Swatch & Review: Erborian Ginseng BB Cream — the Magic Solution to Skincare + Base Makeup?

Hey everybody!

I promised you yesterday that I will buckle down and write out this review, and here it is!

BB Cream is a product that holds all sorts of wonderful promises, and the Erborian Ginseng one is no exception. It promises to even out the skin tone and camouflage the imperfections as well as give a “baby skin” effect that feels perfect to the touch. The imperfections are supposed to be erased, and texture of the skin refined. It can be used with or without your day cream and functions as a perfect base of your makeup (I loosely translated the instructions on the box).

When I tried it out for the first time, I was a little shocked. The BB Cream has quite a thick texture, perhaps even thicker than most foundations. After I blended it in, it had a gray cast, and the shade is obviously lighter than my skin tone. I was not sure how to react, but luckily after 10 minutes or so the gray cast disappeared, and the shade blended in with my skin tone.

Here I am going to show you the lighter shade on the back of my hand. Note it was taken right after I applied it, and there was way too much for the back of my hand anyways, so you see the gray cast and shade mismatch I’m talking about:

Here is a picture of my face with the BB cream blended into the left side, but bare on the right side. It was taken 15-20 minutes after I applied it, so the difference in shade is minuscule (I would say it’s there, and the undertone is not as yellow as my own, but if you use the color of my neck as reference it’s not very far off):

Here is a closeup of the side with BB cream. I do think it reduces my pigmentation spots and dark circle (without covering them up completely, but then again that should be the concealer’s job):

I have also received a small packet of the BB Cream in Dore (golden), so I thought I’d swatch for you guys even though the shade is obviously darker than my own:

What I like about this BB cream is that it does even out my skin tone and cover imperfections to a certain extent. I have never been very picky about coverage in terms of base makeup, so this level of coverage is just fine by me. However, I can’t really use this without my regular lotion. It is not hydrating enough for my cheeks, but at the same time it doesn’t really control the sebum production in my T-zone, either. I have never had any problems with my foundation not staying in place, but I did test it out as a foundation primer. Unfortunately I am not the biggest fan of too many layers of base products, and I do think using a foundation over this BB cream makes it look a little too cakey/powdery for my liking.

All in all, the best way for me to use this BB cream is to use it after my lotion on its own. You really only need a VERY tiny bit each time. Just put small dots of this on your face and start blending it in, adding more if you feel the need to. I like the fact that it has an SPF 25. I have tried to take photos with flash in a poorly-lit room, and it didn’t give me the ghost face effect so good job!

Here is one last picture of me wearing this BB cream on my left cheek under the foundation. If you look VERY closely, you will notice the left side is slightly more powdery-looking, and the undertone is not as yellow as my own, but that’s only if you look VERY closely.

Bottom line: Depending on your skin type, you might or might not be able to use this as a lotion and foundation replacement at the same time. If your skin is oilier you might get away with it, but with my normal cheeks that lean dry when the seasons are changing, I do need to use a lotion underneath it. Again, depending on how much coverage you want, a foundation on top of this BB cream might be a little heavy-looking. However, I do like the fact that it has a good SPF without giving a white cast in flash photography!

What do you think? What BB creams you have tried? Are you a fan?

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

Disclosure: The product mentioned in this review is sent by the PR for my consideration. All opinions are honest and my own. I am in no way compensated for this review. I have always been, and will always be committed ONLY to my readers.

The full-size tube of Erborian BB cream contains 45ml and retails for 32 euros exclusively at ICI PARIS XL. Here’s the ingredient list if you’re interested in taking a look:

  • Natasha Spark

    this is a great review! I’m been checking out BB creams a lot lately (since it’s all the rage it seems) and I’ve tried a few and liked them. I haven’t experienced that grey cast that so many people have mentioned, I’m wondering if it could be the SPF in the BB cream? Hmm

    • Sunny

      Hey Natasha, I don’t know whether the gray cast is associated with the SPF. Not everything that has an SPF gives a gray cast, but in this case at least the gray cast disappears, so phew!

  • S.

    I’ve tried only the Garnier one!
    xxx from Italy

    • Sunny

      Thanks hon! I checked your blog and apparently you like the Garnier BB cream. That’s great news :)

  • Phil (@Mirror_Reality)

    Haha the dark one really is too dark..

    • Sunny

      I know right? Makes me look… orange almost!

  • lippylash

    I am really curious to try it out on myself :)

    • Sunny

      Hey Natasha, you should try that! I think they have samples at every IPXL :)

  • Diana F. (@DianaAPBL)

    My sister uses this one and swears by it!

    • Sunny

      That’s great! My cheeks are just a little drier nowadays and that’s why I need to use my lotion underneath this :)

  • lescreationsdenanni

    For me it was also the 1st BB Cream I used & I was as shocked as you 😉 (I also blogged about it…) But the Garnier BB Cream is WAUW! At least for me. For over a month now I use it every day. My Youth Code Serum & then the BB on top. No foundation just a little under eye concealer (I prefer foundation in wintertime…) I’m almost out of product and i’m doubting to buy the Garnier again or try out the L’Oreal. But I guess I’ll just stick to my Garnier one! Love the smell of it BTW 😉

    • Sunny

      Thanks for the recommendation Nanni! The gray cast does disappear though, so it’s not that bad! I’ll have to try the Garnier one at some point, because apparently everybody loves it!

  • Teri

    Ugh Sunny, why do you have such perfect skin! I think the match is really good, it does needs some time to adjust a bit. I don’t really understand why they say this is a good skin base. I would never apply foundation over this, it’s just to much! But I like the product on its own :).

    • Sunny

      I don’t have perfect skin, REALLY! I’m not going to say I have bad skin, but there’s stuff I prefer nobody sees :p Unless you really need a lot of coverage just the BB cream or foundation should be enough. I can understand how some people really need more layers though, so I’m not going to judge :p

  • marijke04

    Nice review!

    • Sunny

      Thanks Marijke! xx

  • Jessica

    I wish I’d known they had a lighter version! When I was last in France I desperately wanted to try this and purchased the only one I saw available which was the darker shade. It just didn’t work for me at all!

    ♥ Jessica

    • Sunny

      Hey Jessica, they do! I can see why the darker shade doesn’t work for you. I guess there’s a limit to color adjustment.

  • Lena

    oooh the finish is really flawless!
    however, i don’t see much of different between right and left side! :)
    i still prefer conventional foundation..but good bb cream comes in handy when i am in rush. :)

    • Sunny

      Hey Lena, there is A LITTLE difference, but just a little *phew*

      I want to look into BB creams or tinted moisturizers because summer is coming, and foundation might feel a lil heavy for summer. You’re right about it saving time though! Not having to take my brush out sometimes could be a bliss :)

  • Sara

    Wow, this is just gorgeous. What a beautiful finish. Then again, your skin is already perfect! :)

    • Sunny

      Thank you Sara! You’re too nice! My skin is not perfect though. Sometimes it decides to develop huge pimples that don’t go away for weeks!

  • Peggy Timmermans Visagie

    Well, I still don’t know what to think of BB creams…i have never had one that ‘did well’ for my skin. Most of them are like a tinted moisturizer with a glow (Garnier, Mac) or one with a thicker structure (Estee Lauder) But does it make you skin better in the end…nah…don’t think so. Haven’t tried this one yet.

    • Sunny

      Hey Peggy! I don’t know how much of the skincare benefits BB creams actually do deliver. I guess because they come with an SPF they offer some protection (I’m bad about sun protection, so a one-step product really helps). I think it could be practical because it’s easily blended with fingers though, and I’m waiting to find a truly moisturizing one so that I can even skip my day cream!

  • pearlessence

    I’ve never heard of the brand Erborian – where is it from? I do find it intriguing that it contains ginseng, though (my thesis is on ginseng 😉 hehe). During the winter months, sometimes I mix my BB cream directly with my moisturizer and apply the mixture – this is something you could try, too! It also helps to make the BB cream less thick.

    • Sunny

      Hey hon, it’s a Korean brand I believe, but it’s been getting big in France and Belgium! I love your trick though. It’ll probably give the BB cream a thinner texture as well as more hydrating power. It’s cool your thesis is on ginseng too!!

  • callitbeautyblog

    Your skin is beautiful!

    • Sunny

      Thanks Dani, but it really is the BB cream! I wouldn’t want you to poke your nose right in front of my bare skin :p

  • Hanne van SWG (@Hanne_SWG)

    I really like your reviews! :)

    • Sunny

      Thanks Hanne! Coming from you it means a lot to me :) I’ve got lots to learn still!

  • mjacqueline

    Sunny your skin looks really good with the bb cream.

    • Sunny

      Thanks Jacqueline! I think I should try to mix my lotion with the BB cream. That way the texture will be lighter and more moisturizing!

  • shandimessmer

    I LOVE BB creams and this one looks awesome!

    • Sunny

      Thanks Shandi! I’m still experimenting with different ones though, and I’ll keep you posted! xx

  • anonymoushedonist

    does this oxidise into a darker shade later?

    • Sunny

      Hey hon, not on me no! The color you see in my full face photos is about it! But then again I don’t really have problems with anything oxidizing on me, so I can’t promise it’ll be the same for everyone. Hope it helps!

      • anonymoushedonist

        thanks, babe :)

  • Jess

    Really love the Erborian BB-cream. Yesterday I went to the IPXL and tried every BB-cream in the store. Estee Lauder, Dior and Erborian and that’s basically it what you can get in Belgium. I liked all of them texture wise but the Erborian one was the best color wise. I already received a sample from Erborian (thanks Sunny!!!) and I liked it a lot.
    The Erborian really gives a natural finish the downside is that it doesn’t cover all imperfections so you still have to use a concealer. The color is perfect for my rather fair skin. The Dior and Estee had a more yellow undertone. The salesperson told me it would give a little bit of color but she couldn’t give me samples so I didn’t want to take the risk and I end up buying the Erborian.

    • Sunny

      Gooo Jess!!! I’m so glad that you like it! You’re right, if you’re fairer Erborian should work better. For me Dior has the perfect shade, but I’m darker than you are. I hope you’re enjoying your new BB cream xx