Water Fuse Smart Gel BB Ultra Hydrating + Memory Activated Formula Broad Spectrum SPF 30

by Dr. Jart  
Price:
$36 - 1 fl. oz.
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Category:
Makeup > Tinted Moisturizers/BB Creams > BB Cream
Last Updated:
7/19/2013
Jar Packaging:
Yes
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This BB cream has a sponge-like, gel texture that looks thick in its jar packaging but goes on light and smooth, setting to a satin matte finish suitable for oily or combination skin. The fragrance-free formula has somewhat of an "off" smell that takes some getting used to, but it does provide reliable broad-spectrum sun protection via its in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen.

Only two shades are offered and while both are workable, they're also decidedly warm-toned. Each has a distinctive golden peach undertone that should be tested in store before purchasing—something that's a best practice for any foundation or tinted moisturizer, the latter being what this BB cream (OK, "gel") really is. That's the thing with BB creams; they're positioned as being new and revolutionary when, at least in the U.S. market, they're essentially tinted moisturizers with sunscreen.

BB creams are said to be a step above tinted moisturizers because they treat your skin to beneficial ingredients most tinted moisturizers lack. In the case of Water Fuse Smart Gel, you're getting some of those ingredients, most notably niacinamide. Although niacinamide is generally stable in the presence of light and air, the plant extracts (each of which has antioxidant ability) are not, which makes this BB's jar packaging an issue; see More Info for details.

On balance, this is an OK but pricey option if you prefer sheer to light, natural-looking coverage and find that one of the two shades matches your skin. Note that the "works like memory foam" technology discussed in this product's claims doesn't really materialize once this is on your face. This simply has a smooth finish that, like other BB creams and foundations, can help reduce the appearance of large pores.

Pros:
  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Sheer to light, natural-looking coverage and finish.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Contains a good amount of cell-communicating ingredient niacinamide.
Cons:
  • Jar packaging won't keep light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable and is just plain messy to use.
  • Limited shade range and both shades are decidedly warm-toned.
  • Has an "off" scent that doesn't soften as much as it should once this sets.
More Info:

The fact that this BB cream/gel is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818-829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271-288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197-203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1-32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 7%; Octinoxate 7%; Octisalate 4%; Octocrylene 2%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, PEG-240 HDI Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Niacinamide, Dipropylene Glycol, Sorbitan Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Beeswax, Methylparaben, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Saussurea Involucrata Extract, Garcinia Mangostana Peel Extract, Leucojum Aestivum Bulb Extract, Iron Oxides.

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.

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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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