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).
Two shades are now available, and both are relatively sheer. Light-to-Medium is ivory-pink and is best for fair to light skin tones. Medium-to-Deep is best for those with tan to deeper skin tones. 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).
Note: Although this foundation contains alcohol, the ingredients that precede it make up the bulk of the formula. Because the alcohol is present in such a minute concentration, we aren't concerned about it irritating/damaging skin.
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.
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+ At-a-Glance
Strengths: The BB creams (Beauty Balms) provide broad-spectrum sun protection and are fragrance-free.
Weaknesses: Expensive; BB creams are little more than tinted moisturizers with sunscreen; the masks are gimmicky and minimally helpful for skin.
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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