More and more, we see brands turning to natural, non-western remedies to solve today's skin problems. So if we were to tell you that the under-the-radar skin secret for pristinely even tone and texture lay in the self-healing practices of Asian tigers, would you believe us?
If you've seen Dr. Jart+'s popular Cicapair™ line, that's precisely what you've been looking at. You might remember when they garnered a fanatical following after launching their original tiger grass products: Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30 ($52) and Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Cream ($49). It turns out tiger grass is somewhat of a skincare super-ingredient. But Dr. Jart+ isn't the only brand to embrace it. Products with tiger grass have multiplied and gained a cult-like following in the skincare industry and community—which got us thinking: What exactly is tiger grass, and why is it so buzzworthy?
Keep reading to discover the wonders of tiger grass plus our favorite products featuring this highly sought-after ingredient.
- Type of ingredient: Antioxidant
- Main benefits: Reduces inflammation, color corrects, and facilitates wound healing.
- Who should use it: In general, anyone with sensitive, dry, and/or irritated skin.
- How often can you use it: Begin using several times a week before slowly working your way up to daily usage.
- Works well with: Hyaluronic acid and glycerin. When combined with moisturizers, it can enhance the skin's ability to retain water and improve hydration.
What Is Tiger Grass?
Tiger grass (technically known as Centella asiatica, cica, or sometimes gotu kola) is a prime ingredient for complete skin recovery. It's an age-old healing tradition used by none other than (wait for it) tigers. It's even used to treat severe conditions like leprosy, lupus, ulcers, psoriasis, and eczema. Tigers in India have been known to use this ingredient to heal their trauma wounds and infections while rolling in the herb plant, native to Asian wetlands. Its true power seems to lie not in the leaf but in its water; water, which, according to Dr. Jart+, has an immediate soothing effect and can even encourage new skin cell growth. And not only that, but its many proponents hail the ingredient as the ultimate miracle worker for uneven skin tone and, in particular, redness. Beautifully green and rich in chlorophyll, tiger grass promises to enhance the skin's look and feel by making it stronger and more supple. Additionally, it has a high nutrient content featuring some heavy hitters: zinc, selenium, copper, amino acids, and beta-carotene, to name a few. Thus, it’s an excellent idea to go about our lives with it slathered all over our faces. And thanks to many beauty lines, that’s 110 percent possible.
Benefits of Tiger Grass for Skin
- Wound Healing: Helps speed tissue regeneration in wounds, including acne scars.
- Reduces Inflammation: Packed with saponins (anti-inflammatories), tiger grass calms irritated skin.
- Improves Dullness: Contributes to a brighter and more glowing complexion thanks to its hydrating properties.
- Anti-Aging: Promotes and regulates collagen production (which slows down as we age), thereby increasing skin's firmness.
- Protects Skin: Rich in chlorophyll, it acts as a barrier against free radicals, pollutants, and environmental stressors.
- Color-Corrects: Addresses redness (including rosacea), hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone.
- Antibacterial Agent: High levels of antioxidants lead to increased levels of antimicrobials, which can combat acne.
- Soothes Sensitive Skin: Given its healing properties and the fact that it's full of nutrients, tiger grass is ideal for those with sensitive skin and is sometimes used to treat eczema.
How to Use It
While tiger grass is lauded by many—including those with sensitive skin—it's still wise to perform a patch test first to ensure you have no allergic reaction. Although side effects are rare, they may include a local allergic reaction and burning. If that happens, you may want to consider trying products with aloe vera and/or colloidal oatmeal instead. While they're not exactly the same as tiger grass, they can be a good alternative. Then again, if all looks good post-patch test, you can go ahead and use tiger grass several times a week, and eventually daily. It can replace your moisturizer or be used as a primer before applying any makeup. And because it's such a popular ingredient, you can find various skin care products featuring tiger grass, from serums to masks. To maximize its benefits, we recommend applying and wearing a tiger grass cream or serum for an extended period, either all day or overnight.
The Best Products With Tiger Grass
Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in green plants that is integral to photosynthesis. When applied topically, chlorophyll works as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and has been proven to heal wounds, including acne.
Formulated to be used after toning and before moisturizing, this particular serum is infused with the line’s trademark Cicapair complex meant to help relieve redness and irritation with as little as one drop (pea-size, to be precise). With tiger grass's history rooted in healing and recovery, the serum may help those who struggle with cantankerous acne, rosacea, or sensitive skin.
The longer you keep tiger grass on your skin, the more you'll reap its benefits. That's why introducing a tiger grass-infused product into your nighttime skincare routine is key. Without batting an eye, this soothing gel mask will work to improve your skin's texture by increasing moisture. You'll wake up with a brighter glow, giving "beauty rest" a whole new meaning.
Gotu kola is another name for tiger grass, and this balm is based around it as an ingredient. Also included are raspberry seed oil rich in omega fatty acids, and candelilla wax, which is used in place of beeswax to create a rich emollient texture.
The only thing more beautiful than the packaging for this serum is your skin after using it. Seriously—it makes us happy every time we see it on our vanity. The brand uses a combination of madecassoide (a form of centinela extract) and niacinamide meant to stop any skin inflammation and hyaluronic acid meant to keep your skin hydrated. Plus, the included peptides promise to stimulate the collagen production, and its peach extract base contains loads of vitamins. No need to layer serums anymore; this one has you covered for everything.
K-beauty brand Innisfree is known for its low-priced and effective products, and their volcanic pore-clearing masks are some of their best-sellers. You can even mix and match them; this one has cica, but other options include brightening, hydrating, and soothing. They're meant for multi-masking, and at a price point of $10, that's pretty accessible.
If you're a skin picker, you know the cycle of waking up with a zit, picking at it for what feels like a second, and then being stuck with a scab. (Sometimes, the zit doesn't even go away). This is what the Centella Blemish Cream ($21) is for—calming acne and dealing with the effects of what we do to our acne. It'll lighten the skin, heal the scab, and make the whole mess a lot more concealable.
Tiger grass and pro-retinol team up to create a cream that revitalizes—and dare-we-say revitalifts—skin. Formulated to improve skin's hydration, this lightweight moisturizer also makes skin firmer, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Whether you're in your 20s or over 40, it's never too early or too late to incorporate an anti-aging product into your skincare routine.
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Kang MS, Kim JH, Shin BA, et al. Inhibitory effect of chlorophyllin on the Propionibacterium acnes-induced chemokine expression. J Microbiol. 2013;51(6):844-849. doi:10.1007/s12275-013-3015-y