BB Cream Breakdown

As I’ve definitely mentioned before, BB cream is my lifesaver. I honestly don’t know what I did before it entered my life. I have a huge irrational fear of foundation, and that orange-face look haunts me in my dreams. I first heard about when Talya came back from Thailand and was raving about it, but we didn’t have it in SA yet. I remember being so excited the day Garnier announced that they would be launching BB cream in SA. I even signed up to be one of the first people to get it from Clicks (nerd alert). At first I was a bit weirded out when I saw that they were only bringing three shades: light, medium and dark. I mean, how can you expect the entire South African population to be one of three colours?! I guess I just happened to be lucky and the ‘light’ shade works perfectly for me. I could preach about Garnier BB Cream all day, but I’m going to stop here for now.


The Garnier BB Cream retails at Clicks for R79, super reasonable – I mean I know people who spend hundreds of rands on foundation cough Jodi Beth cough.

Why I like it:

It’s cheap, who wouldn’t like it for this exact reason? It seems to magically match my skin colour, which I’m very happy about. My skin’s quite dry, so the fact that this product is slightly oily works well for me. I really don’t have to use that much to get the coverage I want, which makes me happy early in the morning before work when I look like I do in my before photo.

Why I don’t like it:

I preach about BB Cream pretty much any chance I get, so I’m struggling to think about what I don’t like about it. It does take a couple of minutes to set in, and before it’s properly set it does look a tad too orange/shiny but this goes away.

This is what the BB Cream looks like without the flash:


And now with the flash:


This is my before photo. Don’t judge me for it. I wish I could edit is and make it really tiny so no one could actually see what I look like without my beloved BB Cream, but oh well, here goes:


And this is me after some BB Cream and a little bit more make-up. I think we can all agree that I look a million times better than my before picture. Moral of the story: don’t take selfies before 7am and always wear BB Cream!

jess post bb cream

Now onto what the others think…



Righty-oh. So I first tried BB cream when the Garnier one came out in SA. At first I loved it, but over time realised it was a bit too oily for me. Enter Rimmel BB Cream. They claim; “it’s a skin perfecting super makeup!” (not sure about that grammar Rimmel) with 9 results: “Primes, Moisturises, Minimises Pores, Conceals, Covers, Smoothes, Mattifies, Brightens and Helps Protect.”

And to that I say; *shrugs*. I don’t know, I rate Western-made BB creams are glorified tinted moisturisers. But at least this one’s fairly cheap at R99 (from Clicks), and it gives pretty good coverage. My main problem with BB creams is that they never, ever match my skin. The Light shade is just never light enough, and it tends to oxidise to an even darker shade. However, if colour wasn’t a problem, this formula is great for oily/combination skins. Bear in mind that it dries fast, so you have to blend it in quickly to avoid streaks.

Why I like it:

It’s cheap, doesn’t irritate my skin, and has SPF 25. That’s high for a BB cream! It also gives fairly decent coverage and dries to a lovely velvety-matte finish.

Why I don’t like it:

It’s the wrong colour and it’s difficult to blend in. However, maybe this wouldn’t be as noticeable if it was in the right shade for my skin?

Here’s a swatch of the BB cream on my hand…



And here’s yet another stunning ‘Before’…


And after…




I first heard about BB creams about 1 or 2 years before they hit the South African beauty scene. I knew they were worshipped in Asia and had they had started their roots over in the East, as most new cosmetic products do. Original BB creams have a mild bleaching ingredient so that after prolonged usage your dark spots and uneven skin tone is slowly cleared up to a lightened and brighten complexion. I knew they weren’t as full-on as a foundation, but had some special ingredient that corrected your skin which a foundation could not. I hadn’t thought of purchasing a BB cream until Mich whipped one out at Rocking the Daisies last year and I became instantly infatuated until I bought one. At the time Garnier was one of the first drugstore brands to bring out a BB cream that was under R100. Since then I’ve repurchased twice and have seen the popularity in this BB cream grow and grow to the point where you can now buy one at Pick ‘n Pay while you pick up some milk and bread. It has become that much of a staple.


Why I like it:

I like this brand of BB cream because its results are pretty impressive for the price. The difference it makes to my complexion with the amount of product I use is just plain awesome. It takes less than 30 seconds to apply, blends into my skin without contrasting lines (that you would have to otherwise buff out with a foundation) and absorbs into my skin almost invisibly. Wonderful yes, miracle fok no. It claims to even tone (yes I reckon so), hydrates (with all that oil it would be impossible), renews (what exactly? Still seeing this), protects (SPF 30 and I have yet to get sunburnt wearing it) and brightens (naaaah not so much). The 50ml does last for quite some time too, I use mine about 2/3 times a week and it’s lasted up to 6 months. A major score for R79

Why I don’t like it:

Like most cosmetic products there are the downfalls, and with this one it’s the smell. I really don’t dig it. I don’t know why it has to be so heavily perfumed, maybe that’s Garnier’s way of making products as I’ve noticed it in most of their stuff. Secondly, I’m a bit put off by the texture. It’s a borderline mousse texture and if it didn’t blend so readily into your skin I’d have a seriously tough time working that baby in.


Blotted this swatch and after 6+ hours this ring was left. Are you sure you want this on your face all day everyday?

And the one factor that probably turns most people away with this product is that it’s very greasy. I have normal/dry skin so the heavy greasy feeling doesn’t bother me so much so that I would not buy again, but I have read that for many it’s a big fat NO. The oil in the cream also prolongs the setting time so I do have to wait at least 4 minutes for it to set. It’s a weird product, hyper oily when first applied then after a couple of minutes sets to a mild sheen.



Pre BB cream





I was pretty late to the whole BB Cream thing. I’d swatched many different brands but found the colour choices either far too dark or far too light for my skin since most brands initially available here in SA only came out with 3 colour options. Boo! I’d read several reviews and having been a sporadic tinted moisturiser user since I was about 14 (Pond’s was the first I’d used and it’s definitely worth a try) I just wasn’t sure I was willing to spend money on something I figured was just some SPF-laden moisturiser with a bit of foundation mixed in.


Why I like it:

On my 24th birthday, my dear sweet gentle-dude took me shopping (because I’m picky and he’s somewhat scared of me). In the queue waiting to pay at the Clarins counter I swatched the BB Skin Perfecting Cream without expecting much, and was surprised at how easily it camouflaged itself into my skin. So I impulse bought it. Was I surprised! I have the lightest shade of their three options (not all too great a selection) and it blends in like a dream and leaves my skin super nourished throughout the day. It also gives me a nice summery glow, despite being oil free, when I want to look a little more alive. Most products tend to slide off my skin, but this guy stays put with a little bit of translucent powder.

Why I don’t like it:

The obvious thing is the unbelievably high price, R375. Now if I were to suddenly win the lottery (which I’m totally counting on, FYI) I’d slap this on every day. Because I have not yet won the aforementioned lottery, I really can’t afford to and keep this only for weekend brunches or if I’m feeling fancy. I have however, just a few days ago, swatched Topshop BB Cream (R149, also they don’t test on animals WHOOP WHOOP!) and I am highly impressed by it so Clarins might have some healthy and more budget-friendly competition in my books.

Here’s my before and after passport-type pics:



If you’d like to give BB creams a try, here are a few options available in SA:

  • Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector: R79 for 50 ml
  • Ponds Flawless Radiance BB Cream: R89.99 for 25 ml
  • Rimmel BB Cream: R99 for 30 ml
  • Revlon Photoready BB Cream Skin Perfector: R150 for 30 ml
  • The Body Shop All-in-One BB Cream: R180 for 25 ml
  • Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream: R375 for 45 ml
  • Smashbox Camera Ready Beauty Balm: R390 for 35 ml
  • Stila Stay All Day Beauty Balm: R395 for 45 ml




  1. I just want to say that this was a great post and really useful, I liked that it was a variety of opinions! Thanks!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it :)

  2. […] great for the price and I dig the formula and all the jazz. Check out our post on BB creams over here if you want to know more about this product and other BB creams. I go through a new BB cream about […]

  3. […] Garnier BB cream from Clicks I always re-buy this. I am obsessed with this BB cream, you can read all about that here. […]

  4. […] BB cream. It’s a lifesaver. […]

  5. Chante Leonard · · Reply

    Reblogged this on The Passionate Palette and commented:
    Found this interesting, and its worth the read.

    1. Thanks for the reblogging :)

    2. This site was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally
      I have found something which helped me. Thank you!

  6. […] BB Cream Breakdown from “Smudged” ladies […]

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    1. Thank’s so much!

  8. Reblogged this on High Heels And Fairytales and commented:
    Some info from those who know, for the clueless like myself :)

  9. ” I have a huge irrational fear of foundation, and that orange-face look haunts me in my dreams.” – this is exactly how i feel. It’s like I was reading my own words.. Lol! :)

    Thanks for this post, it’s really helpful. Think I’m going to give the Garnier one a try soon.

    1. haha, so glad you liked it. And I’m glad I’m not the only one with this orange-face fear :)
      I definitely recommend the Garnier one, its lovely. Let us know what you think when you try it!

  10. This is such a great post! :) Please check out my spot too on :)
    Subscribed! :)

    1. Thank you! Going to check out your blog now :)

  11. What’s the difference between BB cream and CC cream? Help please :) x

    1. A BB cream (Blemish Balm) is like makeup with skincare benefits. It will have the usual primer included plus ingredients that are more beneficial for the skin, like moisturizers and vitamins. CC creams (Colour Corrective) are more aesthetically orientated meaning they work harder to correct your skin’s tone and colour and are less focused on nourishing. Hope that helped :)

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