Thursday, August 19, 2010

Product Review:
Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42

All the rage in Korea for the past few years, BB Creams slid under my radar until recently when the lovely Charlotte of Lipglossiping blogged about her experience with them. Short for Blemish Balm, BB creams are purported to have been created as an after-treatment cream to help soothe and regenerate skin after laser or chemical treatments. Patients requested a tint to cover redness, and SPF was added to protect fragile, newly exposed skin. As famous Asian Soap Stars came out as BB Cream advocates, the phenomenon spread to the everyday woman.

Type the words "BB Cream" in to your eBay search bar, and you're likely to pull up thousands of results, with a myriad of brands represented. Most claim to be multi-functional wonders: foundation and skin treatment in one. Aside from the aforementioned sun protection, many BB Creams also boast about anti-aging and whitening effects. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Of course, my self-sworn duty to you, my readers, required that I try one. After surfing the interwebs for BB Cream reviews, blog posts, swatches and the like, I was honestly just as confused as ever. A few brands seemed to stand out, so I started checking out company websites to gather more info. Upon entering the Missha site, I was greeted with an offer of a free sampler kit. I paid shipping (a totally reasonable $5.99), and registered my name and address on the site. In return, they sent me a bunch of goodies to try, including a 10ml (1/3oz) tube of their M Perfect Cover BB Cream. Since I had no leaning toward one particular BB Cream (Missha alone carries 7 different formulas) I decided this worked for me.

I placed my order with Missha very late on Thursday night (indeed, it was technically Friday morning) so I was pleasantly surprised when a nice little box came in the mail on Monday afternoon. I ripped into it, went straight to the BB Cream, and squeezed a bit out on to my hand to test the shade. Despite the many reviews that I read stating that BB Creams are geared toward fair skin, the sample (shade 23, Natural Beige) was obviously several shades too dark for my pale ivory tone. (For reference, some of my better matches are Nars Siberia and Graftobian Graceful Swan.)

Knowing that I was setting out for a sun-filled vacation, and noticing the great SPF level on the Missha BB cream, I decided to keep this close at hand ready to travel with me. I should clarify- I do NOT try to tan my face, ever. That's why Perfect Cover's SPF 42, PA+++ rating was such a great thing for me. (PA ratings, by the way, are the Japanese system of ranking UVA protection. The system goes from one to three pluses, with three denoting the highest level of protection. The US does not, as of yet, have a system to rate UVA protection- SPF refers just to UVB.) The fact that the shade was so much darker for me actually became a bit of a bonus, since it gave me a less ghostly look, and likely saved my vacation companions from blindness.

I should mention, I fully expected to be disappointed by the BB cream phenomenon. Frankly, I was expecting a glorified tinted moisturizer; a product that's never been my favorite. Tinted moisturizers are great in theory- the tint evens out skin tone, while adding moisture at the same time, saving you the hassle of applying 2 separate products. Problem is, I've yet to find a tinted moisturizer that has enough coverage or enough moisture for me. I inevitably end up trying to use way too much just to get the level of moisture I need, which in turn makes the shade darken to an unacceptable shade. That, or I end up using a separate moisturizer under it, and concealer over it-which kind of defeats the time-saving purpose.

The second I touched the BB Cream to my face, I could tell this was different. As you may guess from the term "cream", the moisture level of this BB is much higher than any tinted moisturizer I've ever tried- my skin was quite comfortable with just my normal serum underneath (more on that at a later date...) The cool, medium beige color seemed very dark and opaque when I first put it on, so I was surprised when I began to blend and found how easily it melted into my skin. I did have to blend down onto my neck to avoid a "mask line", but this was not a surprise to me considering the fact that this BB cream comes in 2 lighter shades. I was also quite shocked (and thrilled!) at the coverage it gave- easily medium coverage, with a totally natural, slightly dewy finish. I'm still a bit confounded about how this stuff covers so well-for all intents and purposes, it blends like a sheer makeup, feels like a creamy, soothing moisturizer, and covers like a medium to full coverage foundation- without looking at all thick or cakey. It does have a perfumey floral scent that's definitely quite noticeable- I didn't have any major issues with it, but at the same time, I could definitely do without.

As far as the product claims, Missha says Perfect Cover is a 3-in-1: sun protection (check) whitening and anti-wrinkle. As far as the latter two, I certainly haven't been using this long enough to tell if it really helps in those areas, but I did take a glance at the ingredient label and noticed Arbutin quite high on the ingredient list. Arbutin is a natural form of Hydroquinone, which can, in fact, have melanin inhibiting properties. Unfortunately, studies haven't quite decided what concentration of Arbutin is needed in order for it to be effective, so no absolute guarantees on the whitening, but I'd say it looks promising.

I'm not so convinced on the anti-wrinkle claim. Perfect Cover is chock full of some of my favorite moisturizing ingredients; Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, and Ceramide 3, as well as a ton of botanical extracts that have moisturizing, antioxidant and soothing properties. Since moisturized skin shows wrinkles less obviously, Perfect Cover may indeed make lines look less apparent (note: I said look less apparent). The only real candidate for wrinkle fighter that I saw in this cream is Adenosine. Some research seems to show that Adenosine stimulates collagen and elastin production, promotes wound healing and may hold some promise in smoothing lines like crow's feet and frown lines. All fine and good, but I'd prefer to see a few more proven wrinkle fighters like niacinamide and peptides in the formula.

So did I like it? Sure did. Kind of a lot. Sure, the color was all wrong, but I knew that going in. Seeing how easily it blended into my skin, I'm pretty confident that the lightest shade, Milky Beige (#13) will be perfect. The only improvements I'd make would be reducing the fragrance and increasing the wrinkle fighting ingredients. And honestly, I'd never fault a foundation for not being "treatment" enough. Which says something: this BB stands up as both a treatment moisturizer AND a makeup. I'd give this about a 7.5 out of 10- with potential to be much higher once I try the lighter shade. And I will. :)

::EDIT:: I did, in fact, try Missha's #13 Milky Beige, and it is- by far- my favorite BB cream. To date, I've tried probably around 30 different creams, both domestic (blech) and imports, and the Milky Beige is undoubtedly the best color match I've found in a BB for my super-fair (lighter than MAC & MUFE) skin tone. It skews a bit cool, but blends well regardless. Definitely a keeper!

- 3-in-1 treatment/makeup doubles as moisturizer, treatment and foundation
- full of natural moisturizing factors, which mimic the function of healthy skin to reduce dryness and promote the skin's healing process.
- contains Arbutin, which shows promise in lightening hyper-pigmentation.
- high level of UVA and UVB protection
- despite a somewhat strong fragrance, this caused no irritation to my sensitive skin
- provides excellent coverage
- long wearing
- feels light and soft on the skin
- does not emphasize dry patches, flakiness, lines and wrinkles.
-natural finish isn't too matte, isn't too dewy.
-reasonably priced. A 50ml tube retails for $29.99 on the company's website, but can be found for around $15 on eBay.

- limited shade selection (this formula is available in 4 shades, which will likely suit fair to medium-deep skin tones.)
- contains added fragrance, which could irritate skin. The scent also lingers, those prone to scent induced headaches could have an issue here.
- wrinkle fighting ingredients are less than I'd like in a moisturizer, but more than I'd expect for a makeup.
- to my knowledge, this is only available online in the US.


Musing on Beauty said...

See? I told you they were nice :-)

Unknown said...

you were so right...I can pretty much guarantee that this won't be the last BB Cream review you see from me!

If anyone has a favorite (especially people like me with dry, super-fair skin) please leave it in the comments so I know which to try next!

Lipglossiping said...

What a wonderful review, I need to look into the Missha range. I've just bought a Shills one which you may be interested in.

Super Magic BB Cream SPF50 PA+++
- Whitening
- Wrinkle
- Improvement (whatever that refers to *shrugs*)

1.7fl oz - I bought mine on eBay. Med coverage, slightly less scented than some of the others I've tried, though I can still smell something mildly floral.

Nice and pale, though perhaps a teeny bit 'grey'.

$7.38 with free postage!

Now I feel like a BB cream dealer :/

Unknown said...

Well, dammit Charlotte, you know I'm a junkie!

teresa bowen said...

There are lots of beauty products but we need to make sure that we choose the safe one. I want to share with you the bio-oil which makes your skin soft and smooth.

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