What Are Korean Multibalms, and Are They Worth the Money?

Korean multi-balms have started to take over! So, what are Korean multi-balms? What do they do? Are they worth it, and where did they come from?

Multi-balms came from South Korean pop culture, and they’ve grown in popularity during the pandemic since people were watching more TV. K beauty brands describe multi balms as an essence, a serum, and a moisturizer combined into a  convenient little stick. Because you apply it directly to your skin, you don’t have to touch your hands, and you won’t spread germs under your fingernails

A few years later, these multi-balms started to catch on in the US, but are these multi balms truly a good thing? And since it’s a balm, can people with oily and acne-prone skin use these? This depends on the product, the brand, and the ingredients.

So, here are some that Cassandra likes for acne-prone skin.

Haruharu WONDER Centella A.C.E Vitaful Miracle Healing Balm - $16.80 

This is a true Korean multi balm. It contains an essence, a serum, and a moisturizer. This has ingredients like centella asiatica, and vitamins A, C, and E that nourish and brighten the skin.  It feels like a nice, thin moisturizer. It gives you a little sheen so it’s definitely not mattifying. It feels like a chapstick on your face. If you want something that will protect you from changing seasons, this will be it.  

When it comes to using this in a routine, this would be difficult to use under a sunscreen. You'd probably need to use a sunstick. But overall, this is a great vegan and cruelty-free product that works for acne-prone skin. Plus, the ingredients are robust.

There’s shea butter, monocrystalline wax, as well as vitamins A, C, and E. This is fragrance-free as well, but it does have a vanilla ingredient. It also has olive oil. The olive oil actually works quite well, but Cassandra probably wouldn't use it during the day because it would be too heavy for her face as an acne-prone person.

Dermatica Restoring Ceramide Skin Balm - $6.95

So actually, this has been a better choice for Cassandra. Even though it’s not Korean, it’s very similar to a multi-balm, and it’s better for those who are super sensitive. If you have really sensitive skin, you’ll want something with no fragrance or plant actives. 

This is just a restoring ceramide skin balm. And although it doesn’t come in a stick, this is basically a multi-balm for very sensitive skin. It goes wonderfully with some of Dermatica's more intense products like tretinoin. If you have itchy skin, dry skin, and retinization from tretinoin, this is a skin-supportive ceramide cream without the greasy consistency.  It could also work for dry patches. Cassandra gets eczema on her earlobe, and she uses this to hydrate her skin, rebuild her skin barrier, and get rid of the itchiness.

Although this was not made in Korea, this serves the same purpose as the other products. It's just way better for sensitive skin. 

Cocokind mymatcha All-over Vegan Moisture Stick - $8.99 

The founder of this product is from Korea, but the product is made in the USA, and it’s available at Target. What makes this product so amazing is that it’s green! Likewise, it neutralizes redness. Cassandra has a lot of redness on her skin. She has dermatographia, subclinical rosacea, and acne. This product does add a green tint to your skin, but it works so well for those who have acne. This product is like a skincare multi-balm because it has nourishing ingredients and antioxidants like matcha that soothe redness while providing skin support.

There is a caveat though. It has coconut oil in it. For some people, coconut oil breaks them out. Some people’s skin loves coconut oil, and medical studies have shown that it can help acne. But, this all depends on whether your skin can break the coconut oil down or not. So, make sure the ingredients work for your skin because it’s very oil-filled. There are sunflower oils and shea butter too which are very moisturizing and nourishing. 

However, Cassandra has not been able to find a mattifying moisture balm or Korean multi-balm. 

Instree Hyaluronic Acid Airy Sun Stick SPF 50 

However, this SPF stick works for oily skin. Cassandra’s not quite sure if it could be called a multi-balm, but Cassandra calls it a multi-balm because of the way it’s meant to function on the skin. Isntree is one of Cassandra’s favorite K-beauty brands of all time. If you want a sunscreen that feels like a multi-balm stick, this works wonderfully, It has abundant skincare ingredients that support your skin. The Airy Sunstick has eight forms of hyaluronic acid, and because of the product's texture, the hyaluronic acid gets locked in, and it won’t evaporate.

Cassandra loves to pair this with a skincare spray. This skincare mist goes onto the skin and gives the skin extra hydration, and the hyaluronic acid pulls it into the skin. Then, the sunstick locks that moisture in and protects it with an SPF 50.

Sun sticks are probably best for touch-ups rather than a stand-alone sunscreen, but if you’re looking for a Korean multi-balm that’s going to give you the most bang for your buck as an acne-prone person, this is it. 

Which multi-balm should I pick?

Find out what your skin likes and needs. When you know what your skin needs, you’ll know how to get the results you want.