It’s the season of roaring fireplaces, hot cocoa, and well-worn flannels! As we burrow into our comfiest layers of cashmere and fleece, let’s also consider giving our skin a little extra TLC with layers of emollient and occlusive moisturizers and oils.
As we approach the drier, colder environment of winter, we present our favorite Asian skincare products to lock in moisture and strengthen the skin barrier!
Best Moisturizers for Winter 2022
Etude House Soon Jung 2x Barrier Intensive Cream
Etude House struck gold with the Soon Jung line—every single product is amazing for sensitive skin and fortifying weakened skin! Our year-round favorite, the Hydro Barrier Cream, is a gel cream that we reach for for any skin concern.
But we’ve recently launched a new favorite that takes all the amazing things we love about the Hydro Barrier Cream (hydrating, soothing, moisturizing) and amplifies them in a cream formula!
That’s right, we’re talking about the 2x Barrier Intensive Cream! A seemingly basic but highly effective cream, this moisturizer features key ingredients panthenol and madecassoside to promote the healthy oil-water balance of skin, repair damaged skin, and defend weakened skin against external irritants.
A little bit more about panthenol: it moisturizes dry and flaky skin while providing soothing benefits, and even aids in skin cell renewal to speed up wound healing and strengthen the skin barrier! Exactly what we love for irritated skin. Not at all in panthenol’s shadow, madecassoside is also a jawdropper in its own right as a potent antioxidant that inhibits inflammation and hydrates skin.
Thick and rich without ever feeling greasy, the 2x Barrier Intensive Cream is arguably the most popular product in the Soon Jung line. Not surprising at all, considering its incredible moisturizing and strengthening abilities!
Illiyoon Ceramide Ato Concentrate Cream
If you even loosely follow us on social media (check out our Instagram and Tiktok if you don’t!), you know that we love love love Illiyoon’s Ceramide Ato Concentrate Cream. This cream is ultra thick, and almost a little gritty at first from the highly concentrated ceramide soft capsules infused in the formula. But even though it’s easily the thickest cream we carry, it’s also unbelievably comfortable on the face. If they sold blankets made out of Illiyoon’s Ceramide Ato Concentrate Cream, we’d take out a loan just to buy out the inventory.
Hypoallergenic and soothing, Illiyoon’s flagship moisturizer combines traditional Asian ingredients with the brand’s patented Ceramide Skin Complex™. Fermented skincare lovers should take note of the included lactobacillus/soybean ferment extract, which is suggested to improve skin health by regulating skin’s microbiome.
Hanbang enthusiasts should also note the panax ginseng root extract, an anti-aging goodie that smooths and brightens skin with antioxidants and Vitamin B! It evens out skin tone, firms skin, and even provides a hydration boost.
Feel free to use this on dry areas other than your face as well, as this cream can also be applied on your body!
CosRX Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream
Another ceramide cream? Yes, please! CosRX’s Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream combines Ceramide NP with medical grade centella asiatica to soothe irritated skin and strengthen a damaged skin barrier! Ceramide NP also keeps skin hydrated by sealing in moisture, preventing evaporation of skin moisture, and maintaining the healthy oil-water balance of the skin.
The unspoken hero of the ingredients list though, is actually centella asiatica, which appears in many forms here: centella asiatica leaf water, asiaticoside, asiatic acid, and madecassic acid. In fact, centella asiatica leaf water is the very first ingredient, a very welcome replacement for the more traditional water in most moisturizers on the market. Asiaticoside, asiatic acid, and madecassic acid are all main bioactive components of centella asiatica, and largely contribute to centella asiatica’s wound healing and soothing legacy.
In terms of texture, CosRX describes this moisturizer as a matte balm. It definitely leans thicker, but sinks almost immediately into skin to leave a velvety finish!
AM+PM Triple HA Hydrating Souffle
Fun-textured creams make an everyday skincare routine so much more exciting! Our good friend Jude Chao (@fiddysnails on IG) calls the AM+PM Triple HA Hydrating Souffle a memory foam cream because it settles into a smooth surface after use. The texture is so buttery and souffle-like (duh) that we really have to control ourselves from turning this moisturizer into our midnight snack.
The decadent feel also means that it goes super smoothly on skin, melting and gliding to wrap your face in a comfortable layer of moisture. This is thanks in part to the quality emollients and occlusives in the formula, such as shea butter and soybean oil (the main ingredient in Beauty of Joseon’s Ginseng Cleansing Oil, FYI)! The shea butter here, in addition to Vitamin E, fights free radical damage to skin cells for healthier, more youthful skin.
But wait! There’s more! Like the name suggests, the Triple HA Hydrating Souffle also highlights three types of concentrated hyaluronic acid at three different molecular weights to better penetrate the skin and draw moisture deeper into the skin as well.
We recommend this cream for dry and sensitive skin in particular, as it really hydrates and seals in moisture like no one’s business.
Best Oils for Winter 2022
Naruko Supreme Rejuvenating Elixir Oil
We could spend forever admiring the beauty of Naruko’s Supreme Rejuvenating Elixir Oil! Everything from the red, embellished packaging to the golden design on the bottle, we’re so obsessed! The best part is that the oil really does feel every bit as luxe as it looks.
We know what you’re thinking: “$50 for a bottle of oil?? In this economy?”
Hear us out, okay? Naruko, headed by Taiwanese beauty king and scientist Niu Er, has conducted some seriously impressive research into Western and Eastern botany to come up with their proprietary blend called Actuat E60. Actuat E60 is a masterful combination of 60 different plant extracts from both Western and Eastern medicine, created with the intention of hitting a bunch of skincare goals like soothing, brightening, and firming. (Just a few botanical extracts within Actuat E60 for your reference: panax ginseng root extract, snow fungus extract, rice bran extract, and willow bark extract—we’re starstruck!)
When you take Actuat E60 and inject it into a 80% oil-based and 20% water-based formula, you’ve got a lightweight and non-greasy facial oil that provides an unreal level of comfortable moisture on top of all the other amazing anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits.
KEEP COOL Ocean Deep Blue Oil
The KEEP COOL Ocean Deep Blue Oil, like the Naruko Supreme Rejuvenating Elixir Oil, is so mesmerizing to look at. That lovely shade of blue is from a blend of botanical extracts and oils such as turmeric, chinaberry extract, and eggplant fruit extract! Aside from lending this facial oil its signature sapphire hue, these ingredients are brimming with antioxidants like polyphenols that repair signs of environmental damage.
The actual oils in this product are also intensely nourishing—think jojoba seed oil, sunflower seed oil, tiger nut oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, rosehip oil, macadamia seed oil, and moringa oil! Moringa seed oil, in particular, is a standout for its high amino acid, antioxidant, and oleic acid content, not to mention its airy, barely-there feel that most oils only wish they could have.
Rosehip oil is also a great addition to the ingredient list for its strengthening abilities! As skin struggles to adjust to changing weather and environmental stressors, a great strengthening facial oil will do wonders for keeping sensitive and dry skin comfortable.
Final ThoughtsWe’ve selected only the most nourishing moisturizers and oils to grace your skincare shelf this winter! Incorporate any of these Asian skincare products into your beauty routine for happy, healthy, and moisturized skin.