The Kiehl's BB Cream is actually not too different from other BB creams in terms of appearance and feel, except that it is distinctly unfragranced. After trying out BB cream after BB cream that smelled of artificial floral scents, this unscented BB cream smells rather odd by comparison, but the scent is similar to other unscented products I've tried before. Like other BB creams I've tried, it feels like a thick liquid balm. It's actually really blendable when you rub it into your skin. Coverage is actually pretty good for a BB cream - I'd say about medium-ish coverage. It covers most minor blemishes and small discoloured spots, but anything major, and you'll need a concealer to layer under this product.
With this BB cream though, a little goes a long way. Let me show you. I started off with a little dollop of BB cream on my arm below. This is the Fair shade I'm using, by the way. Other shades are Light, the next step up, and Natural, the darkest:
And then I began to rub it in, to see how the coverage and spreadability of the BB cream was. This is me rubbing the dollop of BB cream halfway - as you can see, it's spreading out and covering pretty almost a third of my arm area! Although it's a thick balm, it's not hard to spread.
Although I thought it was going to be too pink for my NC20 skin colour when I was blending it out, once it's blended into my skin, the colour match was actually fine, and matched my skin. The final texture was also pretty good - it was luminous, but it didn't have discrete specks with glitter, so your skin doesn't look like a disco ball gone wrong. As you can see from the photo below, the finish is also quite natural.
So, other than great application and colour, what makes the Kiehl's BB cream really stand out? For me, it's really the ingredients. I was told by one of the Kiehl's PR people that Kiehl's was slightly later to the game than other BB cream brands, not because they've been sleeping on the job, but because they wanted to have a well-formulated BB cream. And it is indeed very well-formulated - Kiehl's has managed to produce a BB cream with great texture, skin feel, coverage, and colour, but with a different range of ingredients than those typically used by other BB creams. And I do think this is one of the better BB creams I've looked at, ingredients-wise. Below, you can see the full ingredients listing.
The bulk of the ingredients are either emollients (dicaprylyl ether, polyglyceryl-4 isostearate) or sunscreen filters (homosalate, octocrylene, ethylhexyl salicylate), which you would expect in a creamy, SPF 50 product. Among the key ingredients, nothing struck me as being particularly pore-clogging or pimple-causing (no isopropyl myristate or anything like that). I liked that the multiple sunscreen filters cover a good range of UVA and UVB rays. I also liked that the product lives up to its marketing, and includes ascorbyl glucoside near the top of the ingredients list (so the product does indeed contain the Vitamin C advertised). I also liked the addition of silica - for me, products with silica tend to sit on my face in a nice way for a longer period of time. Unlike some other BB creams I've seen (which you'd know if you looked at my BB creams ingredients post), the Kiehl's BB cream doesn't actually contain mineral oil, or a lot of silicones. Silicones can be irritating to some skintypes, so I was glad to see that Kiehl's managed to formulate a BB cream that works and performs just as well as other BB creams on the market without the rampant silicone overuse found in other comparable BB creams.
I know some of you will be curious to see what the BB cream looks like on, so I decided to do a FOTD with the Kiehl's BB cream Fair shade for you guys! This is just a simple FOTD, to keep the focus on the BB cream:
Here's the breakdown of my FOTD:
Face: Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX5 (undereyes only), Kiehl's Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream in Fair, Rock and Republic Blush in Spank, Transparent powder (to set)
Eyes: NARS Abyssinia, Eyeko Fat Brush Mascara, GOSH Let's Twist Eye Liner in Grey Mink
Lips: NYC Lipstick in 416B Berry Rich
As you can see, the colour match is actually pretty good - although it does lean a little to the pink side, once it's blended out it didnt' look as pink. I think it blended into my skin pretty well, and did a pretty good job of covering my acne scars (if you saw my skin in the Laura Mercier makeover post, you'll know I had some severe acne; it was gone by the time I wrote this review, but there were some scars). As you can see, the coverage is pretty good, not 100%, perhaps more like 75%, but it did look natural and not cakey. I did put a sweep of transparent powder over the look to set it, as I was going to be out for the entire day, and I didn't want excess shine on my face (by itself, the finish of the BB cream is definitely shinier). I found this combination worked well - with a little bit of powder on top, my makeup was pretty much set for the entire day.
So, would I recommend this product? Although I'm known (and sometimes pilloried) for my general disdain for BB creams, I'll make an exception for the Kiehl's BB cream. It's well formulated, less likely to break you out than some other BB creams, and has a fair amount of Vitamin C, and multiple sunscreen filters to offer broadbased UV protection. Also, it's pleasant to use, and works well, providing good colour, coverage, and texture. If you're looking for a BB cream that is well-formulated and still elegant to use, this will be up your alley. You can find out more about the BB cream here.
(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)