Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream Skin Perfecting Tinted Moisturizer Review & Swatches

Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream Skin Perfecting Tinted Moisturizer with Sunscreen…PHEW what a mouthful! Say it fast three times. Olay covers all bases here, BB Cream, Tinted Moisturizer…so they market it as both which automatically sets off warning bells in my head.

BB Cream is NOT a tinted moisturizer. The US has not caught on to this fact as of yet and has gone ahead and decided that marketing BB Creams as a tinted moisturizer is A SUPER idea….and everyone should be happy about it.

Ok, I won’t rant anymore.

But facts is facts combing BB Cream and Tinted Moisturizer into the name is confusing for consumers. If you’ve never tried BB Cream before and proceed to purchase Olay Fresh Effects you’ll automatically assume this is what a BB Cream is and that’s just not what this is.

This awful. I’m sorry….

As a BB Cream it proves ONE of the most disappointing BB Creams I’ve tried in the US. It has ZERO coverage. Zip, zero, nada…sheer as sheer comes.

At $14.99 for a healthy 2.5 oz tube I’d say it was a beauty budget dream.

Here’s what they can fix and here’s how it could gain a Muse Approval.

It needs a little more tint, drop the BB Cream from the title, just called it Fresh Effects Skin Perfecting Tinted Moisturizer…add in SPF 20 at least…(It now has SPF 15).

All this and you got yourself a perfect product.

Because honestly? This is the best tinted moisturizer formula I ever tried. Putting aside how sheer it is….the texture is positively delightful. It’s creamy, it absorbs easily into my skin, it leaves behind a soft, hydrated finish…I’d say it rivals the likes of Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer. It feels that luxe. The formula is positively delightful! They got the texture down beautifully here if anything Olay has perfected the tinted moisturizer. Take everything bad you know about tinted moisturizer and everything you always wanted from them….good moisture, creamy, rich texture, a quick absorbing formula…this has IT ALL.

What it doesn’t have?


It’s basically like applying a rich moisturizer on your skin. There just isn’t anything that offers coverage here and that’s disappointing. Minimalists (really hardcore minimalists) might love it. But if you’re going into a purchase as someone expecting a full BB Cream experience or even a tinted moisturizer one this sorely misses several beats.

Olay…you almost had me. Remember, it would be Muse Approved if you dropped BB Cream from the name and just added a touch more pigment. That would be WINNING all the way.

Lack if pigment kills the deal.

Sorry guys.

Available now at drugstores.

Tried it?

Do share!


This product was purchased
by the Muse for review purposes.
Read my full disclosure statement here.

  • 1/18/13 12:50 christi:

    You’re right, this is simply a good moisturizer, nothing more. It has zero coverage. And I’m not one of those girls that always complains about products not having enough coverage, I usually scoff at those girls because a ton of coverage looks so unnatural and u should use concealer where u need more coverage, not cake a bunch of thick foundation all over ur face. But seriously, u need some coverage! Good God! I found this on sale for $12.99 plus I had a $5.00 off coupon, so I figured I’d give it an shot because I love a good TM. I certainty wasn’t even expecting it to be a real bb cream. But even as a TM it sucks. I’m a makeup artist, and I’d never recommend this to anyone looking for a good TM.


    • 1/18/13 12:54 the Muse:

      I think at that price christi you can’t go wrong, don’t return it, use it, it’s worth it as a nice hydrator if nothing else but full price, NOOOOO way…coverage stinks :( a little more tint and I think they’d have a SUPER tm on their hands, thoughts?


      • 1/19/13 13:46 christi:

        I totally agree, the formula really does feel amazing, and I love the smell. More pigment and they’d have a winning TM! But. In its’ present form it sucks. I will never recommend this to any clients. I do mostly bridal work and my girls ask me about bb cream all the time. This one’s the worst U.S. one yet as far as pigment. I once read a beauty blog where the writer said, “if girls only care about coverage, why don’t we all just wet our faces & stick our faces in a bowl of flour?” LOL. That’s how I feel too. But seriously, this had NO coverage. Zero. I don’t have any blemishes (but I do have some redness and dark circles & puffiness) and this still didn’t cover the redness at all.


    • 1/20/13 22:16 Simone:

      I need to cake a ton of full coverage foundation on because my skin is so messed up. Scars, discoloration, etc. I use a TM, a full coverage foundation and concealer, and if you look closely u can still see some of the damage. If blended properly though, the makeup won’t look unnatural. Definitely better looking than sans makeup.

      If I were to use only concealer, I would end up using up the product in a matter of days, and there still wouldnt be enough coverage. Im pretty sure a lot of full coverage foundation wearers also have the same problem as me.

      If I could get away with light coverage, believe me, I would be ecstatic not to have to glob that shit on my face everyday, but alas, I cannot.

      Just sayin.


  • 1/18/13 13:04 AnniLau:

    If a company can’t manage at least an SPF 30 (the minimum most dermatologists are currently recommending for people of all skin tones), I wish they’d just skip it…people who are serious about protecting their skin are just going to add another step to their routine anyway. And I think it gives less knowledgeable people a false sense of security; they see SPF on the label and think they’re covered.


    • 1/18/13 13:07 the Muse:

      *nods nods nods* *nods* PLUS you have to put on a TON of product to get decent coverage…powder products with SPF are the worst offenders imho!


  • 1/18/13 13:27 Cj:

    Hmm I’m thinking about getting this, I have pretty good skin but I still like some coverage ya know?

    Pa: my opinion on SPF in cosmetics is there shouldn’t be any. Apparently the amount you actually need to use to get the benefits on the SPF is crazy. Just use a seperate SPF guys 😛


    • 1/18/13 13:30 the Muse:

      on sale, I’d say get it. formula is NICE…but it needs more coverage :-/ EXACTLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! I always end up using SPF anyway so pointless for it to be in mundane products like setting powder.


  • 1/18/13 15:22 Lori:

    Hi Muse, I’m sure you’ve said this before, but what BB cream would you endorse as the best, in the US market??


  • 1/18/13 15:42 Tinkibell:

    Muse, in your opinion would this work (on VERY fair, pink under-toned skin) as a sort of primer, brightener?

    The swatch looks lovely for something like that and it’s so hard to find anything fair enough for my skin that brightens without glitter!


    • 1/18/13 15:46 the Muse:

      yeah perhaps tink! it might be very nice as a primer or just a moisturizer and you might even see nicer results than I did. try it! if you hate it you can def return it right?! 😀


      • 1/18/13 15:50 Tinkibell:

        Thanks so much! I’m headed to Walgreens later and I am going to pick this up! I can always use more moisture during the winter months, and like you said I can always return it! ; )


        • 1/18/13 15:51 the Muse:

          absolutely and you MUST update me on your thoughts of it. I actually LOVE it but more tint is needed otherwise I feel like I’m using moisturizer only :-/ blah!


          • 1/18/13 21:52 Tinkibell:

            I just wanted to fire off a quick up-date.

            I picked this up in the fair-light shade this evening. I had dinner plans so I took a quick shower and re-did my makeup using this.

            I will say that the formula is to DIE FOR! Just gorgeous! It melted right into my skin, left it feeling cool and refreshed and with only my HG powder (Almay Smart Shade) I actually had a nice, brightened look!

            Sadly after a couple hours I just had to wash it off. I’m not sure what it is but it just made my face feel weird and there was a slight burn. Now I want to add here that I often have problems with products on my face…so please take that into account.

            This makes me rather sad as it really did give me a lovely glow…mind you it was NOT full coverage…it wasn’t even a true sheer coverage (you are soooo right Muse! A little more pigment and this would be amazing!)…it just went well with my powder to give me a nice, pretty, quick look. I do have VERY red cheeks, and this did tone them done a tiny bit…but nothing major.

            I will be passing this to my roomie (who has very fair skin like mine) to try when she gets back from the trip she took this weekend. I’ll update after she give it a try as well, as I know it’s hard for us fair gals to find products that really work for out skin-tone. Her skin is not nearly as sensitive as mine, so I am hoping she will love it!

          • 1/21/13 9:47 the Muse:

            could be the amount of fragrance it in or the sunscreen to tink! sorry about that :( a little more pigment would DEF make it PERFECT!!!!!!!!!! especially if you don’t need a ton of coverage, I could see it becoming a staple for Summer but zero coverage kinda throws me off :( I look forward to hearing her thoughts! thanks for updating tink! I really wanted to see what you thought!

    • 1/18/13 15:46 the Muse:

      ps the texture is incredible it would be downright perfect if they added a touch more tint and stopped calling it bb cream.


  • 1/18/13 15:53 Teri:

    I am so over the BB Cream “thing”. These US companies do not know what a BB Cream is obviously. The closest I found in the US is Dr. Jart and that is stretching it a bit by calling it a BB Cream. The rest are just siliconish tinted moisturizers – and some even aren’t even that.

    With that said, I haven’t tried this one and might consider it in the summer when it is time to bring out the tinted moisturizers.


    • 1/18/13 15:57 the Muse:

      teri it’s worth a shock in the Summer, absorbs easily, lightweight, just the coverage that needs work :( Dr Jart is actually Korean, most of the formulas are the same as you’d get in Asia ;D


  • 1/18/13 16:05 Kira:

    Having been thoroughly disappointed by US “BB creams,” I agree completely. The essence of a bb cream just isn’t there. What is your favorite Asian BB cream?


    • 1/21/13 10:04 the Muse:

      really love brtc jasmine water Kira and skin 79 oriental


  • 1/18/13 16:51 Kathleen:

    Well, darn, because I’m on a budget and can’t justify trying one that is more than $20. In this age of the internet, US companies have got to know that the consumer is aware of what a BBcream *should* be, and try a little harder!

    I haz a sad.


  • 1/18/13 19:18 annette z:

    Muse have you tried Rite Aid BB Cream? If you have what do you think of it?


    • 1/21/13 9:59 the Muse:

      i haven’t sorry Annette


  • 1/19/13 1:28 blueraccoon:

    I found that I got a little bit of coverage out of this one? Not much, but it did brighten up my face and smooth out my skin tone. I do have to set it with powder or I get a bit shiny, but I have oily skin so that’s par for the course. Personally I really love the formula and I think it works well for me, so I’ll keep using it *g* I don’t need or want much coverage, tbh; I have pretty good skin as it is, and this gives me just about what I’m looking for.

    I do think the mislabeling is annoying – it’s *not* a BB cream, don’t even go there – but as a TM, I quite like it.


    • 1/21/13 9:45 the Muse:

      agreed, as a TM it is very nice a LITTLE more tint though would make it perfect!


      • 1/21/13 10:25 blueraccoon:

        Not disagreeing with you on that one! Just a *bit* more…*sigh* I also picked up the Too Faced version, and I’m not sure what I think of it yet. It seems…okay, I guess? I haven’t really worn it enough to tell.


        • 1/21/13 10:40 the Muse:

          I reviewed the TF version a while ago and wasn’t terribly impressed…kinda was dulling :(


          • 1/21/13 10:45 blueraccoon:

            Good to know! I should have looked before I bought it, lol. I think it’s going back. I really want to try the Diorsnow one, but it’s so pricey. But if it’s worth it…

          • 1/21/13 10:48 the Muse:

            I LOVE the dior one ;-D def worth getting imho! ;D

          • 1/21/13 12:37 blueraccoon:

            Question – do you think the Diorsnow is light enough for really pale people? I’m in the NW15 category, always palest shade in any foundation. I see they released a “light shade” but afaik it’s an asia exclusive which just means I have to hunt a bit more to get it…thoughts, O wise muse?

          • 1/21/13 12:39 the Muse:

            MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM it adjusts very well but for NW15 I thinking very fair English rose skin…you might wanna swatch on counter, might be a tad too beige for you. I haven’t tried the light shade tbh! I have both the US/Asia releases from last Spring but nothing from the recent releases sadly so unsure how they compare. If I were you I’d just hope over to your counter and have a swatch see what you think!

  • 1/19/13 2:16 Natalie:

    In your opinion what are three of the best bb creams? I value your opinion!! Please help!


    • 1/21/13 9:44 the Muse:

      shills 5 in 1, brtc jasmine water, skin79 pink/gold label as well as the oriental


  • 1/19/13 8:45 J.Q.:

    Between this Olay tinted moisturizer/BB cream impostor and the Urban Decay naked skin beauty balm, which feels better on the skin? I think I actually want to try this but I’m definitely going to wait for a good sale first. Have you tried any of the Dr. Jart BB creams, if so, are they any good?


    • 1/21/13 9:43 the Muse:

      jq see the dr jart archive located on the right hand side of my site, it has reviews for all the bb creams…


  • 1/19/13 18:21 amy:

    I’ll just stick with Aveeno TM; it has similar coverage, but is paraben-free, and SPF30. It’s also in the same pricerange, but overall seems like the better deal.


  • 1/19/13 23:27 Jennie:

    Oh no, you hate another American BB Cream?!? :O Sorry, I had to make fun of it. lol This whole tinted moisturizer thing with the Western market is getting old. Good thing I don’t care for BB creams anymore. I’ve given up on them as all the Asian ones break me out.


  • 1/21/13 0:17 Karen:

    i have the maybelline bb cream, and i´ve been using everyday, but i don´t love it, i´m looking for something with a little bit more coverage, and with whitening and anti-wrinkle formula, not just a tinted moisturizer. do you recomend any asian bb cream? the only one i had was missha but it was too grey, i looked like a ghost


    • 1/21/13 9:13 the Muse:

      my favorite are brtc jasmine water and the oriental both great anti-aging/whitening formulas.


  • 2/9/13 4:30 Alice:

    This stuff works perfect when i mix it a touch of liquid foundation on the top of my hand! Not worth the price when i have to do half the work i thought i was already paying for, but atleast it smells amazing! 😉


  • 2/15/13 11:06 Goldilokks:

    I’ve been testing this out for the past few days. I have to agree..it’s a really nice tinted moisturizer with amazing texture!! Fair/Light works great for my pale skin. I’ve been testing it under various foundations and so far it’s perfect. If feels amazing on. It’s moisturizing, not greasy or shiny. I plan to try it with just some powder on top and no foundation this weekend. I’m liking it better than the Becca Luminous TM, my usual when I’m going that route. Laura Mercier TM never worked for me. Sadly though, not a lot of SPF in the Olay and if your looking for more coverage like a true BB, this isn’t for you. But it smooths, brightens, and evens out my skin so well! A super nice prep before foundation. The Niacinamide as the 3rd ingredient makes it totally worth it. Aveeno PR TM sounds good too so now I gotta give that a try!


    • 2/15/13 11:49 the Muse:

      yay so happy to hear it goldilokks! I think I’d be more in love with a LITTLE more pigment and a higher SPF ;-D


      • 3/2/13 12:49 G:

        Totally! Me too! Here’s hoping we’ll get a decent drugstore BB cream in the not too distant future. One with niacinamide and soy or other proven brightening ingredients + pigment and spf.


  • 3/15/13 0:03 melissa:

    I’ve been using this as a primer of sorts. I don’t have a ton of skin issues right now (knock on wood) so it smells good and makes my skin good. I’m ok with it not having any color because I put concealer and powder over it. I noticed the box suggests reapplying every 2 hours so I think they are marketing it as a sun product but it was in the skin care aisle so who knows.


  • 3/20/13 23:25 Brooke:

    I have problem skin and need full coverage. In the morning I use primer/foundation/concealer/powder but I do use this product midday as a touch up in lieu of using powder. It gives me a nice glow. Of course I got it on clearance for $3.99. I really like the scent too. But like I said, the coverage is equal to a pressed powder so no way this could take the place of foundation.


  • 3/22/13 10:18 Matty:

    I’m always curious when people so furiously separate BB creams though… I mean, with all this talk of skincare benefits, it seems a “tinted moisture” can’t have any antioxidants/skincare benefits above sunscreen and moisture, or else it should technically be a BB cream. I don’t know, maybe I read to much Paula Begoun but according to her team a BB cream is a thick, heavy and fuller coverage tinted moisturizer. And that’s not just their opinion, their research shows that many ingredient lists of tinted moisturizers and BB creams are very similar, so much so that the new “BB” trend seems more like a marketing gimmick than any new miracle skin product. It’s all in the ingredients list people 😛


  • 3/30/13 15:40 chardonneyS:

    Does this work good on African American skin?


    • 4/16/13 16:46 the Muse:

      it’s VERY sheer chardonney so the darker shade might work for you as a moisturizer but won’t offer any coverage.


  • 4/13/13 9:54 Alli:

    I bought this and couldn’t stand the smell- and I’m really not typically sensitive to smells. That and the fact that there shouldn’t be fragrance in skin care/ anything that goes on your skin made me not really like it. I did like the feel and how it moisturized. I’d probably have returned it if I didn’t end up forgetting about it. This is usually the case I end up PLANNING to return it and end up forgetting or losing my receipt . Maybe I can use a little of it to color correct something that’s too dark. Idk we will see. I will find a use for it. Omg as I’m typing this a commercial for Total Effects just came on.


  • 4/27/13 12:50 Carla:

    Hi Ladies! I tried this as my first BB cream (if I can get anything Olay, I’ll get Olay). I am pretty disappointed in this product as a whole. I don’t wear makeup at all, but I thought what the heck, tinted moisturizer… why not? Nah, you are right. Very little coverage, just moisturizer with a tiny bit of color. BUT my biggest disappointment is how dry it is to apply… I feel like I am applying a dried out foundation (I hate that feeling, that’s how I feel like make up is on me). My facial skin is very dry, slightly flakey after washing, THAT’s why I HAVE to have a smooth moisturizer. I honestly prefer their Olay Complete – All Day UV Complete Moisture. Plain and simple moisturizer that smooths on VERY nicely.


  • 5/23/14 19:12 Birdy:

    I got this at Big Lots for $5.00 and I’m super happy with it for that price. Is it BB cream? No, but it’s a heck of a tinted moisturizer and I think the scent is really refreshing for summer.


  • 8/13/14 22:15 janine:

    I don’t get it.
    I’ve never worn foundation because my skin tone is pretty even and I’ve always felt it ruined my natural glow. Haven’t had much luck with tinted moisturizers either, and I’ve tried them all. With this BB cream though, well people who have known me all my life have been doing double takes, and asking if I just had a facial or spa treatment because my face looks great.
    Must just be me.


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