Note: This post was updated on March 9, 2015 with some additional notes on product fragrance.
It took me a long time to get over my resistance to BB creams. I’ve always thought of BB creams as just another variety of “concealment” makeup, which isn’t my thing. My approach towards makeup focuses on enhancement rather than concealment. (Also, I’ve tried a couple of Western BB creams that really failed to impress.) Then Missha sent me a hefty travel size of their M Signature Real Complete BB Cream that happened to be in the right shade for me, and my whole attitude changed.
I had it all wrong. BB creams aren’t for heavy-duty concealment. In fact, since most BB creams offer only medium or light coverage, people who want a base product capable of covering up a lot of blemishes or severe pigmentation issues should probably look into concealers at the least and probably proper foundations, too. Attempting to cover up significant problems with BB cream will probably require caking on many layers of it, resulting in an unpleasant effect.
In my experience, BB creams like Missha’s M Signature Real Complete are great for covering up those persistent little pores and evening out those little areas of redness–around the nostrils, for example–that are natural features of the skin rather than actual blemishes that can be treated. To put it simply, a BB cream like this is for when you want to take the look and texture of your skin from “good” to “awesome” without looking made-up. BB creams can also serve as a helpful base for other makeup products, like blush. I could never get my blush to apply perfectly evenly until I started using this BB cream.
You can probably tell this review is going to be a rave. Let’s get down to it.
Purpose: Missha M Signature Real Complete BB Cream is a moisturizing base makeup product that promises 12-hour skin coverage and wrinkle-fighting, whitening, and sun protective properties.
Do not use if: You are sensitive to beeswax, stearic acid, silicones, or anything else in the ingredients list, or if you have experienced negative reactions to botanical extracts in the past.
When and how to use: After allowing sunscreen to set for at least 15 minutes, apply and blend approximately a pea-sized amount of product on face with hands, sponge, beauty blender, or foundation brush. Using hands will require the least amount of product. Foundation brushes may suck up some product and therefore use a little bit more, but in my opinion, the sheer, perfect skin-like finish is worth it. Set with powder if desired.
Okay, I’m going to do something a little bit different than usual here, because this is the longest ingredients list I’ve ever seen in my life. Let me give a broad overview of the product and ingredients before we dive into the actual list.
In contrast to Western BB creams, many of which are glorified tinted moisturizers or ultra-sheer foundations, Japanese and Korean BB creams are meant to provide skin care benefits in addition to corrective coverage. I’ll be honest and say that I doubt BB cream does me any good. By the time I get this stuff on over my sunscreen, I have so many layers of product underneath that I just can’t imagine much getting through. Someone who has a more minimal skin care routine may see real benefits, though.
Missha M Signature Real Complete BB Cream’s ingredients list starts out as expected from Missha, with a fairly lengthy recital of long science words. It then descends into the madness of a never-ending series of plant extracts whose names read like the section headings in an Advanced Spells workbook assigned to Hogwarts seventh years. The list finishes off with some more science words.
There are some good ingredients here to back up Missha’s claims. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide near the top provide a bit of sun protection, though you should not use this product as your sunscreen, given that there’s no way you’ll be able to slap on enough to get the (relatively weak) SPF 25/PA++ protection without looking like a freak. It’s a nice bonus, though. Arbutin, licorice root extract, and Job’s tears are standout whitening ingredients. Missha threw in a number of peptides (sadly, all at the bottom of the list) for collagen-building, anti-aging effects. And, finally, there are a significant number of antioxidant, hydrating, and emollient ingredients to soften and smooth the skin.
Here’s the ingredients list. I transcribed it from the box, where Missha chose to print it in what appears to be 2-point font instead of being civil and providing a decently readable package insert. I also had a headache at the time. There may be typos. I really should have just copy/pasted from Missha’s website, but…I didn’t. So.
Water, gingko biloba leaf extract, titanium dioxide, cyclopentasiloxane, glycerin, zinc oxide, butylene glycol, hydrogenated polydecene, orbignya oleifera seed oil, phenyl trimethicone, arbutin, C-12-15 alkyl benzoate, cetyl PEG/PPG -10/1 dimethicone, mica, sodium chloride, cyclohexasiloxane, caprylyl methicone, hydrogenated polyisobutene, hydrogenated castorl oil isostearate, sorbitan isostearate, polyglyceryl-4 isostearate, hexyl laurate, talc, disteardimonium hectorite, sorbitan olivate, oxokerite, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, alumina, beeswax, aluminum hydroxide, stearic acid, hydrogen dimethicone, propylene carbonate, hydrogenated lecithin, tocopheryl acetate, ceramide 3, xanthan gum, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, triethoxycaprylylsilane, adenosine, dimethicone, squalane, methicone, macadamia ternifolia seed oil, beta-glucan, hydrolyzed collagen, anthemis nobilis flower water, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower water, bletilla striata root extract, mangifera indica (mango) fruit extract, sodium hyaluronate, perilla ocymoides leaf extract, bacillus/soybean ferment extract, echinacea purpurea extract, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract*, coptis japonica root extract, camellia japonica flower extract, houttuynia cordata extract, fragaria chiloensis (strawberry) glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, ganodermia lucidum (mushroom) extract, acorus calamus root extract, asarum sieboldi root extract, angelica keiskei leaf/stem extract, artemisia vulgaris extract, bambusa textilis stem extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, cornus officinalis fruit extract, coix lacryma-jobi ma-yuen seed extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, carica papaya (payaya) fruit extract, citrus unshiu peel extract, cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) fruit extract, cridium officinale root extract, psidium guajava fruit extract, oldenlandia diffusa extract, rhus semialata gall extract, red ginseng extract, panax ginseng root extract, punica granatum extract, prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel extract, prunus persica (peach) fruit extract, morus alba root extract, luffa cylindrica fruit extract, lycium chinense fruit extract, linaria japonica extract, iris ensata extract, juglans regia (walnut) seed extract, prunus avlum (sweet cherryl) fruit extract, taraxacum officinale (dandelion) rhizome/root extract, scutelllaria baicolensis root extract, scrophularia buergeriana root extract, salicornia herbacea extract, vigna radiata seed extract, vitis vinifera (grape) fruit water, cocos nucifera (coconut) fruit extract, citrus aurantifolia (lime) fruit extract, hordeum vulgare leaf extract, nelumbo nucifera flower extract, oenanthe javanica extract, glycine, caprylic/capric triglyceride, serine, glutamic acid, lecithin, aspartic acid, leucine, alanine, lysine, arginine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, proline, isoleucine, cysteine, methionine, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, copper tripeptide-1, acetyl hexapeptide-8, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, 1, 2-hexanediol, frarance, C1 77491, C1 77492, C1 77499
Notable ingredients: A CosDNA analysis of these ingredients turned up a few flagged ingredients. Zinc oxide, butylene glycol, heyxl laurate, dimethicone, and squalane scored 1s as potential acne triggers, while stearic acid got a 2. Beeswax scored a “0-2” for both acne and irritation.
Out of the bottle, Missha M Signature Real Complete BB Cream has a rich-feeling lotion texture. The travel size, on which I based this review, had little to no noticeable fragrance, at least for me. (Which is a relief, because the, uh, mature look of the packaging made me think it would also have a mature and heavy fragrance.) When I read another person’s experience with the product and how strong the fragrance was for her, however, I opened up my full-sized bottle. Strangely enough, the full size of this product does have a noticeable fragrance. It isn’t unpleasant or overly mature, but it is perfumey.
As far as coverage goes, a little bit goes a long way. As mentioned above, when I applied it with my fingers, I needed a very tiny amount to cover and blend over my whole face. When I used it with my Sigma F80 foundation brush, I did need more thanks to the brush’s tendency to suck up product, but a pea size was still enough.
In the week and a half since I began using this BB cream, I’ve tried it several different ways. I’ve tried it over my night routine, as I might wear it for going out in the evening, and I’ve tried it over my Hada Labo UV Creamy Gel sunscreen as well as my Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence sunscreen. I’ve applied it with my fingertips and I’ve applied it with my trusty brush. I’ve tried it with powder and without powder.
In every instance, Missha M Signature Real Complete BB Cream performed wonderfully.
It provides medium coverage, just enough to cover pores and even out my skin without looking masklike or makeup-y. I adore the dewy, real-looking finish. A dusting of powder on top will give a more matte, finished look, but I prefer to wear it without powder. It feels light and silky on the skin and, incredibly, lasts all day on me without sliding around or turning cakey, even on days when I take long, sweaty midday walks. That’s some real staying power.
I didn’t bother taking a FOTD today, so here’s how it looked on me the last time I took a selfie:
In the time since I began using this BB cream every day, I experienced no breakouts or irritation. YMMV, so get some samples and patch test before you commit.
Missha M Signature Real Complete BB Cream comes in four shades: No. 13 Light Milk Beige, which is a very pale shade; No. 21 Light Pink Beige, my shade, which corresponds roughly to NC 15 skin; No. 23 Natural Yellow Beige for more medium-light complexions; and the new No. 27 Honey Beige for darker skin. On a side note, it’s interesting to see Korean skin care and cosmetics brands beginning to introduce darker shades as they expand into Western markets.
Conclusion: I’m beyond happy with the M Signature Real Complete BB Cream. I never thought I’d be one to use a BB cream or other base product every day, but I was hooked from the first time I tried this stuff out. It turns pretty good skin into glowing, fabulously dewy and luminous skin. The lasting power of the product, even through my sweaty times (thanks a lot, Effexor), is amazing. I do wish it were a little cheaper, but a bottle will last a long time, and in any case, I love it enough to invest.
5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.