Worth the wait (and the hype) | Marcelle BB Cream review, photos, swatches

The product: Marcelle BB Cream in Light to Medium

What they say about it: Marcelle is marketing their BB Cream as a hypo-allergenic beauty balm/skin enhancer, calling it an 8 in 1 product. I couldn’t quite suss out what those eight claims were, but I’ve numbered off my guesses – and will try to judge the product accordingly!

Your ultimate skin care enhancer for all ages and skin types, this multi-purpose skin care cream is more than a tinted moisturizer or simple make-up base. It perfects the skin to (1) reveal a more even epidermis and (2) well-hydrated, (3) flawless complexion, all in one. Use it (4) alone as a tinted moisturizer;  (5) over your moisturizer to unify your complexion and (6) reduce the appearance of blemishes, (7) apply as a make-up base under foundation for total coverage and (8) improved stay-on power. BB Cream is offered in two shades and is suitable for a wide variety of skintones thanks to its self-adjusting pigments that transform and adapt to skin tone.

Please note that because I am sensitive to silicones, I will be unable to judge the long term or long-wearing effects of this product – that is, claims 1 through 3, and 8. I can, however, speak toward all of the other claims, so keep reading for the review!

Marcelle Light to Medium BB cream review

The shade: Somehow, Marcelle has managed to put just the right amount of pigment into their BB cream – more on par with a sheer foundation than a tinted moisturizer. It’s enough to tone down my awful undereye circles, but not so much that only having two shade choices will be terribly limiting.

Light to Medium is darker than my own skintone, and yet, it’s completely seamless: my face still matches my neck, but I’d feel completely comfortable wearing this and nothing else as a base product – as long as I’m not in the middle of breakout, that is! Check back tomorrow for shade comparison swatches.

Update: check out comparison swatches (MAC, 100% Pure, other Marcelle foundations) here!

Marcelle BB Cream swatches – all Light to Medium, with differing amounts of blending.

The finish: Again, Marcelle has hit the nail right on the head with this one. Similarly to the amount of pigmentation, the finish is absolutely natural – just enough glow to give my skin an extra little boost, but not so much that it’s obvious. (I’ve got a super-close-up flash photo of a swatch below; you can tell that there’s a small amount of super-finely-milled mica that’s literally imperceptible to the naked eye.)

I like to think of this as a natural plus finish – no one would ever guess that you were wearing a base product, and yet, the results are just that tiny bit more flawless.

Super-close-up swatches of Marcelle BB Cream in Light to Medium; indirect sunlight with additional flash.

The ingredients: Marcelle’s BB Cream is paraben-free, perfume-free (though it is not scent-free), and hypoallergenic. For the full ingredient list, 

Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Octyldodecanol, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclohexasiloxane, Isopropyl Myristate, Bis-Peg/Ppg-14/14 Dimethicone, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Xylitylglucoside, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Hexyl Laurate, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Isododecane, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lauroyl Lysine, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower/Leaf Extract, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Trihydroxystearin, Talc, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Iron Oxides

Odds and ends: So, that throwaway comment about this being perfume-free but not scent-free? I’m not sure what to say about it. I can’t stand the slightly-sour scent of this, even after a good half hour of wear. But here’s the thing: my scent-sensitive sister? Can’t smell it at all.

My advice is that if you’re not already convinced that you’re crazy (that is, you’re frequently annoyed by a faint sour scent when everyone else is convinced a product is scent-free), I wouldn’t worry about it in relation to this BB cream, either.

Lastly, I want to give a quick shout-out to the brilliant packaging of this BB cream. Not only is it super-cute (white is underrated, you guys), but it’s blissfully user-friendly. It’s light, easy-to-use, and super sanitary. No trigger-finger pump, no bacterial contamination, and no need to worry about fingerprints or fragility!

The verdict?

Marcelle’s BB Cream retails for $22.95 CAD/45mL and is available in Light to Medium and Medium to Dark shades. I’m hesitant to give a verdict for this one, as I wasn’t able to test it for long-term or all-day wear, but I love what I did get to test it for.

With more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, a completely seamless finish, and just the right amount of “glow,” the Marcelle BB Cream is a fantastic introduction to BB Creams on the whole. I’m no expert, of course, but I’ll say this: if the rest of the trend is anything like this one, I completely understand the craze!

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  • Arianne

    Holy macro swatches Batman! Love your review, Rae. If I didn't already have this (review pending!) I would go out and buy it right now. :) And white is totally underrated, I agree.
    My recent post Welcome the Year of the Dragon with MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Complexion Starter Kit and Chanel Dragon Rouge Allure Laque.

  • Oh, wow. Now I'm totally psyched for this, Rae! LOL @ your sensitive nose… it's tough when you can't stand the smell. I never end up using those products. (Ahem, Body Shop Seaweed skincare.)

    Great review! Can't wait to test it out when they hit the stores. :)
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    • I know! I almost want to force myself to get used to it (and fast); this scent keeps popping up in all sorts of lovely skincare products! :P

  • Rae my lovely! You do know that Marcelle is "perfume free" and not "scent free" right? Scent free = adding more ingredients to mask any scent.
    My recent post Marcelle introduces its first BB Cream!

    • Yes, I think I mentioned that somewhere in there! It's so very nearly scent-free, though – and it's absolutely fantastic that it's perfume-free. Perfect for people like Ri ;)

  • jamilla

    Alas, us Europeans are deprived!

  • Darling, I hate you. You make the ban so hard :P

    As for that sour smell, have you ever tried Clinique's cleansing milk? I love the feel of it and it works marvelously, but it has this sour…milk (duh, maybe? :P) smell that I cannot get over.
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    • Ha! I feel similarly to you, if we're being honest ;)

      Haven't smelled Clinique's cleansing milk, but I'll try to remember to do so (if only for comparison's sake!) Remind me if I (inevitably) forget, ya hear?

  • Yep…

    Need this in my life…
    My recent post My Favorite Night Balm Indeed!

    • You do, you really, really do. I was so impressed with this one, despite the scent and 'cones!

  • Your swatches are amazing! I just tried my first BB Cream today. It's the new one from Too Faced…I was wandering about Sephora yesterday and the SA there convinced me to take a sample. I like it so far, but I'm still not entirely convinced it's any different than my tinted moisturizer is. Time will tell, I guess! I am not really a stickler about smell unless it's really *really* bad or strong. Most of the time I can tolerate it. Then again, I don't have the greatest sense of smell either… :)

    • Aww, thanks hon!

      Wish you could try this one in-store – it's awesome. I haven't tried most of the BBs out there (isn't a lot of point, seeing as I can't use them), but I'm trying to get on that so I have at least a bit of a frame of reference for comparisons! From where I stand now, all I can say is that, being judged as a sheerish foundation, it's really impressive ;)

  • Yeap this settles it, going to pick this up when it's out in stores. Hopefully more shades will be released though because 2 is not enough!

    • Oh, but that's the thing: it is! Like magic in a tube, I swear.

  • toyarosie

    I keep hearing about BB creams and keep dismissing them, thinking they`re not for me; but the evidence continues to come out that BB creams are worth trying, at least!! This is a great review and makes for an excellent case for Marcelle's version – I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for it to check it out!

  • Chrissy

    Looks like a great product! Wonder if they sell this brand in the states?

    • Not in-store, but they do ship to the US through their online shop! I believe it's free shipping over $50 :)

  • Emily

    I would love for you to post up a full-face picture, showing that the blended out version of Light-To-Medium does indeed match someone with extremely pale colouring (I'm an NC5-10 and NC15 once really tanned. Yes, fifteen in the summer lol…).

    • Oh, I feel your pain! I'm about a NC15, I believe – light enough in the winter that it's hard to find a good foundation match, at least. This one does add a bit of depth and warmth, but it looks really natural (and doesn't make so much of a change that my face and neck become different colours!)

      I haven't had time for a full-face photo, but it's on my to-do list :) Hope to have it up soon.

      • Emily

        Thanks! :)

  • Lovely review! It's so nice when products actually live up to the hype :) I'm hoping US drugstore brands will start doing nice BB creams soon, so far it look like only Garnier has done one, and I haven't heard any raves about it yet.
    My recent post My Secret Contouring Weapon: NYX Blush in Taupe

    • Thank you, darling!

      It is, isn't it? :) I have the Garnier one sitting on my desk, but I haven't tried it – will hopefully have a review up next week. Smells really good; that's all I can say about it so far :P

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  • Jess

    RAE!!! All the hype you've built up around this product has TOTALLY convinced me to try it out! Is this coming to/at Shopper's anytime soon/already? My local ones don't seem to carry it yet.

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  • Cat

    I just ordered this last week after seeing it on the local news. It arrived within two days!! I ordered the light/medium as I have yet to find the right tinted moisturizer and have taken a fresh faced approach since the holidays. Ok, ok, I have been lazy since the holidays, opting for moisturizer, brow powder, blush and mascara. I wore it to work on Friday and told my co-workers I was trying something new and asked that they thought. All commented on how great and glowing my skin looked which was nice as I didn't tell them what new product I was trying or what I had done differently. It felt good on my skin, had a nice finish and I could wear it all day. I didn't feel like I was hiding my skin like I do with some other tinted moisturizers or foundations. I did not notice any smell issues and I did like the pump dispenser and styling of the tube as well. The packaging is very sleek and I am looking forward to seeing how it will be marketed.

    If I were to make a criticism, that would be it does not contain and SPF. Luckily it did not negatively interact with my serum, eye cream or my moisturizer with SPF. It would be nice in the warmer weather to have a built in SPF to make my daily routine even easier but we will see what happens over time.

    I have also ordered a Skin79 BB Cream which is one of the top Asian BB Creams to see if the hype of that product is justified as well.

    And an FYI…
    I'm in my 40's and have great skin with no major issues other than time slowly catching up with me in the form of laugh lines and wrinkles which I have earned :)

    • Wow! That's super fast – esp. for the Canadian postal system :P

      It's great to hear that you're so impressed with this product :) I know a good base product is hard to find, so I'm always pleased when someone's finally found something they like!

      Oh, and as a quick P.S.: I actually like that this product doesn't contain SPF, as weird as that may sound. It helps with hitting a broader target group, if you ask me – this way, the wearer gets to choose whether they'll layer it with a chemical SPF, or a physical one. (A lot of people have sensitivities to the former, but the latter tends to feel heavier & often doesn't photograph well.)

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts on the BB cream, Cat! I hope you like the Skin79 one, too :)


  • I love the finish and the shade! Thank you for coming up with such a detailed post dear Rae.

    Now if only we had Marcelle here, sigh…
    My recent post Pathumwan Princess in Siam | Bangkok Hotel

    • Aww, you're very welcome, my dear <3 Sorry you can't get your hands on this; I know how frustrating that can be!

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  • Wow!!! It is cool. It is very wonderful finish and shade.
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  • Alura

    I agree! The sour smell is really off-putting. It feels great and looks great, but the smell may force me to return it. It smells – to me – sour and dirty.

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  • I'm not fully sold yet on BB creams, but thanks for this helpful article. It seems more and more people are getting on the BB bandwagon

  • I'm not fully sold yet on BB creams, but thanks for this helpful article. It seems more and more people are getting on the BB bandwagon

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