10 Top Korean Whitening Cream 2021 | Lighten Your Skin Tone

by Jih Yun

Dark spots, blemishes, and hyperpigmentation ruining your look? Check out these Top Korean whitening cream that will help lighten your skin tone by reducing melanin production. 

Whitening creams are not only meant to lighten your skin but also to get rid of those dark spots, blemishes, and hyperpigmentation.

Here’s a quick summary of the top Korean whitening cream for you to choose from:

Top Korean Whitening CreamBest For
Secret Key Snow White starting treatment cream  Hydration & Skin Brightening
One Day Whitener Sensitive Skin
Myconos Day Cream Sun Protection & Lightening
TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream White Sleeping Pack Night Skin Care Routine
TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream White Magic Cream Dark Circles
Seoul-Ceuticals Multi-Function All-in-One snail repair creamDamaged Skin
Baviphat Lemon whitening sleeping pack All Skin Types
Mizon Good Night White Sleeping MaskSensitive Skin
THE FACE SHOP Whiteseed Brightening Serum Brightening
Tosowoong Whitening Cream Skin Elasticity

Sometimes we need to take the help of effective skincare products to remove that tan from sun exposure and restore our naturally fair complexion.

K-beauty is big on fair skin, so we need to look no further for the best whitening creams than from the Korean beauty brands. 

We’ve done all the research and trials to bring you the best Korean whitening creams you can find in the market.

Best Korean Whitening Cream

Check out the detailed reviews of the top Korean whitening cream below!

NELLA Whitening and Brightening Tone-Up Cream

This South Korean skincare brand targets common skin problems that everyone suffers from. It whitens and brightens, moisturizes, nourishes, and brings out a healthy radiance in your skin with its pearl effect. During the daytime, it is recommended that you use the cream since the cream is designed to be used all day. Creams like this one can maintain the moisture levels and elasticity of the skin and brighten it.

Besides instantly whitening and brightening your skin, it also firms up your skin for years to come without any carcinogenic ingredients like hydroquinone. My skin looks younger after using this product, because it makes my skin smoother. This cream gives my skin a smooth, clean appearance and people notice the changes it brings.

Pros 

  • Does not irritate sensitive skin
  • Results in healthier looking skin
  • Covers the spots like a concealer or a BB Cream.

Cons

  • Temporary lightening

INNISFREE Jeju Cherry Blossom Tone-Up Cream

The Cherry Blossom Leaf Extract, niacinamide, and betaine in this three-in-one hydrating cream will visibly rejuvenate and hydrate your skin for a glowing, glass-like complexion. Known for its wide range of products and the promise that the ingredients are safe and can cater to even the most sensitive skins, this brand is a favorite among enthusiasts. 

Skin radiance is improved as well as hydration is preserved.

Extracts of Jeju Cherry Blossom leaf, along with natural Betaine, support the skin’s radiance and leave it with a beautiful, natural glow while Niacinamide brightens the skin at the same time. The cream can be applied to the face and neck in the AM and PM after eye care, then gently patted into the skin for better absorption

Pros

  • Works great for oily skin
  • Smells nice 
  • Leaves a dewy effect

Cons

  • Isn’t for combination skin type

Secret Key Snow White Cream

Top Korean Whitening Cream For Hydration & Skin Brightening

The first one on this list of top Korean whitening cream is by Secret Key.

If you want to rid your skin of that annoying layer of tan and dark spots, Secret Key’s starting treatment cream is a good choice.

With niacinamide as the key ingredient and chock full of moisturizing butters and oils, your skin barrier is strengthened, intensely hydrated and your skin feels more supple. Also, you get brighter skin. 

Key Features:

  • The active ingredient is Niacinamide 
  • Brightens the skin almost immediately
  • Contains Shea butter, macadamia seed oil, sweet almond oil, argan tree kernel oi, coconut seed oil, and jojoba seed oil 
  • These ingredients moisturise the skin intensely
  • Nourishes the skin with natural vitamin E

Pros:

  • A quick-acting face cream
  • Good for tan removal and lightening dark spots

Check out the best Korean whitening cream by Secret Key below!

Related: Balance the pH levels of your skin with these best Korean toners dry skin!

One Day Whitener Ggulzam Night Sleeping Cream

Top Korean Whitening Cream For Sensitive Skin

The next one on this list of best Korean whitening cream is the One Day Whitener GGULZAM sleeping cream.

Koreans love skin that is not only lighter but also healthier with a toned, smooth texture. One day whitener Ggulzam night sleeping cream achieves that with its blend of gentle fermented ingredients.

Simply apply before you go to bed and wake up with younger and brighter skin.

Key Features:

  • Water-based formula that is light on the skin
  • Contains fermented ingredients and niacinamide
  • Has collagen to improve skin elasticity
  • Moisturises the skin
  • Tightens the skin and lifts wrinkles
  • Lightens and brightens the skin
  • Hypoallergenic formula

Pros:

  • The gentle and hypoallergenic formula is safe for sensitive skin

Check out this top Korean whitening cream below!

Related: Here are nourishing Korean BB creams to make your skin makeup ready!

Myconos Mild Perfect Sun Cream

Top Korean Whitening Cream For Sun Protection & Lightening

The next one on this list of top Korean whitening cream is by MYCONOS.

You cannot achieve lighter skin if you are constantly exposed to the tanning and damaging effects of the sun. Myconos Day Cream is loaded with an SPF of 50 to help take care of this. It also has propolis extracts and plankton extracts to give your skin a lift, keep away acne, and moisturize it.

Key Features:

  • Water based light weight formula
  • SPF 50 for optimum UV protection
  • Contains sea water, propolis extract and plankton extract
  • Antibacterial properties keep acne at bay
  • Hydrates the skin
  • Tightens the skin and reduces the formation of wrinkles
  • Lightens and brightens the skin

Pros:

Related: These Korean emulsions can help intensely hydrate your skin. Check it out now!

TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream White Sleeping Pack

Top Korean Whitening Cream For Night Time

the next one on this list of top Korean whitening cream ib the famous skincare brand TonyMoly

The best type of creams is those that you apply before you go to bed and wake up with brighter skin.

As you rest, your skin’s natural enzymes do a better job of absorbing the ingredients of the cream without the interference of stress, the sun, or environmental pollution.

If you agree, TonyMoly’s Panda’s Dream White Sleeping Pack is a cream you should definitely try with its goodness of fruit and flower extracts.

Key Features:

  • Contains the key ingredients Lavender, Rosemary, Bamboo Shoot Extract, and Berry Extracts
  • These brighten the skin and lighten the skin tone
  • Act as antioxidants to slow down ageing
  • Contains glycerin and allantoin
  • Hydrates the skin and locks in moisture
  • Softens the skin and plumps it up

Pros:

  • A lightweight hydrating night pack that brightens the skin

Related: Gently exfoliate and brighten your skin tone with these amazing Korean wash off masks. Check it out here!

TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream White Magic Cream

Top Korean Whitening Cream for Lightening Dark Circles

Say goodbye to Panda eyes with TonyMoly’s Panda’s Dream White Magic Cream. With Niacinamide and bamboo sap, your eyes get all the care they need to relieve stress, lighten the dark circles, and put the sparkle back in them.

Key Features:

  • Water based cream
  • Heavy cream that is intensely hydrating
  • Contains Niacinamide, bamboo sap and honey extracts as its main ingredients
  • Moisturises the skin around the eyes
  • Lightens the skin and reduces the appearance of dark circles

Pros:

  • An effective under eye cream

Cons:

  • Can leave a whitish layer after applying
  • A little hard to spread

Check out this top Korean whitening cream by TonyMoly below!

Related: Choosing the right face wash for dry skin is crucial! Here are specially formulated hydrating Korean face washes for dry skin!

Seoul-Ceuticals Multi-Function All-in-One snail repair cream 

Top Korean Whitening Cream for Brightening Skin

Don’t be averse to applying snail mucus on your skin. This miracle ingredient is popular in K-beauty for its amazing benefits that are not just limited to lightening your complexion. Seoul-Ceuticals Multi-Function All-in-One snail repair cream literally repairs your skin and reverses the ageing process.

Key Features:

  • Contains a high concentration, 97.5% snail mucus
  • Lightens the skin
  • Tightens the skin and uplifts it
  • Helps in cell regeneration, healing the skin and repairing it
  • Intensely hydrates your skin and locks in moisture
  • Contains Vitamin E and Vitamin B5 for added skin nourishment
  • Contains organic green tea for skin soothing and calming

Pros:

  • An all-in-one cream that replaces all other creams

Check out this top Korean whitening cream below!

Related: Have you tried the double cleanse method yet? Check out Korean oil cleansers for some deep cleansing

Baviphat Lemon whitening sleeping pack 

Top Korean Whitening Cream for All Skin Types

Baviphat uses the goodness found in nature in the form of lemon extracts. Citrus is a powerful lightening agent and Baviphat puts it to good use in the Lemon whitening sleeping pack.

Spread a layer of it before you hit the sack and wake up with brighter looking skin that feels so soft!

Key Features:

  • Contains citric acid which is a natural skin lightener
  • Lemon extracts control the production of sebum
  • Hydrates without clogging the pores
  • Reduces the appearance of freckles and dark spots

Pros:

  • Works well when used in the night
  • Skin feels smoother and looks lighter

Cons:

  • Has a thick consistency
  • Might leave back a sticky layer

Related: A good cleansing foam can help unclog your pores. Check out these Korean cleansing foams!

Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Mask

Top Korean Whitening Cream for Sensitive Skin 

While Mizon is popular for its snail mucus based skincare products, the Good Night White Sleeping Mask is an exception.

This water based cream is light and spreads across your skin in no time. It works on the skin overnight to lighten your blemishes, dark spots and to give you brighter skin when you wake up.

Key Features:

  • To be used as a night time skincare regime
  • Contains niacinamide as its key ingredient
  • Brightens the skin 
  • Visibly shows lightening of dark spots and freckles
  • Water based formula is light on the skin
  • Hypoallergenic and gentle

Pros:

  • Hypoallergenic formula that is safe on any type of skin

Related: Cover up dark spots and blemishes with these skin-nourishing Korean CC creams. Check it out here!

THE FACE SHOP Whiteseed Brightening Serum

Top Korean Whitening Cream for Controlling Melanin Production

Less of a cream and more of a serum, the White Seed brightening serum by The Face Shop penetrates deep into the skin to work from within.

This light weight product contains the extracts of white daisy to control the production and lighten the skin. It also has other active ingredients that brighten the skin and even the tone.

Key Features:

  • Contains extracts of white daisy, white lupin seed and white willow bark
  • Controls the production of melanin
  • Lightens dark spots
  • Brightens dull skin
  • Makes skin softer and smoother

Pros:

  • One of the few skincare products that whiten the skin by controlling the production of melanin

Related: Here are amazing Korean serums approved for acne-prone skin. Check it out!

Tosowoong Whitening Cream 

Top Korean Whitening Cream for  Skin Elasticity

Tosowoong Whitening Cream can be considered an overall product for skin protection, nourishment, and improvement. It not only whitens the skin but also moisturizes it intensely and makes it more elastic. It lightens dark spots, blemishes, and freckles and evens out the tone of the skin.

Key Features:

  • Contains hyaluronic acid 
  • Locks in the moisture of the skin without leaving a greasy feeling
  • Makes it more supple and plump
  • Builds the elasticity of the skin
  • Whitens the skin and leaves a dewy glow

Pros:

  • Whitens the skin and builds elasticity

Related: Give your skin the ultimate nourishment with these Korean essences. Pick one for your skin type here!

Which is the top Korean whitening cream?

After a lot of research on Korean skin whitening creams, I curated a list of 10 Korean whitening creams that are effective and safe. Based on these two parameters, I found that Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Mask is the top Korean whitening cream. And here’s why:

The Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Mask lightens the skin tone by reducing freckles, dark spots, age spots, and pigmentation. Formulated with 97.5% snail mucin, this Korean whitening cream also tightens the skin and improves skin elasticity. It also helps repair skin cells, promoting cell regeneration.

Is Skin Whitening Bad?

Skin whitening products have always been controversial. So it’s natural if you find yourself asking is skin whitening good or bad. But there isn’t a solid answer for this

So are skin whitening products bad?

A lot of Korean skin whitening products are safe to use and packed with skin-friendly ingredients that provide a lot of benefits to your skin. So no skin whitening products aren’t all that bad. 

Korean skin whitening products help improve, not only your skin tone, but also the texture of your skin. Korean whitening creams are formulated with safe ingredients that won’t cause you any harm

However, some skin whitening products in the market may contain skin bleaching ingredients. These products should be avoided as they cause serious damage to your skin and health.

Avoid skin whitening creams or products with the following bad ingredients: 

  • Corticosteroids
  • Hydroquinone
  • Cinnabaris
  • Calomel

As long as the product is safe to use and is clinically and dermatologically tested, it’s safe to use. And it’s okay if you want to lighten your skin tone just as it is okay to get a tan! As long as it makes you and your skin happy, there’s nobody that can tell you otherwise! 

The Korean Beauty Standard

While the westerners prefer a healthy tan over fair skin, the Koreans go to great lengths to maintain a lighter complexion. Which is why most Korean skincare and beauty products almost always include skin whitening ingredients.

This is also Korean skin care gives a lot of importance to sun protection. You’ll see that most Korean foundations, BB creams, and CC creams and other such cosmetic products also provide sun protection.

However, Koreans don’t just aim for brighter skin but also radiant, healthy dewy, and glass-like skin. And to achieve this type of skin, it’s important to maintain a fair complexion and clear skin.

How does a whitening cream work? 

Tyrosinase is the enzyme present in your tissues that encourages the production of melanin. Whitening creams include ingredients that inhibit this enzyme, reducing the amount of melanin produced in your skin. 

Are whitening creams safe to use?

Whitening creams often get a bad rap because a lot of substandard beauty products use bleaches that harm the skin. A good quality whitening cream that uses tyrosinase inhibitors to reduce melanin production is safe as it naturally lightens the skin.

What Ingredients to look for in Skin Whitening Cream?

The most important thing in choosing the best Korean whitening cream is to stay away from harsh ingredients like Hydroquinone and Mercury. Look for a whitening cream that has safe and natural skin lightening ingredients like:
Niacinamide: This ingredient is the most popular skin lightening ingredient. This is a safe and skin-friendly ingredient that’s used in skincare products to promote skin brightening Niacinamide is also known for improving skin’s texture by pumping it with hydration.
Kojic Acid: This ingredient is popular for evening out skin tone and is produced through the process of fermentation.
Lemon: Lemon is rich in citric acid which is a natural skin lightening ingredient. Just make sure to apply moisturizer after you use a lemon based skin whitening cream like Baviphat’s Lemon as citric acid can sting!
Glutathione: Glutathione is a common ingredient found in Korean whitening products. Glutathione is a naturally-occurring antioxidant in our bodies. This ingredient helps breakdown free radicals, and promote the production of Vitamin E and C. Glutathione suppresses Tyrosinase which helps make your skin look brighter.

How to Choose the Top Korean Whitening Cream 

Here are a few things you should consider when selecting the best Korean whitening cream for your skin: 

#1 — Formulas

There are different formula-types that you should be aware of and choose the one that suits your skin type. If you dry skin then choose a cream-based formula that will improve hydration levels. If you have oily skin avoid cream-based formulas as it can increase the oiliness of your skin. Instead, gel-based formulas work really well for those with oily skin as they’re much lighter and still hydrate the skin. 

#2 — Ingredients

Make sure to avoid harsh chemicals and bleaching agents. Look for ingredients like kojic acid, niacinamide, ascorbic acid, and lemon in your skin whitening cream. These are skin-friendly ingredients that will help lighten your skin tone as well as improve the texture of the skin.  

#3 — Price

Make sure you don’t burn a wole through your wallet when it comes to buying skincare. I used to pretty much always go overboard with skincare products but a higher price tag doesn’t always mean a better product. A lot of affordable Korean drugstore products prove to be just as good, if not better!

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