January 23, 2013

Marcelle BB Cream

Bb creams. We've all heard the criticism by now: the Western versions are but sad bastardizations of the Asian original, and not worth the hoopla. Fair point, and I do think it odd to use the same name for something that is qualitatively different. The thing is, it's only smart to adapt a product to the target market, and I don't know how well the "real" deal would play to a demographic that demands invisible finish and a range of perfect skintone options. Somehow I don't see a product with a generally thick texture and extremely limited shade options being terribly successful.

That said, I've been disappointed by BB creams that are really nothing more than repackaged tinted moisturizers. Not that those are bad products in and of themselves, just that with the immediate buzz a new product garners, I wish more brands would try their hand at creating something truly new and unique.

Like Marcelle did, with their Beauty Balm.

Not the usual background, because it's hella difficult to photograph white on white.

This is not a lightweight foundation, or a tinted moisturizer. It's a...tinted primer? Sort of? Make-your-skin-better cream thingie? I'm not entirely sure how to describe it, though I suppose the "skin enhancer" Marcelle calls it is spot-on.

In shade Light to Medium.
This will not cover a lot of skin sins - some redness, mild pigmentation, but not significant discolouration. What it will do is something akin to light photoshop blurring. Light will hit your face and bounce drunkenly away, diffusing those imperfections in its path. This only comes in three shades so far, but due to the sheerness, it should match up unless you fall into the very pale and deep range. (I'm perfect with the Light to Medium shade.)

The texture is creamy but lightweight, with a liquidy but slippy silicone feel. It applies best when massaged into the skin with your hands, not so much with brushes. Unlike a lot of other BB creams on the market, this doesn't feel greasy or moist at all - it dries quickly to a nearly matte finish that still allows for some natural radiance. It can be layered lightly for some extra coverage, but I wouldn't overdo it or it can start looking patchy.

It does appear to have some primer-like qualities, and if you wish you can layer on your foundation overtop. I found the best combination was actually with a powder foundation, like MAC Skinfinish or Cargo Blu-Ray.

Below is a before and after comparison on freshly washed and moisturized skin.


And on a different day, in different lighting.

The after picture is just the Marcelle BB on the skin, with the Guerlain Turandot palette, Lancome Definicils mascara and Tarte SmolderEyes in Gunmetal used on the eyes, and Burberry Antique Rose on the lips.

Overall, I like this for my no-fuss days.

And of course, the Instagram version. ;)

Availaibility: At Jean Coutu and Pharmaprix locations, as well as the Marcelle website (which does ship to the US). Price is 22.95$ CAD.

Pros: Very lightweight, matte finish that doesn't look dry, diffuses minor imperfections and fakes the look of better skin without adding visible texture. Can be layered with other base products for increased coverage.

Cons: Won't cover anything substantially, if that is what you need. Dry skin may not like the finish.

(I purchased this item from Pharmaprix.)


  1. Apparently you can order a third, darker shade online which I would guess may suit my skin - but since Marcelle is actually in-stores around me, I can't really justify buying it online to check it out. I always hear good things though! I think you're right, this would be an ideal no-fuss product, Maggie!

    1. I like that they are offering some shade range here, but I wonder why they don't have the darker shade available in stores.

      Though I suppose you can always test swatch the ones in the store to see if you like the texture. Chances are the deeper shade will suit you, since the sheerness makes it so forgiving. :)

  2. Anonymous24.1.13

    i've been wanting this FOREVER, ever since i couldn't find it at the shoppers i went to when i was in Toronto in march 2012! there are too many things to buy though, and this keeps falling to the bottom of the list since I'd have to either pay $15 for shipping to US or pick $50 of things to buy! TOO HARD! :) One of these days, I'll get this BB cream!

    1. I can always grab it for you and ship it next time I'm stateside - just a couple of bucks for first class mail, right?

  3. Judith26.1.13

    Indeed I share your same thoughts about BB creams. I tried Dior Hydra Life (I believe that was the name?) the other day (when I had to put something on my face when waiting for my appliances to be delivered), and I really liked it I have to say. So much so, that I'm going to have to buy the full size now (it was a sample they gave me at Sephora). Marcelle looks like a great product. I'm going to have to look out for it next time we go Victoria.

    1. I haven't tried the Hydra Life - or maybe I have? Is it their tinted moisturizer? I remember trying something TM-like from Dior years ago and liking it a lot. Felt similar to the Laura Mercier TM.

      Definitely check them out next time you're up over the border! They seem to be coming up with new and interesting things.

  4. Yes, this product has a 8 in 1 benefits , it reduces the appearance of dark circles and bags, Brightens skin, provides an immediate lifting effect to the skin , offers the skin immediate and long-term hydrating benefits, soothes and calms the skin, reduces the appearance of redness, protects the skin from environmental stresses, evens out skin tone and masks imperfections.


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