Korean BB Cream (비비크림)

bb cream

Do you want to streamline your daily beauty routine while saving time and money? Who doesn’t? That’s why a product called BB cream has become one of the hottest trends in the beauty industry. BB Cream (Hangeul:비비크림) stands for beauty balm, blemish balm or blemish base. Originally BB creams were available only at dermatologist or skin care centers and were used to soothe and protect the skin after treatments or surgeries.

BB cream is currently an essential cosmetic item among celebrities and is becoming a new must-have item for women not just in Korea but everywhere. It is used as an alternative to a make up base or foundation to make skin look smooth and flawless. Korean women love BB cream for what it can offer: whitening, moisturizing, sun protection, blemish coverage, anti-wrinkle, firming, etc. Can one beauty product really do it all? Hmmm.. yes! :-p

I received emails asking which Korean BB cream is the best. Well, I don’t really know since we have different skin types and issues.  I love trying out random Korean beauty products and now I’ll show you some average-priced Korean BB cream that I currently use.

Missha Signature Wrinkle Filler BB Cream SPF37 / PA++

  • Tornado technology by separated melting process blends wrinkle filler (white) with BB cream (beige)  to cover fine lines and pores for radiant and sleek skin
  • Silicon elastomer in the filler covers fine lines and pores to smoothen the skin surface with velvety texture and BB cream evens skin tone.
  • 4 Care System of wrinkle repairing, moisturizing, pore care and skin protection benefit makes the skin healthy.
  • Containing Nobel Prize Winning Fullereness and skin friendly SLLS (Skin Lipid). It moisturizes, comforts and protects the skin
Honestly, I bought this BB cream because I got attracted to its elegant packaging. 🙂 However, I can gladly say that this is not just beautiful but a great product as well. This is suitable for dry and normal skin. I have acne prone dry skin and finding a good BB cream for cold winter months had always been a challenge for me. I fell in love with this product when I started using it last winter. It has light to medium coverage but layering is not a problem. It is easy to apply either with fingers or brush. It moisturizes my skin all day and also protects it from becoming so dry and flaky. And at the same time, it covers my blemishes perfectly! I love it so much that I bought another one for my mom-in-law to try. :-p

Missha Signature Real Complete BB cream SPF25 / PA ++

  • Wrinkle care + whitening + UV Protection
  • Multi-function BB cream with perfect coverage
  • Adherent and long lasting
  • Containing peptide complex, gingko water and 50 kinds of botanical complex, it provides abundant moisture and nutrients to the skin to help make it healthy.
  • Non-chemical, Paraben-free, Mineral oil-free, Alcohol-free, GMO-free, Triclosan-free, Benzophenone-free

This BB cream is hypoallergenic and therefore suitable for sensitive skin type. It is available in 3 shades and I use #21 Light pink beige.  As to its packaging, the tube is made of plastic so you can’t squeeze it. I can say that this BB cream is comparable to Missha Perfect Cover BB. They have similar consistency and coverage. It has moisturizing feature and the finish is more dewy than matte. It does not set into lines or look cakey. This is a good one too! 🙂

Missha M Vita BB Cream (Matte) SPF 20 / PA ++

  • M Vita BB Cream contains 7 essential vitamin complex derived from natural ingredients, and helps improve the skin. It naturally evens out skin texture and brightens skin tone with a moist and light finish.
  • Nano Vita Complex, which is the 7 essential vitamins, enhances skin vitality. Natural Protector, with anti-pollution and soothing benefit, relieves skin stresses. Other skin soothing ingredients include Grapefruit Seed Extract and Neem Tree Extract. Also contains Anti Shadow Complex to help make the skin clear and Jewelry Complex to make skin bright and radiant.

This BB cream is great for oily skin. It is light weight and non-greasy. It has light, natural-looking coverage. When I first tried it, it went on a little gray but after blending it on my skin, it matched perfectly. This is a good one if you want ‘no make-up’ make up.

Etude House Precious Mineral BBDation SPF 40 / PA +++

Which one do you prefer to use, BB cream or foundation? Some people love BB cream for its skin benefits and others love foundation for its better coverage. Now you can have both!  Etude House BBdation sports SPF 40 so you don’t need to apply a separate sunblock cream. It has whitening and anti-wrinkle features as well. This innovative BB cream/foundation makes skin look healthier, smoother and dramatically defined. When I bought it, it came with real-hand touch revolutionary applicator. It is a motorised sponge with surprisingly 8,500 microvibrations. The applicator is actually better than the ones from The Face Shop, Missha and others.

Etude House Precious Mineral Sun BB Cream SPF 50+ / PA +++

Having high SPF and long lasting formula, this BB cream is  great for all day outdoor protection. It is available in 3 shades: light beige, natural beige and sand beige. A sponge applicator is attached to the product which is so handy especially to those who travels a lot since you don’t need to bring a separate sponge applicator with you. The coverage is medium and buildable and gives a dewy finish.  This product is good for summer because aside from its excellent UV protection, it is also waterproof. Actually most Korean women wear make up even when they go to the beach to look great even after swimming and to look good in their summer photos.  Hehe!

The Face Shop Face It Waterproof BB Cream 

It is a shaking type of BB cream which has strong resistance to sweat, sebum and water. It comes in a hard plastic tube and you have to shake it well before using or otherwise it comes out uneven. It has a liquid texture and is so easy to blend. It dries up quite quickly to a semi-matte finish but looks natural. I am amazed with its lasting power. It doesn’t melt on my face no matter how hot the weather is and stays on my face all day. This BB cream is difficult to remove and you need a good remover before washing it off with a cleansing foam.

The Face Shop Magic Cover BB Cream SPF 20 / PA +++

This BB cream gives you full coverage with just a little amount of product. A pea-sized amount goes a long long way. It perfectly covers my skin blemishes, pimple scars and redness on my cheeks. It has soft dewy texture and has an anti-aging function with natural ingredients for youthful and healthy skin.

The Face Shop HD Perfect BB Cream SPF 30 / PA ++

I bought this BB cream because of the sign “HD” on it. I thought it would make my skin look flawless even on close up photos. Haha! Actually I’m satisfied with the light to medium coverage but it is quite expensive because it has too little amount of product in it. It is so light and when I squeezed the tube for the first time, it was like half empty. Boo! For me, there’s nothing special about this BB cream. Hmmp!

Etude House Precious Mineral Cotton Fit BB Cream SPF 30 / PA ++

This BB cream is formulated with pearl extract and cotton veil powder that help  brighten the skin. It also contains SPF30/PA++, boasting whitening and anti-aging properties. As it is free of artificial colours, parabens and Benzophenone, it is safe for sensitive skin. The creamy texture makes it easy to blend on the skin. The coverage is medium but can be built up quite easily to a full coverage and gives a powdery finish. I love the formula of this product as it manages to give me a full coverage without feeling too heavy on the skin. It’s light or ‘cottony’ as this product claims to be ‘cotton fit’.

Etude House Dear Girls Be Clear BB Cream SPF 30 / PA ++

Dear Girls is the newest product line from Etude House. This BB cream contains 5 vitamin extracts and 7 kinds of organic oil for a brighter and healthier skin. It has no paraben, talc, benzophenone and artificial color content. It leaves a matte finish which is great for people with oily skin. Less  blotting is required. Its petite size makes it travel-friendly but the downside of this product is that it comes with only one shade which is a bit close to light beige. :-p

Holika Holika Peach Girl BB Cream  SPF 37 / PA ++

This BB cream comes with a freebie cream blush and mirror which is pretty awesome!  It gives medium to full coverage with a matte finish. It’s good on its on but lasts longer if set with powder. It looks natural and not cakey. I recommend this to those who have oily skin. It has SPF 30 so it’s great for everyday use. The first BB cream I tried from Holika Holika was actually the Face 2 Change Liquid Roller BB cream which I really loved too. I already used it all so I didn’t include it on the list. Give it a try! It’s actually better than Etude House Precious Mineral Sun BB Cream and I loved its roller applicator!

The two other items included in the photo above are liquid foundation from The Face Shop: Face It Oil Cut Pore Foundation and Cell Lightening Foundation which are great items to try if you are a fan of liquid foundation. 🙂

FAQ: How long is the shelf life of BB cream?

BB cream’s shelf life is from 6months to 2 years upon first opening. It varies depending on the product and how you store it. But to be sure, check the packaging. Either the manufacturing or expiration date is printed there. Manufacturing date is printed as either MFG or 제조일.

Example 1.  MFG130815

The first two digits represents the year, and second two digits is the month and the last two is the date. So the manufacturing date is August 15, 2013. In other Korean products, the manufacturing date may look like this.

Example 2.  20130815 제조일

Expiration date is usually printed as EXP+date or  까지 (literally means ‘until’) is printed after the date.

Example. EXP130815 or 2013.08.15까지

In my observation, manufacturing date is printed on most Korean cosmetics and expiration date is on food items. 🙂 Next time, I’ll update you with photos of these signs on actual items. I’m sorry if I’m a lazy blogger and that I didn’t go into much details of each product like the ingredients, cream swatches and etc. They’re too many to review in one post. Hehe!  Anyway, for me they’re all good as I tried testers and samples before purchasing. And one good thing is that none of them caused me acne breakouts..so far. 🙂

Now it’s time to prepare dinner. Ajumma mode is on. Haha! See you around guys! And oh! Happy Independence Day, Korea! 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Korean BB Cream (비비크림)

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  6. Some background here: I work for a fashion mag in Korea so I’ve always been asked that question too – which BB cream to choose?! So I decided to write a blog. Slowly (very slowly, but surely haha) I’ll review all the ones that I’ve used. Personally I choose BB cream over foundation because it’s more versatile. I’m enticed to try that “HD” BB cream by the way, haha. 🙂


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