As many of you know, I’ve been crippled for a month now. While I may seem like I have all the time in the world (and I do! lol), it’s really difficult for me to use a computer, which is why it often takes me all day to complete an entry. Even this very moment, I’m typing with my foot on the desk (yes it’s very very awkward) so I’ll have to take a break here and there to make sure the foot gets the rest it needs. I just successfully brewed a cup of my favorite tea in the world (Blue Moon from T Salon), but I have no clue how I’m going to bring it to the room. FAIL.
Anyhow, here is the long overdue BB Cream Review post. I’ve been meaning to do this since two months ago when I started using Atomy BB Cream. ROSEinthePARK had just gotten back from Korea so I asked for samples of popular BB Creams. Along with these, I had a few of mine so I thought it’d be helpful to do a review since many of you seem to be new to the idea of using BB Cream as a base. I personally have a love-hate relationship with BB Creams ever since I was introduced to it a few years ago. As I have written in the past, my very first one was a German one ($100) that a lady at a beauty supply store recommended, which I liked a lot, but as you can imagine, the price just didn’t work for me. For those unfamiliar, BB Cream is known as a secret magic makeup in Korea that is widely labeled as the “most popular cosmetic product used by Korean celebrities”. Many confuse it as a type of foundation which it isn’t. It’s more of a skincare item than a cosmetic product, if anything. Unlike foundation which only covers blemishes thus acting like a bandage (since it’s a temporary fix), BB Cream not only provides coverage but has healing properties to improve skin complexion after a continuous use. It also does not clog pores unlike a foundation. When you think about it, it really is a revolutionary product. No wonder Koreans wear it to Sauna (Jjim jil bang) and I wear it to the gym, LOL. So without further ado, let’s get to the reviews:
Please ignore the Perfect Skin Perfection Gel, I threw it in there because I thought it would be somewhat similar to BB Cream but it’s far from it. I hated it so I didn’t even bother to write about it. It’s basically a very light foundation. The Cellabel one turned out to be a primer with pearls, which I actually liked a lot, but was a primer, not BB Cream. So minus those, we have Missha, Let Me Bebe by Banila & Co, Dr. Jart Silver Label, Black Label, and Atomy.
1. Missha M Signature Real Complete BB Cream (SPF 25, PA ++)
Sorry about the pathetic photo quality- my iPhone4 had to be returned so I’m using iPhone3 which boasts 1megapixel photo quality. It also doesn’t help that I only have one functional leg.
I was actually surprised at how “watery” the texture/consistency was since I’m used to a thicker type of BB Cream, however I thought the color was pretty close to my skin tone (which is one of the major complaints people seem to have when it comes to BB Cream). Though watery, coverage is great. It almost feels like a foundation, which actually I’m not much of a fan of, because it ends up feeling heavy. I tried wearing it alone, but as with other BBs, it didn’t do much for coverage. I don’t hate it nor love it. But it does have a fatal flaw: the scent. It’s the first thing I noticed and I absolutely loathe it. ugh. Why, why, why?! It has this strong hwa jang poom (cosmetics) smell that I just cannot stand. Sorry, but I’m not ready to smell like an Ah Jum Mah, yet.
Missha BB Cream only- very subtle difference but better than nothing! ha
Missha BB Cream+Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation (When I go out, I like using this combo although I know that my pores will suffer as a result. This gives me the optimal coverage while not making my makeup excessively cakey)
2. Let Me Bebe by Banila Co (SPF37, PA++)
I’m actually not sure how popular this brand is. I’ve heard of it, but that’s about it. Since it was provided by my make up artist dongseng (ROSEinthePARK) who is a Youtube beauty guru, I’m assuming it’s a good brand.
Well, I definitely like the pink packaging, so +1 point!
The first thing I noticed is how matte it feels. Supposedly it has oil controlling properties to minimize excessive oils throughout the day.
See the “matteness” compared to Missha?
I liked it A LOT on my hand- note that I said, “On my hand”. The minute it was dabbed on, it dried completely matte as if it had become a part of my skin as the description read on the packaging. HOWEVER, when it was on my face, it turned out to be a whole different story. Because of its oil-free or oil-managing properties, it dried up my skin, bringing back all the dryness that had been away for months. This sounds gross but all of a sudden my skin started to peel on my nose which I hadn’t seen for months (my skin improved dramatically after I switched to Atomy skincare products). Ah, the things I must endure for my readers!
I don’t know if you can see but it dried up my skin like no other. I think it will be a good choice for those with overall oily skin but not for those with combination skin like me.
It turned out ok on other parts of the face, though as with other skincare/cosmetics products you would have to see its long term effects to be completely fair.
3. Dr. Jart Silver Label (SPF 35, PA++, Whitening), Apparently Korea’s Top 3 BB Cream Brand
(again, pls excuse the photo quality. I will be getting my iPhone4 back soon. Also, I misplaced my camera during the move and I have no clue where it is. Will look for it once I become mobile.)
So apparently this is a different version of the Black Label that I own, specifically designed for oily/combination skin. What’s interesting is that this one’s manufactured by a different company than where the Black Label is produced. Often the marketing companies that sell skincare/cosmetics products will include the name of the manufacturer on the product and the Black Label happened to have “Kolmar Korea” on it, which is the company that manufacturers all the Atomy products. Very interesting, isn’t it? As explained in my previous post on Atomy Sunscreen, Kolmar is a global company that manufactures beauty products for many well known companies. Korean Atomic Research Center provides its patented nano technology to them so they can manufacture beauty products for Atomy to distribute. In Dr. Jart’s case, they provide their own technology to Kolmar for manufacturing so it can be marketed under the name of Dr. Jart. Anyways, so Dr. Jart’s Black Label’s being one of my favorite BB Creams, I had a high expectation for the Silver one.
First of all, the color is different. Black has a red undertone while the silver has a yellow undertone. Silver feels lighter (so I’m guessing it’s for oily skin) while Black feels a bit heavier (ideal for dry/combination skin). Having been a BB Cream user for years, I actually don’t see the importance of color. Since it’s not a foundation, it absorbes into your skin to become your skin color. I don’t know what others have to say about this, or perhaps it depends on the product but that’s been my experience, which is why I don’t worry too much about whether it matches my skin tone.
Dr. Jart Silver Label. Coverage is good (obviously not “foundation-good”, but good for a BB Cream). Dries matte, not heavy nor too watery. It’s like a mix of Missha & Banila Co.
I wore it yesterday with my Laura Mercier foundation. I actually liked it a lot, until it started feeling pasty towards the end of the day. Excuse my fat face- haven’t worked out in a month! grrr
4. Dr. Jart Black Label (SPF 25, PA++, Whitening, Anti-Wrinkling)
This was my favorite BB Cream before Atomy came along, which is why I went on and on about it on my blog when I first got it months ago. I stopped using it when I discovered Atomy so I had to take the time to retest it. It definitely has a red undertone to it which may bother some people. It also has the hwa jang poom smell which I magically hadn’t noticed before. It’s not as matte as the Silver, therefore it’s ideal for those with dry or combination skin like me. I really can’t complain too much about this one except for the smell but with higher SPF and a matte finish, if I had to choose, I’d go with Silver.
When I used Black, I always used it as a base, covered blemishes with a concealer, and set it with a translucent powder.
5. Atomy BB Cream (SPF 30, PA++, Whitening)
Well, if this helps, this is the product I’m wearing in all my recent photos except for the ones taken for this specific review. I wear this everyday in one form or another, mainly because I’m afraid my skin will start breaking out if I used anything else. Since being introduced to this line months ago, I’ve switched everything on my vanity to Atomy. There isn’t one product that I use that is not from this company, from toothpaste to daily skincare products. If I didn’t like any of it, I would have stopped using it a long, long time ago, which is the reason why my Isa Knox skincare products have been sitting in my room for almost a year now without even being touched.
With ingredients like Green Tea, Vitamin E, and Herbs, this BB Cream is one of the best I’ve used. More than anything, I feel safe knowing that it’s made with natural ingredients. It came with a 6-piece Atomy daily skincare set, which I’m absolutely crazy about. I had never used an entire set before (Koreans have this multiple skincare routine starting with a toner, usually ending with a nutrient cream) because they would never fail to break me out. It was different this time however, though it did take about a month for my skin to fully adjust to the products. All my dry spots have disappeared and my skin just looks healthy and clearer in general. I have a sensitive skin which used to turn red on the cheeks with dry spots in random places that would never go away. My endless search of skincare products has come to an end, and with huge savings (it’s much cheaper than what’s sold in stores, BB cream is only $20 compared to others that cost at least $30)! What makes it unique is that they are not sold in stores. As I noted in previous post, while the initial products were sent to me by a relative in Korea to try out, I purchased extra ones to be shared with those in a similar situation as I was, looking for affordable skincare products made with natural ingredients that actually work without damaging skin. The company is run by a membership only system so you can either choose to purchase from a member or become a member yourself and enjoy even deeper discounts on the products. So yes, I became a member soon after realizing the quality of the products since there is no associated fee or strings attached. It’s just awesome to have an easy access to top quality Korean products which I had desired for a long time. Anyhow, back to BB Cream:
Atomy BB Cream and Pressed Powder
Atomy BB Cream only
and more recently:
For this look, I mixed Atomy BB Cream and Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation along with a secret ingredient for a bronzing effect:
Oh, dang, the photo quality is beyond pathetic. I apologize. ㅡ.ㅡ;;
It’s Artificial Light Glow by Smash Box. This small tube came with a bronzer box that I purchased from Sephora about a month ago. I actually didn’t even know that it was included in the box until I opened it. While I adore every single product that came with it, I am in love with this. It seriously makes your skin glow while giving it an instant tan. I wouldn’t use an excessive amount but when mixed with foundation and BB Cream, it’s a perfect combo for the summer.
Atomy BB Cream+Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation+Smash Box= Optimal Coverage, Whitening, SPF, Shimmer, Bronze (AKA a perfect combo for Summer) I call this perfect not only because of the result I get but the complementary effect that these create together. As you can see, the one in the middle is the Atomy BB Cream which has a slight red undertone (which btw doesn’t bother me as it has adjusted to my skin tone) and my foundation is a bit dark & yellow for my skin tone. When mixed together, they complement each other, creating a nice base for my skin. When a touch of orangey shimmer is added, it makes my skin glow just the way I like it. They also complement each other texture-wise, as the BB Cream dries “dewy” instead of matte while the foundation is oil-free, drying out my skin when used alone. With a hint of shimmer, it becomes this perfect “summer glow” base that is dewy & glittery- not dry nor oily. I finish it off with a bit of Makeup Forever Duo Mat Pressed Powder to set it.
The day before the accident with my “summer glow”.
I had used a self-tanning product for the first time and was so happy that I committed myself to using it regularly. Then the very next day, I break my foot. Gah…
Verdict: I say that Dr. Jart Silver Label & Atomy could possibly be a tie. I do like Atomy a little more (note that I’ve been using this for months now) but you may accuse me of being biased so.. haha, yeah. Then it all comes down to price. Dr. Jart is sold for $30-35, while Atomy is $20. It’s now up to you to decide. Btw, the herb scent of Atomy BB Cream is personally preferred over the hwa jang poom smell of Dr. Jart! but in all seriousness, I do like the matte finish of the Silver Label, but it’s not that much of a big deal for me anyway. If it is to you, and don’t mind paying extra $15, then I say go with Dr. Jart but I’m completely satisfied with my Atomy and will never be going back!
March 2011 UPDATE: I stopped using foundation a while ago because I started breaking out. I only use Atomy Sun Cream (or sunscreen but it says “Sun Cream” on the tube; in any case, I’m on my fourth or fifth tube and I’m sticking with it forever!) and Atomy BB Cream on weekdays. On weekends and at photo shoots, I wear those two plus Pacomeri pressed powder (Korean brand), Eve Pearl Salmon Under Eye concealer and Makeup Forever concealers in various colors.
November 2011 UPDATE: I’ve recently relocated to Korea but will be able to continue to answer any questions you may have regarding the Atomy products including the 6-set Skincare set and Hair care set. Since I’m much closer to their headquarters now, I should also be able to provide any information on new products (or upcoming products) not yet available anywhere else outside of Korea such as their absolutely wonderful body lotion (OMG, the BEST. So light yet extremely moisturizing, made with herbs manufactured by Kolmar).