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10 Best Korean Serums for Oily, Acne, and Combination Skin

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Welcome to my unbiased buyer’s guide for the best Korean Serums.

Throughout the years I tested more than 132+ different Korean beauty products, and out of those products, more than 30 were Korean serums. Make sure to read this thoroughly and don’t take any shortcuts, or you could:

  • Waste thousands of dollars on Korean Serums that will never work
  • Damage or irritated the skin
  • Never achieve glowing skin

But don’t worry, it’s actually very easy to choose the best serum for your skin type. Only IF you know what to look for in a serum.

I’ve got years of experience, so let me walk you through everything step-by-step.

Let’s get started.

Our Pick
iUNIK Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum
iUNIK Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum
  • Infused with Propolis Extract
  • Fruit Extract 12% are included in the formulation
  • Suitable for Wider Range of Skin Type
Best Budget
30 Days Miracle Serum
30 Days Miracle Serum
  • Pore and skin waste care
  • Moisturizing
  • Skin soothing
Best Premium
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power
  • Perfect for dry skin
  • Very affordable
  • Contains yeast extracts

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10 Best Korean Serums

Here are the 10 best Korean serums for every skin type for 2024

1. Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum

Looking for the best Korean serum, this is it.

I have been using this serum for the last few months and it’s by far the best one on the market. After testing many different serums, this one outperformed all the other ones.

Not only in terms of price but also quality and results. What I liked the most about this serum is that it contains Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract. [1]

This ingredient has many scientific studies behind it and has been proven to work over and over again.

Even if you have sensitive skin, this will work. This serum works for all skin types, it doesn’t matter whether you have acne-prone skin, irritated skin, or another skin type.

This one works.

Unlike many other serums out there, this one actually lasts at least a few months.

Normally, serums don’t last that long, but this one does.

Give it a go, chances are, you’ll never try another serum again.

When you start using this, you only need to use it once a day. If you feel like your skin is still a bit dry, then I recommend using it twice a day. However, for the majority of people, this isn’t necessary.

2. 30 Days Miracle Serum

This is by far the best budget serum on the market.

If you consider all the ingredients it takes to make this Korean serum, then it’s likely that this will be the most affordable option out there.

There might be some other serums that are cheaper, but you will definitely miss the quality.

And when you compare this to the top serums on the market, then it lacks course. So, this is a great middle-ground many people are looking for.

When you start using this, you’ll be surprised how good this actually smells.

At first, I was a bit hesitant because the scent was quite strong, but you’ll get used to it.

It’s not bad smelling… but also not great in my opinion.

What I really like about this serum is that it contains Centella Extract, which is known to help with acne-prone skin and scars. [2]

Imagine waking up with perfect skin… every single morning.

That’s what you can expect when using this serum.

Make sure to give it a try. You won’t regret it. And most importantly, stay consistent when using this Korean serum (it takes time).

3. COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power

Looking for the best Korean serum for oily skin? This is the one you must try.

You probably already heard about the brand. “COSRX” It’s by far the biggest brand in terms of sales and popularity.

This is the serum that did wonders for my skin back in the day; the main reason was because of the Snail Essence.

Snail essence is known to improve the skin tone while also protecting it from getting damaged. Even if you have perfect skin already, this is the one you must try.

Once you start using this, your oily skin will disappear within days.

Never have I seen a serum that works this well, and I’ve tried many different serums.

So if you haven’t been using this serum already, you’re missing out big time.

Remember that time when you forgot your keys… at home.

Well, that’s exactly the same feeling you should get when you don’t use this serum, especially if your skin is extremely oily.

That’s basically forgetting your keys every day.

Don’t be like that and take action immediately. This is the serum you must have, and use it consistently for at least a few weeks before you make any conclusions.

4. Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum

This serum is by far the best one for acne-prone skin. It hydrates the skin extremely well, while also removing dead skin cells with one swipe.

Even though I don’t use this serum on a daily basis, it’s still one of the best products to add to your skincare routine. It’s great because it contains 2% niacinamide, which helps with redness and irritation.

Most people that start using this are often a bit hesitant. The reason being is because there are too many other serums out there that promise but… don’t deliver.

Luckily, this one doesn’t.

You can actually expect your skin to improve within the first few weeks. Most importantly is that you stay consistent.

Keep using this serum every single day, and eventually, you will start seeing some results.

Don’t expect it to work overnight because that’s not how serums work.

Especially in Korea, it takes time to start seeing results.

The only thing I don’t like is the price… it’s rather expensive compared to others. However, if you’re serious about improving your acne-prone skin, then it’s a must-have.

5. Dermalogy Real Vita C Serum

Do you hate dealing with combination skin?

Well, this is by far the best Korean serum for exactly that, and the best part about using this serum is that it works for all skin types.

It doesn’t matter whether you have combination skin, dry skin, or acne-prone skin.

This serum works.

That’s 100% based on multiple months of testing this extensively. Don’t forget that this serum is enriched with 22% Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, which is proven to strengthen the skin texture.

Using this will keep the skin texture moisturized throughout the whole day.

How this will improve your day:

  • No more dry skin throughout the day
  • Skin will never get extremely oily again
  • Glowing skin every single day

Even though this is more expensive than the other serums, it’s definitely worth giving it a try. You won’t regret it.

And what I like the most about using this serum is that it lasts at least 2 months.

That’s way longer than the average serum on the market, so what are you waiting for. If you want all these benefits, stop reading here and get it now.

6. I’m from Rice Serum

Want to brighten the skin fast?

This is the Korean serum that does that and more. I have been using this serum for the last few months and noticed a huge improvement in my skin.

Not only did it get brighter, but it also got softer and smoother.

This is mainly because this serum contains 73% rice extract, which is known to brighten the skin tone while also cleansing it. [3]

It also has niacinamide, which is a must-have when it comes down to brightening the skin.

Expect to see results within a few weeks, and it’s not a life-changer, so don’t expect it to brighten your skin overnight.

I’m not here to sell you a fake skincare product.

What this does do is slowly improve the skin, making it smoother and slowly brighter. It takes a bit of time before this serum gets rid of all of your dark spots.

However, it’s definitely worth it.

Especially if you hate dealing with dark spots, give this a go. You won’t regret it and maybe even keep using it forever.

7. Rich Moist Soothing Serum

You probably heard about this serum. It’s extremely popular in Korea, and thousands of people use this daily.

Are you tired from your work and just want to lay down…

Well, that’s exactly what this serum does for you.

Apply it once in the morning, and you’re good to go for at least 24 hours. That’s what I love about this serum.

You don’t have to spend extra money or time on other products that just pile up.

Using this will save you a lot of money, and the best part? It’s the best Korean serum for hydration.

It doesn’t make the skin dry at all. It contains many herbal extracts, which are proven to improve the skin overnight. So, if you haven’t been using this already, you’re missing out.

Give this one a try, and you’ll be surprised how good this serum is. Most importantly is that you keep using this serum every morning. Otherwise the effect won’t last.

8.  Yuja Niacin 30 Days Blemish Care Serum

Hate dealing with dry and sensitive skin. Well… lucky you.

This Korean serum is by far the best one that reduces dry skin instantly.

Never has it been this easy. Applying this lightweight serum will keep your skin hydrated throughout the whole day. No need for other products.

This one does everything.

As for the pricing… well, it’s a bit on the expensive side. However, if you’re serious about reducing dry skin, then this is it.

It might not remove all of your dry skin instantly. However, it does after a few weeks.

At least, that’s what it did for me.

I have been using this serum for the last few months, and my skin has a healthy glow now. It doesn’t make the skin feel too heavy or oily, and because of the active ingredients, it’s easy to use.

Applying it once in the morning and once before bed will do wonders.

Make sure to start using this ASAP. Doing this will speed up the process to perfect skin up to 500%.

9. All Day Vitamin Brightening & Balancing Facial Serum

Hate getting older?

Well… me too.

But sadly, everyone gets older by the day.

The only way to reduce your skin from sagging is by getting this serum.

It’s great because it contains vitamin C. Vitamine C is known to prevent anti-aging, which has been backed by many studies. These studies show that using it daily will reduce dull skin. [4]

It might not prevent it 100%, but the best thing to do is to start today.

Unless you want to get dull skin and start looking old like a grandpa.

That’s totally up to you, but when you start noticing that your skin is sagging, it’s already too late.

This serum is extremely lightweight and is by far one of the best products to add to your Korean skincare routine. There aren’t many products that are as good as this one.

Also, hyaluronic acid will help to keep your skin hydrated and feeling fresh.

So, if you’re serious about taking the next steps to prevent aging too fast, this is it. Get it today before it’s too late.

10. Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Lastly, this vitamin C serum from Skin&Lab.

This serum might not be for everyone, but if you have hyperpigmentation, this is it.

This powerful serum will help to brighten your skin tone and make you look younger. It’s one of the best serums for treating hyperpigmentation and has been proven by many studies. [5]

This is the serum that I have been using on and off for the last few years.

Mainly because my skin is quite healthy these days, and I don’t really need to use it every single day.

However, if you have dull skin or are looking for a way to look younger, this is it.

I would recommend using this serum in the morning and before bed. Doing this will help your skin recover while you sleep.

The only downside to this product is that it isn’t the cheapest. But think about it as an investment long-term.

Your skin stays young for at least 10+ years… that’s what it did for me. So give it a try. You won’t regret it.

Buyer’s Guide: Best Korean Serum

This is the only buyer’s guide you need when buying a Korean serum.

How to choose the best Korean Serum?

Choosing the best Korean serum can be hard, especially with all the different options out there.

However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before making your purchase.

1. What is your skin type?

The first thing you need to know is your skin type. Whether you have dry, oily, combination, or sensitive skin will make a big difference.

If you have dry skin, you’ll want to look for a serum that is hydrating and contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid.

On the other hand, if you have oily skin, you’ll want to look for a serum that is light and doesn’t clog your pores.

2. What are your skin concerns?

The second thing you need to know is what your skin concerns are whether you’re looking to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, or dark spots or brighten your skin.

You’ll want to find a serum that contains ingredients that are known to treat your specific skin concern.

3. What is your budget?

The third thing you need to know is your budget. There are plenty of high-quality serums out there that don’t cost a lot of money.

However, there are also some that do cost a lot of money. It all depends on your budget and what you’re willing to spend.

4. Are you allergic to any ingredients?

The fourth thing you need to know is if you’re allergic to any ingredients. This is important because you don’t want to end up with a serum that contains ingredients you’re allergic to.

What is the difference between a Korean Serum and a Western Serum?

The main difference between a Korean serum and a Western serum is the ingredients.

Korean serums tend to contain more natural ingredients that are known to be beneficial for the skin. at the same time, Western serums tend to contain more synthetic ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How often do you use a Korean serum?

A. You can use a Korean serum once or twice a day.

Q. Do you need to use a separate moisturizer if you’re using a Korean serum?

Some serums are hydrating and don’t require a separate moisturizer.

Q. Are Korean serums better than Western serums?

There is no definitive answer to this question. It all depends on your skin type, concerns, and budget.


After all, is said and done, the best Korean serum is the one that works best for you.

In my opinion, the best one is the Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum. Unlike other serums, it has a light and refreshing texture that doesn’t clog my pores.

It’s also affordable and contains ingredients that are known to be beneficial for the skin. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good Korean serum.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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