Nature has a way of providing us with the best solutions to our problems.
When it comes to skin care, Centella Asiatica, also called “cica”, is making a buzz in the cosmetics industry today because of its wonderful skin benefits. Korean brands have long taken notice, and Western ones are starting to adopt it as well.
Because it’s such a powerful substance, cica products are dominating the must-have lists of some of our favorite Korean brands. In this article, I’m going to share some of the best Korean products with Centella Asiatica to get you started.
Our 10 Favorite Korean Centella Asiatica Products
If you’re looking for ingredients such as ethanol, paraben, PEG, mineral oil, and other harmful chemicals, you won’t find them in products like this Centella Asiatica serum.
It doesn’t even use artificial fragrance and is 100 percent vegan. Products of this caliber make it safe even for pregnant women.
In addition, it is made cruelty-free. In fact, it is certified by the Environment Working Group (EWG). In order for products to have this certification, the company must be transparent in all its methods, processes, and ingredients to ensure that every step is ethical and environment-friendly.
This is not a surprise because Purito is a brand that values transparency. Its name comes from the word purity and the Chinese character for soil.
They focus on the quality of their products, which may explain why their packaging is not as visually appealing in the market. With Purito Centella, you need to look beyond the surface because you won’t regret using products with benefits like this.
Its ingredients are comprised of 49 percent Centella Asiatica extract that increases collagen production. This aids in slowing down the effects of aging by boosting skin elasticity and firmness.
Along with Centella Asiatica, ingredients include niacinamide to produce whitening effects and balance skin tone. To help even out the skin, it also has panthenol and adenosine. These ingredients decrease wrinkle appearance, boosting the effects of Centella in the product.
There are various potent ingredients in this Korean Centella product, which is why it is named a buffet serum. There’s so much to enjoy in one single bottle.
- Effectively evens out skintone
- Reduces wrinkle appearance
- Bottle is not that appealing
Best for Oily Skin
Most people think oily skin types don’t need to moisturize anymore. Not quite. Without a moisturizer, it wouldn’t be a complete skincare routine. In fact, the more you strip your skin with moisture, the more it produces unnecessary amounts of oil.
Centella Asiatica is a great ingredient when it comes to oily or acne-prone skin because it is able to provide just the right level of moisture you need. In essence, it hydrates the skin and keeps the oiliness at bay.
This Innisfree Cica Gel is the best moisturizer in this list for people with oily or acne-prone skin. Unlike creams that cause too much tackiness, Centella Asiatica gel is formulated to feel cool when applied and be absorbed quickly by the skin.
Its texture is even much more watery, so it spreads easily compared to other gel skincare products.
Unlike other Centella Asiatica products, this one is a quadruple threat when it comes to the cica goodness. It has madecassoside, madecassic acid, asiaticoside, and asiatic acid to make sure the power of centella is optimized.
Along with cica, it also contains an ingredient known as Torreya Nucifera seed oil to help treat pimples that are just about to appear. It also contains another familiar ingredient, panthenol, to calm the skin down from irritation.
It comes in a convenient hygienic plastic tube that is great for traveling and does not contain alcohol or artificial fragrance.
- Moisturizes oily skin without the tacky feeling
- Cools and smooths skin even during hot summers
- Does not provide enough moisture for dry winter months
Best for Dry Skin
Business Insider has ranked this as one of the best products released in 2018 and it’s all for good reason.
What I love most about this Centella product is that it can effectively lessen the appearance of redness on the skin within just a few days. It is great even for sensitive skin types because it can soothe your skin if you are prone to irritation.
SkinRX understands how useful hydration is, so they made this Centella Asiatica cream intensely moisturizing without being greasy. It’s even lightweight enough to be layered on during those dry months.
The formula is designed for easy absorption into the skin, so you can wear this Centella cream even on hot summers and not have to worry about the product melting off.
The cica ingredient helps with skin redness while strengthening the skin’s barrier. The ingredients help prevent premature aging while giving you a brighter look.
The niacinamide ingredient also aids in minimizing the appearance of large pores and improving skin tone. In addition, the ceramide ingredient adds to the calming effect of Centella Asiatica that has anti-inflammatory properties. Lastly, it also helps in water retention.
This Korean Centella cream is free of parabens, mineral oil, and surfactants. It also comes in a cute pink tin tube that makes it easy to travel with. Don’t worry about the tin tube though because the cream is easily squirted out despite the slightly harder casing.
- Works wonders for skin redness
- Prevents premature aging
- Runs out quickly
- Does not have SPF
Best for Acne-Prone Skin
If you’re looking for Centella Asiatica products that give immediate results for your acne-prone skin, then Dr. Jart Cicapair Re.Pair is one way to go.
Within a few hours, you will definitely notice improvements on your pimples. It can even take care of blemishes that come with having acne. It works like a spot treatment for those pesky breakouts.
Just put a few drops of the green liquid on your face and tap lightly all over the face. You can even use this as a makeup base because it improves the smoothness of the skin. It does not give makeup that cakey look. It can even soothe the skin before makeup application with its anti-inflammatory properties.
Perhaps what I love most about Dr. Jart is the packaging. Unlike other products that come in ordinary droppers, this one is completely sealed tight. You will hear a reassuring click when you close it so you can be sure the cica product won’t spill.
The Centella Asiatica content as well as other ingredients are also potent enough to heal malassezia folliculitis in just a few days.
It is one of the few Korean products that dry quickly and leave a faint scent that reminds you of an aloe vera and lemon combo.
Unfortunately, not all Centella Asiatica products work for everyone. Some people who have used it did not notice any appreciable results while others experienced adverse reactions to the Centella product. These are people who are extremely sensitive and those with rosacea.
Dr. Jart Cicapair can work wonders if you don’t have any allergic reactions to any of the ingredients. But I have to caution you on this one. It works wonders for acne prevention but only if your skin is compatible with it.
- Great for controlling breakouts
- Good base for makeup
- Clever packaging
- Can cause adverse reactions to super sensitive skin types
Nowadays, it’s hard to find products without issues. This is why the COSRX Centella Blemish Ampoule is one of the best Korean ampoules today.
The only problem I have with the COSRX Blemish Ampoule is the slightly sticky texture. However, when it comes to benefits and results, COSRX is a sure winner.
The green color will remind you of green tea leaves, but the COSRX ampoule is actually manufactured with 80 percent Centella Asiatica leaf water. The main thing it does is to control and normalize sebum production, which is why I recommend the COSRX Blemish Ampoule as the best choice for those prone to breakouts.
If you wish to keep your breakouts at bay, you should add this ampoule to your daily regimen.
The cica content is so high in this product that it’s almost as if all the company did was just extract the goodness of Centella Asiatica and bottle it. There are no added chemicals in the ampoule that can harm the skin such as alcohol, parabens, and silicone.
Because of the high concentration of Centella Asiatica present, this ampoule can reduce sun damage as well as the appearance of stretch marks. In addition, it also aids in providing a younger appearance because of its anti-aging properties. It stimulates collagen production to increase elasticity.
On top of it all, this COSRX Centella Asiatica Ampoule is manufactured cruelty-free, so you can be sure that only ethical methods are used to produce products of this type.
This makes it to my list of the best Korean ampoules as well.
- High Centella asiatica content
- Anti-aging properties
- Paraben, alcohol, and silicone-free
- Texture is sticky at first application
Cleansing without stripping. This is what we look for in cleanser products, and this Iunik Centella cleansing foam does just that.
It is slightly acidic, which makes it gentle upon application while maintaining its cleansing powers. This Centella cleanser is suitable for all skin types so you can use this even if you have very sensitive reactions to products in this category.
This is a good second cleanser but if you have heavy makeup on, then it’s best to use an oil-based cleanser first. It’ll help you keep up with the 10-step Korean skincare routine too.
What I love about the Centella cleansing foam is it comes in a pump, which makes the product come out already foamed. This is best for lazy gals who have little to no energy during their night routine.
The main ingredient of course is Centella Asiatica leaf water, which consists of 69 percent of the whole product.
Cica already has anti-aging and acne-fighting properties, but this cleanser also has additional ingredients that help boost the effects.
The tea tree-leaf water ingredient is good for preventing acne. Tea tree is best known for its antibacterial properties and slightly drying effect that keeps pimples from enlarging. It also has citric acid that adds to the anti-aging effects. Lastly, it contains licorice root extract to work as a brightening ingredient.
What I love about this brand in particular is that it uses only hypoallergenic ingredients in its products. This is why products containing hypoallergenic ingredients are best recommended for those with sensitive skin types.
- Non-stripping cleanser
- Brightening effect due to licorice root extract
- Works well to prevent acne
- Cannot be used to remove heavy makeup
If you’re out in the sun a lot, you would prefer skincare products that could calm your irritated skin. This is precisely the job of Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream.
The Centella Asiatica present helps alleviate the effects of too much sun exposure. It also soothes irritation with its anti-inflammatory properties.
This Centella Asiatica cream is best for spot treatments. It’s not meant to be used as a moisturizer, however. Use it only when you have to soothe damaged skin.
The Centella Asiatica also aids in hydration. This is why it’s the best Korean cica cream in this list for sensitive skin types.
The midnight blue product comes in a jar with a cute spatula. I know it can be tempting to scoop as much as you can especially because the spatula is quite big. However, a little goes a long way for this product, which is rare for most skincare products. Its texture is a combination of gel and cream, which makes it easily spreadable.
To apply, scoop a small amount using the spatula and tap lightly on sensitive areas. It will leave a soft matte finish along with a subtle hint of a floral scent.
The hyaluronic acids, shea butter, and ceramide ingredients combat the effects of dehydration, which can lead to sensitive skin over time. These ingredients offer stronger protection against environmental aggressors.
In order to increase the strength of the skin’s barrier, this cica cream also has niacinamide as an ingredient to boost lipid production.
However, despite being good for sensitivity, you’ll be surprised to know this cica cream has a few acne triggers in its ingredients list. This is quite puzzling especially since it does not cause any adverse reactions.
- Works best to calm sensitive skin types
- Hydration boost lessens irritation
- Has acne triggering ingredients
One of the best features of Centella Asiatica extract is to calm the skin after being aggravated by stressors. We’re all busy people, and the effects of the daily stress can easily show. This is where we should thank Etude for coming up with their relief toner.
As the name suggests, it helps relieve any harmful effects from pollutants and the sun. Centella is wonderful for this kind of problem, but this toner has taken it to another level by adding more ingredients that help boost the effects.
One of the ingredients, Glycerin, helps accelerate the Centella benefit for faster wound healing. It seals in moisture to prevent dehydration.
This toner also contains panthenol as an ingredient, which acts as a moisturizer and increases cellular renewal. This is a good addition to the increased collagen production due to the Centella Asiatica extract.
Betaine, on the other hand, is both a humectant and non-irritant. It promotes skin softness by holding on to the skin’s moisture.
Its 5.5 pH helps in repairing any weak barriers. This makes it suitable for sensitive skin types. Etude made sure their Centella skincare products are all hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, so you won’t have to worry about adverse reactions with Etude’s skincare products for this category.
Just like the Purito Centella, this toner is EWG certified. This means there are no parabens, mineral oils, artificial coloring, surfactants, or silicone ingredients in this Centella product.
I have to add a caveat here, however. There are a few users who have experienced a tingling sensation while using this Centella toner. This may be because it does not react well with other skincare products they were using at the time. But overall, this Centella toner is safe for those suffering from skin sensitivity.
- EWG certified
- Safe for sensitive skin types
- Can have bad reactions when mixed with other skin care products
For those living in a tropical country, add this to your list of must-have products because it sits well with your sunscreen and other skincare products without melting from the heat. Just like the Innisfree Bija Cica Gel, this Centella gel from Iunik is good for those hot summers.
The Centella content is also very high at 70 percent. This is the highest Centella concentration among all the skincare products in this list.
Because of the strong power of Centella to hold on to moisture, you can expect better hydration without the Centella gel cream feeling too heavy on the face. It even has a mild citrus scent to add to the refreshing feeling you need during the summer.
Aside from Centella, it also contains licorice root extract as a brightening ingredient.. This extract is also best used for acne-fighting. The niacinamide content also helps boost the brightening power of this product.
Next to Centella, the most abundant ingredient of this Iunik gel cream is tea tree-leaf water. This helps relieve skin stress and is good in fending off breakouts.
- Effectively moisturizes acne-prone skintypes in hot weather
- Lightweight and easily absorbed
- Works well with sunscreen and layers of makeup
- Not moisturizing enough for dry skin
Missha is one Korean brand I could definitely trust. When it comes to Korean skincare products, it rarely disappoints.
Just as it lacks fragrance, it also lacks any offense to the skin. It does not cause any severe reactions while doing its job.
A major ingredient is 45.9 percent Centella Asiatica extract which gives soothing benefits you should definitely reap. The main benefit the cica ingredient provides in this Missha Centella Asiatica cream is hydration. This is further enhanced by the presence of sodium hyaluronate, which is a smaller form of hyaluronic acid.
Sodium hyaluronate aids the Centella Asiatica in holding on to moisture, making the skin plumper and healthier. It is easily absorbed, but does not leave the face completely dry. It also creates a dewy canvas for your primer, several makeup, and skincare products.
Aside from the Centella Asiatica, it also uses panthenol, which works best as a soothing agent. Along with the cica, it improves the skin’s barrier by behaving as a humectant.
Another thing I love about this Centella cream is the fact that it has a minimalist packaging. Although I have to note that because the tube is made of metal, it is quite hard to dispense the right amount of cream. I also don’t love the fact that it’s the kind of container that easily breaks when squeezed.
Another problem I have with this Centella cream is that it is not alcohol-free. Products containing alcohol could be an acne trigger, so it’s best to test out products first, especially ones with alcohol, before purchasing if you have problems with breakouts.
- Great Hydration properties
- Has calming properties
- Metal tube packaging does not allow for accurate dispensing
- Not alcohol-free
What is Centella Asiatica?
Centella Asiatica is a perennial herb commonly found in damp and shady areas in Asia, Africa, and Central America. It is also known as tiger grass, gotu kola, and Indian pennywort. In the cosmetics industry, however, Centella Asiatica is more known as “cica”.
The plant can grow up to 6 inches long and has small fan-shaped leaves. It also has purple or pink flowers in umbels.
The Use of Centella Asiatica
Centella Asiatica or cica is not a new discovery in K-beauty products. In fact, according to a 2010 study by Singh, et al., Centella Asiatica is a “valuable medicinal herb of both Old World and the New World.” Its use dates back to ancient times and its benefits long before commercial products appeared have long been recognized and proven by ancient civilizations.
The Chinese and Indians have been using Centella Asiatica in their medicine to treat skin problems such as eczema, scratches, and wounds.
Korean cosmetics have already taken note of the benefits of Centella Asiatica products. Western brands are also starting to create their own Centella Asiatica products.
There’s no question that among all of nature’s products for skin care needs, Centella Asiatica is one of the best. Its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties make it a good ingredient for skin medicines. It’s even used to relieve anxiety and improve cognition.
It is even considered a brain food in India. In China, it has been used to treat problems such as diarrhea and tonsillitis.
Centella Asiatica really is a superpower plant when it comes to dealing with bodily problems.
Skin Benefits of Korean Cica Products
Aside from being an all-around problem-solver for body problems, Centella Asiatica products also fare well in the cosmetics industry. Thanks to its potent contents, it is best used for hydration and protects the skin from the harshness of the environment.
Expect Centella Asiatica products to have soothing effects to inflamed and dehydrated skin. Cica products also have good anti-aging ingredients that work well even for acne-prone skin.
But why do cica products have some of the best qualities when it comes to skin care?
This is all thanks to the substances found inside the plant. The main component of Centella Asiatica is madecassoside. It is an antioxidant that helps fight off the effects of free radicals on the skin. As a result, Centella Asiatica products help rejuvenate the skin and repair the damaging effects of aging.
In addition, Centella products also improve collagen production, which gets depleted as we age. Collagen is responsible for the skin’s firmness and elasticity. A shortage of it would result in sagging skin that looks older than it actually is.
The madecassoside in Centella Asiatica is also best for reversing skin photo-aging. The sun is the main culprit when it comes to skin damage, so it’s good to have a natural chemical in your daily regimen that can reverse its effects.
The acid equivalent of madecassoside, madecassic acid, is best for suppressing inflammation. Centella Asiatica has anti-inflammatory properties that are due to the ability of Centella products to inhibit enzymes responsible for irritation. This is why Korean products with Centella Asiatica are good for acne-prone skin and even for sensitive skin types.
When it comes to hydration, Centella products are not short of amino acids that can help solve your dry skin problems. In fact, its hydrating power is comparable to that of aloe vera. Centella Asiatica helps strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier so that there is reduced risk of skin dehydration that can result to flakiness.
Finally, if you are prone to acne and scarring, Centella Asiatica is an ingredient you should look for. Not only does it prevent future breakouts, but also helps scars heal faster.
The Rise of Korean Beauty Products
When it comes to skincare products, Korea is on top of the game. This is why Korean skincare products are now the new standard for cosmetic products and routine regimens. Compared to Western brands, Korean products are favored by most and many trust both Korean makeup and skincare products.
This is why even though with many products from other brands that also use Centella Asiatica, I chose to highlight only Korean brands in this list.
You might be familiar with the controversial 10-step Korean skin care routine. Koreans use a lot of products on their skin, and even the men don’t shy away from having their own collection of skincare products and routine standard.
Healthy-looking skin is the standard of Korean skin care, and that’s exactly what we want to achieve. Forget the layers of makeup and concealer to hide away imperfections. We all want that no-shame bare-faced look that comes with nourished skin.
At the end of the day, the goal is to have a healthy complexion, and Korean products with Centella Asiatica can help us get there. Whether you’re looking for an ampoule, cream, or cleanser, make sure you go for skincare products that contain Centella Asiatica because you will love the benefits that follow.
When it comes to choosing skincare products, those with Centella Asiatica should be on top of your list.
My personal favorite is the Purito Centella Green Level Buffet to prevent premature aging. The Innisfree Bija Cica Gel is also a suitable choice especially for those who easily sweat in the heat. I’d like to mention that we’ve made an extensive review of one Centella Asiatica product: the COSRX Centella Blemish Cream which is also great for Acne-prone skin.
So take your pick from the Centella skincare products on this list and tell me what you think about them.