BB Creams (also known as beauty balms, or blemish balms) have been on my beauty list for ages. Originally from Germany, BB Cream was first used as a post laser/surgical healing face treatment. More recently, the do-it-all tinted moisturizer was popularized in Asia, touted as miracle potions in tubes. They promise to do everything that you could do for your face– protect with SPF, prime, moisturize, even skin tone, improve clarity, lighten dark marks, offer an anti-aging punch of antioxidants, minimize fine lines, conceal, and provide an even base of color similar to a foundation. All in a dewy, light cream. Phew. I decided that summer would be the perfect time to try BB Cream for myself, and see which brands live up to the hype.
Now, this is important. BB Creams can be divided into three camps:
1. Asian BB Creams: we’ll call these the “originals”. Brands include Dr. Jart (now sold at Sephora!), Missha, SKIN 79, Lioele, Skinfood and Hanskin, among others.
2. High End Western BB Creams: Sold at Sephora and the like, by brands such as Dior, Smashbox, Boscia, Too Faced, Dr. Brandt and Stila.
3. Drugstore BB Creams: Garnier, Maybelline and L’Oreal are the first to pop up on shelves.
I started with the Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector, as it was cheap ($11.99 at Target) and a few friends had tested it out with favorable results.
I do really like this product overall, but to me it’s a tinted moisturizer, in trendy BB Cream packaging. It has SPF 15, which is the minimum amount I would want to see in an SPF based product. Packaging is simple and easy to store or transport, and I’m impressed with amount of product (2.5 oz.). Quite a bit larger than what one would typically find in a tube of tinted moisturizer or foundation.
The texture is quite thick and slippery, which I like. It blends very nicely and a little goes a long way. It does blur imperfections (uneven skin tone, light scaring or discoloration) much in the way a tinted moisturizer would, but does not cover as well as a foundation.
As you can see from the swatches above, initially the color seems way too dark for my fair skin. Fully blended out, it can work, but is still a tad dark. Not noticeably enough to stop me from wearing it, but I would prefer a lighter shade with less of a tan cast. The Garnier shade range is extremely limited, only offering Light/Medium (which I got) and Medium/Deep. Two shades do not fit all.
The finish of this BB Cream is dewy, but take care not to over apply, as this will make your face a bit sticky. No need to apply this over moisturizer, or top with powder. I’ve found my favorite way to wear it is to apply a light layer on a bare face using my fingers, followed with under eye concealer (per usual) and light facial concealing on top when necessary. Wear time is about 6-8 hours, depending on your activity level. After about a month of wear, this product has not adversely affected my skin at all. The product has a light clean/floral scent. I don’t care for it, but it doesn’t linger long enough to put me off completely.
Consensus: Worth it! Not exactly a miracle skin perfector, but it’s a good tinted moisturizer, especially for $12. Even better if you happen to fall into their shade range. If you liked Origins VitaZing, you should check this out. It reminds me of a slightly thicker version of that. Great for days when you want to apply your makeup in 10 minutes, and run off to work (or the beach).
Have you tried the Garnier BB? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!