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Lancôme UV Expert GN-Shield BB Complete SPF 50 PA+++ (UV エクスペール エッセンス イン BB)

Lancome UV Expert GN Shield Triple Potency BB Complete SPF 50 PA+++ 30ml Tube

Is it a BB cream? A sunscreen? Marketed primarily as a primer in Japan, it’s a product I’ve come to love as a hydrating sunscreen with lasting skin benefits!

Usually preferring matte products on my combination-oily skin, I’m glad the golden cat worked its magic and I won this product from Japanese website, Luxe beaute. I otherwise would not have given a chance at a product that prided in its skin glowing technology, which sounded like it would just make me look oily.

Lancôme BB Complete (5,460 yen/USD $70) has been the #1 best selling department store primer in Japan since its release in February as a re-formulation of the previous Lancôme UV Shield BB Base. So what makes the beauty junkies of Japan go crazy over and repurchase this sunscreen/primer/BB combo despite its high price tag?

Lancome UV Expert GN Shield Triple Potency BB Complete SPF 50 PA+++ 30ml Tube Spout

Packaging

I really appreciate the simple, yet effective (and hygienic) tube. There’s an unmentionable moisturizer that I love, but has such poorly designed tube for a high end product that I’ve wasted the product on one too many occasions and have even considered complaining directly to the company. Unlike this certain moisturizer, I can easily control how much product is dispensed with Lancôme BB Complete.

Color

I have the color 01, the only available shade in Japan. When I first saw it, I was shocked at how grey it is since I’ve found most Western BB creams to be skin shades. It reminded me of classic Japanese and Korean BB creams. (But that’s where their similarities end, as you’ll see.) It is less pink compared to its previous version, UV Expert BB Base, in the same shade. Other Asian countries have a more yellow-based color numbered 02.

I know most of you are familiar with BB creams, but in case you’re not: the original BB creams are grey because the odd color is meant to neutralize and correct redness and discoloration, unlike foundations and tinted moisturizers that match and enhance your skin color. After all, early forms of BB creams were made for burn victims to heal and cover their skin.

Lancome UV Expert GN Shield Triple Potency BB Complete SPF 50 PA+++ 30ml 01 Swatch
Lancome UV Expert GN Shield Triple Potency BB Complete SPF 50 PA+++ in color 01

Texture

The consistency is fluid, like an emulsion or light lotion. As you can see above, there are tiny particles (titanium dioxide?) in the cream, but they disappear once blended. I absolutely love how easily and evenly it applies. I can’t even say it feels “comfortable” on the skin because, once you give it a few moments to set, it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything. It’s amazing that a chemical-physical hybrid sunscreen could be so light.

Compared to the UV Expert BB Base, I can tell that this newer formulation has an even lighter texture than its previous version. I can’t even compare it to most other BB creams (both Asian and Wester) as they are, in general (great emphasis on general), much thicker and creamier, and in many cases, heavy and oily.

Lancome UV Expert GN Shield Triple Potency BB Complete SPF 50 PA+++ 30ml 01 Swatch
Lancome UV Expert GN Shield Triple Potency BB Complete SPF 50 PA+++ in color 01

Coverage

Coverage is minimal at best, but as mentioned before, this is meant to primarily be a sunscreen with primer/skincare qualities, and not a standalone BB cream in place of foundation. It corrects minor redness and unevenness, but certainly does not cover any blemishes. It really melds into the skin, leaving a sort of translucency that’s amazing for an SPF 50/PA+++ sunscreen that often leaves a heavy white cast.

Scent

As expected, it is highly fragranced. It has a rosy scent that overwhelmed me on first use, but I’ve come to be immune to it (or perhaps it killed my nose. :P) Mix your grandmother’s perfume and sunscreen together and you’ll likely reach something similar. It’s not entirely unpleasant, but I really wish it were unscented.

Lancome UV Expert GN Shield Triple Potency BB Complete SPF 50 PA+++ 30ml 01 Swatch Blended
Lancome UV Expert GN Shield Triple Potency BB Complete SPF 50 PA+++ in color 01 blended

As a primer

It doesn’t smooth out pores like a silicone-based primer would, but it does seem to diffuse the appearance of pores with the slight glow it leaves. You can’t beat that BB Complete feels like nothing but you can feel silicone primers sitting on top of your face!

I’ve been loving it under Dior Diorskin Forever Flawless Perfection Fusion Wear Makeup, my go-to semi-matte foundation in extreme humidity and heat. BB Complete hydrates my dry areas on my combination skin. I’ve come to accept that keeping my face matte for the entire day is impossible, but I can tell that BB Complete allows foundations to adhere better to my skin since when I blot my face, the makeup stays put.

I’ve also tested it with a light dusting of powder foundation on top and went running outside for 30 minutes. I was soaked in sweat but it didn’t run or get into my eyes. Nobody likes to stinging eyes from sunscreen! :P

As a sunscreen

It is a chemical-physical hybrid (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate & titanium dioxide) with a high PPD of 30. Its light texture had me worried whether it would sufficiently protect, but I’m happy to say that this really works and my face has not tanned when being out in the harsh summer sun was unavoidable. (My body is another story.) I love the light texture due to its chemical sunscreen, and the inclusion of physical sunscreen for photostability.

Skincare claims

Lancôme says its “pore refining complex” smooths and softens the skin with continued use. As skeptic as I was, I found this to be true; it’s perhaps my favorite part of this sunscreen/primer! My skin is BABY SOFT after using BB Complete and  as a result of its super hydrating quality, my combination-oily skin seems to be softer and more plump after a month of use.

I know this hydrating effect isn’t just on the surface because my face remains soft even after double-cleansing to make sure I’ve  thoroughly removed it. In fact, even my hand felt extremely supple and smooth after taking the above photos and washing my hands. Please go to a counter and test this out for yourself! :D

Ok, get to the point, peach!

I can see why Lancôme BB Complete has been a best-selling sunscreen-primer in Japan for many skin types. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you’re looking for high protection sunscreen that works well as a hydrating primer. It feels so airy-light that I even love it on my combination-oily skin. What I love best is that its hydrating claims are not just temporary/on the surface, but long-term, even after washing my face.

I only wish more colors were introduced so that darker skins can enjoy this as well. Oh, and it really wouldn’t hurt if it were less expensive, but like most cosmetics, I assume this can be purchased cheaper outside of Japan. (It is Made in France, but appears to be Asia-exclusive.)

I didn’t realize I’ve rambled this much! I clearly need practice being concise. If you read this far…thank you! I hope it was even a little bit helpful! :D

Have you tried BB Complete and if not, what’s your favorite sunscreen primer? And since I’m now curious about other Lancôme base and skin products (that I’ve previously avoided due to ingredients) if it’s as good as BB Complete, do you have any favorite Lancôme products? Do share! :D

Availability: 5,460 yen (~USD $70)/30ml and 7,350 yen (~$94)/50ml at Lancome Japan and other Lancome counters in Asia. It is currently an Asia exclusive.

Ingredients: aqua/water, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, glycerine, dimethicone, terephthalylidene dicamphor sulfonic acid, titanium dioxide, isocetyl stearate, drometrizole trisiloxane, alcohol denat., triethanolamine, stearic acid, potassium cetyl phosphate, moringa pterygosperma seed extract, RNA, zea mays extract/corn kernel extract, PEG-100 stearate, rosa gallica extract/rosa gallica flower extract, carbomer, glyceryl stearate, isohexadecane, methicone, sodium cocoyl sarcosinate, arginine, pyridoxine HCI, palmitic acid, tromethamine, aluminum hydroxide, adenosine, phenylalanine, mannitol, tyrosine, disodium adenosine triphosphate, disodium EDTA, capryloyl salicylic acid, caprylyl glycol, xanthan gum, histidine HCL, polysorbate 80, acrylamide/sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate copolymer, cetyl alcohol, tocopherol, methylparaben, phenoxyethanol, ethylparaben, parfum/fragrance, linalool, geraniol, eugenol, alpha-isomethylionone, amyl cinnamal, limonene, hydroxycitronellal, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, citronellol, hexyl cinnamal, benzyl alcohol, benzyl benzoate

4 Responses to Lancôme UV Expert GN-Shield BB Complete SPF 50 PA+++ (UV エクスペール エッセンス イン BB)

  1. I am an avid user of sunscreen and tried just about every brand there is (available at the nearest duty free store at airport ^_^) Since I have oily/combo skin, it is difficult to find one that is effective and not cause oiliness by noon. Since I wear sunscreen daily, I became concerned of the chemicals that I put on my face. I then switched to titanium dioxide only, and decided to use Clinique City Block SPF 25. I think BB cream came around the same time I decided to switch to physical sunscreen. So far I have not found one that is physical sunscreen only.

    Lancome products are usually fragrant, but in a nice way. I’m currently using “Dual finish compact — fragrance free”. The coverage is great, although I never use it with wet sponge, only dry sponge.

    Shu Uemura carries a compact with SPF 26, called face architect glow enhancing powder foundation. Uh it’s a mouth full, but the quality is superb. It is great especially for mid day touch up.

    • You always have amazing skin so what you use is clearly working for you! :D I’ve used Clinique City Block before and liked that it was tinted to mask the white cast physical sunscreens leave. (Or maybe that’s a different one from Clinique?) The spreadable/airy-light finish is unbeatable with chemical ones, but I agree, physical is ideal, especially if you have sensitive skin.

      I’m only aware of a couple of physical sunscreen BB creams in the US: the Dr. Jart BB cream and Boscia BB cream (made in Japan) that are available at Sephora.

      I’ll have to test the powder compacts you use! I’ve only been using powder to set. They give me dry patches used on their own, but Lancôme BB Complete does a good job of remedying that.

      Thanks for always reading and leaving me comments! :D

  2. I use both their normal sunscreen and the BB base – the original sunscreen is the best I’ve ever used and have been a loyal fan since its previous form ( blue cap made in Japan). The bb base i have by accident as my mum meant to pickup the sunscreen and bought the bb base by mistake! I will try this new reincarnation once my current tube runs out!

    • Hi Petrina! Oh, I would love original! Is it the same consistency and wear, just without the tint? I felt BB Base was already very comfortable, so I was surprised BB Complete is even lighter and easier to spread. I like that it’s less pink, too!

What say you?