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NOW READING Centella Asiatica Is the Hot K-Beauty Ingredient of the Moment — Why You Need It Now
August 15, 2018

Centella Asiatica Is the Hot K-Beauty Ingredient of the Moment — Why You Need It Now

Got acne? Redness? Sensitivity? Aging skin? Meet your new skincare bae, Centella asiatica. Centella is everywhere in K-beauty right now and for good reason. Find out why you need to get centella into your routine rn.


If you’re a fan of K-beauty (HELLO!), chances are you have seen the recent uptick in a certain ingredient called Centella asiatica (or just plain ol’ centella for short). Why is this ingredient so special and why is it now one of the main things I look for on a new product ingredient list? Let’s find out.


Centella asiatica is an ancient, antioxidant-rich plant (also known at gotu kola, asiatic acid, pennywort, or tiger grass) that’s been used all over East, Southeast, and South Asia for centuries. In China, centella has been called one of the “miracle elixirs of life.” It’s been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including eczema, psoriasis, wounds, lupus, anxiety, depression, and more. In Thailand and Vietnam, people make cold drinks from it — there, it’s used as an anti-aging miracle drink. So yeah, centella basically the shi—t.


centella asiatica


In more recent years, centella, also known as cica, has seen a resurgence in the beauty world as a do-it-all skincare superpower. Chock full of antioxidants, amino acids, and fatty acids, it’s a nourishing, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory miracle ingredient. What can it do? Centella improves collagen production, which means skin is firmer and more plump. When it is applied on a wound or acne, it increases antioxidant production, which means healing is faster, while both preventing scarring and the formation of other blemishes. In other words, centella is bae for life.


Centella products have been a godsend for my hormonal acne-prone, PIH-prone skin. Literally around that time of the month, I slather my face in all the centella I can get. I’ve noticed that my PIH isn’t as noticeable, and any acne I do get comes and goes within a day or two. I’m so glad that companies have started to take notice and add centella to their products.


Let’s talk about my favorite centella products.


Swanicoco Centella Asiatica Salve

centella asiatica

THIS IS MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD. And yes, the all caps are necessary because it is one of the best things I’ve ever put on my face. The use of the word “salve” is a bit misleading (when I think of a salve, I think of something like Vaseline). It actually has more of a whipped gel texture. The first ingredient is centella and it feels like heaven on the skin — not sticky, not heavy, not greasy or oily, just lush, hydrating goodness. I love to use the Swanicoco Centella Asiatica Salve after I do an at-home chemical peel or when my skin is being a butt before my period starts.


Purito Green Level Buffet Serum and Calming Toner


centella asiatica


The lovely team behind Purito sent these (along with the eye cream) for me to try, and they are truly game changing products. The Buffet Serum contains a whopping 49% centella extract, along with ceramides, peptides, madecassic acid, niacinamide, and hydrolyzed collagen. If you have oily, acne-prone skin and struggle to find a serum that isn’t too heavy, you’ll be pleased to know this one is a super lightweight gel texture that just melts into the skin. I love to use it in the morning because it provides a heavy dose of hydration without the heaviness.


The Purito Green Level Centella Calming Toner contains 10% centella extract, along with witch hazel, panthenol, and hyaluronic acid. If you’re a fan of the 7-skin toner method, this toner is perfect for you because it sinks into the skin almost immediately and legit makes your skin feel like butter. I literally bathe my skin in this morning and night … and legit would pour it into my bath for a hydrating boost if I had an extra bottle. It’s amazing!


Pureforet Centella Multi Balm, Cleansing Water, and Lotion


centella asiatica


Whenever my skin is feeling a bit irritated (from being in the sun, sweat, or a chemical peel), I love to reach for the entire line of affordable Pureforet Centella products. Each one is formulated with Centella asiatica water and centella extract so they are ridiculously calming and gentle. The Multi Balm kinda smells like tiger balm and has a thicker than normal texture, but it isn’t greasy or sticky. In true balm form, it just kinda melts into the skin. The cleansing water is perfect for decanting and sticking in my gym bag for a quick cleanse post-workout. The lotion is that perfect, everyday lightweight lotion. I stan!


One of my favorite things about K-beauty is that the focus is primarily on healing, hydrating, and being gentle with your skin. I feel like up until recent times, most of the marketing in the Western part of the world was like BANISHHHHHH, DESTROYYYYY, SCRUUUBBBBBB. Using Centella asiatica as a primary ingredient in a lot of new K-beauty products shows that its premise of making sure to take care of your skin in a loving, nurturing way remains unchanged.


Do you love centella? What are your favorite centella products? Let me know in the comments!



Sheryll Donerson got her start as a beauty writer by writing K-beauty reviews for her blog, The Wanderlust Project. These days, she's lifting heavy weights, eating tacos, drinking (too much) coffee and is 1/4 of the beauty podcast, Beauty Beyond Basics (or Triple Bees for short). You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @sheryllrenata.



I used COSRX's centella cream, and it worked great! The redness in my cheeks went down really quickly. I'm very interested to try out the other products mentioned here! :) Thank you!

I love anything with centella in it. One of the things that got me was Skinfood Centellascar Ointment. Both my mother and I have had surgery on our heads this year, not the same kind for both and none of them were as serous as that might sound, and this ointment has totally saved our skin after words. My scar is more in my hair line so you can't hardly see it any ways but my mom's is on her forehead. This ointment helped both our incision heal faster and with less scaring than anything we... Read more

omg let me add this skinfood ointment to my shopping cart because it sounds like a MOOD

I am EXTREMELY allergic to centella, and it is a pitty because I also have very sensitive skin and many products addressing this type of skin include centella asiatica in their ingredients. So frustrating :'(

Nooooo! 😭What do you use to calm and soothe your skin?

Tons os snail mucin :D
I also check the pH of my cleaning products to make sure they don't irritate my skin, and have tried many sheet masks, so I've learnt that those with honey and camomile are the ones that work best for me.

Honey is a favorite of mine, especially during the summer! I feel like it really helps my skin stay hydrated and happy. Centella on the other hand is more of a year round affair lol

Honey is such a mood omg

Honey is the best. I rely on that for calming and soothing too. I hoard the Papa Recipe Bombee masks.

Nice to see I’m not the only one whose sensitive skin doesn‘t like this star ingredient. It is frustrating! And honey doesn‘t work for me either :-/ So far aloe it‘s my friend

I should add, it doesn’t magically fix my breakouts but it is calming them and it is helping a reeeebad one finally go away. I still need a good vitamin c to help with the pih but the Centella Purito products are great for my oily skin and are definitely heating it.

Convert over here! I’m hooked on Purito green level everything. Give me all the Centella. 😃😃

I literally slather that essence and toner on like my life depends on it hahahha

haha, same! sooo good.

I love centella!!! My sensitive combination skin has been feeling and looking so much better since I began using centella based products. The Purito centella serum is really nice. I haven’t tried their other centella products yet, but they’re next on my list! I currently have a minimum of 9 different products that I’m using that contain centella! 💚

I LOVE the Purito center products. I am using all of them and I feel ridiculous but I love them and they work so well.

I remember a few months back and I kept seeing "gotu kola" listed in all these ingredient lists and I thought it was some new ingredient that was super unique; come to find out it's the same thing as centella lol. I find that anyone with redness really can benefit from it! It really is so calming to the skin

I JUST got the Purito serum in my last order, and I am loving it!!! I know centella has been around for ages, but I'm glad it's the new ingredient du jour - it really has a ton of benefits. I hope we see a few more new, innovative products incorporating it soon!

Me too!

Okay, Sheryll, I've been eyeing the Swanicoco Centella Asiatica Salve for a while and just added it to my cart. Thanks for the enable! I'm enjoying the Purito Buffet Serum as well. It's astonishingly lightweight for a serum! I've been a cica fan ever since I tried Zymogen's Centella Ferment Essence back in 2015. It's a milky potion of loveliness with the best smell ever (jasmine, maybe?). With tret in my routine ('cuz I'm old--ish), I have backups for my backups when it comes to cica.

I remember when Zymogen first got super popular! Never got around to trying it but I know a lot of people saw great results with their stuff. How do you feel like the Purito compares in terms of benefits?

Great question! The main difference between the two is the inclusion of multiple ferments in the Zymogen product. Both products are very lightweight, but I find the Zymogen a bit more moisturizing since I use it right after my toner. I haven't really noticed a distinct difference in performance, so I keep returning to it for the skincaretainment scent benefit. There's definitely more cica in the Purito, though.

oh this zymogen stuff sounds like a mood

I've only tried one product with centella in it and it didn't leave a huge impression on me, but now you got me adding the purito buffet serum to my cart, dernit!! It's got all sorts of other ingredients my skin loves, so for my next order I'mma give it a go.

I think centella is one of those ingredients where you don't realize how much it's doing until you don't have it — at least that's how it is for me! I always have centella ready in my arsenal in case of redness or irritation or to ward off any redness/irritation. It's gone a long way to keeping my skin calm and soothed this summer. And I love how lightweight the Purito Buffet Serum is and how well it plays with my other serums!

I could not agree more! I packed up my bottles of purito toner and serum, Swanicoco centella salve and cosrx centella cream and toner, etc. to send back to college with my daughter and I was almost having withdrawals by the time all of my Tap boxes showed up with my replacements. And I ordered spares of a couple things to have on hand. Will be ordering spares of the rest as well. Note to self: don't make that mistake twice!

I'm sure your daughter's skin thanks you!! Hopefully she's putting all of those products to good use!

I just ordered the cosrx centella toner actually, so I'm excited to see how it works for me! I actually intend to use it as a mist since it's in a spray bottle....

Well now, that will truly be the test, what does she stop long enough to get on her skin!! But, when her cystic acne returns with a vengeance, make time she will! Kids! Uggg! I love the Cosrx centella toner. I can drain a bottle of that stuff in record time! I spray before acids, between acids, after acids, middle of the day, you name it. You give me something in a spray bottle that is as light as water and I can blow thru it. I hope you enjoy it.

I definitely agree; I think a lot of the time these type of ingredients may not make a huge difference that you're going to notice but it's what they're preventing from happening that is the real magic for me