More and more, we see brands turning to natural, non-western remedies in order 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 exactly what you've been looking at, despite how clinical the brand might seem. You might remember when they garnered a fanatical following after launching their original cica products: Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment ($52) and Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream ($48). But Dr. Jart+ isn't the only brand to embrace the ingredient. It turns out, tiger grass (technically known as Centella asiatica, cica, or sometimes gotu kola) is a prime ingredient for complete skin recovery, and an age-old healing tradition used by none other than (wait for it) tigers. It's even used to treat serious 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 which is native to the wetlands in Asia.
Products with a cica have gained a cult-like following whose members hail the ingredient as the ultimate miracle worker for uneven skin tone and, in particular, redness. But what exactly is tiger grass? It’s an herbal plant native to Asian wetlands, and the true power seems to lie not in the leaf but its water. Water which, according to Dr. Jart+, has an immediate soothing effect, and can even encourage new skin cell growth. Beautifully green and rich in chlorophyll, tiger grass promises to enhance the look and feel of the skin 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.
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.
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% possible. Formulated to be used after toning and prior to 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 be a help to those who struggle with cantankerous acne, rosacea, or sensitive skin.
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 candellia 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 centinella 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 production of collagen, 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 their 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 definitely 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, but also 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.
Gohil KJ, Patel JA, Gajjar AK. Pharmacological review on centella asiatica: a potential herbal cure-all. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010;72(5):546-556. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.78519
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