Makeup Apartheid- BB Creams


Before I proceed on this post, the best analysis for BB creams are on youtube.

Wayne Goss MA


Dustin Hunter MA :

Both will tell you BB creams, especially the western ones are all hype and the best ones are the Korean Brands.

Living in HK we have access to the Korean brands so it should all be good. Right ? Wrong.

If you are on the dark side, well anything NC40 upwards , you wont find any that suits you without putting a beautiful ashy-grey cast on you.

Asian brands are all about whitening and have pink undertones and the darkest they go is about 3 shades lighter than my colour.

We live in HK and how do we buy BB creams that work for our skintone? My answer is ‘I am not sure’. HK doesn’t seem to cater to us.

The western brands available in HK are really no better and only about fit my NC40 skintone.

But being a mini beauty junkie I had possess a BB cream(s). So I started with drugstore brands.

Maybelline is available at Sasa, Watsons and Mannings. They have, and this gets me So mad,  the ‘light’, ‘light pink’ and ‘light pinky beige’ shade range . That’s how I will address it because the shades don’t deserve my NC40 respect.

But I love Maybelline and I know they are not the ones practicing this racial divide, HK beauty importers are.

Also the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB got great reviews but not available in HK (another pet peeve, but that’s a whole different rant).

I bought the range available in HK which is the Pure Mineral SPF 50 BB cream. It sits well on my cheeks but can be wee, only wee, bit ashy along the chin and forehead, but disappears in a bit. I like the feel of it, but it could do with slightly yellower under tone.

Also when in doubt with a shade, I don’t pair it with orange or coral makeup because I think those pull out the ‘ashy’. I use blues and pinks.

It’s fine on me but I am not sure it would work for someone darker. Mixing it with the right shade of foundation could work but isn’t the whole idea of BB creams to be that one product that doubles up as skincare plus makeup ?  And personally I cant be bothered with that much effort.

The next one I bought was the Bobbi Brown Medium-Deep SPF 25.  Other than MAC, Bobbi is the only other one that seems to confidently venture into ‘deep/dark’ territory. Also for a western brand it got the very good reviews. I forget whether it was Paula Begoun, cosmetics cop or Wayne Goss.

The Deep looks orange on me and the Med-Deep can look a wee bit light but not ashy. The lady at the counter recommended Med-Deep, so I thanked her and gave her my money.

It feels awesome on the skin and but needs to be well patted-rubbed-patted rubbed in otherwise it seems to ‘sit’ on the skin and can transfer. Also applied sparingly because it has a thicker consistency. It oxidises well on my skin to look natural.

For some make-up junkie obsession reason I decided to buy one more BB cream. This time the Garnier one. Its from Mannings. ONLY ONE SHADE AVAILABLE. Perfect for most of the local population but not me, but I bought it anyway.

Garnier BB cream is the most liquid of them all. Runny.

I love the matte finish, but needs major warming up with a bronzer because I am 3 shades darker  and warmer, than the average Hongkie chic. And never paired with my orange blush or lipgloss. Only dark pinks or browns.

So I now had 3 (western) BB creams in Hong Kong that I was ‘ok’ with but not ecstatic.

Then I went to San Diego for a holiday and lo behold dark shade ranges. I went a bit mad in the makeup department I must say and when I spied the Garnier Med-Deep at RiteAid and jumped at it.

That is my perfect match. Similarly runny and matte. Perfect for summer. I use it sparingly to make it last till my next trip. 

All in all, I have to say that between Hong Kong, US and UK, its the drugstores in the US that are not afraid to go darker.

Even Boots(UK) wasn’t that well stocked in the shade range department. I am not sure what you Brit gals think.

I still have to scope out the stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines to see what they stock.

But either ways I know to get something to match my skintone I need to get a Visa and get on a plane !


  1. What I never understood was why they all have pink undertones instead of yellow. I mean, they were originally from Asia so you’d think they have that. I agree with you, it’s really frustrating.

    • Wendy know what…a lot of the locals have a grey cast too hehe ! I recognise grey because I have seen grey on my own face. I mean while the colour does match them its the undertone. Also the companies call the shades various shades “beige something or the other” but I think beige has a pink undertone which might be the issue. All I can say thank god for US brands (who lead the way) to recognise brown women 🙂 PS French companies equally rubbish with their shade range

  2. You know I’m rubbish with make-up but on a whim I bought one from Body Shop because of it’s no-fuss application. Not bad at all. Try that. Helpful as always Tina.

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