Best Korean Moisturizers for Oily Skin: Top Picks 2018

Updated 5 years ago

Oily T-zone, large pores, and excess shine - these are all hallmarks of oily skin types. The idea of using a moisturizer on oily skin might sound counterintuitive given that the skin’s sebum production is already in overdrive, which seems to suggest one should instead skip moisturizing altogether. Yet, not moisturizing is in fact a major no-no for oily skin as the reason behind the excessive sebum production is probably due to your skin being dehydrated. When your skin feels parched, it compensates by over-producing too much oil to counter the dehydration which accounts for the excess shine on your face. This is why eliminating a moisturizer from your skincare regime is only making the issue worse.

Moisturizing Is A Must for Oily Skin

Instead of using heavy and thick creams that may be too much for oily skin types, choose a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer with humectants to draw moisture from the air or inner skin layers to the surface to keep your skin’s hydration levels balanced. Korean moisturizers are a great choice in this aspect as their formulations often contain hydrating ingredients that has humectant-like properties such as Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic Acid. In addition, these skincare ingredients are gentle enough to care for your skin without making it overly tight or dry. This is why Korean moisturizers are ideal in regulating sebum production to help you keep the shine under control. We take a look at some of the best moisturizers for oily skin types below.

Top 15 Korean Moisturizers for Oily Skin

COSRX Oil Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap

This lotion is of an oil-free formulation that is hydrating enough to provide sufficient moisture for oily skin users. Enriched with Birch Sap, which coincidentally ranks first in its ingredient list, this star ingredient contains skin-beneficial amino acids, sugars and vitamins that helps to deeply hydrate your skin and maintain its natural oil-moisture balance. In addition, Birch Sap has a small molecular structure which translates into the lightweight lotion being easily absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. This is why oily skin users raved about this product in helping them control oiliness while keeping their skin well-moisturized.

Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream

This cream is infused with a unique marine-based ingredient, Kona Hawaii's deep ocean water, to release steady amounts of moisture that provide instant hydration for oily skin individuals. Users loved it for giving them well-hydrated and supple skin with adequate shine control to prevent them from looking like an oily mess at the end of the day. Moreover, sensitive skin individuals also reported that the cream’s skin-soothing ingredients like Aloe Vera Leaf Extract and Licorice Root Extract helped to clarify and brighten skin complexion without experiencing any breakouts. As such, this lightweight moisturizer is perfect for daytime use to keep your skin well-hydrated all day.

Cremorlab Fresh Water Gel

Another lightweight moisturizer that leaves a matte finish upon application, making it ideal for those who want shine control. This gel-based moisturizer absorbs fast into the skin to leave a velvety-smooth texture which means it can be layered underneath your makeup. It also contains natural botanical ingredients like Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract and Centella Asiatica to reduce inflammation and fight the effects of ageing while being gentle enough for those with sensitive skin. Do note that a pea-sized amount of this hydrating cream goes a long way to keep your skin soft and smooth for hours on end.

The Face Shop Chia Seed Hydrating Emulsion Lotion

This lotion is formulated with GMO-free South American Chia Seed, which is an excellent source of Vitamin B3 and Zinc that are beneficial in controlling oil production. It is a suitable moisturizer for those with oily skin as consistent use will result in reduced oiliness while the skin remains healthy and hydrated. Besides plumping up your skin with moisture for a supple look, Chia Seed is also great at reducing the first signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles, thereby revealing a more youthful complexion. The product is also equipped with a soft pump dispenser that allows the user to easily control the amount of lotion released to reduce product wastage.

Mamonde Moisture Ceramide Light Cream

Ceramides are a popular skincare ingredient that is also naturally found in the skin layer. These lipid substances penetrate the skin easily to retain moisture within the inner layers and strengthen the skin’s protective barrier. As such, dehydrated, oily skin is restored to its original, healthy state. Mamonde’s cream is also enhanced with hydrating Hibiscus Extract to boost your skin’s water levels, thereby balancing sebum production for a less oily look.

Laneige Water Bank Gel Cream

If you feel that Lanegie’s Water Sleeping Pack might be a tad heavy for your skin to absorb, try its Water Bank Gel Cream instead. This refreshing, water-based gel cream is targeted specifically for oily skin individuals as it contains Winter Cypress Polysaccharide Extract that effectively regulates sebum production and controls oiliness. It is also infused with Hydro Ionized Mineral Water, Olive Squalane and Tillandsia Extract to enhance your skin’s moisture retention abilities and keep it well-hydrated all day. This is the perfect moisturizer to keep your skin fresh and shine-free on hot summer days.

TONYMOLY The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream

Just like its name, this lightweight cream is chock full of pure fermented Green Tea Extract (63%) in place of distilled water to provide maximum antioxidant benefits so that your skin feels soft and healthy-looking. The brand’s special Green Tea Extract also contains higher moisture levels compared to normal fresh Green Tea, thereby delivering long-lasting hydration to your skin. Users loved this product not just because of its cute-sounding name, but also due to its positive results in regulating excess sebum production, making it compatible for oily skin.

Nature Republic Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera Gel

As we all know, Aloe Vera is an excellent moisturizer for oily skin due to its ability to deeply hydrate skin layers without clogging pores, thereby preventing the formation of pimples and whiteheads. It also absorbs quickly into the skin without feeling greasy, making it perfect for doubling up as a primer before putting on makeup. With 92% of Aloe Vera Leaf Extract, the brand’s best-seller also helps to soothe irritated skin and evens out complexion for a smooth, glowing look. It is no wonder that most users have made this a staple in their daily moisturizing routine to keep oily skin hydrated and shine-free.

Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel

Another aloe-vera based product that has won the hearts of oily skin users is Benton’s Aloe Gel. This gel is unique as it combines the hydrating properties of Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice and the anti-bacterial properties of Propolis to create a soothing moisturizer that is perfect for those with oily, sensitive skin. It has become a crowd-favourite due to its refreshing gel texture which sinks in quickly and is light enough to use as a daytime moisturizer for oily skin.

belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb

Unlike its sister product, the Moisturizing Bomb, belif’s Aqua Bomb is designed with oily skin individuals in mind as it has an oil-free formula that intensely hydrates the skin so that it stays soft and supple. This ultra-lightweight cream is unique as it bursts upon application to give your skin a surge of much-needed moisture. This has become a cult classic among oily skin types as they observed a more hydrated and balanced complexion after consistent usage. A little of this also goes a long way so you can be sure that this cream is absolutely worth the splurge.

MIZON Vita Lemon Calming Cream

This lemon-based cream is infused with French mineral water to provide your skin with lasting hydration, Lemon Fruit Extract to even out skin tone for a glowing complexion, and Witch Hazel Leaf Extract to act as a natural astringent that removes excess sebum hence making it ideal for those with oily skin concerns. With a sheer, gel-like texture, the cream feels cool on your skin to keep it refreshed and supple all day. Users reported smoother and brighter skin without experiencing any breakouts.

MISSHA Super Aqua Oil Clear Gel Cream

A marine-based formulation that contains Plankton Extract which is a great source of essential fatty acids that are vital for keeping the skin healthy. Being a rich source of moisture, Plankton Extract helps to deeply hydrate skin and also trains it to retain moisture. With added Hyaluronic Acid, the cream also helps to draw water from the environment to keep your skin moisturized and supple. Lastly, this product contains Birch Bark Extract to regulate sebum production and prevent excess shine. Users like it for giving them a smooth, non-greasy finish that leaves no stickiness hence allowing makeup to adhere better to the skin.  

Etude House SoonJung 10 Free Free Moist Emulsion

Formulated with 93% natural ingredients, this super lightweight hypoallergenic moisturizer melts into your skin for rapid absorption. It contains Panthenol which is the provitamin of B5 that moisturizes, soothes and regenerates skin for a healthier look. As such, it is ideal for oily and sensitive skin types. It does not cause pilling which makes it suitable to be applied under sunscreen or makeup. One pump of this emulsion is sufficient to cover your entire face as it spreads easily.

A.TRUE Spring Green Tea Watery Calming Cream

This cream contains a high concentration of Camellia Sinensis Leaf Water as it is listed at the top of the ingredient list. Otherwise known as Green Tea Extract, it acts as a natural astringent in tightening pores to reduce sebum production hence making this cream the ultimate life-saver for oily skin individuals. The intensely hydrating property of Green Tea Extract has also impressed users as they observed a dramatic improvement in their skin’s moisture levels without making their skin greasy. Enriched with other skin-soothing ingredients like Niacinamide, Centella Asiatica Extract and Matricaria Flower Extract, this cream is also ideal for those suffering from skin sensitivity.

Blithe Crystal Iceplant Pressed Serum

This luxurious product is a two-in-one serum and moisturizer that is ideal for oily skin types. The cooling gel-like texture is infused with 63% Crystal Iceplant Extract from the Sahara to soothe and refine the appearance of enlarged pores while its impressive water-storing ability provides a hydration boost for the skin. Moreover, it also contains fermented Soybean Extract and Radish Root Extract to nourish and balance your skin without being overly greasy or heavy. Use a pea-sized amount as a little of this gel goes a long way.

The myth that moisturizers are the bane of oily skin has been dispelled by glowing reviews of actual oily skin users of the aforementioned products. Therefore, if you are suffering from oily skin but are reluctant to incorporate a moisturizer into your routine, don’t hesitate any further! As long as you choose a product that is specifically targeted for oily skin, you can look forward to overcoming excess sebum production and bid adieu to enlarged pores and a greasy complexion.

Other Skincare Essentials to Manage Oily Skin

Investing in a sheer, oil-free moisturizer is not the only thing that oily skin types can do to control excess shine. Other skincare techniques like using oil cleansing, a hydrating serum and regular masking are also vital to helping you keep the shine off your face. Let’s delve into the details of why these techniques actually complement moisturizing to help regulate sebum secretion.

Why oil cleansing is beneficial for oily skin types:

The thought of putting oils onto your already oily skin might send a shiver down your spine. Yet, oil cleansing is actually beneficial for oily skin types as they are more effective at removing excess sebum from the skin without drying out your skin. As such, they help to regulate your skin’s natural oil production which results in reduced shine on the face. Dermatologists also highlight the importance of choosing the right oils for your skin type. Consider using lighter oils like Jojoba Oil which is similar in molecular structure to the skin’s natural sebum, thereby helping to prevent sebum overproduction. Another cleansing oil that is good for oily skin types is Geranium Essential Oil which is great at regulating your skin’s oil production.

Avoid overwashing your face:

It might feel natural for you to wash your face more than twice a day to get rid of the excess oils but do you know that doing so can actually worsen the issue? Overwashing strips away the natural oils on the skin which triggers increased sebum production that adds more grease to your face. Additionally, stay away from alcohol-based cleansers as alcohols are the number 1 drying agent that can aggravate sebum overproduction. Instead, stick with a mild cleanser that is gel- or foam-based so that it is light enough for oily skin to handle.

What toners are best suited for oily skin?

Those with oily skin might cringe at putting on layers of products on the face and choose to skip toning too. However, toners are a must-have in any oily skin individual’s beauty regime as they help to clear away excess sebum which might have been missed during the cleansing step, and restore your skin’s natural pH balance. Instead of using alcohol-based toners which may dry out your skin and exacerbate the issue of sebum overproduction, use a hydrating toner with sebum-regulating ingredients. This will keep excess shine away while balancing out the skin’s moisture levels.

Which masks are great for oily skin?

One problem that oily skin types usually face is the enlarged pores that are at risk of being clogged due to the buildup of excess sebum and dirt on the skin’s surface. This is why clay masks are a miracle worker for oily skin as they contain ingredients like Bentonite clay, French green clay and Kaolin clay which are great at drawing out the impurities from your pores, absorbing excess oils for a more mattified look, and refining the appearance of large pores. For added skincare benefits, look for clay masks that are infused with ingredients such as Charcoal for detoxification, Zinc for sebum regulation and Cucumber for soothing the skin.


On days that you do not use a clay mask, amp up the hydration level of your skin with sheet-masking. Since the culprit behind excess sebum production is due to dehydrated skin, sheet-masking can help to alleviate this dehydration. Choose those soaked with moisture-boosting ingredients like Snail Mucin, Honey and Hyaluronic Acid to increase your skin’s moisture levels while sheet masks that contain Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide can help to control oil production.

Wrap Up

Oily skin need not be viewed as an insurmountable problem that cannot be solved. With the right skincare products and lifestyle changes, your skin’s oil production can be kept under control.

Use products with hydrating ingredients that are light enough for your skin to absorb without giving extra issues like clogged pores and a greasy finish. Moreover, the products targeted towards oily skin users often contain ingredients that tackle associated oily skin problems such as enlarged pores and acne breakouts to help restore your skin to its natural, healthy state. All it takes is investing time to do the daily skin care necessities so that you can enjoy the benefits of a more refined and shine-free complexion.