Monday, 11 February 2013

Pale Girl Friendly: BB cream swatches on NC15 skin

Instead of a review this week, I thought it would be helpful to swatch my BB cream collection compared to MAC's Studio Fix in NC15.  Although there are a lot of BB cream swatches out there, most swatchers had deeper skin tones than mine, which made finding a match difficult.

To help out other similarly pale ladies out there find the right BB cream for them, I swatched all the BB creams in my collection, ranging from those I only tried in sample sizes up to those I purchased in full-size and wear on a regular basis.  I have tried many others in sample sizes, but unfortunately I tossed them as soon as I realized they were the wrong shade for me, not realizing that I'd be blogging my adventures in palegirl skincare one day. **Update:  I have recently swatched even more bb creams which you can find here.

I will warn you that the light on a mid-afternoon on a chilly day in the desert in February isn't as conducive to taking photos as I had hoped, but I also included photos in the shade which made the contrast between the different BB creams more obvious.

As you can see in the photos below, I have swatched the MAC Studio Fix NC15 along my arm, so each BB cream swatch can be visually compared to it.  The below image in the sun (on the right) is the most colour-accurate of all the photos.

Click here for a full size of the swatches, unblended, in the shade and in the sun

Although the above image taken in direct sunlight provides a better idea of the differences in the BB creams when they are unblended, the picture below with blended swatches is unfortunately a little blown out by the sunlight reflecting off my pasty, pasty white skin.  For that reason, I will be using a close-up of the below image taken in the shade for the swatch breakdowns.

Click here for a full size of the swatches, blended, in the shade and in the sun.

Now for the detailed breakdown for the below close-up:

Urban Decay's Tinted Moisturizer in Halo, the lighest possible shade. Available from the UD site, as well as in-store and online at Ulta and Sephora.
I am not sure if it's obvious in the photos, but this crap is ORANGE, especially after it oxidizes.  This turned me Snooki-coloured, and worst of all it irritated my skin all day by sitting on top of my skin and refusing to blend, rubbing off on everything, wearing in patches, and itching like mad.  This was the final straw for me and western base makeup; when not even tinted moisturizers could save me, I gave up. Not close to NC15.

Holika Holika Clearing Petit BB Cream, which is the lightest of their "Petit" BBs, as swatched and detailed by prettyandcute's blog post.  In addition to being carried on their site, it's also available on amazon, ebay, and various other retailers online.  This was still too dark for me, although it had a beautiful, smooth, hydrating finish.  If you are in the NC20-25 range, I would definitely recommend trying this out. Not close to NC15.

ElishaCoy Premium Gold Mineral BB Cream, which was a nice colour match to my skin, but at $48 for a full size, it was a bit too pricey for baby's first BB cream.  I may get this in a larger size in the future, but I love my Mizon Snail BB so much it's hard to justify purchasing something else when I already have something that works so well.   It wore beautifully throughout the day, and had a pretty, luminous finish.  Available from, as well as amazon and ebay.  It's available in a sample size, so it's worth checking out if you haven't found anything that matches you. NC15-friendly!

Lioele Triple the Solution BB Cream.  If you're thinking from the swatch that this is much darker than the rest, you'd be correct.  This version and the Beyond the Solution BB creams have taken the blogging world by storm, but unfortunately both versions were just way too dark for me.  I have heard that the formula, finish, and wear is fantastic, but again this was just so dark/orange on me, that I wasn't able to wear it.  Available from prettyandcute  in full and sample sizes (I think the BB creams are eligible for their special offers) and various places online, but Lioele changes their packaging regularly to discourage fakes, which implies to me that they're a target for them. Not close to NC15.

Skin79 Diamond Pearl Luminous BB Cream.  Although it says that it's a BB cream, this is more of a liquid highlighter.  It doesn't have much coverage to speak of, and although the swatch doesn't show it, it's just reflective particles suspended in liquid.  I suppose you could mix this with a foundation or BB cream to make it more shiny, but it's so shiny I wouldn't use it as anything but a traditional highlighter.  I have this in a deluxe sample set of 4, which is very popular and available online on prettyandcute, amazon, ebay, and various other places online.

Skin79 Diamond The Prestige Beblesh Balm.  This is also quite shiny, but is a true BB cream, compared to the Pearl above.  When I attempted to wear it, I was too distracted by the shiny finish to comment much on the shade, but I'd say suited to NC20.  It would also do as a highlighter for a more subtle glow on cheekbones, etc.  It's also part of the sample set of 4, and in full size from the Skin79 site, prettyandcute, amazon, ebay, etc. Not close to NC15.

Skin79 VIP Gold Super Plus Beblesh Balm.  This is a very popular BB cream, and although it's a little dark/grey for me, it had a nice finish and feel on the skin. NC20+ would be fine, I think.  Available from prettyandcute, the Skin79 site, amazon, ebay, etc, in a full size, and is part of the 4 sample pack.  As one of the popular Skin79 BB creams, it's often faked, so be cautious when buying from amazon or ebay. Not close to NC15

Skin79 Hot Pink Super Plus Beblesh Balm, which along with Missha, is the most common 'starter' BB cream that people try when they first learn about BB creams.  It's very popular but it's also something people seem to graduate from very quickly.  As you can see from the swatch, it's quite dark and very gray; this worsens as it oxidizes.   It's not at all a good colourmatch for me, I would say definitely NC20 or darker.  The Hot Pink is the most commonly faked BB cream, so stick to safe vendors if possible, like the Skin79 site, prettyandcute (cheapest at $22), mysune, and other brick-and-mortar or official vendors. It's also available in the sample 4 pack. Not close to NC15.

Skin79 Super Plus Triple Functions BB Vital Cream, (reviewed here) commonly called Orange Vita (not a typo) is relatively new release from Skin79 as a variation on their ever-popular Hot Pink version.  It's more opaque than any other BB cream I have, and is what I choose if my skin has erupted to the point where normal BB creams can't help.  It's touted as the solution for acne-prone, oily skin. It's a good match for NC15, and is definitely on the yellow side, so if you find most BB creams too pink or gray, try this one.  The downside of the Orange formula being so good at coverage and oil control is that it can be very drying and clings to healing blemishes or skin flakes. Available from Skin79's site, prettyandcute, amazon, ebay, and other vendors.  It's not as popular as the Hot Pink, but I would still be cautious of fakes.  NC15-friendly!

Mizon Snail Repair Blemish Balm, which is my favourite, go-to BB cream (reviewed here) is a decent colourmatch for NC15-NC20 as you can see in the swatch close-up.  I absolutely love this BB cream and cannot say enough good things about it, so please read the review for all it's quirks and benefits.  It's relatively unknown right now, which makes it hard to get in the US (I had to buy mine off ebay), but after begging prettyandcute back in November to consider carrying this BB cream, I am pleased to report that they have started carrying Mizon and I have been promised they will have the Snail Repair BB in stock in about a month!  NC15-friendly!

Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream in #13 Milky Beige, is the lightest BB cream I have.  Missha's Perfect Cover is also a popular 'starter' BB cream, and it has one of the widest colour ranges available from true (meaning Asian) BB creams.  The #13 is the closest to my actual skin tone of any BB cream I have, being neither too yellow nor too pink, and best of all it's light enough for me.  However, I don't wear this BB cream often because I feel like it's not as friendly towards my skin as the Mizon.  I wear it on special occasions when I'm doing a full-out made-up face.  As you can see from the swatch, it's even lighter than NC15, so it's an excellent choice for us pale girls.  My mother is NW15, and she can wear this as well.  Available from Missha's US site, prettyandcute (called 'bright beige'), amazon, ebay, and various other online vendors. NW15 and NC15-friendly!

I hope this giant flood of swatches has been useful to those hunting for a solid lead on NC15 suitable BB creams.  If you would like a more involved comparison of specific BBs I have, please drop me a comment, or let me know if you have a pale-friendly BB cream to recommend!

All the best,

*Disclaimer: All products I review are 100% purchased with my own money and my opinions are entirely my own. 


  1. Wow, awesome post-thank you for putting it together! I'm a bit darker than you and I can get away with the Lioele, which I'm happy about, because it's been my favorite of the BB creams I've tried so far! So far I've just tried it the Skin79 BB creams that come in the pack from Pretty and Cute. I think I should try a few more after seeing how much the shades differ though-there might be something even better for me out there!

  2. I love skin79 orange vita!! You should try holika holkia aqua petit jelly bb cream it's even lighter than skin79 orange :) and as a fellow pale being with acne prone skin it doesn't break me out at all! I love your blog and I'm so glad I found it, I love asain skincare and because of your reviews I just ordered so many new products :p

    1. Thanks for the love! It's not easy being pale, is it? ;) Although I have heard great reviews on the Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly, with the lower SPF I worry I would need to add an extra layer of sun protection and I haven't yet found a sunscreen that doesn't break me out.

      Which products did you decide to order?

    2. That's really the only downside of the HH aqua petit bb, I also have a problem with most SPF lotions but I've had good luck with La Roche Posay. I ended up ordering two Holika Holika product (I'm a sucker for their packaging) the soda pore cleansing oil and the water march moisture green cream. I'm so excited to try them =^o.o^=

    3. Thank you SOOOO much! You've done all the leg work for me! Probably saved me a bunch of time, and money, tediously testing out each BB cream I come across only to be left with a mostly full container rolling around in my cupboard. So, thank you again!!!

    4. I totally agree, the downside of BB creams is they are so hit-and-miss when it comes to the shades, and it's usually miss!

  3. Oh damnit, I put that comment in the wrong place. SO SORRY! *grovels*

    1. Haha, no worries! It's a little terrifying how many mostly full BB creams I have floating around in my makeup collection, and by "collection" I mean two small tubs full of BB creams with a little makeup sprinkled here and there.

  4. You wouldn't believe how much this post has helped me! I'm on the hunt for an asian bb cream that will work with my not-so-warm NW15 skin tone. Do you have any recommendations??? :)

    1. Glad it was helpful! By "warm" do you mean yellow-toned or pink-toned? If you are looking for a pink-toned BB cream that's really pale, the Missha #13 is the pinkest BB cream I've tried yet, although it's not my favourite in terms of skin-friendliness.

  5. Thank you SO much!! My skin has very pink undertones, and color matching means the world to me (and proves to be pretty difficult). I can't stand walking around with a different colored face compared to the rest of my body.

  6. Hi, I just found your blog and I want to thank you so much for writing it.
    I have a hard time finding cosmetics for my skin tone, since I live in a country where being tan is the way to go.
    My first BB Cream was Missha #13, and although I'm glad it matched my skin tone perfectly, it is kind of disappointing to see that other BB Creams would probably be too dark.
    Anyway, thank you for the great reviews!

  7. So helpful! You are awesome!
    I am relatively neutral in colouring with some redness in my cheeks, but I am still lighter than the fairest NC/NW foundations, so finding a BB cream has been especially tricky for me. Something from the drugstore isn't really going to work on me; those are all way too dark. My first BB was Missha #13 and it was a decent match, but I too felt it was not so good to my skin. I don't have oily skin, but it kind of made it seem that way. I am going to try Skin 79 Orange Vita, thanks to your great swatches and reviews. It seems like a better fit for me. Thanks!

  8. Thank you soooo much for this blog! As a fellow NC15'er with a knack for picking the wrong shades, I found this really helpful. I bought the Mizon Snail Repair BB cream, and it is a perfect match! It looks fresh and natural, and lets my freckles show through, which I love. Great recommendation!

  9. thank you for the post. what about if you are a NW20? Have you tried the NW-15 for a match, from your arm it appears you look like a cool skin tone, (pink undertones, silver looks better on you) I wear NW-20 and I am a med color brunette with blue-green eyes, blue/green veins, slight pink undertones. I tan okay in the summer and build a nice color.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I am so sorry, since I am not NW20 (I'm a NC10, thereabouts, with a strong yellow undertone on my neck) I am afraid I don't have any NW20 recommendations. I'd try googling "NW20 BB cream" as I find that tends to give the best results!

      Take care!

  10. I just wanted to comment and tell you thank you for this post. Many times, I have consulted your swatches and it helps every time. So much that I have this post bookmarked! Haha. I'm NW10 in MAC and the Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in No.13 Milky Beige is the absolute best match I've ever found for my dry yet acne-prone skin, the only problem is I am looking for something more long-wearing. It's a goddamn headache!

  11. This is a really helpful post. I am an NW13 and ordering BB creams online can be hard if you can't get an accurate comparison of the shades. I bought the Missha BB cream in No.21 and I did find that the tone was fine for me but I guess I probably could have gone a shade up. My only issue with that one is that it really broke me out, I believe that it was the mineral oil that did it to me. I sometimes have a hard time finding a BB cream for my combo-oily acne prone skin! A lot are either too dewy and slide off or are too thick and break me out. I guess the search will continue!