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A tale of two beauty balms

I had a major oily skin epiphany way back in 2003.  I came to terms with the cold, hard fact that foundation of any variety (even sheer, tinted moisturizer) was not my friend. I accepted this and dutifully stuck to powders when I needed coverage. However, as Kingfisher will vocally attest, I am a product junkie, and have lapsed occasionally, and met with expected, disastrous results. This is one such instance. 

Beauty balms (BB) have been popular in Asian markets for some time now. Consumers loved the 5+ benefits promised by 1 little tube (i.e. sheer coverage/spot minimizing/moisturizing/pore perfecting/anti-aging/SPF). I even tried to convince Kingfisher to pick up a few tubes when he was in Hong Kong. He was bewildered and brought me back a lovely scarf instead. Fast forward to now, BBs are everywhere Stateside, and most come in several shade offerings rather than the 1-shade-fits-all of early BBs. 

Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream: Combo/Oily Skin ($13.20)
I purchased a tube in medium/deep with the hope that this little multi-tasker would help speed up my crazy mornings. Logical, right? I thought it would enable me to roll several steps into one during my a.m. routine. This product is oil-free and provides an SPF of 20.
Claim: all-day shine control, minimizes pores, evens skin tone, and hydrates. 
Pros: skeptical me was surprised that this 1-shade fits many tones product actually did blend in well with my complexion.
Cons: shiney shiney shiney! I slapped some on my face and rushed out to my son's school where his teacher patted me on the back for "making it to the gym so early in the morning." #Fail. 
Bottom line: skip it if you are an oily girl. It does zero to control shine. Also, the SPF 20 is inadequate. I prefer at least 35 if I am going to skip an actual sunscreen.
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream (sephora/$39)
The MUA at Sephora used their fancy Pantone technology (more on this later!) to match my skin tone to shade light/medium.
Claim: "this multitasking tinted cream formula with SPF 35 moisturizes, primes, perfects, controls oil, and protects for flawless skin". 
Pros: blends in easily. Shade seemed to be a good match. I didn't have the dreaded mime-face generated by too light makeup.
Cons: What might be dewy and lovely for some, is full on greasy with my skin. This was better than the Garnier BB in terms of shininess, but neither did it provide much oil control. I wiped it off after less than 2 hours as I could see the greasies coming through in a major way.
Bottom line: unless you are ok with clutching blotting papers at all times, I would avoid this if, like me, you have oily skin.
via sephora


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