Reviewed:17 BB Blemish Balm All In One Magic Make-Up

Friday, 24 February 2012


Now that's almost magic: i like this really quite alot

It seems every woman with a beauty blog has been there, done the BB thing and moved swiftly on, but I'm so pleased with this product that I thought a behind-the-times review might still be of interest? Hope so.

The last time I bought anything from 17 it was called Boots No.17. I guess I felt I'd outgrown the target market but having read some highly positive reviews (who says that blogs don't drive sales?), decided that £6.99 wasn't a break the bank risk.

So what the heck is a blemish balm (A.K.A a BB balm or cream)? It's a tough one to call as I haven't tried any of the 'original' trendsetting brands from Asia. However, from what I can gather BB creams/balms were created to be multitasking make-up improving the appearance of skin tone and blemishes whilst offering skincare benefits and decent levels of SPF.

When I first heard of the BB phenomenon I couldn't help but think that this was surely just tinted moisturiser or foundation with great PR. But I can definitely see a difference in the texture of the 17 BB which, I've read, is similar to Asian offerings. 

So, straight to that texture which looks alarmingly thick when squeezed onto the back of your hand. Applied to the skin it immediately feels different too. It doesn't glide over large areas, like the new breed of barely-there foundations, but instead smooths on and then sticks a little covering a much smaller surface. I'd liken it to the days when sunscreen didn't spread well and required diligent rubbing in. This 'resistance' means that it stays where it's needed but is best applied with your fingers. My foundation brushes just won't play BB ball.

 Shade (Light): thick straight out of the tube
but surprisingly natural blended onto the skin

And now *drumroll* my face without any maquillage other than 17 Blemish Balm and eyebrow pencil. I don't do brow-less, ever. To quote the fabulous Nadine from Stella (we're loving Stella in our house), I look as 'bleak as a sheep' without the slap but I wanted you to see the coverage level in context. 

 
To begin with I found the finish heavier than I'm used to but after 5-10 minutes it softens to a lovely semi-matte look. The texture suits my combination skin, is still fairly fresh at the end of the day and I like the fact it has SPF but those with drier skin would probably need to prep with a good moisturiser. As you can see from the picture above it doesn't cover pigmentation and you need to go back with a concealer for blemishes (when don't you have to, let's face it), but in general it does a brilliant job of evening the complexion.

I'm wearing Light, which works well with my fair olive skin but may be too warm for cooler fair skin tones. It's also a shame that there isn't a wider range of shades available; Western BB's seem limited to just light, medium or dark. A friend pointed out she has yet to see a BB cream that would work for black skin and she'd love to try one too. 

Overall, 17 Blemish Balm is a bit of a bargain and has definitely reignited interest in a blast-from-my-past brand. In fact, this new Spring Fling Palette (£5.99) may well be my next purchase.


What do you think? Have you tried a BB cream yet and - if so - which are your favourites? x

*17 BB Blemish Balm All In One Magic Make-up is £6.99 at Boots.


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