I’ve been obsessed with skincare since I was a teenager struggling to get my acne under control. Fast forward many years later and I still eagerly lap up new skincare launches, examine trend reports, study ingredients, and even write about the topic for a handful of websites. Every once in a while, a product comes along that I become completely enamored with, and Naturopathica’s Gotu Kola Intense Repair Balm is one of those products.
I’d gotten it as a sample to review about a year ago, let it set for a few weeks, and then one night decided to scoop some out of the glass jar and slather. Gotu Kola is a pale pink, almost medicinal-looking balm that’s waxy and stiff straight out of the container and needs to be warmed up in the palm of your hand or between your fingers before applying. It feels thick, emollient, and oily on your skin and takes a good 20 to 30 minutes to completely absorb. In other words: it’s a true balm.
The morning after applying — literally after that one application — I woke up to the smoothest, most hydrated, calmest skin of my dreams. And just like that, I was instantly hooked.
Here’s the thing. The product contains a number of ingredients heralded for their soothing, nourishing abilities, namely gotu kola — which you might know better as tiger grass, centella asiatica, or cica — candelilla wax, sunflower seed oil, calendula extract, and raspberry seed oil. However, it also contains ingredients that, for the longest time, I refused to put anywhere near my face: olive oil and coconut oil.
Sensitive and acne-prone skin types — the type of skin I have — are told to steer clear of olive and coconut oil since they can be comedogenic (aka pore-clogging, which will ignite acne flare ups). But somehow, this product is a legit miracle worker and actually helps keep my acne at bay. For that reason, I’ve repurchased it several times over and will continue doing so.
I use it religiously three to four times a week, and especially like to apply after using retinol, known to cause a little irritation/redness due to its intense exfoliating properties. In general, I’d recommend it to anyone with inflamed or angry skin (maybe from wearing face masks all the time?), and anyone with a normal to dry complexion seeking a real skin-quencher.
Bottom line: if you’re looking for a luxurious, moisturizing, soothing balm that legit delivers, this is worth the splurge.