Product Review: Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45

BB stands for beauty or blemish balm.  They were all the rage overseas with Japan and Korea leading the way.  I wrote a blog post about the difference in BB, CC and tinted moisturizers which can be helpful before digging into this review.

BB creams are fantastic options for those who want more than sheer coverage, don’t want the sometimes heavy or clogging feel of full foundation, and want a multi tasker with SPF and skin-improving properties. The down sides is that they can be hard to color match with the fairest and darker skin colors being left with little to no options, and sometimes finishes can be spotty.

Dr. Jart, a Korean-based brand focused on skin care readily available at Sephora, has a range of BB creams that target different skin needs.  They are all very different, and the Premium Beauty Balm is no exception.

Ingredients – Dr. Jart is a Korean company, and focuses on skin care as much as the makeup aspect.  Since my 20s I’ve been willing to forego coverage for skin care so this is a total win for me.  This BB cream has arbutin to lighten skin, hefty doses of UVA/UVB filters for an impressive 45 SPF and does not cause irritation.  The ‘cones, which can be problematic for some, creates a smooth surface.

List from Sephora’s website:

Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide: Provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
-Bio-Peptide Complex: Provides antiaging properties and supports natural collagen.
-Arbutin: Brightens skin; evens skin tone.
-Adenosine: Improves elasticity and firms skin.

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Arbutin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Magnesium Sulfate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Calcium Stearate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Polysorbate 80, Propylene Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Talc, Tocopheryl Acetate, Adenosine, Alcohol, Lecithin, rh-Oligopeptide-1, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, PVP, Platinum Powder, Steareth-20, Chrysin, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide.

Application – The product comes in a hard plastic pump (more on this in the packaging section).  One pump seemed to not be quite enough to cover my face and neck.  Two was too much.  So, for me 1.5 pumps is where it’s at.  I put this on with my fingers after I put my serums and moisturizers on and out the door I go.  It spreads easily, isn’t streaky and blends well into the skin. Lots of people use beauty blenders or brushes, but for me I’m no fuss no muss and fingers works just fine for me!

Color/Finish – Dr. Jart has two color options: light/medium and medium/tan which is newer to the arsenal.  I have only used the light/medium, so my review will focus on that.  The color is a light beige with a slightly gray cast to it.  This is typical in many Korean BB creams that are geared towards lighter skin tones.  It does adjust slightly once it dries down to fit an impressive amount of varying shades of skin.  For me it’s a fantastic color match as I range in a golden fair base but could pass for neutral with some redness, but for those with very warm undertones may find it makes you look washed out. The finish is slightly to definitely dewy depending on the types of moisturizers (if you use one) you put on before this.  Sometimes I do get a bit of high-wattage going on with particularly emolient moisturizers that I need to tone down with powder.  If you don’t like that finish or have very oily skin, this might not be for you.  You can also use that to your advantage if you have extremely dry skin – put on moisturizer and immediately follow up with this to have an easier time spreading. For those with dry or dull skin, this provides a beautiful finish that will give you a youthful glow without the down sides of a heavy foundation. It is light to light/medium coverage which does well with average redness but will not fully cover acne or dark circles.  Think your skin, but better.

Packaging – You will see 99% of reviews raving from the rooftops about this product.  And you’ll see a ton of complaints about the packaging.  The package is a hard plastic tube with a pump top.  If the tube lays on its side, you have to pump it a ton of times to get the product out.  You also can’t get the last drop, which I can only imagine how much is wasted without being able to squeeze or get into the tube.  It can be faulty, which is very annoying.  Not enough to keep me and the hordes of loyal followers away, though.

Overall – This product is a great one for sensitive, fair skin and is a Certified Readhead Best.  I still use other products (including sunscreen) but this can be a great multi-use product for people who don’t want a lot of steps in their routine.  At 45 SPF it’s great for protecting the skin and what I love most about it is that my skin looks and feels healthier when I wear it.  I’ve strayed many times over the years and although I may find a formula with a silky finish that can’t be topped (like Dior’s Hydralife) inevitably I start getting dehydrated and break out.  This one keeps me looking fresh and rejuvenated and washes off easily and CLEAN.  My acne subsides, and my skin looks more hydrated and bouncy when I use this.  And if I (gasp) fall asleep in it, I don’t pay with breakouts the next day. Definitely a great buy for winter dry skin.  Summer may need some extra setting powder.  At almost $40 it’s not cheap, but when you factor in the performance, convenience and that you don’t necessarily need a foundation, moisturizer or sunscreen, it’s definitely worth the splurge.  I’ll keep buying this and wishing they change the packaging for years to come!

Overall – 5/5

Packaging – 2/5

Price – $$$$$

Have you used Dr. Jart’s BB creams? Drop us a line in the comments.


Product Review: Cover FX Custom Cover Drops

Sometimes there’s a product that comes out that just…smart.  Leave it to the problem solving geniuses from Cover FX to come out with this innovative product that is an Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner.

Enter Cover FX’s Custom Cover Drops.

What makes this product different than your run-of-the-mill foundation is that it’s not foundation at all.  It’s actual pigment, and available in a surprisingly large range of shades. The idea is that you can customize your color and your coverage with just a few drops.

What it is:

Pigmented color drops that allow you to customize your color, coverage and finish depending on the base that you choose to add it to.


Designed to give you a slippery base, the ingredients scream ‘cones.  Those are things like silicone and dimethicone which give products like primers, the smooth appearance.  This isn’t problematic unless ‘cones cause you to break out, which they do to me.  There is also alcohol in here, but it’s at the bottom of the list.  Absent are SPF or any skin-improving properties, so your base should include these items separately.  It does include mica and silica which help to provide some sheen and brightness to a rather heavy formula.

List from Sephora’s Website: Ethyl Trisiloxane, Caprylyl Methicone, Bis-Hydroxyethoxypropyl Dimethicone, Isododecane, Dimethicone, Mica, Jojoba Esters, Triethylhexanoin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Silica, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Water, Alcohol, Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax, Polyglycerin-3. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

ReadHead’s Thoughts:

Why I Bought It: I am really hard on foundations and have extremely high expectations.  I have tried just about every foundation and BB cream out there.  My skin is pale but with golden undertones, and redness in my cheeks.  My hair color of balayaged dark roots and blonde highlights tones down some of the redness, but I need something that doesn’t wash me out.  I am acne prone. and want something that will better my skin vs. just cover it up.  I don’t want a mask, but I need some coverage. I don’t want matte, but don’t want to glow like an oily disco ball. I am every foundation developer’s nightmare.

The thought was that my existing BB or lotion chock full of goodies would be a good base for this, when I want more coverage.

In-Store Application: I was color-tested by a sales associate at Sephora. (Pro tip: this is no knock on them, but never trust being tested.  It’s about 20% that they are correct.  I blame bad lighting, the fact that you’re almost never makeup-free to start, and oxidation. Give a product 3-5 hours and daylight…you’ll see what I mean.) She took a sample of my current day cream and added 2 drops of the concentrated pigmented drops to make a skin color-like concoction that she put on me with a foundation brush. It went on pretty well and surprisingly was  pretty high coverage for what I was used to.

At-Home Application: I tried this again at home and found that if you have the least bit of dryness in your skin, moisturizer is key.  I put a dollop of my moisturizer and two drops directly onto it and mixed.  It was pretty easy, but was somewhat messy.

Packaging: This product is a push down dropper in an opaque glass container.  I really dislike it in just about every way.  The pigment gets into the screw top part of the dropper.  Because it’s a dropper, you have product on your hand, which gets all over, you try to dispense it, some inevitably gets on the side, and then you find random pigment blobs on your hand, on the side of the bottle…just about everywhere.  I find that if the product dries out (which is likely because this will last you until the end of time) the dropper gets clogged.

Overall: This product covers imperfections like hyperpigmentation and redness really well, but I found that it fell flat for providing a smooth canvas which is suprising given the amount of ‘cones.  You’ll have to work to find a base and primer perhaps that keeps this from accentuating the things you don’t want people to see if you’ve got rough texture on your skin.  I would describe it as that it covers vs blurs. BUT if you can find the magic ingredients to make it work for your skin type, and don’t mind a little mess, this product would be great for just about any occasion and can be considered more economical because it will last a really long time. For me, this accentuated my large pores and looked a bit mask-like and cakey.  Full disclosure I don’t wear high coverage foundation often, so that could be a part of it.  I decided to keep it because it beats buying a full-coverage foundation that I’ll never use and likely won’t have as good of ingredients for a base.  The idea is spot-on, but this is a one-time purchase for me.

Overall: 3/5

Packaging: 2/5

Price: $$$$$

Have you used Cover FX Custom Drops?  Drop us a line in the comments.


The AA BB CCs of today’s foundation foilers

Those of us with finicky and/or fair skin have all been there searching for what seems like eternity for the right color or formulation of foundation that fits our skin type.  When it seems like there’s something that we find, we hear of something new shouting at us to try it.  BB creams, CC creams, tinted moisturizers, and even no makeup-makeup have hit the shelves with a large following and marketing budget to boot.

So, what’s it all about?

BB, or beauty (sometimes also called blemish) balm creams, are nothing new in their purpose.  They are formulated like a tinted moisturizer with sheer to medium coverage depending on the type but are formulated to multi-task with skin-benefiting ingredients like sun protection, arbutin to lighten dark spots, retinol for wrinkles and antioxidants to treat free radical stress.  The Korean makeup and skin care companies were leaders in the BB cream craze, with western companies from Dior to L’Oréal jumping on the bandwagon.

CC, or color correcting creams, are like BB creams but tend to be slightly thicker to provide color correcting help to cover hyper pigmentation, inflamed acne or redness.

The pros are that they provide a range of finishes and can help you cut down on steps if you’re a busy go-getter.  Cons are that shades are generally limited with the fairest and deeper skin tones being left to find other alternatives.

ReadHead’s Favorites

Dr. Jart Premium – gives a light-medium coverage and a satin finish.  This power BB packs great ingredients, skin lighteners, high SPF and is great for sensitive skin.

Lumene CC Cream – excellent in coverage and comes in two shades so you can mix and match. Gives a satin-matte finish for dimension without shine and a drugstore price.

Dior HydraLife – a western BB cream with 30+ SPF, a beautiful finish and skin-improving properties. This one is pricey and shades are limited.  Skip this if you’re oily or very fair.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer – the original western BB in my opinion, this inexpensive yet powerful tinted moisturizer comes chock full of antioxidants and wrinkle-fighting retinol.  This one provides ultra sheer coverage and is perfect for the no makeup days you just want a little something extra. Plus, you can find this in almost any drugstore.

Skin79 Pink – This Korean BB cream provides ultra coverage, cute packaging and high SPF.  If you’re into Korean skin care, these are great options for the fair skinned. Watch out for dupes as this one is frequently counterfeit.

Have a favorite BB or CC cream? Drop us a line in the comments.