All about B. B. Creams (Featuring My Review of Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-in-One B. B. Cream in Light)

by PJ on Wednesday, October 26, 2011

in -Garnier, 2011 Fall, makeup, makeup - base makeup, makeup - base makeup - BB creams, makeup - base makeup - foundation, skincare, skincare - moisturizing/others

Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-in-One B. B. Cream SPF 15 Light 1


Over the years, one of the questions that I have been asked the most by my readers is “Have you tried B. B. creams?”

Personally, B. B. creams don’t fit in with my daily skincare/makeup routine. Currently, when I don’t wear makeup, my daytime routine ends with Olay’s Complete Care Daily Sensitive UV Fluid SPF 15. When I do want coverage, I wear ZA’s Two-Way Foundation on top of the Olay moisturizer. Generally, I prefer pigmented products for face, eyes, and cheeks to be powder-based. (Powder foundations suit my sebaceous skin a lot more, and I find powder eyeshadows (especially those from Japanese lines) and blushers a lot easier to work with. Also, I very rarely wear primers.) Therefore, I haven’t been tempted to purchase a B. B. cream.

However, today, I am taking you through the basics of B. B. creams and I will be reviewing Garnier‘s Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-in-One B. B. Cream.

I am sure many of you are familiar with B. B. creams. For those of you who are not, here is some brief background. B. B. (blemish balm) creams originated in Germany in the 1970s, and their popularity soared in East Asia in the past decade when they were widely available in South Korea. The original use of B. B. creams is to provide emolliency, sun protection, and natural coverage for those who have undergone more invasive dermatological procedures (such as acid peels and laser treatments) and who temporarily have ultra-sensitive skin. They became popular in South Korea when consumers discovered their mild formulations, effective emolliency, and natural coverage.

Based on what B. B. creams are supposed to do, a true B. B. cream should meet the following three requirements:

1. It should not contain potentially irritating ingredients. Particularly, it should be free from alcohol and fragrant plant oils. It should also be free from fragrance (parfum) and other scenting agents.

2. It should provide full-spectrum sun protection. In terms of UVA protection, ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are slightly more suitable than butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane since they are less likely to cause sensitivity. (Zinc oxide itself is also an anti-irritant.)

3. It should provide a natural coverage. Whether it offers a light-to-medium coverage or a fuller coverage, the coverage should look natural.

It appears to me that most post-treatment B. B. creams available from dermatologists tend to be more emollient and have more coverage while mass-market ones are tweaked to be more lightweight and to have a sheerer coverage in order to have a wider appeal.

Mass-market B. B. creams are usually marketed as multi-purposed products. Some companies claim that their B. B. creams combine the benefits of a toner, a moisturizer, a sunscreen, a primer, and a foundation. (This goes with the original purpose of the product, since, for those who have undergone certain dermatological procedures, a B. B. cream is likely to be one of the few products that are safe to use.) Some companies position their B. B. creams as makeup products (and suggest that they be used after the morning skincare routine). Also, some companies stress that their versions have additional benefits (anti-aging, brightening, mattifying, etc.).

In East Asia, it used to be the case that most B. B. creams were available through importing from South Korea. Now, not only do other major Asian beauty lines release their own B. B. creams (such as Fast Beauty Foundation UV from Kanebo Coffret d’Or), major western beauty brands (such as Dior, Lancôme, Estée Lauder, and Bobbi Brown) also carry B. B. creams that are usually exclusive to the Asian market.

A B. B. cream can be used in different ways. Some people use it as a tinted moisturizer, some use it as a primer, some use it as a foundation, and some use it as a primer and a foundation. No matter how it is used, I recommend taking it off with a makeup remover in the evening.

Launched in the UK in August, Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-in-One B. B. Cream is one of the first mass-market products available in the UK that are marketed as B. B. creams. It is available in two shades, Light and Medium, and the one I am featuring here is Light.

According to the information on the outer box of the product, this product is described as an “all-in-one skincare solution” and a skincare product with mineral pigments. However, the packaging doesn’t include the direction of use or mention specifically whether it is used as part of or after the skincare routine. This can confuse those who are not familiar with B. B. creams.

The cream appears a little thick from the tube but it melts to a lighter creamy-lotion consistency on the skin. It is relatively easy to spread and blend. The coverage of the product is slightly less than light-to-medium, and it can be layered for slightly more coverage. The finish is glowy and a little shiny. Those who don’t like a shiny finish will need to set the product with a loose/pressed powder.

The Light shade is not too pale and is likely to suit those with a light-to-medium complexion. Those with a very fair complexion may feel that the shade is too dark. While it generally suits my light-to-medium complexion, I feel that the shade is slightly too red-toned. A more yellow-toned base would be more suitable for me and could potentially look more natural on most people.

Some of the main moisturizing ingredients in this product are isononyl isononanoate, glycerin, PEG-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate, methyl glucose sesquistearate, cetyl palmitate, propylene glycol, hydrogenated polyisobutene, and stearyl alcohol. It also contains ascorbyl glucoside, which can function as an antioxidant.

As a B. B. cream (and based on the requirements mentioned above), it has one potential problem and two clear drawbacks:

It may not protect against UVA rays. According to the ingredient list, the product contains ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate to protect against UVB rays (the product has SPF 15), but it doesn’t list any of the anti-UVA ingredients as an active/main ingredient (towards the top of the list). (The product does contain titanium dioxide, but it is listed in the [+/- may contain] bracket, which essentially means it is used in the product mainly as a colorant/pigment.) Therefore, I am not able to say that this product protects against UVA rays. Either as a B. B. cream or as a product that claims to offer sun protection, this is potentially very problematic. (Personally, I would not purchase a product like this and think it will give me full-spectrum sun protection.)

The product contains a significant amount of alcohol. It is fifth on the ingredient list, and the amount is too much to be ignored. It also contains a small amount of polyvinyl alcohol, which can be a skin-irritant. This large amount of alcohol in a product that is supposed to have skincare benefits is inexcusable.

The product contains fragrance (parfum). It also contains other scenting agents, such as linalool, limonene, geraniol, and citral. I would say this drawback is less serious than the one above (especially considering the fact that this is a mass-market B. B. cream), but I still maintain that a well-formulated B. B. cream should ideally be free from these ingredients.

Overall, this is not a well-formulated product, especially as a product marketed as a B. B. cream. (It should not be marketed as such.) Based on the significant amount of alcohol, I would hesitate to recommend this product (as a B. B. cream or as anything else) to anyone.

(Some of the ingredient information is based on Paula Begoun’s Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary.)

(The product featured in this article is provided by Garnier.)


Related posts:

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint SPF15

Japanese Base Makeup Week

Natural Makeup Recommendations (3 of 3): Base Makeup

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thanks for this very informative post!

I have a sample of this, but as I’m sure the colour won’t suit me and I’ve read less than stellar reviews on several German blogs, I don’t think I’ll try it.

I used to use Missha’s Perfect Cover BB Cream for several months as a foundation substitute (it’s just soo hard to find a foundation that is pale enough for me and has neutral undertones – I’m trying Everyday Minerals at the moment), until it started breaking me out. I suppose it is the mineral oil and/or the fragrance, combined with my skin’s shift to extreme sensitivity. BRTC’s Blemish Recover Balm, which was supposed to heal my skin, broke me out, too, and made me itch. Everything else is too dark, and my last try will probably be the new Innisfree BB cream (which claims to be without any harmful ingredients) before I give up on BB creams. :( (Why am I telling you all this? Sorry! ^^;)


PJ Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hi Julia,

You are very welcome! I am pleased that you find this post to be informative. :)

Don’t apologize! Even though I don’t use BB creams, I am interested in reading about experiences from other people. Do keep me posted on your thoughts on Innisfree.

I didn’t mention this in my post (I didn’t want it to be too long), but I would imagine that mineral oil is probably a common ingredient in a (true) BB cream. It provides effective occlusive emolliency and it can have wound-healing properties. However, since you mentioned on your blog that your skin is breakout-prone, I would suggest BB creams that have very little or no mineral oil or other occlusive emollients (even though, as you know, true BB creams are supposed to be fairly occlusive).

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts again! :)


Shirls Saturday, May 25, 2013

If you have light skin, you should definitely look at some korean bb creams! o.o I feel like western bb creams will never match up to what the asian market has to offer.


CedriCeCCentriC Thursday, October 27, 2011

I really like Garnier’s tinted eye roll-on concealer, so as soon as I saw the BB cream in a french supermarket I bought it. That was about 2 months ago. This is not a real BBcream. It’s too sheer and the gel-cream is completely different from Asian BB cream textures. I do like its fruity scent though.
I recently travelled to Singapore and while I didn’t purchase it, I tried the Asian version of the Garnier BB cream. It’s presented in a different tube and this time around the texture is typical of real bb creams.
On that trip I bought a really good BB cream from the Korean chain THE FACESHOP. It’s called FACE IT Power Perfection BB Cream and like Garnier it comes in 2 colors. The Faceshop has bb creams for all different skin types. This one is more on the moisturizing side, but it still has a mat finish. Apparently it’s a huge success in South Korea where it already sold over 1million units since its launch in spring.


PJ Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hi CedriCeCCentriC,

Thank you very much for the comparison, which is very useful information. I certainly agree with you that true BB creams are likely to have a slightly more emollient feel on the skin and a little more coverage.

Thank you as well for letting me know about Face It Powder Perfection BB Cream. I am glad you like it. (The matte finish sounds appealing to me.) The Faceshop seems to have such a wide array of BB creams. (I was looking through them on the official website earlier.) I will certainly have a good look at them in person whenever I have a chance!

Thank you very much for posting your comment again! :)


nneoma Monday, January 9, 2012

i have scals on my leggs. Can BB cream help in removing the, it is childhood wound and i have tried somany creams and known worked. Please i need advice help me


PJ Friday, February 10, 2012

Hi Nneoma,

If the BB cream you are using has full-spectrum sun protection (with both UVA and UVB protection) and has no irritants and if it is applied liberally every day, it may have some efficacy in helping the scars fade to some extent over a long period of time.

Do bear in mind that sunscreen products with full-spectrum sun protection and no irritants are likely to have the same potential and that neither of them is likely to have a very visible effect on scars if they are very deep. But I do think it is good sense to wear sun protection on scars on a daily basis since UV rays can increase discoloration on scars.

I hope it helps, and thank you very much for your question.


Jo Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hi! I’ve been using Garnier BB Cream for a couple of weeks now and I’ve to say, I am very satisfied with the results… my skin is fair and if I don’t overdo it, the cream just melts in and gives me a very pretty “nude skin” look… Also, I do not have any specific skin concern, apart for a newborn worth sensitivity and Garnier BB Cream appears to be moisturizing enough without being greasy… that said, I had missed the lack of UVA protection and the alcohol content (I will confess: I was too excited to try it on to check the full ingredient list!)… If anyone’s reading who is in a similar condition, meaning pretty normal, sensitive skin, I’d say it’s a good product, considering the price (launching sale: 6.99 euros, full price: 8.99), a good compromise between a moisturizer and a sheer coverage foundation, but do alternate it with a good night cream and, when putting Garnier BB Cream on, consider mixing in a dab of your favourite sunscreen… what I usually do is adding just a drop of my usual SPF and if the result is too oily, then just use a bit of powder… Wow, I hope I didn’t overdo it, this is actually the first time I reply to a post… :)


PJ Friday, February 10, 2012

Hi Jo,

I think it is certainly wise to mix this product with a sunscreen that offers full-spectrum sun protection (providing that yours does), although I have to say I would still be concerned about the alcohol in this product.

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts! :)


Angela Saturday, March 24, 2012


Really interesting article :) I learnt things I didn’t know :)
I bought Garnier’s cream a few days ago.. I am using it and I am quite satisfied I can say but I have a question… silly maybe, do I have to remove it every night like the regular foundation or it’s ok to sleep with it because I work until late at nights and I get back home really really tired,and sometimes if I haven’t used makeup I just go straight to bed because I have no courage for the night’s routine.

Thank you in advance and I am looking forward for your reply!


PJ Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hi Angela,

You are very welcome!

I certainly do not recommend going to bed with this product (or going to bed without the evening skincare routine). The evening cleansing is crucial anyway, especially when you are wearing a product with pigment during daytime.

Whether you would like to use a makeup remover or a general face wash to remove this product is up to you (if you don’t wear any makeup over it), but I personally recommend using a makeup remover (a cleansing oil/cream/gel) to remove any base makeup product (primer, foundation, concealer,…) in the evening.

Hope it helps, and thank you for your question! :)


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