Anna Sui Illuminating BB Cream Review | Getting my glow on

anna sui illuminating bb cream

Are people still excited about BB creams? I haven't seen too many releases for BB creams lately, but they seem to still be popular. In case you've been living under a rock for the past few years, BB creams originated in Asia and were one of the first cross-over makeup products. BB creams are multi-tasking base products that can act as primer, sunscreen, moisturizer and foundation all in one. Various BB creams do different things, but in most cases, they combine your SPF, foundation and moisturizer into one super product, helping you do multiple makeup steps in one.

For Fall 2015, Anna Sui has jumped into the BB market with her new Illuminating BB Cream. Available at Anna Sui counters everywhere, the Illuminating BB Cream is a primer and foundation in one and is available in 2 shades, a light golden beige and a medium tone beige.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this product are:
  • Water
  • Cyclomethicone - like all silicones, this ingredient provides a slippery texture and helps fill in fine lines. It also creates a barrier over skin that helps to prevent moisture loss.
  • Hydrogenated polyisobutene - an emollient that also is effective at retaining pigment even after exposure to water, so its useful in waterproof products
  • Diphenyl dimethicone - an emollient and emulsifier
  • Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (aka octinoxate) - a common chemical sunscreen
Other ingredients of note are acorus calamus (sweet flag) root extract (moisturizing), honey (antibacterial and moisturizing), pearl powder (illumination), sweet almond oil (moisturizing), rosa canina (dog rose) fruit extract (skin conditioning) and tocopherol (vitamin E).

Price & Packaging
A 21 ml tube costs $34 and is available at The Bay in Canada. This BB cream comes in a slim standard tube, but that's where the similarities to other BB creams end. Anna Sui is known for her elaborate, feminine packaging and the Illuminating BB Cream does not disappoint with its exquisitely carved topper that's shaped like a rose and its flower adorned exterior. The only downside of that lovely lid is that you cannot stand this BB cream on its own, but who really cares when something looks this pretty!

anna sui bb cream

Like most BB creams, the Illuminating BB Cream has a slightly thin texture and provides light coverage. If all you need in a foundation is help to even out your skin and elimination of redness, then this BB is perfect for you. I received the lighter of the 2 shades available and it is definitely too light for my summer tanned skin, but is slowly becoming a better match for me now as winter approaches. I'm a NC20/25 normally, so if you're much lighter or much darker than this, then you're out of luck!

Over the course of a month, I tried applying Illuminating BB Cream with my fingers, a flat foundation brush and with a dense buffing brush. By far I prefer applying this with the dense buffing brush, although it probably soaks up the most product this way. The Illuminating BB Cream has a slightly oily texture to it that dries down matte, so when applying with fingers, it ends up being a bit messy, while a flat foundation brush leaves you with big streaks. With a buffing brush, I can blend this BB in very easily and then stipple on extra layers wherever I need more coverage. When I try to use my finger to apply additional layers, the oiliness just makes this look thick and clumpy.

anna sui illuminating bb cream swatches
Left to right: straight out of the tube, slightly blended, fully blended

Once applied, the Illuminating BB Cream dries down to a velvety texture with a subtle dewiness similar to that of my beloved Guerlain Meteorities Baby Glow. In fact, I found the 2 products to be very similar in terms of texture (the Guerlain is a little thicker), application and wear time. The differences between the 2 are that the Anna Sui gives more of a pearlescent finish, whereas the Guerlain Baby Glow has more of a lit-from-within effect.

The other thing that differs about the Illuminating BB Cream is its super strong rose scent. Now, Anna Sui is known for having fragrance on all her products and normally I don't mind it, but the rose smell is SO strong here that it's actually irritating. Thankfully, the scent evaporates really quickly otherwise this BB cream would be no bueno!

anna sui illuminating bb cream

Overall, the Anna Sui Illuminating BB Cream provides great light coverage, wears well all day without oxidizing and comes in beautiful packaging; however, the strong scent and the fact that it doesn't advertise any significant SPF or skincare benefits as I'd expect a BB to do, makes me feel just okay about this product. Anna Sui would have done better to just advertise this as a regular foundation, rather than a BB. As a foundation, the Illuminating BB Cream works really well, but if you're expecting a true multi-tasking product that will save you steps in your morning routine, well this isn't it.

Final Verdict
Ditch - works well as an illuminating, light coverage foundation, but doesn't live up to the expectations of the BB cream category. A good product, but nothing special enough to make me repurchase it.

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