Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Product Review: BB Cream

If you read my article on about BB Creams last week then you know I'm somewhat enamored with them. As a product junkie, I am always on the lookout for formulas that multi-task and help de-clutter my medicine cabinet. I won't rehash all the info from the article; if you are new to BB cream madness just read through it for an explanation of what they are and if they're right for you.

During the last two weeks I tested three different BB Creams. One from a drugstore, one from a popular cosmetics company found in department stores, and one that is made in Korea and can be found at Sephora.

It's my policy not to write bad reviews on this blog. I write about what I love and mention the less-than-perfect aspects of a product only if they're important for you to know. I will say, without naming the brand, that I did not like the department store BB Cream I tried. The texture was just awful and the color was chalky. So, in this post I'll review the two I did like. This is going to  be a longer review since this is a new product for most of us. So,  you can read the rest after the jump! 

Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream - Light/Medium

The first BB cream I tried was from drugstore favorite, Garnier. I was drawn to it because it got high praise the in the Instyle "Best of Beauty" roundup and the price was manageable. I was both skeptical and nervous to try a BB cream in general because, as I have mentioned, I am a strictly mineral makeup type of girl.

The Claim: ".....with just one multi-benefit product that combines intense moisturizing skincare + immediate skin perfecting coverage for skin that looks naturally more even, radiant and smooth."
The Good: My first worry was that BB cream would feel like makeup. My mineral powder is absolutely weightless so the thought of a mask-like effect with a cream was a turn-off. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that what I had read about BB creams feeling very natural was true. This product comes out of the tube feeling and looking just like tinted moisturizer. I was nervous when I saw how dark it was, but it blended into my skin wonderfully. I was skeptical that this one product would give enough coverage to smooth over any unevenness in my skin tone but it managed to do it. It also brightened my skin a bit. My face felt moisturized all day and after using this product for four days straight I did see some visible improvement in the tone of my naked skin. The product also cut down the time I spent on my makeup and it contains SPF.

The Bad: This BB cream tends to give a dewy look. If you have oily skin this one may not work for you. To me this seems to be more of an introductory BB cream -- perhaps best for those just wanting to experiment with an affordable BB cream or who want to stick to something closer to a tinted moisturizer.

The Verdict: If you currently use a liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer this may be a great product for you to try as an introduction to multi-tasking BB creams. The price point is great if you're just curious about how this would look on you. This product is also nice if you just want something lighter to wear on the weekends and the addition of the SPF is great for summer.

Buy It

Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45

When I went to Sephora in search of a BB cream I was looking over the options and overheard a sales associate talking to another girl about them. I should mention that the associate was Asian. This is important because she explained that she had used BB creams -- which were only available in Asian countries until recently -- in her native Korea before. She said that Dr. Jart was the best choice because it is made in Korea and is most similar to the formulas available there (where it first became popular). So, I decided to give it a go.

The Claim: "A one-step balm that perfects the appearance of skin while protecting it from the sun and environmental factors."

The Good: I don't even know how to start. I used the Garnier BB cream for four days. Then, I went back to mineral makeup for a few days just to see the difference. Then, I tried Dr. Jart. 

Application: Before applying, I shower and rinse my face as normal. Then, I apply the tiniest bit of moisturizer. (I have also used it without and either way works) After that, I use the BB cream. It felt thick on my fingers at first so I wasn't sure about putting it on my face, however, once I began to blend it in with my fingers it just disappeared into my skin. It only comes in one color which also seemed odd to me, but it blended perfectly to the tone of my skin. I was ooing and ahhing as I applied it - the boyfriend was confused

I let the cream sit on my skin and soak in while I do my eye makeup. It behaves like a primer in that it needs a minute to settle. I couldn't believe how my face looked. It was so even, it looked so naturally radiant. As I applied my blush, bronzer and setting powder, I realized I needed less of everything. The BB cream let my natural skintone shine through so I didn't need to add so much extra color. My mineral makeup washes me out a little since it takes a good amount of it to cover imperfections. With Dr. Jart, I used just enough to cover my face and jawline with thin layer (a dime size amount usually) and not only were my blemishes covered, my whole face looked even and natural. I was and am still shocked that as soon as I apply the BB cream it looks as though I'm not wearing any makeup at all.

I was convinced that the beautiful, natural look of this makeup would wear off midway through the day. But, even though I found myself compulsively checking reflective surfaces to see if I needed touch-ups I went all day without adding a stitch of extra makeup. I was floored. I usually at least have to reapply powder halfway through my day.

Results: After that awesome first day wearing Dr. Jart, I have used it religiously for almost two weeks. I think the thing I'm most impressed about is that my skin looks better without makeup. Overall my skin tone is more even, brighter, and its condition varies less day-today. This is probably the thing I am most in love with about this product. It seems beneficial to my skin. I often worry about the long hours I wear makeup and if it's hurting my skin in the long run. This product seems to do the exact opposite. I have good skin overall but I'm used to wearing makeup. I put a little on whenever I go out. But, this weekend, I left the house with nothing on but mascara and my face looked amazing. That. Has. Never. Happened.

The Bad: I think more than anything, the color of this product could be an issue. I know I look pretty light in my photos, however, I am light with neutral undertones -- meaning I can wear both warm and cool tones. I think I look slightly better in warm, almost yellow-based tones in makeup. I have read quite a few reviews that say if you are extremely pale - porcelain - with cool undertones this may not be for you. The easiest way to tell if you have cool skin tones is to look at the veins in your upper arm/wrist. Blue means cool, green veins mean warm tones. If the color is in between you could be neutral.

The Verdict: I am almost totally sold on this stuff. I'm going to use it for a full month and give you one more update but as of now I am in love.

General BB Cream Tips:
1. Get samples - BB cream takes a lot of experimenting. My top tip is take some time and go to a place like Sephora where you can return a product if you don't like it. Get help from an associate and ask for samples of 2 or 3 BB creams and test them at home. Give each sample a week unless it looks truly awful. Give your skin time to react to it.

2. Let it soak in - Treat BB cream like primer. Apply it, then give it a minute or two to soak in before you apply your other makeup. I put on the cream, then do my eyes, then finish my face. If you use moisturizer under the cream it may take longer to soak in. Often you don't need facial lotion at all. 

3. Use less of your other makeup - Part of the appeal of BB cream is that it makes your naked skin look better. Take some time to look at your makeup in artificial and natural light and adjust the amount of blush, bronzer, etc you need accordingly. I found I needed much less.

4. Don't settle for the wrong color - If you get a BB cream that is the wrong color your other makeup will look bad over it. It will look like it is floating on top of your skin and it will rub right off. 

5. Do it your way - On the Sephora website, the instructions under the Dr. Jart BB cream say to add your normal foundation over the cream. I am not sure why you'd do this unless you found the BB cream insufficient to cover any blemishes you may have. For me that would be way to much product. Try it alone first, then add if you need to. I have use a dab of concealer in spots but never put foundation over the cream.


  1. Thanks for the reviews! Great to get more details on the BB creams. Can't wait to try one. Will probably start with the less expensive Garnier and see how I like it. Sounds like a great alternative to heavy makeup in the summer -- especially if you live in the humid South, like I do.

  2. I am currently using the Dr Jart BB but another type. I usually just wear tinted moisturizer so this seems a little thicker to me and I agree that adding foundation would give you a lot of coverage. I'm curious to see if my skin changes. I've been getting many big blemish breakouts, thankfully one at a time but it's becoming the norm. So far so good and I'm hoping this does the trick.
    Thanks for the review of the Garnier. I think I may like the dewy look (I'm a bit older than you & my skin is losing it's luminosity). It may be a good summer option at some point!