Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Tale of Six BB Creams

I’m getting over a cold today, so there won’t be any picture goodness, but if I don’t get off my lazy butt and write this post now, it probably won’t be written.

After reading Phyrra’s review of Holika Holika Orange BB Cream and finding the price on the Holika Holika Petite creams well within my “Oh, what the hell, I’ll try it” budget at $10.00 each from Bello-girl on eBay, I decided that my curiosity about BB creams could be indulged. I’ve purchased all my BB creams from Bello-girl, who states that she deals in 100% genuine products from each line she sells. Shipping takes anywhere from two to three weeks, depending on the total cost of your order. Each time my order has gone over $25, she’s sent it registered mail, which takes a little longer and must be picked up in person from the Post Office. So, if you go the eBay route and purchase from a Korean seller, that’s something to keep in mind. That said, Bello-girl ships quickly, and her shipping cost to you is nearly always free, so I have no complaints about the service I get from her. She also sends very sweet handwritten notes with each order, and lots of free samples.

So what BB creams did I try? I’ve stuck mostly to the Holika Holika line of creams, partially due to cost, and partially due to their size and the online reviews.

Before we get into this, so you can compare my results to your skin, I went to Temptalia’s Foundation Matrix to find my MAC skin shade number. For a better statistical match, I took three foundation shades that were close to my skin tone (Everyday Minerals Cool Multitasking Bisque, MUFE HD 115 Ivory, and Estee Lauder Double Wear Light 1.0) and matched them to the matrix. Each shade came back as a close match to MAC NW15, so that’s our basis for comparison. I will state that when I asked Joey to do the “what color are the veins in your arm?” undertone test for blue (cool) or green(warm), his answer was the same as mine – “Blue-green,” so there’s that.

On to the BB creams!

BB Cream #1 - Holika Holika Moisture (Purple) with Hyaluronic Acid SPF30 / PA++ in Shade 01, Light Beige

The texture of Holika Holika Moisture is fairly thick and creamy and I noticed right away that it was pretty dark on my arm swatch. It didn’t look quite AS dark on my face, but you could still tell I was wearing it, and coverage was medium and a bit shiny. It wore well for the time I had it on, and did not irritate my face or set off my rosacea. Still, the darker shade was just not working for me, so I passed this BB cream on to a friend with darker skin tone than I have. Some people have made comments that Holika Holika Moisture tends to “separate” during wear, but either I didn’t wear it long enough for it to do that on me, or I just got lucky.

BB Cream #2 – Holika Holika Baby Bloom with Milk Proteins SPF25 / PA++, in Shade 01, Skin Beige

I got this BB cream as a sample with my purchase of Holika Holika Moisture. Again, this BB cream is thick and creamy. The tone of it was a bit brighter than the Moisture, and it swatched fine. Then I put it on my face. The coverage for me was fairly thick, somewhat cakey, and a decent color match. I noticed right away that I felt a little itchy after application. For the first hour or so, I thought I was just being hypersensitive to having something new on my face. By the second hour, when the first angry red rosacea lesion sprang up, and I had the undeniable feeling that I’d scoured my face with coarse grit sandpaper then washed my face in flaming kerosene, I knew it wasn’t in my head. HOLY FREAKIN’ CRAP, THE BURNING. Apparently, instead of making my face baby smooth and fresh, milk proteins make my face very angry indeed. It’s a lesson I won’t need to repeat for it to *ahem* sink in.

Once I got home, I took off the rest of the BB cream that I hadn’t taken off in the restroom at work and treated my face to a Yes to Cucumbers Calming Facial Mask, which is truly amazing stuff if you suffer from any kind of skin irritation. It helps calm down my rosacea flares and soothes my skin really quickly.

BB Cream #3 – Holika Holika Essential (Orange) with Marine Collagen & Caviar SPF30 / PA++ in Shade Light Beige

I had such hopes for this one. When Phyrra and I have spoken in email and compared makeup colors and foundations, I’ve come up about half a shade to a full shade darker than she is, but I was still hopeful that Holika Holika Orange would work for me. It makes Phyrra look so utterly fantastic that I just couldn’t resist trying it.

Short ‘n’ sweet – It didn’t. Longer version – It REALLY didn’t. The whitening agent in the Essential turned me grey, and while the texture of the cream was quite nice and a bit thinner than either Moisture or Baby Bloom and the finish not as cakey, it didn’t matter when the color made me look like I’d been suffering from a long term illness. Holika Holika Orange made its way to the lovely Phyrra, who could get the use from it that I couldn’t.

BB Cream #4 – Holika Holika Peach Girl with Peach and Strawberry Extracts SPF37 / PA++ in Shade 01

I almost didn’t try this BB cream. I received a sample with my Holika Holika Orange BB cream, but was so disheartened by my experiences so far that I almost threw it away. Still, ever the optimist, I tried it one night as we were going out to dinner figuring that if it hated me or I hated it, then I wouldn’t be wearing it long and I’d lost no money on trying it.

When I opened the package, I was confused. See, Peach Girl in Shade 01 is actually lighter than Holika Holika Essential. I swatched them side by side on my arm to compare, just to be sure. Essential is warmer and greyer in tone, while Peach Girl is lighter, a cooler pink and has a softer finish. Still, press ahead in the name of BB cream research, eh?

Wow. That’s really all I can say. It’s all I could say each time I went by the mirror with Peach Girl on my face. The coverage is a soft medium, so all my rosacea bumps are covered without being obvious, and the permanent blush on my cheeks turns into a soft pearly glow.

I looked amazing. Not only that, but something in Peach Girl loves my skin because my skin looked better after I took it off that night than when I’d first put it on. The same thing happened the second night I used it, using up the rest of my sample.
Since my sample didn’t come with the nifty peach cream blusher that’s included in the full size of Peach Girl, I didn’t get to try it until my full size arrived on Saturday. After some bad experiences with cream blusher I was a bit hesitant to try it, but I needn’t have worried. While it looks like a bright coral peach in the container and when you first put it on, it blends into a gorgeous, natural peachy/pink shade and the cream itself is pretty easy to work with and blend with your fingers.

BB Cream #5 – Missha Signature Real Complete BB Cream SPF25 / PA++ in Shade #21 Bright Pink Beige

I tried the 20ml sample size, which is $14.99 from Bello-girl. Missha’s BB cream has a lot of different extracts and ingredients listed, so instead of typing them all out, it mentions ginko leaf water, amino acids, lavender extracts and skin lipids as part of the ingredient list. I was a little hesitant to choose between shade 13 and shade 21, but after doing some digging around online and finding a BB cream review that actually shows Missha shade 21 on someone who is also an NW15 skin tone, I decided to go with it. I’m glad I did, because shade 21 actually looks a little too grey on me when I first put it on. Luckily, it settles down and looks more natural after a minute or so.

The texture is very smooth and thin. This may be the thinnest BB cream I’ve tried, so you have to be careful when dispensing it. It’s better be cautious and add more if you need it in spots than to be generous because the finish tends to be a bit cakey if you’re not careful. Still, it holds up well for all day wear, even in the August heat, like the trip Joey and I took with our friend Carolyn to Cincinnati earlier this month. ‘Cause let me tell you, people, it was hot and humid while visiting that lovely city on the Ohio River, and even after a day of running about in town and going to the top of the Carew Tower,( an annual tradition, even though I’m an acrophobe), my makeup still looked pretty darned good when we headed out to dinner at The Rookwood (if you go there, get the olives appetizer – tasty!).

I know Missha is one of the more recognized BB cream brands, and while I really can’t complain how the Missha Signature Real Complete performed for me, I’m also not in love with it either. I think if you were going to give it a try, I’d definitely look for the 20 ml size to purchase before you commit.

BB Cream #6 – Holika Holika Watery (Green) with Green Tea and Glacial Water SPF25 / PA++ in Shade Bright Peach

This was my standard BB cream while waiting anxiously for Peach Girl to arrive. I decided to try it since I loved the way Peach Girl had looked on me and wanted to compare the two peach tones.

Out of all the Holika Holika Petit BB creams I tried, this one is my favorite. The peach tone suits my skin and the finish is a soft medium, and maybe a little more matte than Peach Girl. It wears well, doesn’t irritate my skin and looks very natural on me. It doesn’t quite have the “Wow” factor of Peach Girl, but it’s a very close second. It made getting ready in the morning very easy indeed.

The listing in Bello-girl’s eBay shop states that Watery is for dry skin, but I’ve found that it works just fine for my oily skin. All in all, for $10 or so, it’s a great bargain and I will keep it as my backup/alternate BB cream.


  1. <3!  I actually went and got MAC-ified this past week.  I'm apparently NW18; NW15 was close but a bit pale.  So I'm thinking I'd try Peach Girl in 02, or the Petit Watery.  Decisions, decisions!  ;-)

    Thanks so much for the reviews, btw.  You've been such a help! 

  2. You're so welcome! Though really, if credit is due here, I have to give props to Phyrra, Grey and the other beauty bloggers who have been doing this longer and are great resources.

  3. Thanks for the breakdown on the BBs- I bought the Holika Orange after Phyrra's results too...

  4. Thanks for the re

  5. This is a wonderfully informative review and very much appreciated!  Thanks for making sense out of BB land for me!


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