Asian Beauty Products No. 1: What is BB Cream or Blemish Balms?

This week I am doing some basic Asian beauty guides for newbies who would like to know more about Asian products. Today is BB Creams!

BB stands for Blemish Balm.

BB cream was originally formulated in Germany to help laser surgery patents protect and heal their skin. In Korea it really took off and therefore most of the major BB creams come from Korean brands.

BB creams tend to offer a all in one protection; moisturiser, concealer, foundation, SPF, whitening. Technically it’s supposed to be good for all skin types even acne prone, sensitive and those with blemishes.

The type of results you are supposed to get:


Most of the big Korean companies make a BB cream. Some to investigate:

Skin 79, Etude House, Skinfood, BRTC, Liole, Baviphat, Dr Jart, Orkis, Missha just to name a few.

Candy says:I have tried various BB creams and I am dying to find one that works but I have had 2 major problems with them.

1. The shading.

Korean base as with a lot of Asian bases cater for lighter skinned women – that’s just what their market is. So me, with my medium toned skin finds it a challenge getting a BB cream that is dark enough.

Even if it is dark enough I’ve found BB creams can leave an ashy cast on the skin, almost ghostly white, and or too golden.

You can use the product strategically and not all over or mix it with a darker product though.

2. The oily texture

I’ve found all BB creams to have a somewhat oily base. I have dry skin and it makes me oily so I don’t see how these will suit those with very oily skins. They’re thick – now you CAN buy water based BB products but these are very hard to locate, I have been trying to get my hands on one for a while.

It breaks me out too – once I get those spots I just stop using the product altogether.

Some BB Cream Reviews:

Etude House V-Line BB Cream

L’egere Shiny Pearl Water Drop

Ishizawa Labs Nanonce BB Cream

Skinfood Aloe BB Cream

An Asian product worth trying?

In my opinion – No. I’ve yet to use a BB cream I just like, nevermind love. I’d highly recommend getting samples before investing in a full size product.

Got any BB cream info to share, please leave a comment!

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  1. Jen says

    I love the concept of BB creams, but have yet to find the perfect one for me!

    I’ve so far tried the Skinfood Aloe (I hated this! It smells like that artificial cucumber scent, gets really oily through the day, and broke me out badly!) and the Skin79 Hot Pink and Gold versions (I quite like these as they are not too scented, not too greasy, can last a day through work without making me look like a greaseball, and most importantly don’t break me out!). I’m not too sure what the difference is between the Hot Pink and and Gold, as reading the functions they sound more or less the same, but to me, the Gold one seems a bit thicker, so for days when I feel like a bit more coverage I’ll go for the Gold one. I bought the 2 Skin79 well over a year ago, they last for absolutely ages! Usually one pump will do my whole face, and the coverage is quite good considering it’s not a foundation…one pump is enough to even out my complexion and to hide any redness. The only thing is they don’t quite match my colour, so I look slightly too pink-tone, so not yet the perfect BB creams for me :(

    The BB creams I’d like to try out next are the SANA Quzulan gelo, L’egere (not the Water-drop one though), and Lioele (packaging looks cute!). Hopefully I’ll find one that matches me perfectly!

    On another note, have you tried the Kiehl’s tinted moisturiser? I bought it when it was on offer online to try, and I’m surprised at how well it covers as a TM. It’s still slightly pinkish for me (I need more yellow-based products!!) but I find it comparable to my BB creams in terms of how it looks.

    Looking forward to the other posts about Asian products…wish they were easier to get hold of in the UK though!

  2. says

    I have tried Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream (LOVE the coverage!!) but it’s probably a bit heavy to use during summer because of the humid weather in Asia. Skinfood Aloe and Skinfood Mushroom are okay…then I stopped using BB Cream at all XD

    Basically they are Asia’s version of Tinted moisturizers, while I don’t use any BB creams now, it would be a good product to use for those on-the-go in mornings, coz I pretty much don’t need any more concealer <3

  3. says

    I like bb creams and I use it alot but I totally agree about the limited skin tone shades and the oily-ness. Even as an asian girl with fair skin, i still find that some BB creams don’t match. and I have experienced break outs if I wear too much other things on top of it, say a fuller coverage foundation for a long period of time. but somehow I still love it on weekends as an alternative to foundation. it gives my skin a break and most of them have good SPF. :)

    • Row says

      Hi Mint!

      I find that the BB creams can be quite dull – almost grey looking? a bit lifeless don’t you think?

  4. Jane says

    I’d like to recommend one. I have tried many of the BB creams you have mentioned, but none of them worked for me. But Naruko BB cream works very well. Not oily at all on me. It’s a Taiwanese brand. You may have a try.

    • Row says

      Hi Jane

      I’ll have a look at Naruko! I have tried some of their skincare products but it may be too light :(

  5. says

    I’ve been using the Hera BB cream for about 2 months now, and I quite like it. Hera is a luxury makeup brand from Korea that is not sold outside of the country, and so must be located through Ebay or friends. The formulation is watery, but does enough to cover up my redness. I use a tiny drop on my cheeks, nose and forehead. I start in the middle of my face and blend out so that the outer parts of my face aren’t covered at all. Also, after using it for a couple months, I noticed that the redness in my cheeks, where i primarily apply the BB cream, has gone away. Am pretty happy with it so far…
    good luck everyone!

    • Row says

      Hi Candice

      I have just one Hera item and it’s beautiful :) I can’t wait problem it is it is quite light

  6. says

    I became a bit obsessed with BB creams last year when I tried Missha’s- I’d expected it to be essentially a tinted moisturizer, but was pleasantly surprised that they do generally seem to offer more coverage (though I don’t think the claims that they function as concealer are justified).

    I’ve tried several brands, and as an extremely fair person, haven’t been able to find a shade that’s quite my tone either- the Missha Perfect Cover in #13 is the fairest I’ve seen (at least among those that give medium coverage- obviously there’s more wiggle room in the sheerer brands). I like it quite a bit, but it still leans a little cool for my neutral skin. I also will add that I myself have very dry skin, and haven’t had the greasiness issues that most of you mention. Among the Skin79, Hanskin and Missha varieties I’ve used, I’ve actually still had to use a separate moisturizer underneath during the winter.

    Despite all of this, I’m still intrigued by the idea of BB creams, and will definitely be on the lookout for my personal best! I’m off to re-read your reviews on the ones you’ve tried (since it sounds like your negatives would actually benefit me!) Thanks lady!!!

    • Row says

      Hi Jessica

      I will keep looking for my idea BB cream too! I need something which doesn’t look so oily, and doesn’t break me out :) other than that I think the concept is excellent and yeah, they offer so much more coverage that tinted moisturisers!

  7. alvira says

    I have tried skin 79 hot pink and missha perfect cover bb cream and I like the missha one better it gives more coverage and I have dry/sensitive skin but it did not break me out so I would recommend missha I use the shade #21 it also comes in darker shades #23 and # 32 and missha bb cream oxidizes a little bit so it matches my skin tone after oxidation.Do try it :)

  8. says

    Not heard of these before but def interested!
    I’m super pale so not worried about the skin tone as I struggle to find foundations pale enough!
    I do however have quite senstive skin under my eyes, are bb creams likely to aggravate my skin?

    • Row says

      Hi Lizz

      HMMMMM it’s really hard to say. I think you’d be best of with the plainer BB creams like BRTC or Dr Jart, I wouldn’t try anything from Skinfood (ie. the mushroom or aloe which are heavily fragranced). x

  9. Bee says

    I have tried Skinfood Aloe BB cream. The smell is so strong, I couldn’t stand it everytime I put it on. It brightens up the skin in the first 3 hours or so after applying, but after that, the skin doesn’t brighten up as much anymore. Instead it makes me looks sallow (I am Chinese). The texture is thick and it really doesn’t do much with concealing blemishes.

    And worst of all, a test which was performed and the results published in Hong Kong had shown that lead content in Skinfood Mushroom BB cream was over the safety limit (yikes!)…

    • Row says

      Hi Bee

      Yeah I know what you mean about the Aloe – and oh my god about the mushroom BB cream!??! EEK!

  10. Jasmine says

    The BB creams I highly recommend are:
    1. Dr. Jart Silver Label BB Cream (NC15 to NC25) high coverage, SPF 30, oil controlling, glowy and evens redness very well, self-setting, oxidises after maybe 8 to 10 hours
    2. BRTC Jasmine Water (NW 20) SPF 30, oil controlling (could be a bit drying for winter), peach tones, medium coverage, natural
    3. BRTC Protect Multiplex (NC 25-30) SPF 25, oil controlling, glowy without pearly sheen, medium coverage
    4. L’egere Double White O2 (NC 20), noncomedogenic, moisturising, light and glowy, no SPF, oxidises after about 6 hours

  11. says

    Hi, I’m Lenna and I’m a BB cream addict…XD

    I’ve tried Skin79 Gold (did not like), Hot Pink (like), Diamond (very much like), Skinfood Peach Sake Pore Covering version (very much like), BRTC Jasmine Water and Gold Cavier (don’t really remember how much I like those…not super impressed) and Shills Natural Science BB (meh…very oily). And this does not count how many I have bought and yet to try. :p
    Luckily, most of these are sample sized ones, so I am not super broke over BB cream yet.

    I like BB creams much better than tinted moisturizer. Tinted moisturizer just seems too liquid-y too me in most cases.

  12. Shari says

    Personally, I love Missha’s Signature Real Complete BB cream. I have to mix shades 13 and 21 to get a perfect fit, but 13 fits me pretty well when I’m feeling lazy. I find that the Signature Real is less gloppy and tacky than the Perfect Cover, and provides a nice even coverage. I have combination skin, and haven’ had any issues with shine or breakouts.

  13. says

    dr jart are really more for fair people i think, yeah most bb creams are too fair for me, but i mix it with darker liquid foundations, or just top it with my loose powder of my skin shade

    yes bb creams are OILY! im cutting down on them now, not so craze over them hehe

    xoxo elle

  14. Meiji says

    Hi! I came across your site and enjoyed your reviews.

    Regarding BB cream for oily medium-toned skin, I suggest you try out Elianto Miracle Multiplex BB Cream. :) They have 3 shades, and the #2 (more yellow undertone) or #3 (more peachy) might work for you. It has a pretty light, watery consistency. It absorbs easily and leaves a matte finish. Good coverage too. It also doesn’t rub off on clothes like some brands do with me.

    Only thing I’m not 100% about it is the perfumed smell. You don’t really notice it after it dries, though. I like everything else about it enough to let that slip.

    I know that the results are different for everyone but I hope this works for you as it has for me!