Today, we see many Western beauty products are derived from Korean skincare that have meticulous multi-step skincare rituals. With the rise of K-beauty, their exceptional serums continued on dominating the beauty and dermatology industry worldwide.
Serums are the next step essential in your skincare and should be used after cleansing and before moisturizing. Consists of smaller molecules, they have concentrated “actives”, made in clear, gel-like solutions applied to the skin. This means that they are absorbed quickly and penetrate deep into the skin.
But, what if you have oily skin? Do you know that you also need serums to avoid the overproduction of sebum which results in oilier skin? If you’re searching for the best Korean serum for oily skin, our team provided this article with all of the basic information and in-depth research about the top-rated serums in the market.
Important Factors to Consider
Formula and Skin Types
Unlike moisturizers which have larger molecules, serums are mostly water-based and able to hydrate and nourish the skin deeply. They do not contain occlusive, moisturizing ingredients like petrolatum or mineral oil. They have a high concentration of active ingredients such as antioxidants, vitamins, peptides, and brightening agents.
Facial serums are used to treat a multitude of skin problems such as dryness, fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tone, large pores, acne, and premature skin aging. Generally, they are good for all skin types. So, it all goes down to your choice of serum which largely depends on your personal needs or skin concern that you want to address:
- For people who have mature skin, use antioxidant serums with higher amounts of vitamins and minerals, ferulic acid, and resveratrol can be specifically useful to fight free radical damage.
- For those who have dry and flaky skin, use hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid or vitamin E, and powerful plant water extracts that contain high capacity of retaining hydration.
- For people who suffer in large pores and oily skin, you can use serums with Vitamin C, niacinamide, and zinc. You can also use serums with exfoliants particularly BHA and LHA. These compounds unclog pores and deep cleanse the skin to minimize sebum production and large pores.
- For people who have combination skin (oily T-zone areas and dry U-zone areas in the face), use hydrating serum that has light consistency. Try serums with hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and plant extracts that are soothing, calming, and able to decrease the production of natural oils or sebum.
- For those who have sensitive skin, you need calming and restoring serums that contain ingredients like Vitamin B5 which can soothe the skin and promote healthy barrier function.
- For those who have dull or hyperpigmented skin, exfoliating serums that also have hydrating and soothing properties are your face heroes! Look for exfoliants in the ingredients list specifically AHA and PHA to remove and shed dead skin cells and reveal new, glowing skin.
Our Top Picks for the Best Korean Toners for Oily Skin
In this section, our team happily curated the best Korean serums for oily skin that we found out available in the market. Below are some special details about their formulations and contents.
#1 Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum
Do you want a serum that has great exfoliating benefits while decreasing your sebum production due to your oily skin? This serum from Mizon is formulated with 8% AHA or glycolic acid that smoothly exfoliates your skin leaving it so refined, polished, and healthy.
For normal to oily skin types, you can use this daily or 2-3 times a week but sensitive skin must not use this type of serum as it can potentially cause irritation because of the percentage of AHA in the product. If clogged pores, sebaceous filaments, whiteheads, and blackheads are your biggest skin concerns right now, this serum will help you solve them.
Aside from AHA, the serum’s formulation also includes papaya which appears to be another wonderful ingredient for retexturizing and brightening the skin. Papaya is fully-loaded with Vitamin A, B, C, and carotenoids, antioxidants that help to fight off the appearance of aging and skin damage. It also helps your skin look more rejuvenated, tight, and relaxed as it possesses anti-inflammatory benefits.
Additionally, it is not just all about exfoliation because Mizon has designed this serum as a balanced formula. They added some moisturizing agents and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe for calming and hydrating, panthenol for moisturizing, Portulaca Oleracea extract for anti-inflammatory effect, and finally, arnica extract for antibacterial effect.
#2 Meebak Cica Face Serum
If you’re looking for fresh brands, Meebak is one of the unique and new brands in the market that has products formulated based on K-beauty technology. This brand combines traditional herbal remedies with modern science to craft products uniquely made for women’s sensitive skin.
The natural ingredients used to create their special CICA Care formula have been used for thousands of years to calm and soothe even the most troubled skin. All of their products will help your skin radiate with a healthy glow, restoring its natural beauty. One of their products is a serum which is super calming and anti-aging, also great for oily skin.
Nowadays, cica has been the rave in recent years for its potent healing and restoring effect. The serum has cica components such as centella asiatica and madecassoside for barrier refining and vitalizing. It also has retinol for firmness, hyaluronic acid for moisture balance, saccharomyces for hydration, and niacinamide for brightening. Plus, it has other ingredients such as fig extract, ceramide, aloe water, and adenosine.
Figs are used in skincare for their high Vitamin A and C properties that promote exfoliation and elimination of surface skin cells for refreshed and renewed skin. Ceramides are lipids that help form the skin barrier, help skin retain moisture and protect the skin against environmental aggressors. Aloe water has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties while adenosine has soothing and restoring effect.
#3 SKINMISO Pore Corset Serum
Are you tired of your large pores and oily skin? This serum from Skinmiso has functions to reduce the production of excess oil while providing an intense tightening effect, thus making the pores appear smaller. It claims to tighten large pores by 34%, pores visibly smaller in 20 minutes, reduces oil production, and hydrates the skin.
The serum has a texture that resembles a thick liquid or syrup but when applied to the skin, it turns into a watery texture. It has a refreshing cooling effect and it replenishes the hydration levels of your skin. If you want a primer before your makeup, this serum can be your healthy alternative to make your look long-lasting while nourishing your skin at the same time.
Suitable for sensitive, oily, and combination skin, this product has three key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, allantoin, and witch hazel extract. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that attracts moisture to the skin, keeping it hydrated and supple. Allantoin conditions and encourages cell renewal to heal the skin. Witch hazel extract has skin soothing and antibacterial properties to treat blemishes.
Moreover, it has other nourishing plant extracts to fill up your skin with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which are green tea leaf extract, everlasting flower extract, Ecklonia cava or brown algae extract, Codium tomentosum or green algae extract, and many more. These ingredients are important for pore refining, anti-inflammatory effects, antibacterial, and skin moisture balance.
#4 Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Serum
For the summer and even rainy days, Innisfree created a uniquely blend of moisturizing serum with organic Jeju green tea and green tea seeds that hydrate your skin from deep within! Having 100% green tea, this serum is rich in amino acids, antioxidants, and minerals. The brand formulated this product with Dual Moisture-Rising Technology™ which is derived from green tea and green tea seed oil for deep skin hydration and strong skin moisture barrier.
Most of the famous Korean bloggers recommended this serum as it is best for all skin types and you can use this during summer and hot days without making your face looking greasy and oily. This serum will make your skin glowing with enough hydration and nutrients from various plant extracts it has.
Its star ingredient is green tea which has tons of powerful effects for making your skin healthy. Being loved by many customers, green tea fights skin cancer by promoting DNA repair. It contains a powerful antioxidant called EGCG that fights DNA damage from UV rays to prevent skin cancer.
Also, it has catechins to reduce irritation, redness, and swelling. Other than green tea, it has several plant extracts such as camellia leaf extract, orchid extract, citrus peel extract and many more. It has multipurpose benefits as it provides long-lasting hydration, and minimizes the appearance of large pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.
#5 Dear Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum
Oh no but what about those pesky little bumps and inflamed pimples on your face? Your skin is so irritated and it also has redness on your cheeks. Yikes! To help you get rid of your problem, we’re here to present you the all-time favorite and bestseller serum from Dear Klairs of Wishtrend. This makes your skin softer and replenished with moisture.
Give your skin some TLC and make it radiant and glowing throughout the day with this product! It is made for soothing sensitive skin. To lower the surface temperature as it deeply hydrates for calming & cooling your skin needs. If your skin craves for hydration and refreshment, this provides rich moisture while calming redness.
This serum has three main ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, lotus flower extract, and licorice root extract. Hyaluronic acid is essential to prevent moisture loss as it binds to water to help retain moisture and can reduce wrinkles, redness, and dermatitis. Lotus flower extract has loads of vitamin C that brightens skin and prevent hyperpigmentation. Licorice root extract soothes irritation and calms redness.
Great for all skin types, this soothing serum is best while you’re traveling abroad because skin tends to get irritated and stressed from the constant change of weather. So, you can put this in a travel-size pump and you can use this while inside the plane. Also, the scorching heat from summer is not a problem anymore as you can use this serum to cool down your irritated, flushed skin!
#6 COSRX Centella Blemish Ampule
One of the best Korean skincare brands in the market, COSRX provides customized solutions for the customers’ individual skin concerns. This ampoule from their Centella line is one of their top-rated products. It is particularly designed to control sebum production and build a moisture retention.
This product is formulated with 84.84% Centella asiatica leaf water, 2,000ppm of sodium hyaluronate, and 500ppm of Centella asiatica extract. As you can see, it highlights the ingredient Centella asiatica extract. What does this component exactly do to your skin?
Rich in amino acids, beta carotene, fatty acids, and phytochemicals, Centella asiatica is especially beneficial for improving elasticity. Centella asiatica boosts antioxidant activity at the site of wounds, strengthening the skin and increasing blood circulation. Thus, it is a great ingredient for those who have many skin troubles such as acne, pimples, redness, and even oily skin.
For a no-fuss skincare routine, this serum has minimal but potent ingredients that will help you say goodbye to those annoying skin troubles. Even those super deep angry cystic acne of yours will be calmed and reduced with the use of this blemish ampoule or serum from COSRX.
#7 9 wishes Perfect Ampule Serum (Hydra)
Are you sensitive to fragrances and always prone to skin allergies? Do you feel that your skin gets oilier because of dehydration? Are you currently in the search for the right serum for your oily skin but you’re tight on the budget? Well, we got you covered! This ampoule serum from 9 wishes will make your dream of having a glowing and healthy skin come true.
This lightweight serum deeply penetrates inside the layers of the skin, creating a bouncy and supple exterior for the skin. The brand says that this is a perfect ampule and emergency remedy for very dehydrated skin. It has intense hydration activating complex that quickly absorbs, moisturizes, and provides glowing skin.
This highly concentrated yet extremely light-textured serum has abundant hyaluronic acid, ceramide, and Squalane Phyto Oligo. These ingredients work all day to moisturize dehydrated skin caused by external environment. Hyaluronic acid contributes to moisture retention of 117.39%. A special patent ingredient called N COHC-65 has botanical extracts which moisturize your face.
It also has coconut water that hydrates your skin promptly and balances your skin’s natural oil and water. On the other hand, baobab seed extract nourishes dehydrated skin and replenishes skin with omega fatty acids, providing anti-aging benefits. This serum is suitable for all skin types and mainly for those who need intense hydration without making your skin greasy. It’s cheap and affordable yet super efficient!
#8 PURITO Centella Green Level Buffet Serum
Another calming and soothing serum comes from this eco-friendly brand called Purito. This brand emphasizes pure and natural ingredients to create safe and clean products. It is all about going back to basics to strengthen and repair damaged skin barriers due to environmental stress aggressors.
By using this healing serum, it promotes collagen synthesis and activates cell tissues with the help of Centella asiatica to calm trouble scars. It also contains niacinamide, which balances skin tone with whitening effects, and panthenol and adenosine to assist in wrinkle improvement, helping to replenish the skin evenly.
There are many Centella serums around the market so what makes this product unique from them? It is all about the brand’s own way of extracting ingredients. Instead of just using Centella asiatica water, Centella asiatica leaf is boiled in water and a solvent is used to separate and extract only certain substances.
The result: a high-quality product is created comprising a high 49% content of Centella quantitative extract, instead of a small amount. Other than this, the serum has additional madecassic acid, asiaticoside, and asiatic acid. These three specialize in relieving and soothing skin problems. It also contains EGF, an expensive ingredient, which helps skin regeneration.
#9 SOME BY MI Aha.Bha.Pha 30Days Miracle Serum
Do you need a powerful antibacterial yet nourishing serum for your oily and acne-prone skin? Right now, we offer you this so-called miracle serum that contains 10,000 ppm of natural tea tree extracts. It dramatically improves your skin without irritation because of the relatively rich content of tea tree extracts.
Composed of three main ingredients of Asiatic pennywort, the serum soothes the skin, strengthen skin barrier and cares marks. These ingredients are 30% madecassic acid for damage care, 30% of aslatic acid for thicker skin barrier, and 40% asiaticoside for skin soothing.
For gentle and effective exfoliation, it has AHA, BHA, and PHA ingredients that remove pore and skin waste and normalize skin turn-over period. This bi-phase serum has natural essence for moisturizing and vegetable oil for protective barrier, necessary to balance moisture and oil of the skin and keeps it moisturized for long periods of time.
With an extraordinary mix of botanical ingredients, this serum is great for calming, soothing, exfoliating, and hydrating purposes. It can be used by all skin types too!
#10 THE FACE SHOP Chia Seed Moisture Recharge Serum
Have you heard about chia seeds? Chia seeds are popular and vital ingredients that we mostly see in nutritious protein smoothie bowls. They are also used in various fruit shakes and puddings to make a healthy meal. Do you know that there is a skincare line that has chia seeds as the star ingredient?
The Face Shop is a famous Korean brand that values beauty and vitality as their products are all made with naturally enhancing ingredients that nourish and enrich the skin. With this in mind, they used chia seeds from South America. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids that fight to age, soothe inflammation, reduce acne scars and keep skin radiant and healthy.
What’s unique about this ingredient? Chia seed has strong water-absorbing abilities. It absorbs up to 10 times its weight in water. It has the ability to live in very dry environments as it contains more than 30% of dietary fiber. The brand uses organic chia seeds and they used fresh extraction method within 24 hours for optimal benefits.
This serum has gel capsules that explode with all the benefits of the chia seed. The epidermis is nourished and hydrated, and itis invigorated without a sticky effect. So, this is well-recommended for all skin types including oily skin.
How to Choose the Best Korean Serum for Oily Skin
After knowing the best Korean serums for oily skin, the next thing to do is to be well-informed about the factors in choosing the suitable serum for your skin type. To help you evaluate and make the right decision, below are some important reminders:
- Ingredients: Search for harmful ingredients that might potentially trigger some allergic reactions, irritation, redness, and inflammation to your skin. Avoid harsh ingredients and chemical ones that are made for moisturizing but has possible side effects. Stay away from serums that have a high percentage of exfoliating acids and search for a small percentage for daily and gentle exfoliation. Find organic, and safe botanical ingredients as much as possible, such as a flower or plant extracts, hyaluronic acid, etc.
- Type: There are many types of serums in the market. These are anti-aging, skin-brightening, acne-fighting, hydrating, exfoliating, reparative and renewing serums.
- Reviews: Are you still confused on what’s best to buy? Search and read authentic reviews and learn from the experiences of several reliable YouTube skincare and beauty experts and enthusiasts about the products.
In this section, we provide you the most common questions along with the corresponding answers that people have about Korean serums.
What Does a Korean Serum Do For Skin?
Similar to the Western serums, Korean serums are concentrated skin treatments that don’t contain fillers like emulsifiers or emollients that cleansers and moisturizers do. So the actives can get to your skin faster. Like what have mentioned earlier, serums have smaller molecules of active ingredients as they are made to heal your particular skin concerns.
How Does Serum Differ from Essence, Boosters, and Ampoule?
Actually, they have the same purpose which is to target your skin concern with concentrated actives and nourishing ingredients. But in Korea, there are two types of essence: first essences and treatment essences. First essences have water-like consistency and fall on the pre-toning stages as your first step in the hydration process. On the contrary, those products that are labeled treatment essences are basically serums that treat your skin problems such as hyperpigmentation, fine lines, large pores, etc.
Ampoules and boosters are commonly known to have higher concentration of serum but it really depends on how the product itself is formulated. So, it really depends on how the brands market their products. You need to check the label properly and the product’s usage.
What Type of Serum is Best for Oily Skin?
The goal for oily skin is to balance water and oil production. Search for ingredients that offer hydration, pore minimizing, and exfoliating properties. For deep hydration, search for hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and plant water extracts. If you need exfoliation, find chemical acids like AHA, BHA, PHA, and LHA.
Search for niacinamide and zinc if you have large pores and oily skin. Find plant seed oils rich in linoleic acid or Omega-6 fatty acid that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, great for all skin types especially dehydrated skin. Some examples of these plant seed oils are rosehip seed oil, hemp seed oil, grapeseed oil, and many more.
Is It Alright To Use More than One Serum, Ampoule, or Booster at the Same Time?
Based on the website by Klog, it is safe and ok to layer your serums or add an ampoule to your usual skin care routine for an extra boost. For extra glowing makeup, you can add a drop of serum to your foundation right before you apply it. Remember, it depends on how much you mix in, your foundation’s consistency might change, so mix carefully.
How Long Does It Take To Notice the Results After Using the Serums?
It takes about four weeks to see results from using serums. Less than 28 days, some people can see results. But if you want to give a new serum one more chance, give it a month. After all, even though the treatment is concentrated, it won’t change the rate your skin cells turn over. Also, each one of us has his own particular skin structure and type. Please cultivate patience while using serums.
Therefore, having serums in your skincare routine is all about customizing your routine to your time needs as well as your skin’s needs. If you’re limited in the amount of time that you have, you can apply one serum in the day time and one in the evening. If you have a busy morning, apply once in the morning and at night.
For your self-care, this is a healing personalized step that will allow you to achieve your skincare goals and not take up too much time. Most significantly, serums are fundamental to your skincare game whatever skin type you have.