Since May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month (right, I knew that, of course I knew that, how dare you suggest that my previous posts on sunscreen were just happy coincidences), I thought I might as well keep on with another review of a tinted sunscreen. Or a tinted primer with sunscreen. Or a sunscreen primer that’s tinted. Whatever.
If you cruise around the billions and billions of makeup blogs on the interwebz, you are sure to come across a mention or two of a mysterious product called a BB (beauty balm) cream, which hails from the Asian markets. BB creams are touted to moisturize, act as a primer, provide sunscreen, lighten the skin, heal blemishes and minor skin injuries, act as a tinted moisturizer, record all of your favorite shows on TV, do your dishes, change the oil in your car, bake oatmeal cookies, walk the dog, and predict the winner of America’s Next Top Model (DidYouWatchThatLastCycleOhMyGodSheTotallyDidn’tDeserveToWin). I am only slightly exaggerating. They’re like Jesus in a tube.
Since these are so popular in the Asian market, you would figure it would only be a matter of time before they are released into the wild — which is to say, into the slavering barbaric lands of the West. And indeed, within the last several weeks, the eagle has landed for a couple of these products. Unfortunately, saith the blogosphere, these Westernized BB creams lack most of the awesome power of the originals. Having never tried the originals (but hoping to pick one up someday), I can’t vouch for that. However — just because they aren’t the same as Asian BB creams doesn’t mean they aren’t worth exploring in their own right. I am here today to defend one of these products: Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 PA+++.
First of all, I don’t know why Dr. Jart+ has a + after his name. It makes me want to add something there too. You know, like Ke$ha. I could be Vøxy. Or, Vöxy. Or Voxyº, which symbolizes that I am hot hot hot. Or Voxy± to signify my ambivalence about something. Ideas?
Right. On to the actual review. Forget anything that you might have heard about what other BB creams are like and just see if you like this product for what it is. I have to say, I really love it. (Løve it.)
I would describe this as a tinted primer with SPF. It is heavy on the silicone, so those who are not ‘cone-a-holics may want to avoid this one. It is also, I am delighted to say, definitely, defiantly pink in tone. Hä! We çool-tonéd girlß will tâke contró£ oƒ the wö®l∂ 1 of thésè dª¥z. You wait and see.
While in Hell recently, I used it as a primer in the morning over a liquid sunscreen by Cosmedix, and used the previously-reviewed e.l.f. mineral powder sunscreen as a finishing powder and for touchups during the day. The combination worked great; I didn’t come home with any tanning of facial skin. Now that I am no longer in Hell, and neither the heat nor the UV exposure are quite as extreme, I can eliminate the Cosmedix and just go with the Dr. Jart and the e.l.f.
As a primer, I find it not *quite* sufficient for the areas of my face that really need help in terms of camouflaging larger pores — that is to say, my nose and surrounding territories. This is easily remedied by applying my favorite primer (Too Faced Primed & Poreless) either on top or beneath the Dr. Jart. That is seriously my only complaint about the product. The color is a great match for me; it has enough coverage to even out skin tone but not so much that it looks fake-ly opaque; it wears well through the day; it’s easy to blend — in short, it’s a big tube of WIN. (No Jesus, though. Sorry.)
For those who are wondering about the “+++” business, this is one part of the Asian-market sunscreen effectiveness designation. Not for them our measly UVA/UVB or “SPF 15” designations (though the Dr. Jart people do tell us that this is SPF 45). US sunscreen designations tell us the strength of the UVB protection, but not that of the UVA protection; we are merely warned to choose a sunscreen that says it has “broad spectrum” protection. The PA system (which comes in +, ++, or +++) is like its European compatriot PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening) in that it measures the strength of protection against UVA rays, the part of American sunscreen designations that’s woefully missing. PA+ products offer “some” UVA protection, and correspond to a European PPD grade of 2-4. (Note that’s not at all the same as an SPF of 2-4!) PA++ products are generally what’s touted as your everyday sunscreen, and correspond to European PPD 4-8. PA+++ is the top mark and corresponds to European PPD of 8 or above; obviously this is the kind you want to pick up if you can get it. The product under review today both has an SPF of 45 (UVB) and is designated PA+++ … so, definitely worth picking up from a protection point of view.
This was a dream to apply and blended well with my skin (but remember, I am both light and pink). It lasted all day but was not stubborn when it came time to remove it. The packaging is neat and clean, with a pump top under the black cap. I do wonder a little bit how well the pump will dispense product when the tube starts to approach empty, but that’s a problem for a future date. I will definitely repurchase this, since it can fulfill most of the functions of my foundation and gives a higher level of sun protection to boot. Note that I’m thinking of it as a foundation replacement, not a primer replacement — I’ll still use my Primed and Poreless in conjunction with it to make sure that areas that need extra primer coverage are, well, covered.
The blurriness in the photo at the top is not that I was drunk while I was taking the picture (come on, you were thinking it, you know you were) but is instead due to the odd way the printing is applied to the tube. It’s cool-looking but doesn’t photograph well.
Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 PA+++: $39 at Sephora
Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair. A bit pricey.
Purchase again? Yes (though I’ll also be checking out other BB creams as they hit the U.S. market)
(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)