cream skinSource: Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

The world has no doubt benefitted from Korea’s insane skincare innovations. Sure, we’ve been gifted some truly zany products – like snail slime-infused creams (which are amazing) and foot-sloughing slippers (also amazing). It’s exactly this stretch of the imagination and desire to give our body’s largest organ some TLC that makes the country’s industry so good at what they do. Today we’re talking about a recent K-Beauty innovation that’s making the rounds in 2020: Cream Skin. There’s some confusion around the topic, so with expert insight we’re setting ya’ll straight.

Cream Skin: A New Product Category

If you take away anything from this article, let it be this: Unlike K-Beauty’s “glass skin” trend that gained momentum in 2017, “cream skin” is a new product category versus a skin texture.

Laniege Cream Skin Source: Laneige

“Cream skim was first initiated by Laniege with the launch of their Cream Skin product, [which] is a fusion between a hydrating toner and moisturizer,” says Charlotte Cho, esthetician and founder of K-Beauty e-commerce website Soko Glam. “It’s a unique product formulation which is milky in texture and not creamy or heavy as the name may imply. It’s quite lightweight and refreshing and absorbs quickly into the skin, which is one of the reasons for its popularity in Korea and now in the US.”

Seeing the success of Laniege’s Cream Skin, $33, other brands decided to launch their own version of the product and thus an entirely new category of skincare was born.

Why Cream Skin is a Minimalist’s BFF

K-Beauty is known for its multi-step skincare regimen (sometimes stretching up to a whopping 10 to 12 products). Cream Skin is basically the fusion between a hydrating toner and a moisturizer, thereby combining the two.

“[The idea is that it] helps you cut down the number of steps in your skincare routine while softening and nourishing the skin with a focus on deep hydration,” explains Cho. In that sense, cream skin is hero product of a minimalist’s skincare routine – it’s basically the ultimate skip-care product!

In addition to serving as a sort of side-step for those with robust regimens, Cream Skin is also beneficial for those seeking swift, mega hydration.

“The formulas absorb like a toner or essence but pack a big moisturizing punch like a traditional face cream. Because these formulas are liquid in texture, they instantly absorb into the skin and provide intense yet weightless hydration,” explains Candace Marino, a celebrity esthetician based in Beverly Hills.

The result is beautiful, moisturized skin that’s not weighed down.

Try Cream Skin YourselfLaneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer

We already mentioned the OG cream skin product above: Laneige’s Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer, $33, which you can buy directly from their website. It’s formulated with white leaf tea water, which is rich in amino acids and therefore helps soothe skin and strengthen the skin barrier.

Hanskin Avocado Cream Skin

Another cream skin product to try – and one that Cho says she’s particularly fond of – is Hanskin’s Avocado Cream Skin, $30, available on the Soko Glam website. She says, “It’s enriched with avocado extract and natural seed oils to lock in moisture so that your skin stays hydrated longer. The formula is perfect for dry, dull, or sensitive skin, or for anyone in need of a soothing, hydrating boost.”

CosRx’s Light Fit Real Water Toner to Cream

CosRx’s Light Fit Real Water Toner to Cream, $19, is yet another cream skin option to try. This one offers a fun user experience since it starts as a liquid toner and then transforms on your skin in real time to creamy consistency.

Bottom Line: To reiterate the above, cream skin is very much a product category and not a skin texture trend. It’s ideal for those who want to minimize their skincare regimen and promises intense hydration without all the weight of a thick cream. Whatever cream skin product you prefer, it’s meant to be applied right after washing your face both AM and PM and is then followed by the rest of your regimen, like a face oil or SPF.