Premium BB Beauty Balm SPF 45 PA+++

by Dr. Jart  
Price:
$39 - 1.4 fl. oz.
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Category:
Makeup > Tinted Moisturizers/BB Creams > BB Cream
Last Updated:
3/24/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This is a very good BB cream, which essentially means it’s just a good tinted moisturizer with sunscreen. Ample sun protection is provided by the gentle mineral actives titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which, combined with a fragrance-free formula, makes this an excellent option for sensitive skin.

The creamy, lotion-like texture smoothes easily over skin, providing light coverage and a natural-looking satin-matte finish that helps diffuse minor flaws such as slight redness. This does not provide enough coverage to hide brown spots or a markedly uneven skin tone, so if those are your concerns you’ll want to stick with a foundation that offers medium or greater coverage (and make sure it’s rated SPF 15 or greater).

Only one shade is available, and its sheer, ivory-pink coloration is best for fair to light skin tones. Those with medium to tan skin tones will find the color looks grayish, and it makes dark skin tones look pasty white. Although the finish is satin, the amount of mineral actives keeps this from providing a significant amount of hydration. The formula is best for normal to slightly dry or slightly oily skin, and it can feel a bit heavy (but not intolerably so).

BB creams (aka Beauty Balms or Blemish Balms) are supposed to contain beneficial extras to improve skin beyond what daily sun protection does. With this product, you’re getting the skin-lightening ingredient arbutin in an amount that may indeed improve the brown spots and uneven skin tone that result from sun damage. Of course, don’t forget that simply protecting your skin from further sun damage (which this BB cream does) is more important for lightening brown spots and preventing new ones. In addition to the arbutin there are smaller (likely ineffective) amounts of peptides and the cell-communicating ingredient adenosine. The formula also contains the antioxidant soybean oil, but the amount is likely too low for it to make a difference. Still, if you’re curious about BB creams, this has enough going for it that it’s worth an audition.

Note: See More Info for a discussion of what the “PA+++” that follows the SPF rating means.

Pros:
  • Offers ample broad-spectrum protection.
  • Contains gentle mineral sunscreens, making it great for sensitive skin.
  • Fragrance-free formula.
  • Easy to blend and sets to a natural-looking finish.
  • Contains arbutin to improve brown discolorations.
Cons:
  • Offered in only one shade, whose ivory-pink coloration isn’t for all skin tones.
  • Contains a tiny amount of anti-aging peptides and the antioxidant soybean oil.

More Info:

PA followed by plus signs (PA+++, for example) is a designation used in Japan to rate the UVA protection of a sunscreen. The SPF number we see on many sunscreens is about the sun’s UVB rays; there are very few countries that have a UVA rating reference. PA+ indicates “some” UVA protection, whereas PA+++ indicates the highest level of UVA protection.

The PA rating standard is not accepted or used in other countries, but because Dr. Jart+ is sold in Japan, some of their products have begun to include it on the labeling. The concept is interesting, but, ultimately, the SPF rating and the active ingredients matter far more because the method of assessing UVA protection is not widely accepted, primarily because it is difficult to get scientists to agree on what tests to use and what the results mean.

A moisturizer, sunscreen, and treatment serum, this all-in-one product also includes advanced brightening properties. Ideal under makeup, its natural looking coverage minimizes the appearance of imperfections and evens the skin tone. Antioxidant bio-peptides and adenosine protect skin from harsh environmental factors while restoring firmness and elasticity.

Active: Titanium Dioxide (9.015%), Zinc Oxide (6.035%), Other: 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

Dr. Jart+ is a line of skin-care products based in Korea. Its most popular products are the Beauty Balms, known in the United States as BB creams. Before we discuss this brand's contribution to the BB cream craze, we want to state that at this time we are reviewing only the Dr. Jart+ products that are available at U.S. Sephora stores. If you visit the Korean Dr. Jart+ Web site, you'll see several other skin-care products are offered. We might review those in the future, but it's clear that the questions we've received about this brand have to do with the BB creams.

No information is available about an actual Dr. Jart, and our Korean friends tell us there is no actual Dr. Jart, so it is a made up name to help give the line some credibility. According to the company's English Web site, the brand is supposed to be the brainchild of multiple dermatologists as well as 21 "medical specialists." That's a lot of cooks for one product line, but as we've reported before, and as many of you know from experience, there are plenty of doctors' products that are terribly formulated and that come in bad packaging. All that really counts is whether or not you should give this line a closer look, despite the marketing claims

It didn't take much review to discover that there is nothing particularly medical or dermatologist-oriented about these products. The people behind Dr. Jart+ don't have access to any special ingredients other cosmetic companies can't use, and their products contain no unique ingredients that have any research showing that they improve skin. U.S. Sephora stores sell two BB cream options from Dr. Jart+; one of them is great and the other is lacking in too many areas to make it worth purchasing. But the question remains, should you purchase a BB cream at all? They are not must-have products, and most are far from being the "new idea in skin care" they're made out to be. Essentially, whether they're called BB creams, Blemish Balms, or Beauty Balms, all of these products are little more than tinted moisturizers with sunscreen. Some include a helpful amount of beneficial ingredients like antioxidants or skin-lightening agents (vitamin C, arbutin) to improve brown spots. Such discolorations are considered a blemish in Asian cultures, but that's the only distinguishing feature. Compared with standard tinted moisturizers, BB creams typically provide slightly to moderately more coverage. In that sense, they fall between tinted moisturizers and foundations, but many BB creams go on sheer also; so, ultimately, it comes down to the individual products. If you're happily using a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, there's no reason to forgo it in favor of a BB cream, but there's no harm in testing them out to see if you prefer their effect. Most won't notice much difference between them and a tinted moisturizer.

For more information about Dr. Jart+, visit http://www.drjart.co.kr/global/eng/.

Note: The company does not publish a phone number on its Web site, which doesn't bode well for building consumer trust or obtaining any help from customer service, so buyer beware.

Member Comments

Summary of Member Comments

  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
  2. Was this product a good value? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
  3. Would you recommend this product? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
Page of 1
  1. Sara
    Reviewed on Saturday, April 05, 2014
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Value
      3 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    Everything I was looking for
    • This was great for my dry/normal skin. Dewy finish. Fantastic physical sunscreen (mine does say the PA+++). Medium coverage (not too much - not too little). Love the packaging. Skin like!!! The color is the only place where this gets a little dicey. I'm a neutral MAC shade 15-20. This goes on very ashy (it looks gray straight out of tube) but warms up to match by the time I've finished my makeup. I think fair to medium tones could use this. Especially neutral to cool tones.

  2. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, May 31, 2013
    • Results
      3 / 4
    • Recommend
      3 / 4
    • Value
      3 / 4
    No "PA+++" on the packaging
    • The one Sephora sells says only "SPF 45", not "SPF 45/PA+++", although the original one (for Korean market) does say SPF 45/PA+++ Can you comment on that? Thanks!

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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