If you’re a K-beauty fanatic and have oily skin, you’re in luck: there are plenty of amazing Korean serums that target clogged pores, excess shine, breakouts, and other issues. commonly associated with oily skin. Specifically, the best Korean serums for oily skin contain lightweight moisturizers like hyaluronic acid and squalane (because yes, oily skin still needs hydration), as well as ingredients like niacinamide and leaf extract. of green tea, which are supposed to help regulate excessive oil production. You also don’t have to worry about prices over $100, as Korean skincare products are usually quite affordable (none of the products featured here cost more than $25).
What to consider when buying a serum for oily skin
As mentioned earlier, you’ll want a serum that delivers grease-free hydration with ingredients like hyaluronic acid (or sodium hyaluronate), squalane, panthenol, and vitamin E. Centella asiatica extract, which is popular for his soothing and moisturizing properties, is commonly found in Korean serums, and is a beneficial ingredient for most skin types. Beyond that, you’ll want to choose a serum based on your more specific skin concerns: for example, if you have congested or breakout-prone skin, you’ll probably want a serum with a pore-clearing ingredient like willow bark extract or rice. Sake. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to double down on the soothing ingredients. And if your main goal is a more even skin tone, consider a serum that contains a brightening antioxidant like vitamin C.
How to apply your serum
You can use a serum in the morning and/or evening (although if you use a vitamin C serum, your skin will benefit the most by use it in the morning under your sunscreen). When you apply your serum will depend on the other steps in your skincare routine, but in general it should continue after cleansing and toning, but before heavier products like moisturizer and sunscreen. Typically, serums come with a dropper, so you only need a few drops, which you can then gently pat onto your face and neck.
Other tips for oily skin
The causes of oily skin can range from hormonal imbalances to genetics to something as simple as the weather. In addition to incorporating a targeted serum into your skincare routine, there are several other steps you can take to help keep your oily skin balanced:
- Cleanse regularly and remove make-up carefully at the end of the day.
- Use lightweight, oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizers (like cream-gels).
- Opt for mattifying makeup products or use a mineral-based setting powder on top of your makeup.
- dungeon oil blotter sheets at your fingertips to eliminate excess sebum throughout the day.
- Try a topical retinoid at night, which can help unclog your pores by speeding up skin cell turnover.
Shop the best Korean serums for oily skin
Press? Here are the best Korean serums for oily skin:
- Best serum for oily and dehydrated skin: COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
- Best serum for oily, acne-prone skin: I Dew Care Juicy Kitten Purifying Power-Green Serum
- Best pore-reducing serum for oily skin: Skinfood Peach Sake Pore Serum
- Best calming serum for oily skin: BePlain Cicaful Bulb
- Best Vitamin C Serum for Oily Skin: Skin & Lab Vitamin C Brightening Serum
1. Best serum for oily and dehydrated skin
Just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you can give up moisturizing (in fact, if your skin is dehydrated, it can start producing After oil). If you think your oily skin is also dehydrated (or dry in spots), consider COSRX’s bestseller Snail Advanced 96 Mucin Power Essence, a lightweight serum rich in snail mucin, a popular ingredient used in Korean skincare. Naturally rich in hyaluronic acid, copper peptides, glycolic acid, collagen and elastin, snail mucin is believed to have hydrating, repairing, and collagen-boosting benefits. (And if you’re concerned about snails, COSRX says they’re cruelty-free because they collect mucin from snails rather than force them out.) Here, panthenol (aka vitamin B5) and arginine further help with replenishing moisture, while Allantoin works to soothe dryness and irritation. Technically it’s an essence – kind of like a serum/toner hybrid – so it’s extremely lightweight in texture and layers beautifully under other products. It’s also one of the most popular Korean beauty products on Amazon, with over 9,000 five-star ratings and counting.
Relevant notice: “I have oily skin, and this stuff is amazing. Reduces oil production, very light but super moisturizing, and it sinks in well. The texture is exactly what you imagine it to be like snail mucin, but this n isn’t unpleasant or overly sticky.”
Active ingredients: Snail mucin, hyaluronic acid, allantoin, panthenol, arginine Cut: 3.38 oz. Cruelty Free: Yes
2. The best serum for oily, acne-prone skin
To help treat the breakouts that often go along with oily skin, you’ll usually see a beta hydroxy acid, like salicylic acid, included in a serum. The I Dew Care Serum uses willow bark extract instead, which is touted as a less irritating BHA that has anti-inflammatory Properties. You will also find niacinamide at the top of the ingredient list, which has been shown to reduce sebum excretion rates, in addition to promoting an overall clearer complexion. To soothe and nourish inflamed skin, the serum includes a blend of antioxidant-rich ingredients like chlorella vulgaris extract (a type of algae), kale leaf extract, spirulina extract and centella asiatica extract.
Relevant notice: “I feel like this product has actually balanced my skin and made it clearer from small blemishes. Within a week I noticed a more even skin tone, and it seems to go well with skins sensitive.”
Active ingredients: Niacinamide, Willow Bark Extract, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Kale Leaf Extract, Spirulina Extract Cut: 1 oz. Cruelty Free: Yes
3. Best Pore-Reducing Serum for Oily Skin
This serum makes a great substitute for a pore-minimizing makeup base that also offers many benefits for the skin. Skinfood Peach Sake Pore Serum helps reduce the appearance of large pores and slow oil production with a combination of peach fruit extract, silica and rice sake. Licorice Root Extract Deals antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits for anyone prone to acne, and centella asiatica extract works to soothe the skin and improve its overall texture.
Relevant notice: “Without a doubt, this is the best pore-minimizing primer I’ve ever used. It instantly eliminates shine and shrinks your pores.
Active ingredients: Silica, Peach Fruit Extract, Rice Ferment Filtrate (Sake), Centella Asiatica Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Vitamin E Cut: 1.5oz. Cruelty Free: Nope
4. The best soothing serum for oily skin
Whether your oily skin is also sensitive or excess oil has led to acne-induced irritation, this BePlain Cicaful Bulb, made from 84% centella asiatica extract, can be a great addition to your routine. The plant-derived ingredient is rich in nutrients and is said to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The active compounds of the plant are proven to effectively treat wounds, which is why centella asiatica has become so popular to help soothe irritated skin. In this serum, chamomile flower extract provides further soothing benefits, while hyaluronic acid attracts and locks in moisture.
Relevant notice: “I’ve been using this bulb for a while and [I’m] currently on my fifth bottle. It is very light and does not leave a sticky residue. I have super oily skin, so it really helps that the texture is very light.”
Active ingredients: Centella Asiatica Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Chamomile Flower Extract Cut: 1 oz. Cruelty Free: Yes
5. Best Vitamin C Serum for Oily Skin
For a serum that helps fade unwanted hyperpigmentation and prevent sun damage (something that can ultimately lead to more hyperpigmentation), you’ll need a vitamin C serum. Skin & Lab’s Vitamin C Brightening Serum uses a synthetic form of Vitamin C which is not only less irritating, but also makes the formula more stable (Vitamin C is notoriously very reactive and can lose its antioxidant benefits when exposed to heat, light and the air). The formula also includes niacinamide to help regulate oil production, hyaluronic acid to provide lightweight hydration, and collagen and peptides to promote firmer, more hydrated skin.
Relevant notice: “It’s non-irritating to my sensitive, oily/combo skin, and works great when paired with other products like glycolic acid cleansers and toners as it helps brighten your face and to give it a very healthy and even shine.”
Active ingredients: Niacinamide, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Panthenol, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Peptides Cut: 1 oz. Cruelty Free: Yes
About the Author:
Marissa DeSantis has worked as a beauty editor for almost 10 years. Her pieces can be found in print and digital publications like Bustle, Evening Standard, Teen Vogue and InStyle.
Oily Skin: A Review of Treatment Options, by Dawnielle C. Endly, DO and Richard A. Miller, DO; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605215/
Moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties of cosmetic formulations containing Centella asiatica extract, by A. Ratz-Łyko, J. Arct and K. Pytkowska; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4852572/#:~:text=Centella%20asiatica%20extract%20is%20a,hydration%20and%20epidermal%20barrier%20function.
Centella asiatica in cosmetology, by Wieslawa Bylka, Paulina Znajdek-Awizen, Elzbieta Studzinska-Sroka and Malgorzata Brzezinska; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834700/