The Face Shop is a pretty well-known chain of Korean face-care/makeup stores. We used to only have one in Korea Town up on 32nd street (near the Empire State Building), and another in Flushing….which takes me almost 1 hour to get to….but a few months ago, a new branch opened up on Elizabeth Street in Chinatown!!! So there’s finally a branch that’s convenient to get to, and … I don’t know if it’s because the workers are Chinese and I’m Chinese, but they are way nicer here!! Even if you speak to them in English, which I do 100%. I feel like they listen to what I’m saying and don’t just want me to go away (don’t you guys want my money?!). In the Korean branches, I dunno. They’re not very friendly to me, they don’t seem to want to talk if I ask them questions. They kinda just glare at you as you move around the shop. So….Elizabeth Street Face Shop, you’re extremely welcome in my neighborhood!
Obligatory: What is BB Cream?
This is a VERY brief description, you can find more info elsewhere on the internet (BB creams have a huge community following them). The full name is “Blemish Balm” Cream, though I have heard some claim it is “Beauty Balm”. The end result is the same, but I believe “Blemish” is what the first B stands for. Anyway, it’s a 3-in-1 product that is supposed to moisturize, cover your blemishes a la foundation, and protect from sun damage. BB Cream always has SPF in it, but in varying degrees…the ones with more SPF tend to become more “white” in color tint, so do not just jump for an SPF 30 or 50, haha. You’ll look like a ghost, and yes everyone can tell it looks weird! Usually you do not have to choose colors with BB Creams…they blend to your natural skin tone. But some do come in 2 colors, normally a “light” color and a “natural” color. I tend to buy the natural ones, because even I am not as pale as others. I try to get my Vitamin D from the sunlight every day ;)
I have two BB creams from The Face Shop, and I’ll cover both…seems to me that there aren’t that many reviews on these, so hopefully others can benefit from what I’m saying here.
What My Face Skin Is Like (So you can compare it to your own):
There are some days I would say combination (dry skin and oily T-zone), but usually I’m in the dry skin camp. This matters a looooot with what BB Cream you choose. I don’t have much acne, except a few breakouts during my period. So I’m not looking for an intense concealer and foundation set, and BB Cream tends to be so light that you can’t expect it to work as good as a real foundation when you have mountains on your face. Just a warning! I’m not being mean, just save yourself the money if you have some real acne going on and try a different product. Cuz I used to have bad skin, and you’ll otherwise be disappointed. My skin is on the fair side so I do have a bit of freckles on my nose and cheeks, despite being Asian, with warm tones. I guess I am close to either yellow or olive in coloration.
A Bit about BB Cream and SPF Terminology
For some reason, Asia Market cosmetics LOVE the word EMULSION. Over here in the US, we’d probably say things like “moisturizing” or “hydrating”. Both BB Creams I’ll be talking about are SPF 20, and before you freak out and say “OH, THAT’S WAY TOO WEAK!” please read a little about how sunscreen works…SPF 150 is not way better for you than SPF 50, which is not drastically better for you than SPF 30. For non-white people, SPF 20 is decent enough. You know what those higher numbers are? Marketing. They put higher numbers, and you pay them more money, and get more skin irritation :( These BB Creams are also PA++, which means you should be totally fine being outside in the sun all day long. For anyone wanting more information, search the internet for “Protection Grade of UVA”, which is what it stands for (possible scores are PA+, PA++, and PA+++).
Product #1: Oil Cut Dual BB Cream Emulsion (SPF20/PA++)
I used to like Oil Cut, but I have grown to hate this product. There were almost no reviews out for this specific product, so I really want to fill that void. The “Dual” in the name is made up of the BB Cream itself, which is in the tube, and the concealer that is tucked away in the cap, along with a mirror for application. It’s a nice touch, but it’s not the best concealer on the market. Most likely you would be better off getting a separate concealer that truly matches your skin, and has a spread that you like, It’s nice that they included it, but it’s mostly useless. Also, it’s difficult to spread and I don’t think it effective at concealing.
It’s called “Oil Cut” because it’s supposed to keep you from getting too greasy with sebum and oil….however the emulsion side is supposed to keep your normal skin moisturized. I got this because I thought I had combination skin – dry everywhere except for an oily T-zone. But this product is actually way too drying in my experience, and I feel like it appears very powdery! I apply it with my finger, dabbing a little across my cheeks to spread it out, then move a big, fluffy brush over it to blend it in. You could do this with your finger too, but I feel the brush adds extra polish overall, and better evenness. It does do a pretty good job in the foundation department, covering up the pores and freckles on my noise and cheeks. But the dry-ness it gives me is just too much, and I hate the powdery-ness. Even with applying moisturizer and primer before hand, I am not happy with it.
Go ahead and try it if you really DO have oily skin. Turns out I do not, it is way too drying even for combination skin.
Product #2: Aqua Tinted BB Cream (SPF20/PA++), Natural Beige
I’ve had this for about 2 weeks, and I LOVE IT.
Got this in the Chinatown branch of The Face Shop, after trying every other version of their BB Cream in the store. A saleslady helped me out, and we tried swatches on the back of my hand. Some of the more pricey BB Creams had some pink undertones to them, which did not match my coloring at all It advertises on the bottle that it uses “deep sea water” to help keep you moisturized. To me this is like when face products say things like, contains Green Tea, Pomegranate, or Charcoal. These things are usually good when ingested….but their value as topical agents is very debatable. So I don’t care about that stuff, I just want myself to look good..and hopefully without ingredients that harm me in the future. Which is why natural sounds best, right? This AQUA BB Cream comes in 2 colors – light beige and natural beige.
The saleslady said that this is good for dry skin, hence the aqua/deep sea water in it. So far, I never felt too dry with it on, and it therefore has yet to get powerdery in texture. This is already a huge improvement over the Oil Cut version for me. The foundation element of it is extremely light…much lighter than the Oil Cut. So only use AQUA if you already have decent skin!! It’s not going to hide your acne. What it does do, and what I love it for, is the subtle glow you get from wearing it. My sister says she can tell that I’m wearing something, but it’s not very apparent. Not powdery or cakey. All I really want is that healthy glow, so this product is perfect. It does cover my pores a little, and freckles just slightly, but again it is nothing drastic. People can still see I have those things. My skin just looks a little “brighter” and healthier with this BB Cream on.
2 weeks in, I would say that I do recommend the Aqua Tinted BB Cream. It’s good for dry skin and gives you a nice glow. But you should still try it on in-store if you can, see if the light or the natural shades are better on your skin. Good for normal to dry skin types.
Here’s a few pics of the samples and goodies you get when you spend money there….different gifts per different money tiers you hit. Too bad cellphone charms are pretty useless now that everyone uses smartphones! But I welcome the free samples.