Let’s real talk for a minute. Wearing sunscreen on your face is just the worst. But I know it’s important, especially when I’m traveling, because I’m often out walking around in the sun all day. Then I get mad and grossed out because my face is super shiny in pictures, and it clogs my pores and I break out…like I said, THE WORST.
But a while back I’d read something about Korean face sunscreens, and then started hearing friends talk about it. Honestly, it sounded too good to be true. But I dug into it a bit and decided to test some out. And GUYS—it is amazing!
Why are Korean face sunscreens different?
I’m not like a scientist or expert, so this is me mostly summarizing how I understand it. Koreans as a culture are very into intensive skincare, and this has led to a lot of innovation in making the texture, coverage, etc. much better than the gross nonsense America has. This article does a great job explaining WHY they’re different.
They tend to be light, easy to spread and absorb, not give you any gloopiness or white powdery stuff, and then some do fancier stuff (like antioxidants, skin tone evening, etc.). It is seriously the polar opposite of American sunscreens. So after trying out a lot, I’m here to share my favorite Korean face sunscreens, the ones that have become my constant travel companions!
(look, no shine!)
Disclosure: Just as an FYI, I may make a super small affiliate commission from any sales that come through clicks on my links to Amazon, which I greatly appreciate because they help with site upkeep, and is at no extra cost to you. All opinions are, as always, completely my own!
Best Korean sunscreens for your face
My focus here is anything with an SPF *above* 30. A lot of regular fancy moisturizers have maybe an SPF 18, or even up to 30. But when you need something stronger that’s not gross and greasy, you’re out of luck…until now! I’ve used all of these frequently and am super happy with them.
I absolutely love how this feels on my face. It’s a thin, milky liquid rather than being thick and sunscreen-like. It absorbs super quickly and feels just like normal face moisturizer—I’d never know I’m wearing SPF 50!!
Even when I have to reapply (a death knell even for really good American face sunscreens), it doesn’t feel greasy, cakey, or give me gross shine. This is a winner all around!
Even though the texture of this is somewhere between a normal face moisturizer and a sunscreen from a thickness standpoint (similar to my favorite Murad SPF 30 moisturizer), it goes on very smooth and absorbs quickly. Basically it feels just like a normal moisturizer despite the high SPF.
I often travel with this in my little ziploc baggie, as it can be both a day and night moisturizer in a pinch. Note, what I have is the orange bottle (Natural Sun Cream), not the pic below.
This one is also a thinner, milky liquid rather than a thicker lotion. And this one is interesting…it really makes my face matte. As a person with quite moisturized and often somewhat greasy skin, the texture it makes my face is a little odd. It’s not bad, and this stuff works really well—it’s just such a different feel than my skin is normally that it can be a bit disconcerting.
But overall I’ve been happy with this and it really does a great job protecting my face even in intense sun (like laying out, hiking without any shade, etc.). And like with the other ones, reapplying is easy and doesn’t make my face cakey or greasy.
Best Korean moisturizers (no SPF)
My only caveat on these is that these are tougher for carry-on travel, particularly the Innisfree one (due to size/shape). The Klairs one is a great size, so would travel well. However, since I was already sharing my favorite SPF ones, it seemed silly not to share these as well!
This has become my go-to moisturizer after I wash my face at night, particularly in the summer. It’s lightweight but packs quite a moisturizing punch, and I love the scent (which is fresh and sharp, almost like a woodsy dude’s cologne but not cloying or overwhelming). Like I said, the only thing is I don’t think this would travel well except in checked luggage.
I’ve been using this during the week before work, and have been super happy with it. It absorbs super quickly, provides a smooth and velvety texture, and doesn’t tend toward greasy later in the day.
And while I would have trouble traveling with it in my carry-on (because it would take up too much space in my plastic ziploc), it’s quite small and wouldn’t take up too much space.
I’ll keep adding other Korean sunscreens and moisturizers to this post as I find new ones to love, but for now these are my go-tos….literally ones I use every week and in some cases every day! I’d love to hear other recommendations you’ve found amazing, so hit me up in the comments!
If you’re going to get some sun, read these:
- Everything You Need To Pack For A Chill Beach Vacay
- My Favorite Summer Beach Reads
- The Only Carry-On Suitcase You’ll Ever Need
- The Best Cross-Body Purse for Travel
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