Erborian 3-in-1 BB Creme Au Ginseng (Dark) and 5-in-1 BB Creme Light - review and swatches


I've been holding off on doing this review for a few reasons. First, I bought these on special in the Bellabox shop late last year and, while I used them for a few months, due to their relatively high SPF 25+ I've been saving them for when the sun began to come out again. They're now back on rotation.

Second, I've been holding off on this review because how I feel about the products seems to change on a daily basis; that is, on some days I love them and on others they don't work as well for my skin. Either I haven't mastered using them yet, or their efficacy relies on the quality of my skin at the time. Eg, since winter has dried out my skin a little, these don't seem to work as well - they sit much better on my face when it's well-hydrated.

Finally, I've been waiting to do this review because I wanted to trial other BB creams first. These were the first BB creams I'd ever purchased (rather than received samples of in a box), and I wanted to widen my experience with products of this nature before reviewing them in turn.

Now it's crunch time and I'm ready to say something about them, as well as the Erborian HD CC Creme I purchased at the same time (review to come).

Note: I'm not entirely sure what the difference is between the 3-in-1 and 5-in-1 formulations (in terms of both the product aims and the effect I've experienced). I bought both from the BB shop because I knew the light one would be too light and the dark too dark, and they have worked well together: I can mix them based on the colour of my skin on any particular day.

Erborian claims:
  • Both formulations claim to offer a 'total sheer, baby skin effect'
  • Both also claim to transform your skin with a velvety, ultra-soft, spotless finish, and to wipe out imperfections
  • Both contain a 'highly concentrated association of longevity herbs, used in Asia for centuries for their anti-aging properties'
  • Both have a 'breakthrough, high-tech formulation' that unifies your skin tone to conceal all imperfections, and moisturises/nourishes
  • Both have a high SPF (25+)
  • The only difference I can see is that the light formulation is apparently 'perfectly adapted to delicate and sensitive skins'; and the Ginseng version obviously contains ginseng (Korean Red Ginseng) - a natural element known for its regenerating and energising properties

Both creams retail for $59 for 45ml, but you could probably pick them up more cheaply (as I did) if you shop around. It looks like both products are also available in smaller, 15ml sizes, if you'd like to try them out first. Note the products only have a shelf-life of 12 months - I personally prefer products with longer shelf-lives because I often have a few on rotation. 

For more information on the company and its products, see the Oz website here or visit the Bellabox shop.

Below I've swatched the two colours on my wrist. You'll see the light is definitely too light and the dark too dark (I'm very glad I bought both, though I wouldn't have done so if I didn't get them half-price):

Below I've blended in the products and also mixed them, so there are three swatches - the light at the top, the dark in the middle, and the mixed swatch at the bottom. I haven't blended them in completely, so you can still see them in the photo:

Below is my clean face:

Here it is with product. You'll note a definite difference in the evenness of my skintone - it's less blotchy and looks smoother:

Here's the clean skin on my chest; you can see the redness I've mentioned before:

Big difference! I could probably have used more of the darker colour on both my face and chest (my skin seems a little pale in the photo), but at least you can see the impact of the creams:


These aren't my favourite BB creams. The problem is (for me, anyway), that if I don't mix the colour precisely - and thank god I have both shades so I'm able to do that - it sits in my open pores and is visible, particularly around my hairline. I don't find this with other BB creams, and the Erborian HD CC cream fares better in this regard.

They're decent products, but only if you can find (or make) your perfect colour match - or if you don't have any pore issues. The question is whether they're worth the Oz price tag, and I'm not 100% convinced that they are. I think the Erborian HD CC cream is worth every penny, but these don't stand out as much as that one does.

Another good thing about these products is that they don't leave your skin feeling greasy (unlike many BB creams, eg Mabelline's Dream Fresh version), despite the high SPF. The 25+ SPF is in itself a big selling point I reckon.

You also need to apply only one layer to get a decent, natural finish, and the products don't seem to clog pores or cause break-outs.

That's my review! Have you tried these and/or do you have a favourite BB cream?

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