The Matte BB Cream

Tarte BB tube

Modeled after the Asian skincare phenomenon, Western BB creams have been popping out of the woodwork over the past few years. Largely, though, I’ve been disappointed with them for three main reasons.

First (and most frustrating) is the shade selection. The first BB cream I ever tried was a Garnier one that came in two shades: Light, and Light-Medium. Seriously? Although true Korean BB creams are primarily geared towards Asian skin-tones, in a globalized world like ours, that doesn’t really fly. Then there are the “self-adjusting” ones, that tend to leave me looking grey. Very few lines carry BB creams for people of colour.

The pickings get even slimmer when you factor in finish. Yes, BB cream is supposed to moisturize, but it’s possible to moisturize in a way that doesn’t leave combination and oily skin a shiny mess. Even fewer BB creams provide a matte or natural finish; it’s luminosity everywhere, which really doesn’t work for certain skin types.

Then, there’s the general complaint that some brands have repackaged tinted moisturizers as BB creams without doing a thing to the formula (I’m looking at you, CoverGirl).

So, long story short, if you’re someone with fair skin that’s also dry or normal, you’re in luck. If, like me, you’re not, it can be tough out there.

When Benefit’s Big Easy launched, it really solidified in my mind that I wanted a multi-tasking face product in my shade that’s also matte. Benefit’s shade 6 is way too light for me, so I was out in the wide world alone to find a similar (but maybe better!) product.

And I succeeded.

Tarte’s BB Tinted Treatment Primer claims to do it all. Moisturizer, primer, anti-ageing treatment, light foundation, sunscreen, imperfection-blurrer extraordinaire. My skin has been seriously oily lately (all the heat of this summer has caught up with me) and this product has been keeping things looking decent on a day-to-day basis. It is very matte – I’d say more matte than Hourglass Immaculate Foundation! – and looks powdered even before you powder.

Tarte BB Comparison

I wear the shade Tan, which greatly amuses me because I’d call “tan” a bit of an understatement for me. It’s just enough coverage to even out my skin-tone, and once it gets some wear (and loses some of the powderiness throughout the day) it still looks like skin. I love that it has SPF and a primer built right in. Bonus: it takes down the shine left by my moisturizer (which is a good fit for my dehydrated skin, I swear – the oily production’s just cray these days).

The only thing I don’t trust it to do is moisturize; I do throw on a light moisturizer underneath, with special attention to any dry patches because it will emphasize them. Another downside is the white packaging, which quickly gets dirty if you apply the product with your hands. I sometimes use my fingers, but find my Real Techniques Buffing Brush to be easiest – nothing new there.



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  2. I feel like Western BB creams totally miss the mark! Like you said, most of them are just tinted moisturizers that have been marketed as BB creams – BB creams from Korea are supposed to be moisturizers, primers, sun screen, foundation, and anti-aging creams all in one (aka some kind of miracle product!), but our BB creams here seem to be nothing more than tinted moisturizers with sun screen in them.

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