingredients. Most Korean serums are gentle but highly effective! This is because they use a lot of natural ingredients that suit all skin types and all skin concerns. Thus, it's important to know the benefits of the main ingredients in serum you buy.
Don't forget to think about the texture of the product and packaging, too! Make sure that it's comfortable on your skin and convenient to use. We recommend reading the reviews to help you understand more about the product and make the right decision.
Author: Apinya Masuda
Skincare expert and blogger Abiola of @lifewithabiola, loves finding the best hydrating products for her acne-prone and dry skin. This essence from COSRX, an innovative Korean skincare brand, works wonders on soothing skin.
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