Let me beat this dead horse right off the bat: the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB cream/8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector isn't a true-blue BB cream like the kind you get in Asia. Without getting exhaustive about the differences I've noticed between American and Asian BB creams, I'll just say that Asian BB creams are generally a little thicker and creamier, with more coverage and some skincare benefits. American BB creams are usually just tinted moisturizers with a higher SPF, and they slap the words "BB cream" on the tube to make them more appealing to trend-followers. I don't say that to be derisive, just to let you know that, if you're wondering how this differs from a regular foundation, it differs because it's really a tinted moisturizer with a fancy label. In fact, some brands have just rebranded their tinted moisturizers as "BB creams" without actually changing the formula--CoverGirl, I'm looking at you.
That being said, this product does claim to have 8 different skincare benefits. Purportedly, this product:
- blurs imperfections,
- adjusts to skin-tone,
- SPF 30 protects,
- 0% oil and other heavy ingredients.
Let's start with the rest of the basic packaging, pricing, and label information. The Dream Fresh BB cream seems to retail for $7-9 for 1 ounce of product. I got the lightest shade. I actually really like the tube of this. The colors are nice, it's small and convenient for a purse, and the keywords on the front are pretty smart, considering the average shopper doesn't read the fine print on the back of makeup labels. It points out that the SPF comes from titanium dioxide, which is known for flashing back in photography, and its referred to as a "skin perfector," "BB cream," and a "sheer tint." Not once is it referred to as a foundation or an honest-to-goodness skincare product. The only issue I have is that the shade name is only on the front, and when you think about it, "light sheer tint" could easily be read as 3 adjectives: "So this is a light, sheer tint?" I actually had to google and check to see where the shade name is, which is when I noticed tubes that said "deep sheer tint," but I could just be really stupid.
The other thing that's tricky about the label is that it recommends reapplying the product every 2 hours. People seem to read that and flip out. "How do you reapply your base every 2 hours without ruining your makeup?!" But of course, it's all about semantics and organization: you have to reapply the Dream Fresh BB cream every 2 hours for sunscreen use. If you're just using it as a foundation, or if you've used a stronger sunscreen under/over the BB cream, eh, do one application.
The actual product comes out of this little squeeze nozzle. The Light shade wasn't yellow or pink, just kind of...peach. Not orange, not neutral-beige, but a mostly-neutral peach. It's not unflattering, but it is hard to describe, and I apologize for that. The texture is thin and kind of creamy, very similar to a body lotion, and it also feels like a body lotion when you apply it to your face. Some people have called this product "sticky" once applied, but I actually found that it dried down to a smooth finish after about 2-3 minutes. There's a very, very faint sunscreen smell if you sniff the tube, but I didn't notice it after application.
The first time I used the Dream Fresh BB cream, I used 2 pea-sized dollops and blended them in with my fingers. Then I lightly dusted my face with my MAC MSFN in Light. The second time I used the product, I used about 3 pea-sized dollops of product and applied it with my Real Techniques Expert Fact Brush, then powdered down again. I found that the BB cream looked just as good when I used my fingers, plus I used less product and applied it faster, so I decided to stick with that application method. Today I applied the BB cream with my fingers and didn't powder down (which of course alters the performance of the product), then took pictures throughout the day.
Here's what the product looks like right after application. It provides a sheer coverage, like the tube says. My blemishes and redness are less visible, but aren't completely covered, either, which matches the claim that it blurs imperfections rather than covering or hiding them. After the initial application on my combination-dry skin, it looks demi-matte. I actually don't like it right after I apply it, since I only find matte foundations attractive on my skin if they provide decent coverage. Also, notice that it's a decent match to my N10 neck, albeit a bit too peachy.
And for those who missed it, here's what my skin looked like after I added some concealer and highlighter. Again, I specifically skipped powder and setting spray to see how this product worked on its own. Click here for the original post with the list of products I used.
Then I took some time lapse photos throughout the day!
As you can see, the product gets a bit dewier after about 30 minutes to an hour, even on the dryer parts of my face, which I actually like. Reviews from people with oily skin have generally trashed the "sudden dewiness" that develops, and that makes sense: oily-skinned folks generally don't want to make themselves look shinier. But if your skin is dry to normal, and if it's like my skin and has the magical ability to make just about every foundation apply matte, that's kind of refreshing. I probably look extra shiny in the second picture, and my oils were popping up a bit more in my T-zone, but a good portion of that shine is from the MAC Cream Color Base in Hush showing up better in that particular photo. I had to take the end-of-the-day photo in artificial light, as it was 10pm. However, you can still see that the product stayed on decently on my drier areas, got shiny in my T-zone, and can flash back in photography, as high-SPF products often do. In short, it fades a bit on my oily areas, but looks good after a full 8-hour day when you consider that it's a light, dewy tinted moisturizer that isn't advertised as a long-wearing product.
You may also be able to see that this is a bit dark for me, especially in that first photo. Products that "adjust shade" don't do that with some kind of mystical chemical magic. They usually do it via friction (ie, some part of the product breaks down as you rub it in more and more), by being sheer enough to match a small range of skintones, or by oxidizing to a different shade. The Maybelline Dream Fresh BB cream kind of does a mixture of the last 2: it's a sheer product, so you don't have to match it perfectly to your skintone, and it oxidizes a shade darker than it applies. I can get away with wearing this product, especially now that my face is slightly tanned from walking and my powders match my neck, but it's a better match for true-blue N15-20 skin.
One of the coolest things about this foundation, though, is that my skin actually looks and feels smoother than usual after I've removed it and washed my face. I think that fits in well with the claims that it "hydrates," "brightens," and "smooths" the skin, though I don't think it replaces regular skincare or does anything super-stupendous. Rather, I think it's just a light, smooth formula that doesn't dry me out or clog my sensitive skin the way a lot of products do, hence the "brighter" appearance.
Overall, I really like this product. I do think that, unless you have really dry skin, you'll want to powder down your oily areas, and those with outright oily skin will probably want to take a pass. It also doesn't match my uber-pale skin, which is a shame, as I'd totally pack this BB cream for my upcoming beach trip if it did. But the shade range is otherwise decent, it looks and feels quite lovely on the skin, and it does what it claims to do, provided you examine said claims with a critical eye.
Rating: 4 out of 5