Innisfree TrueCare CICA Intensive Balm Review


Innisfree began creating a TrueCare line of products last year, starting with this balm. They  have expanded out with a moist cream, recovery lotion and facial masks (oily or dry skin).  I have also purchased the facial sheet mask set for oily skin and I will review that in the near future.

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I was a little hesitant on purchasing this balm as products that usually have the word “balm” in them scare me ~ it means for dry skin and having a thick, waxy texture.  However, as I read more on Innisfree’s Korean site about this item, I realized this wasn’t what I thought it was.  So, I purchased it ~ using a shipping service, as it was not yet available outside of Korea at that time.  

Skin Type and Concerns:  Oily, blemish prone, with aging concerns ~ hyper pigmentation, sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles.

 What It Is

This whole balm/salve description is sometimes confusing to me.   I don’t think of a balm or a salve for treating pimples, hyper-pigmentation or for exfoliating, but it seems that some of these newer products in a tube are doing just that.  According to Innisfree Korea, their CICA Intensive Balm is for acne prone or irritated skin and it contains 89% naturally derived ingredients. This is a spot care and brightening product, but it also soothes and heals as well, because it contains a concentrated derivatives of centella asiatica, which is a common herbal ingredient that is used medicinally to help speed up wound healing, such as blemishes and skin rashes. It also helps minimize the appearance of pores, and since it stimulates collagen production, it will make your skin more supple and firm.  This formula contains  four components extracted from centella asiatica ~ asiaticoside helps form collagen to strengthen your skin and speeds up wound  healing.  Asiatic acid is an anti-aging compound, that helps to plump up your skin, prevents wrinkles, fine lines and scar tissue. Madecassic acid helps aid in the production of collagen and tissue while madecassoisise helps soothe, reduce redness and inflammation and helps heal your skin.

What this also contains, and why I am currently digging it, is retinol, a derivative of vitamin A.  I haven’t seen a lot of Korean skincare with retinol in it, so this was the deciding factor when I purchased it. Retinol is an active and it helps promotes cellular turnover and I have used Retin-A, a prescription strength version, years ago and it really helped with my blemishes.  Its other side effect that makes this ingredient so wonderful, is it will help lighten PIH, age/sun-damage hyper-pigmentation and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, while making your skin smooth.  Retinol can cause photosensitivity, so only use at night-time and wear sunscreen during the daytime.    

Another few ingredients of note are arbutin, which is known for its brightening effects, adenosine helps improve the reduction of wrinkles and is also an anti inflammatory and finally, squalane ~ which is an occlusive, helping lock in moisture.  CICA Intensive Balm is non-comedogenic, which means it will not (or should not) cause clogged pores and therefore you should not have additional blemish breakouts just by using this and any current blemishes you have should not get worse.  This balm has been voted GlowPick’s 2016 Consumer’s Choice product.

Ingredients: water, glycerin, propanediol, cyclopentasiloxane, squalane, arbutin, cetearyl alcohol, orchid extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, camellia japonica leaf extract, opuntia coccinellifera fruit extract, citrus unshiu peel extract, madecassoside, madecassic acid, asiaticoside, asiatic acid, retinol,  adenosine, glyceryl stearate, dissostearyl malate, cyclodextrin, cetearyl glucoside, stearic acid, polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate, polysorbate 60, hydrogenated lecithin,  hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, carbomer, tromethamine, 1,2-hexanediol, disodium EDTA   cosDNA analysis 

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It comes in a metallic tube, which is bendy, as it is made from aluminum.  This is due to the purity of the active ingredients and Innisfree wanted to preserve the retinol and its effectiveness.  The tube is sealed and needs to be punctured by the end cap, which has a pointy end. The cream is white, a bit gel-like, a little translucent, yet firm. This is not sticky and it doesn’t take that long to absorb into my skin and I can really feel how silky and soft this cream is.  It absorbs quickly, without any tacky residue.

It is very moisturizing on my oily skin, but retinol products can dry out your skin, so I do follow up with a sleeping pack over this.  I have not noticed a scent with this product, it doesn’t it sting my face and it applies smoothly onto my skin.  You can use this as a spot treatment, like I do ~ I focused on my T-Zone ~ or use it all over your face.  You should start with a patch test first, as it does contain an active, and even then, build up your use with this item.  I personally can use it nightly ~ however, as I am using it as a spot treatment, I only use it when needed and I can use it many nights in a row.  I only use a pea sized amount, as a little goes a long way with retinol products.

Retinols should be at a pH level between 5.0 and 6.0 ~ they are different from AHA and BHA pH levels. Innisfree TrueCare CICA Intensive Balm looks to between a 5.0 to 5.5 pH level to me and it increased my moisture level by almost 1 1/2 times initially.  I think I broke my skin analyzer device with this product!!  After a few minutes, that number dropped a bit, but this is very moisturizing product. It doesn’t feel like it is too much for my oily skin type, however ~ which I attribute to the gel cream texture. 

What I have noticed since I have been using this product ~ and it has been about 4 months now ~ that my skin is brighter and clearer around my blemish prone areas.  That doesn’t mean I do not still break out in acne, because I do, but it isn’t as bad as it used to be.  In fact, I love using this product with my Tamanu Oil by TreeannSea at night time, because between these two products, my skin does stay soft. hydrated and smooth, while healing my blemishes.  The key for me and PIH (post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation ~ those horrible purple-red scars) is to get them while they are fresh and they will fade much quicker and in some cases, not even scar.   This product is doing just that, with the retinol and not making my skin flake or dry out too much. 

Now, these ladies in the video below had dramatic results, but I will state that when I was using the Simplistic Skin Supreme Salve and it made me break out, I used this product instead ~ and my blemishes and spots healed up very quickly ~ within days.

Mini Comparison

So, I had thought that Simplistic Skin Supreme Salve (full review here) and Innisfree TrueCare CICA Intensive Balm would be similar ~ and they are similar in what they are supposed to do ~ they are supposed to be actives, exfoliating without drying your skin, reduce hyper-pigmentation and accelerate cellular turnover, thus unclogging pores and diminishing blemishes.  However, that is just on the surface.  Ingredient wise, they are very different ~ Innisfree uses retinol, while Simplistic Skin uses AHA and BHA to achieve this.  Now, actives and me fall into 3 categories:  didn’t do anything for my skin (Sunday Riley Good Genes comes to mind), caused my skin to get worse (Paula’s Choices AHA/BHA products, Chica Y Chico products) or they worked.   The first 2 categories are split evenly and the last one is a rarity.   In the case of Paula’s Choice and Chica Y Chico, they didn’t just cause me to break out, they caused me to break out in hard angry red blemishes that took weeks to heal.   I will say that Simplistic Skin was in the 2nd category but it was more about white heads that could heal easily, which I did by using the Innisfree product!  

As I scar so easily and I really didn’t want to walk around with a face full of zits at my age, I did stop using Simplistic Skin Supreme Salve on my face.  Purging?  Maybe it was.  However, since I broke out in areas that I normally never break out with blemishes, I would say that it was just not working with my skin’s chemistry.  Innsifree wins hands down for me ~ I never experienced purging or breakouts using this ~ that said, Innisfree does warn that some people could have a negative reaction. As this product is 100% guaranteed in their Korean market, Innisfree Korea’s site had a blurb about returns and how within a three month sales period, only 1.59% of customers returned it.

Final Thoughts

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I have to say, I went in with no expectations with this balm ~ I wasn’t sure how it would work for my skin.  I am so happy that this item turned out to be a fantastic item for my skin ~  it helped heal and clear up blemishes, while preventing and/or reducing fresh PIH.  I also felt that it helped smooth and soften my skin, while supplying moisture. My biggest complaint with this product is that there is no information about its strength, so please do not ask me about percentages of retinol in here ~ there isn’t anything on Innsifree’s site or on the box itself. I am not sure why this product is not more readily available on the many K-Beauty online sites as well Innsifree’s Global Site, but it is available currently in limited e-Tailers.  I am hoping it gets more traction as I do think if you are looking for an overnight retinol treatment that is very affordable, this could be the product for you. Have you tried overnight treatment salves/balms like this?  Or even this one? Which ones and how did they work for your skin?

Disclaimer:  As with all actives/acids, your results might be quite different from mine. I recommend reading other reviews and researching this product before deciding it is for you.  If you do choose to purchase it, always patch test with actives and acid products. 

Where to Purchase

If you want to purchase directly from the Innsifree Korean Site, use their search tool (click here) and enter in 트루케어  which is TrueCare.  Unless you live in Korea, you will have to use a shipping service and I recommend Korean Buddy. You can save 50% off handler fee with Korean Buddy Shipping Service by using my blog url as a referral with your first purchase

For those who might be interested in the TrueCare masks, here is the video that shows the TrueCare Masks in action ~ I need to use mine soon!  They look amazing.

4 thoughts on “Innisfree TrueCare CICA Intensive Balm Review

  1. Alright… I need to get off of your website. I’m going to buy everything. Do you use other actives in your nighttime routine? If so, where does this product slot in? Also, I noticed you mentioned a tamanu oil product – is that applied with, before, or after?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I put actives where I need them – so if I am going to use my melano CC Spot essence (vitamin C), I won’t use the innisfree product as they both go on my T-zone. On my cheeks and sides of my face, I am currently using Stratia Soft Touch AHA 10% mandelic acid. If I am going to use the tamanu oil, it goes on after my actives ~ I just tap it on lightly on my skin ~ that I use for my T-Zone area and during breakouts.


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