Review: Drugstore BBcream Comparison (4-in-1)!


Yahh...finally got this done! I went through a drugstore BBcream sampling phase and here is a rather lengthy post detailing my thoughts :] I'll have a followup post showing comparisons of my face with all these BBcreams on later; I thought about including it in this post, but it was already so long.

On a random note, I noticed that I always write BBcream as one word even though, I must admit, it's clearly three words with spaces, "Beauty/Blemish Balm Cream." Ah well, old habits die hard :) I picked these 4 BBcreams to try at random at Walmart and Ulta. I had not done any research beforehand, so I confess I selected these solely based on packaging and brand popularity.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream (Light Sheer Tint) - $8.99 @ Ulta
Revlon Photoready BB Cream (Light/Medium) - $10.99 @ Ulta
Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream (Light/Medium) - $11.97 @ Walmart
L'Oreal Magic BB Cream (Fair) - $10.99 @ Ulta

Overall Packaging Comparison: They're all in tubes, though L'Oreal goes for a pointier tip. The other tips are identical to Skinfood BBcream tubes. Visually, the Maybelline BBcream is definitely the cutest and of the highest quality. The Revlon BBcream is by far the cheapest and most hideous looking. Seriously, at least they could have replaced the yellowing ingredients label, but I appreciate the little window they put on the front to see the actual product. Garnier looks like they are selling a tanning lotion (very fitting, as you will soon see). L'Oreal's has a nice, clean design but the tip looks like grout dispenser (more on that later).

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream (Light Sheer Tint)

Available Shades: Light, Light/Medium, Medium, Medium/Deep, Deep

The 1-step wonder for a good skin day, everyday. Packed with 8 great skin benefits for instant skin perfection.
  • Blurs imperfections
  • Brightens
  • Evens skin tone
  • Smooths
  • Hydrates
  • Enhances
  • Protects with SPF 30
  • 0% oils and heavy ingredients
Directions: Apply smoothly and evenly to your face and blend with your fingertips.

Lasting Power
Oil Control
Very light.

This will be good for people who already have pretty good skin. It takes at least 2 layers to cover minor redness/pinkish acne scars and has a lovely dewy finish. For anyone with more than very light scars, you'll still need concealer.
Silky, a bit runny. The water/gel formula feels cool and refreshing on the skin. Due to it's light coverage, without any primer (which I don't use), I feel like coverage has "faded" on my face after 6-8 hours. The famous dewy finish/radiance that BBcream is famous for does last though. Decent. By the end of the day, I do have a very light sheen of oil of my face but it's not so bad considering I am fairly oily and this is a very moisturizing formula. If you are super oily, this may be a con though.
Color Match
Very strange, artificial vanilla-like scent. Not too strong, but mildly off-putting. 5 shades; a decent range of shades for a BBcream.

The Light shade was a passable match to my skin, but it has a very faint pinkish undertone (I think I look better with BBcream with a bit more of a yellow undertone).
SPF 30
Very good. It does not dry out your skin at all and in fact, feels quite hydrating.
Quite nice; good option for people with fairly clear skin and only very minor scars. The best things about the BB cream is wonderful gel formula, the hydrating properties, and natural finish. I would recommend this to people who want a slightly dewy finish with minimal coverage. For those seeking more coverage, this may be a pass.

Revlon Photoready BB Cream (Light/Medium)

Available Shades: Light, Light/Medium, Medium

A lightweight, multi-benefit Beauty Balm by Revlon that combines skincare, makeup, and sunscreen into one step.
  • HYDRATES like moisturizer
  • SMOOTHES like primer
  • COVERS like foundation
  • BLURS FLAWS like concealer
  • PROTECTS with SPF 30 like sunscreen.

Directions: Dab on cheeks, nose, and forehead, and blend outward. Revlon PhotoReady BB Cream may be worn alone on bare skin or over your regular skin care for additional moisture. Three versatile shades will adapt to fit your individual skin tone.

You can see the product's sticky/tacky texture and the terrible color match :P
This is before I blended.

Lasting Power
Oil Control
It's like putting sticky mud on your face and despite the thickness, it strangely enough does not cover blemishes very well. When you try to "build" the BBcream to cover blemishes, the BBcream tends to stick to your fingers instead of sticking to the skin :\ Ultimately, this produces very light coverage.The texture coming out of the tube is actually quite nice, if a bit on the liquid-y side. However, after a few minutes, the ingredients start breaking up on your face aka balling up. It becomes very hard to blend, which you can see in the swatch pics at the end of the post. Quite frankly, I didn't get to test this for a day because the horrid color match and terrible blending experience. See my comments under "Lasting Power."
Color Match
No discernible scent, one of the only positive things about this product. 3 shades. I heard they sell "Dark" as well, but I haven't seen this shade anywhere in stores.

I definitely needed Light, but that was sold out. Light/Medium was way too dark for me and had a distinct orange tint.
SPF 30
See my comments under "Lasting Power."
You need to blend this product fast or else it'll start balling up. The color match was such that I couldn't wear it outside, but my initial impression was very poor because of the difficulties I had blending. This is why I didn't bother to try this product again in the right color. I'm not sure why I had such a bad experience with this product, but I definitely would not recommend this to anyone....

Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream (Light/Medium)

Available Shades: Fair/Light, Light/Medium, Medium/Deep

Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector is a miracle all-in-one product with results you can see and feel instantly. Skin appears airbrushed, beautifully smooth and even. Its light-weight and comfortable texture blends perfectly into skin for a sheer flawless finish. This all-in-one formula combines intense moisturizing skincare with vitamin C + Mineral Pigments for an instant skin transformation:
  • Renews radiance
  • Brightness complexion
  • Evens skin tone and blurs imperfections
  • Hydrates for 24-hours
  • Protects with SPF 15 UVA/UVB sunscreen against harmful effects of the sun - the #1 cause of skin aging.
Directions: Gently apply Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector to face and neck prior to sun exposure for instant coverage and correction as well for protection. Reapply as needed.

Lasting Power
Oil Control
Much better coverage than Maybelline and Revlon. I would peg this as Light/Medium coverage. However, it's on the lighter side and you'll still need concealer for acne scars and under eye circles. It does even out skin tone though. SO liquid-y; it fairly spills out of the tube. It's easy to spread and blend though. Lasts 6-8 hours. It does continue covering scars but it loses the dewy finish by the end of the day so your skin looks a little drab.I could see the BBcream breaking up on my face by the end of the day from oil. I would say this doesn't have good oil control.
Color Match
Smells disgustingly of alcohol. The smell fades after awhile, but it was a bit nauseating while applying.3 shades.

I should've probably gotten Fair/Light as this shade was too dark on me. Also after oxidation, there was a distinct orange undertone.
SPF 15
It was not drying, though I wouldn't say it was as hydrating as the Maybelline.
Perhaps the Fair/Light shade would've been different, but there was a distinct orange tint after oxidation; I literally looked like I had a fake spray tan by the end of the day. And just to clarify, I think the orange tint is a separate issue from finding the right color match. I didn't really like the extremely liquid formula or scent either. I personally would not recommend this to anyone.

L'Oreal Magic BB Cream (Fair)

Available Shades: Light, Fair, Medium, Deep

Discover L'Oreal's 1st Magic B.B. Cream with Beautifying Beads: Encapsulated pigments infused in an ultra-light lotion with antioxidants Vitamin C & E.
4 Beautifying Actions in 1:
  • Primes to smooth skin's texture
  • Perfects to hide imperfections
  • Hydrates for all day moisture
  • Corrects skin for a healthy looking even complexion.
Instantly transforms to your perfect shade for a flawless bare skin finish. Over time, more beautiful skin.
Lasting Power
Oil Control
What is this? It feels like you are putting grout on your face and the "beautifying" beads that are supposed to magically change to match my skin irritate my face as I'm blending. The coverage was very minimal. Between blending it to make the white cast go away and waiting for the scratchy beads to dissolve, it is nigh impossible to get even, good coverage. The "beautifying beads" irritated my skin a lot - it made my skin red even though I was being as gentle as possible while blending. I never managed to get decent coverage on my face or get rid of the white-ish cast, so I didn't wear this out. See "Lasting Power."
Color Match
Scent is very mild but if you're sensitive, you'll notice that smells exactly like what it looks like - grout. 4 shades.

Yes, this BBcream eventually changes color to match your skin (somewhat), but the white cast never goes away. The color match was actually decent, but it sinks into every fine line and pitted scar on your face.
None, as far as I know.
See "Lasting Power." But Ahlessa (who has a much better review than mine) said that this is not very hydrating.
The texture is very odd and while it does eventually change color to a decent color match, it still leaves a white cast. Also, this doesn't seem to have any SPF and little to no coverage. Anyone who doesn't know what BBcream is and tries this will be horribly confused. It's by far the strangest "BBcream" I've ever come across and definitely do not recommend to anyone, especially those with sensitive skin.

Left: Side of my face; after attempting to blend, but color hasn't changed yet (this usually takes 5+ minutes I swear).
Right: Hand; another attempt to blend. See sinking into fine lines.

I have tried multiple ways to get this to blend "magically" into my face. Brush, fingers, sponge, use a little, use a lot etc. No cigar. It's too hard and no makeup should be this hard to use.

Overall Swatch Comparison: The L'Oreal BBcream was just the biggest WTF experience I ever had with makeup. You can see in the swatch above that it has changed color, but the white cast is still there. The texture was dreadful and overall, this BBcream was clearly some kind of failed experiment.

Ideally, I would've tried a lighter shade for the Garnier, but either way, it oxidized orange on my skin. You can see this happening in the swatch. When you first put it on, it's a nice peachy color, but as time goes on, you can see the edges turning orange. Eventually, it looks like you have spray tan on, which is ironically quite fitting since the golden tube looks so "fake tan"-ish (clearly, their marketing department misunderstood the purpose of BBcream).

I just did not like the Revlon BB cream at all. It was my fault for getting the wrong color, but the muddy formula, the orange undertone, and difficulty blending makes this a definite do-not-try product. The cheap packaging is just a nail in the coffin.

Maybelline was the best color match, though the undertone was just a bit pinker than I'd like. If I had to pick the best BBcream of the four I tried, I would go with Maybelline. It is definitely the most similar to Asian BBcreams with its dewy, natural finish and gel-like texture. Even better, it's also the cheapest of the four ;)

Final Thoughts

So the big question - how do these compare to other 'drugstore' Asian BBcreams? Quite frankly, based on these 4 products, Western BBcreams have a LONG way to go. Though the Maybelline BBcream was a decent product, the coverage it provided was much less than any Skinfood, Lioele, or Missha BBcream I've tried. The Garnier one tried hard, but it suffers from the the notorious oxidation issue of turning orange over time - in this case, so orange that I looked like I had a spray tan on. As for the L'Oreal and Revlon BBcreams, the less said the better. The L'Oreal one didn't even have SPF for chrissake. These two products can't even be called BBcreams in my opinion - they are no more than tinted moisturizers at most.

Trivia Time: What's really fascinating about how crappy the L'Oreal's BBcream is that BOTH Maybelline and Garnier are owned by L'Oreal and both executed much better products. And just to give you an idea of what behemoth L'Oreal is, I can't believe how many of my favorite brands are owned by them (from Wiki):

  • Lancôme
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Giorgio Armani
  • Biotherm
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Kiehl's <-- LOVE this brand omg....
  • Shu Uemura
  • Clarisonic
  • Urban Decay <-- another favorite brand of mine
  • L’Oréal
  • Garnier
  • Maybelline
  • Essie

It's all in the marketing I suppose ahaha... In any case, BBcreams from higher end brands like Smashbox, Dior, Clinique, and Urban Decay (made by L'Oreal ha!) might be better, but the price point for those brands make it just as cost effective to simply import Asian BBcreams. For example, I regularly import my long time favorite, Skinfood Mushroom BBcream, for ~$20-25 and that is still significantly less than Smashbox ($39), Dior ($56), Clinique ($37), and Urban Decay ($34). In conclusion, as of now, I'll be sticking with my Asian brand BBcreams.

Have you tried any of these BBcreams?
Let me know what you think!


  1. this is the most structured review I have read in beauty for a while! I totally agree that Western BB-creams have a long way to go before they can qualify under the Asian standard: I am not too negative about Dr.Brandt (although too dark) & Irosie BB, but they are not drugstore and are more specialised than drugstore.
    and OMG, Revlon is pretty bad...

  2. Amazing well detailed review, fantastic job. I've only tried the Maybelline BB cream and only get a few hours before I get super oily. I wish an Asian company would make a range of BBs for the west.
    Great post :)

  3. thank you for the review! I'll steer clear of these western brand bb creams for now. Based upon your review, they are sub-par at best compared to the Asian bb creams

  4. Great review~! I was just hunting for the next BB cream to try, so lucky that you decided to post it now! :D I am currently looking for a summer bb cream; I have previously used skin79's bb cream but the texture was kinda thick... more suited for winter. Any suggestions?

  5. Very good review. By the way, l'Oréal als owns The Body Shop ;>

  6. I know you mention the "white cast" for the L'oreal BB cream...I just have to butt in and say that as a pale person (paler than NC15), it's one of the few BB creams/tinted moisturisers in the drugstore that works for me! I agree that it's a bit gimmicky though, and shouldn't be marketed as a BB cream.


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