Update Jan 2020: I’ve found an even better BB/CC cream, featured as a favorite in my comprehensive natural sunscreen guide.
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The first illuminating primer I bought was at Target almost 10 years ago. I don’t remember the brand – it’s one they no longer carry – but I remember the tub was lavender (one of my favorite colors) and the primer was perfection: It wasn’t heavily scented and it provided the perfect opalescent glow under my makeup or mixed in with my foundation.
This was before BB creams and CC creams were the hottest thing on the planet. I loved discovering something that could help blur my many imperfections (melasma, hyperpigmentation, dark spots AND vitiligo) and mix will with my liquid foundation.
Stila Stay All Day Illuminating HD 10 in 1 Beauty Balm with SPF 30 Review
A few years ago I found a new favorite: Stila Stay All Day Illuminating Beauty Balm with SPF 30. This 10 in 1 beauty balm definitely gives a nice blurring effect and sheen and works well underneath – but especially mixed in with – liquid full coverage foundation. Why 10 in 1? Stila has a whole list of why but it’s really just a fancy way of saying it uses “microspheres” and “antioxidants” to protect skin and impart a radiant glow.
It definitely smells like sunscreen because it does contain chemical sunscreen. Once you switch to wearing mostly natural zinc oxide mineral sunscreen, you can’t stand the sunscreeny scent of chemical sunscreens any more. It does have added fragrance/parfum – which I don’t like in any product – but really the chemical sunscreen is what you will smell most.
If you don’t have pigmentation issues like me – a nice BB cream could be all you need! (or even better, a CC cream). I really like the color shade of this illuminating BB cream. It is paraben free and if you have oily skin you would like that it is oil free and fairly water resistant. This formula blends well and I liked this better than Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm.
Coola Rosilliance Organic BB Cream SPF 30 Review
Ultimately I couldn’t continue using Stila Stay All Day 10 in 1 HD illuminating beauty balm, so I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement for a while. I was so excited to find the new Coola Organic BB cream at Sephora a few months ago and have been using it ever since. I usually wear it under foundation every day, after applying Josie Maran SPF face moisturizer. Or I often mix it with my foundation as well.
The Coola Rosilliance BB Cream with SPF 30 is available in 2 shades – the lighter shade appears fairly dark but it blends in well and is not a full coverage product by any means. Unlike many other Coola products that contain chemical sunscreens (some of which may cause endocrine disruption), the Rosiliance Organic BB Cream only contains the physical sunscreen titanium dioxide. And while it doesn’t have added fragrance per say, the fruit and plan extracts do give it a fresh scent – unfortunately rosy – but it disappears within a few minutes and then it doesn’t bother me.
I find this beauty balm absorbs well into my skin, but it will leave you looking a bit more dewy than the Stila Stay All Day beauty balm. It’s also vegan, supposedly water resistant, paraben free and phthalate free.