Here’s the deal with BB creams if you haven’t tried them, or if you are a Lazylette (or a Baby Lazy! I am unsure how to refer to you): for someone who wants to spend as little time as possible doing makeup, these things are SUPPOSED to be a godsend. A combination of moisturizer, foundation and SPF, BB creams are supposedly the one-stop-shop, daily source of pretty that is both affordable and super super functional. Personally, as someone who is absolutely reluctant to spend on makeup – when I do spend, i want to make sure that my makeup does more than one thing. In this case – prime, cover, protect, moisturize. Yes i am a cheapskate. That’s just how i roll.
For most other makeup gurus, products that over promise are to be looked at with suspicion, and i DO want to be judicious about what i spend on. But the BB cream market is vast and plentiful, so we have a lot of things to choose from! Surely – SURELY – there is the gem in that cacophony! THERE’S GOTTA BE SOMETHING GOOD AT A REASONABLE PRICE POINT, RIGHT?
That’s what i intend to find out with this series! I’m pretty sure these will happen periodically (though not often), as i don’t tend to purchase a product unless i’m running low, but i’ll keep you guys updated as i progress through this BB life.
BB Thoughts #1: Favorite
My first and favorite BB cream i had ever tried to date was from a discontinued brand called Fairydrops. It was NEAR PERFECT – good coverage, reduced pores, color was perfect for me, but it had no SPF. THIS IS MY BAR. This is what all y’alls are trying to live up to. Is it a low bar? Is it a high bar? WE’LL NEVER KNOW.
So today i present you with the last 4 BB creams i purchased, my thoughts on each product, as well as some highlighted BB cream thoughts. Let’s go! Here’s an omnibus of my product list, and some product overviews. Note that some product prices are listed in HKD, because that is where I bought them.
Product Overviews, or Why Did I Buy This?
1. Dear Klairs Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream SPF 40, PA++; 1100 PHP, Althea
I got this product upon the recommendation of tons and tons of reviews, so i think it definitely falls into the category of YouTube Made Me Buy It. The reviews were actually just OKAY, it seemed to be a hit or miss with most people (especially since it only comes in one shade, and it’s quite a light shade at that) – but the people that love it, really really LOVE it. Its selling points according to many other enthusiasts is that, unlike other BB creams, it has a yellow undertone rather than a gray one. Having a very yellowy, difficult-to-match complexion myself, i decided to give it a shot.
2. Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions BB Cream SPF 40/ PA+++ (Natural Beige); 250 HKD, Langham Place
This was a BB cream i bought at a department store on a whim once, years ago. I didn’t realize that Clinique made an Anti-Blemish line, and i really liked their Spot Treatment Gel. Which isn’t makeup, but what did i know?? I just knew that i liked and trusted the line, so i bought what i needed from that same brand and line. It was the most i had spent on makeup ever. Full disclosure: This has been my go-to BB cream for years, so i have actually gone through bottles and bottles of this stuff. It’s just so annoyingly expensive whenever i have to go repurchase – it lasts me forever though and so it’s not like it burns a hole in my pocket, but i am still a major cheapskate, which is why i’ve been looking at alternatives.
3. The Face Shop Photo Blur BB Cream SPF 37 PA++; 390 PHP, The Face Shop
I saw a good review so i bought it. It seemed inexpensive, accessible to me (there is a Face Shop near my house), and non-threatening. That’s really all there is to that. I don’t typically trust The Face Shop for may reasons (reason #1 – their products break me out!), but i thought i would give it a go!
4. Pink Sugar It’s Awesome BB Cream SPF 25 (Light Medium); 499 PHP, Beauty MNL
I loo00o0oo0o0ve Pink Sugar lipsticks – they are moisturizing, come in great colors, stay on quite nicely, and aren’t ridiculously priced. I don’t know if you can tell this about me by now, but i build trust with brands quite easily. If they get me with one product, i will almost certainly try another one of theirs. There aren’t that many reviews of Pink Sugar BB Cream Online, but all the ones I saw were all pretty positive, so I purchased! It was also my first Beauty MNL purchase, which sparked a makeup shopping spree that i have yet to quell. STOP BUYING STUFF, POLLY. JUST STOP IT.
BB Thoughts #2: SPF
Off the bat, it is tempting to judge these merely by the amount of sun protection they offer, because that seems to be the most obvious difference between them (aside from shade). One thing i had to learn about the stuff was that the protection offered by makeup products such as BB cream or foundation is no match for an actual sunblock. To achieve the sun protection stated on the packaging, you need to apply a PALMFUL of the stuff to your face, so people like me that go for a more sheer application are really NOT getting that stated protection. Basically, wear sunblock anyway.
Swatches and impressions
Off the bat, I know what you might be thinking – I am terrible at picking shades. AM I THOUGH??? The Face Shop and Dear Klairs only came in one shade, which was kind of a bummer, but again, i appreciated the yellowy undertone. For the Pink Sugar and Clinique creams, i went with what i think was the second to the deepest shade, which i felt were a match for my skin tone. In this initial drop swatch, immediately i can see that Clinique matches me the best. Among all of them, Clinique is also the wateriest and least like a cream at all. Notice how it doesn’t “stand” like the others.
All of these have very subtle scents also, except for Clinique. I think the nicest one was Dear Klairs, though smell is literally the last thing i worry about with these things.
Upon pulling these swatches, immediately i notice a shift in coloration, which is to be expected. We can feel their consistencies a bit better as well. Out of all of these, the ones that feel best to apply are really Clinique and Dear Klairs; the Pink Sugar cream was sticky and goopy, in a way that i find really really unpleasant and difficult to apply.
The Pink Sugar one also scared me a little in that I thought it would apply too warm (because the pull swatch turned … orange???), but actually as you’ll see in the next image, it blended out a little better.
As for The Face Shop one, it applied nicely and everything, but the cast was way too pale for my complexion. It looked a little unnatural on me.
Coverage & Finish
I think it’s obvious from these blend swatches which matched my skin the best, and which is my favorite among these: Clinique’s Natural Beige is a near perfect match for my skin tone, it doesn’t leave a white cast and it gives great coverage with very little product. The finish is very matte and almost looks powdered, which is a Lazy Girl GOAL, because it means i don’t have to set it anymore with powder. I wear this over a shiny sunblock, and it cancels out a lot of the shine to leave something of a satin-dewiness on my skin. It does dry rather quicky though, so you can’t really do a dotty-type application. You have to blend it as you go.
The Dear Klairs cream is a fine second place actually. The finish is dewy but not sticky, and the coverage is pretty decent.
The Face Shop’s cream is probably in third here, because i think this would make a fairly decent cream for me if it just wasn’t so damn pale.
Pink Sugar finishing dead last here for two reasons: 1) The finish is sticky and unpleasant, and it DOESN’T GO AWAY. I thought it just needed to dry, but after a day of wearing the stuff, i actually felt like i was ATTRACTING POLLUTION. Kadire mehn, and not very nice in our beso-beso social climate. I didn’t wanna have my cheek STICK to someone else’s face as i greeted them, you know what i’m saying? The other thing, 2), is that the coverage is, for whatever reason, a streaky kind of sheer. A lot of my redness still showed through, and even when i built it up, it then felt very cakey and even stickier. It just felt like it needed more BODY, if that makes sense. It felt like it was all pigment and no body to it.
BB Thoughts #3: Ingredients
The main problem i am reading about with the Clinique BB cream actually has nothing to do with application or wear. It is that its ingredient list is a who’s who of potential irritants. It’s an alcohol-based product, and alcohol in any skin care product is a problem (Yes I love Paula’s Choice, and it is because they approach their product reviews very scientifically). It’s the reason for the watery texture, the quick drying, and that lovely, shine-cancelling matte finish. I hate to say anything bad about this product because i LOVE how it looks and i’ve never had any problem with it, but i am very very wary of it now for these reasons. Science, man. Whatcha gonna do? It’s actually why i’ve been looking to replace it, despite being so happy with it for years.
Daylong Wear & Verdicts
I am not going to show you befores and afters of me wearing this, because that will require me to show my face, and that’s not happening.
I think overall, all these products do have a good amount of staying power and lasted through these 15 hour days that I tend to pull outside of the house. The Dear Klairs cream tends to fade a little over the course of the day, so some of my redness and blemishes do show up after around 8 hours of use. However my pores did remain sealed over, and my face generally felt smooth and un-sticky.
BB Thoughts #4: Whitening
My only concern with this cream is that the box states that it’s whitening, and i tend to avoid whitening products like i do internet trolls. My derma once told me that these products make it difficult for your skin to self-protect against the sun, and i took that to heart. I also feel like it is a terrible marketing device, and a shit thing to tell women in general: would you ever tell anyone that they were not white enough? I know! It’s not just a physiological thing, it’s also a political thing! I don’t know! I just don’t like the idea that anything is ~*whitening*~ me.
Upon checking out the ingredient list though, it seems like its main whitening agent here is niacinamide, which, the internet tells me, is pretty jam-packed with beneficial skin things. Skin whitening, it seems, is a side effect, and not the main reason for its use. Let me know in the comments if i’m mistaken here, but I guess for now i trust niacinamide.
The Pink Sugar cream was sticky and tacky all throughout the day. I thought it would dry down to a more wearable finish, but it did not. This definitely needs to be set with powder in order to avoid flypaper face. That is time i do not have.
The Face Shop cream was overall pretty satisfactory in the way it stayed on my skin. It applied a little sticky, but after a few minutes it dried down to a nice smooth finish. I just have issues with the coloring. If this was a better match for my skin I’d actually think it was a good product for the cost.
The Clinique cream is so annoyingly perfect, i can’t even deal with the fact that it is alcohol based and terrible for me. It hurts my feelings, okay? Why would you do this to meeee Cliniiiiique!! Why would you let me fall in love with your sheer lightweightness, beautiful matte finish and great coverage, only to slap me in the face with your alcohol-soaked open hand?? WHYYYYY! ;___;
Dear Klairs Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream SPF 40, PA++
Pros: Decent coverage, dewy finish, non-sticky, blendable, buildable
Cons: Whitening, only one shade
Overall: ★★★☆☆; Repurchase? Maybe.
Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions BB Cream SPF 40/ PA+++ (Natural Beige)
Pros: Great coverage, lightweight, matte finish, non-sticky, buildable, quick-drying, great color match, long-lasting
Cons: Alcohol content, expensive, too sheer for stated sun protection factor
Overall: ★★★★☆; Repurchase? If they change their formulation .__.
The Face Shop Photo Blur BB Cream SPF 37 PA++
Pros: Decent coverage, non-sticky finish, blendable, affordable
Cons: Not lightweight, only one shade, applies a bit sticky, white cast
Overall: ★★☆☆☆; Repurchase: No.
Pink Sugar It’s Awesome BB Cream SPF 25 (Light Medium)
Pros: Affordable, great range of shades
Cons: Sticky finish, not lightweight, too sheer, strong scent
Overall: ★☆☆☆☆; Repurchase: No.
The winner, for now!
The search continues!