Monday, August 24, 2015

Battle of the BBs~! BB Cream for Dark Skinned Beauties, part 1

Hey babies~!

I've been really busy lately with a new job and a bunch of new positions within the cosplay and Lolita world. It requires a lot of planning and a bunch of meetings, so when I'm not working my 8 to 4, I'm hanging out with friends or making plans for the future.

Since I'm always so busy, I searched high and low for a quick make-up routine that will help me put my best face forward, while taking minimal effort. About two years ago, I discovered BB creams and after trying them out, I haven't looked back since.

So what exactly IS a BB cream?

A quick Google search explains that BB creams are short for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm. They were originally created in South Korea for plastic surgery patients, but grew tremendously and became a global sensation. There are hundreds of BB creams to experiment with, from nearly every make-up company across the globe.

After conducting my research, I ran to the nearest Target to purchase my first BB cream, nearly two years ago. Unfortunately, I was in for a rude awakening.

To my disappointment, only 2 or 3 brands had a "deep" or "dark" toned BB cream for those of us on the darker end of the color spectrum. Now I have never professed to be a dark chocolate skinned goddess (check the girl crush, y'all), but finding BBs in even my lighter skin tone was like playing a game of Where's Waldo?

To this day, the shrunken selection of cosmetics for People of Color will leave me on my soap box all week. I've made it a personal goal to only purchase products from brands that acknowledge me as a member of their customer base (glaring at you Physician's Formula and Rimmel London) by offering shades that are darker than "Never in the Sun Nude".

Over time, I was able to find a few Western brands that actually had a "deep" shade in their BB cream. I wanted to review them one by one as I tried them over the years, but then I just decided: why not make one giant post?

So here we are~! Part 1 of BB creams, specifically for People of Color! Lots of selfies and random hairstyle changes to follow, XP

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB

Left: BB cream outside. Middle: The BB Cream. Far Right: My face under indoor lighting.

Maybelline makes a pretty good beginner BB. The product is thinner than most of the other BBs I've tried, but at about $8, it provides a good amount of product for the price. I'll rate it for the number of "promises" the product makes and how many of those it actually fulfills. As such, I give it a 3 out of 8.

The product claims that it:
-Blurs imperfections


-Enhances
-Brightens
-Adjusts to skin tone
-Smooths-Hydrates
-SPF 30 Protects
-uses 0% oils and other heavy ingredients

So after using this product for a few months, I can safely say that it serves primarily as a sunscreen and not much else. The color goes on very sheer, and although it claims to adjust to skin tone, I would like to point out that I had to actually return my original purchase (Medium/deep) for a darker color (deep) because it made my face white-out in pictures with flash.

As you can see in the image, I have freckles, moles and some blemishes; most of them, if not all of them, are still there. I can definitely say it brightened my face, but I wouldn't call it "enhanced" exactly. My skin doesn't appear any smoother than it already was, and the hydration claim is debatable. My face certainly wasn't dry, but after a while the BB cream definitely brings out the oils in my face, which of course is the final claim made on the package.

I can't say I'm disappointed though, because for a sunscreen, I think it served it's purpose. However, I don't think this "beauty balm" is something that will improve your skin over time, unless sun protect is something that you really need. The Dream Fresh BB does have a higher SPF count than most BBs though.

L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream

L'Oreal BB

L'Oreal's BB is currently winning the race for Worst. BB. Ever. I was actually pretty shocked at how terrible the product was. Even if it's a terrible BB, it could work as a cheap (about $7) primer, right??

Nope! Wrong; it's a crappy primer too. 

I'll never, ever buy this again. I think its only redeeming quality is that it actually does have a "shade matching" formula, meaning the product will get darker as it oxidizes.

The cream has these random glittery bits (Twilight, anyone?) that make it impossible for a girl of my skin tone to wear without applying some powder to it. My ideal BB cream can be worn without foundation or powder, and it MUST have sunscreen in it. On those counts, this cream fails completely. My goal with wearing a BB cream is to eliminate as many bottles around my sink as possible, and this product did the exact opposite of that. 

0 out of 8, DO NOT BUY, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200.


E.L.F. Studio BB Cream 


Elf Studio BB Cream stock photo. I do not own!

The Elf Studio BB was one of my favorites. Before I tried some of my other products, it was my go to BB that I recommended to all my friends. For a mere $6, I got an awesome BB that Goes on smooth and creamy like liquid foundation, but doesn't feel as heavy.

Though it is a bit more oily than the other formulas I've tried, I loved that I only needed a pump or two to cover my entire face. The Elf BB is a bit thicker than most formulas as well, so a little bit does indeed go a long way. Elf gets mad props for a BB cream with SPF 20! 

Applying the Elf BB!

The ELF BB comes in 6 shades, of which, I purchased the darkest. Though this BB may be a little bit too heavy for people with oily skin, I managed it well by using mattifying powder throughout the day. It took me about.... 4 months (give or take) to use up the entire product.

6 out of 8, because the packaging was not the best idea. It looks neat, but turning the entire bottle around to use the pump got to be a bit of a hassle when I got to the very last month. I ended up having to take the pump off and just dip a brush in there to get the BB cream out because gravity was working against me, haha.

After applying the product

I would purchase the ELF BB again if my most favorite BB was out of stock. It's an excellent product, I just wish it was a bit lighter.

Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream

Missha M BB!

Missha M is one of the original Korean brands that began the BB cream trend. I bought this BB during a visit to a Missha store, in the nearby Korean district. I purchased it on sale for about $20. Since I knew that they probably wouldn't have my skin tone, I got the darkest shade available which is #31. The color oxidizes after about 5 minutes or so.

I love the packaging of the Missha M cream. It goes on fairly smooth and is a little sticky, which makes it an excellent primer. As a matter of fact, after reading the bottle itself, I learned that the creators strongly urge users to wear powder with the BB. Unfortunately, I HAD to use powder with it, but more on that later.

Missha's BB has an SPF of 42. I thought that was a really random number, but so far that is the highest SPF I've ever seen in a BB cream. A little goes a very long way with the Missha cream. I wouldn't use more than a single pump per use. Most times, I only used half a pump.

The product! I used entirely too much, >_<

The glaring issue with this BB cream (besides the fact that I used too much in this review, haha) was the color. If the Missha cream had come in just one shade darker, I think I would have been much happier with it. As I stated previously, however, I knew that was to be expected, since the product comes directly from South Korea, where POC are much more in the minority.

Wayyyy too much product on my face.
I ended up wiping some off, XP

Still, I figured I'd used the product up. I know I have to wear it with powder because of how light it is. After application, it gave me an ashen tone, which again -- I pretty much expected. See?! Look at that sad face.

It's so PALE!
The color distinction is extremely noticeable. I look like a ghost, <_< A sad, sad ghost.

I do not recommend the Missha M BB for dark skinned people, unless you're willing to wear powder every day. I didn't mind it all that much, but I certainly reached for my other BBs that didn't require anything extra before I grabbed this one.

After oxidation and applying some powder, however, the BB cream looks a lot better~!

Applied some liner, shadow, and powder!
And apparently a new shirt!

After eliminating the ashen look of my face with a mineral powder and applying other make-up, this BB turns into a smoothing, beautiful monster. I love the after and dislike the before. Unfortunately, most darker skinned people are going to have this issue with BB creams from Asian companies. Even the darkest shade wasn't dark enough for me, but their BBs tout so many benefits that I felt compelled to try it at least once.

5 out of 8. I would not buy this again because remember -- my goal is to find a BB that has the most benefits for the least amount of work. I shouldn't have to apply powder, eyeliner, and eyeshadow to a BB in order to be happy with it. That defeats the purpose.

It's a fantastic BB: it has the highest SPF I've ever seen and it actually helps the make-up I apply on top of it *look* better, but I just can't justify spending $20 on a product that I *know* is not the correct shade.

Dishonorable Mentions

Since this post is Part 1 of 2, I'll wait to discuss my holy grail BB! In the meantime, here are a couple of BB creams I DO NOT RECOMMEND for anyone with a darker skin tone.

Of course, my opinion is based wholly on the fact that they don't offer a BB in a darker shade, so these BBs may actually be pretty good, they just ignore POC as their customer base.

Stock photo, I do not own!
  • Garnier BB Cream Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector (comes in light/medium or medium/deep, but there's no way that "deep" is deep enough)
  • Rimmel London BB Cream (tried it in Medium -- had to take it back)
  • Physician's Formula (doesn't offer a Medium OR Deep)
  • Aveeno Clear Complexion BB (Medium is the darkest it goes)
  • Neutrogena Visibly Even BB Cream (this makes no sense because Kerry Washington is their WOC model! Wat?!?!)
  • Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream (doesn't offer a deep shade)
  • Covergirl Smoothers BB Cream (offers a medium to deep shade, buuuttttt it's super pale)
And thus my hunt for the perfect BB continues~!

What's your favorite BB cream, my faithful readers? If you've got any suggestions for me, I'd be happy to hear them! Sound off in the comment box below~!

Stay beautiful, stay true,

~J