If you’re into K-beauty, you would have seen all the products containing cica that are targeted for calming trouble skin. Since I have acne-prone skin, I became curious and wanted to find out if cica would really work to help clear my skin. Taking advantage of the 11.11 sales this year, I gave my skincare routine an overhaul and changed my entire routine into one that focuses on cica products.
What is cica?
Cica is a nickname for centella asiatica, which is a plant found in Asia. Madecassoside, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and asiatic acid are all derived from centella asiatica.
Benefits of these 4 ingredients include:
- Healing, antibacterial, regenerative and antioxidant properties
- Boosts collagen production
- Strengthens the skin barrier
- Prevents and reduces fine lines and wrinkles
Some Background On My Skin
My skin condition actually changes constantly but I would say that I have dehydrated, combination, and acne-prone skin. My face gets oily around the T-zone and my skin is normal around the U-zone. My skin also gets sensitive since I’m on adapalene (a retinoid that increases skin cell turnover). When using certain products, I sometimes feel a stinging sensation and my skin turns red, although I haven’t identified which ingredients trigger this.
My Routine Before The Haul
Let’s be real… A skincare routine can honestly feel like a chore, especially after long days when I get home late. Nobody wants to spend 30 minutes doing their skincare past 1am... All I want to do is jump right in bed!
This was my skincare routine before the haul:
On 11.11, I decided to get a new cleanser, toner pads, ampoule, an ampoule for enlarged pores, and sheet masks.
I ordered the following from Eunogo on Shopee:
- COSSG MOSSG Pore Bubble Cleansing Pack
- Patchholic Cica Cotton Pad Toner
- Patchholic Pure Energy Cica Ampoule
- COSSG MOSSG Pore Cica Nose Ampoule
- Patchholic Colorpick Soothing Masks
This is what my new skincare routine looked like. I was so excited to try everything out!
Let’s dive into my review for each of these products!
I got COSSG MOSSG’s Pore Bubble Cleansing Pack, and I really liked this cleanser compared to all the other K-beauty cleansers I’ve tried. It dispenses as a cream with little beads that help to clean the pores gently without being too harsh. A little really goes a long way, I use a pea sized amount for my entire face. As you rub it in, you can feel the foam bubbling up, and it turns into a matte foam. I’ve never seen a cleanser do that before. Most importantly, it doesn’t leave me with a tight feeling after use.
I’ve tried Innisfree’s Bija, Green Tea, Jeju Volcanic, and Sea Salt Cleansers, Too Cool For School’s Mineral Pink Salt Cleanser, ME FACTORY’s Super Deep Foam Cleanser and many more. The one problem that I have with all these cleansers was that they were too drying. You know the tight, dry feeling you get after cleansing your face? That is actually a sign that your cleanser is drying your skin out. And the problem with that for oily skin is that your skin actually produces more oil in response to that. So actually your cleanser might be making your oily skin worse!
I’ve also tried Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser, and while that is very hydrating, I find that it is not the most effective in removing residue makeup and oil cleanser. The COSSG MOSSG Pore Bubble Cleansing Pack gives a perfect balance between hydration and a clean feeling.
As for toner, I decided to try Patchholic’s Cica Cotton Pad Toner. I have also jumped from toner to toner in the past, trying to find my holy grail. This comes close.
First, let’s talk about the packaging. I love the convenience of toner pads, and the flip cover of the container makes it easy to reach for. The packaging is beautiful and can be repurposed to as a storage container when you’re done. I love that they included a tiny pair of tongs to keep the pads hygienic.
Moving on, the toner pads themselves are really impressive. They do not sting and they feel really calming and soothing. You can also use this to wipe down your skin whenever it feels too greasy. The thing I like the most about this product is that it doesn't leave any residue after it dries. There is no sticky feeling left on the skin, but I still feel hydrated and moisturized on the inside. I would repurchase this over COSRX’s One Step Original Clear Pad as the COSRX one is a little sticky after it dries. I even recommended this to my friend and she has already repurchased once!
Now, I’m totally new to ampoules. I became more interested in skincare over quarantine (circuit breaker in Singapore) and I felt ready to try ampoules.
Patchholic’s Pure Energy Cica Ampoule was a great first introduction to ampoules for me. It was really soothing and great at calming breakouts. I love the smell and it makes me look forward to using it as part of my daily routine.
It also helps to give my skin a much-needed hydration boost and leaves me with a pretty glow that doesn’t look oily. I apply this to my whole face after toner. The consistency is a little viscous.
As for COSSG MOSSG’s Pore Cica Nose Ampoule, I got this because I wanted to tighten the pores on my cheeks around my nose. The ampoule has a strong citrus scent and my skin feels tighter after use (could be due to the sebum control effect). I used it once a week and noticed that my pores appeared tighter and sebum was more controlled after every use. The consistency is lighter and more watery than the other ampoule.
It's time for a confession: I have a masking addiction. I mask almost everyday and sheet masks are the type of masks I use the most often. I use clay masks and peeling masks only once a week each to help exfoliate dead skin cells, and clear the pores of dirt and sebum. But it is important not to over-exfoliate as it can make your skin dry and irritated. Since I work in an air-conditioned office, my skin always feels dry and hot on the inside by the end of the day. Sheet masks help to rehydrate my skin with moisture and also cool it down after a long day at work. Here’s a tip: store your sheet masks in the refrigerator for a cooling effect!
The Patchholic Colorpick Soothing Masks were extremely smooth and soft. The sheet mask itself is made of a smooth material that is unlike the paper masks I've been using. Those paper masks dry up really quick but this mask holds moisture for a longer time. I also really liked that the packaging was see-through, and I could see that there was lots of extra essence which I happily applied onto my neck and chest. The mask was soothing and hydrating, and did not cause any stinging which I’ve experienced with other sheet masks before. Besides being effective, I also liked that the packaging was so cute.
I received some Patchholic Sticker Soothing Patches as freebies and they’re adorable and are so, so Instagrammable. They are little patches in cute shapes that help cool and moisturize the skin and calm breakouts. You can use them to protect trouble skin, moisturize dry patches, and soothe sunburns. It's also a great way to cool down from the heat caused by hot weather and wearing masks.
This is what you need to bring with you on your staycations with your best friends. Everyone will be obsessed with taking Instagram stories. I might be speaking from experience.
Here comes the part we’re all looking forward to. Did my skin actually improve after changing my routine? YES. I can’t say that it was one specific product that made all my breakouts disappear. But my skin condition definitely improved after changing my routine for a month.
You can see from the before and after photos that my pores appear smaller and less congested.
These are the effects I noticed:
- Less serious breakouts, even when I try new makeup products/use products that make me breakout
- Breakouts and pimples heal faster
- Less dryness and tightness, and more hydration and glow
- Less skin irritation and redness, especially around the nose
While I’ve been using an adapalene cream for 9 months now, I began to see its effects tapering off around 6 months after use, which is why I think the skin improvement effects are due to the cica skincare routine.
The Haul Experience
Overall, I am so glad I did this skincare overhaul and I totally understand the hype surrounding cica now. I’d definitely recommend anyone with acne-prone skin to try out cica products. I ordered these products from Eunogo’s Shopee store and they arrived after a week, even though I placed my order during the busy 11.11 sales. They also arrived well-packaged in bubble wrap and none of my items were damaged.
Now that 2021 is coming up, have you made any skincare resolutions for the upcoming year? My goal for 2021 is to be more consistent with my new cica skincare routine!
If you're interested in trying out some cica skincare products from Korea, check out Eunogo's Shopee store! Here are the links:
Singapore Shopee Store: Click here!
Malaysia Shopee Store: Click here!
Indonesia Shopee Store: Click here!