February 7, 2012

Stila Stay All Day HD Beauty Balm Review & Swatches

If you’re unfamiliar with BB Creams I do suggest reading this post prior to reading my review of the new Stila Stay All Day 10 in 1 HD Beauty Balm. Hopefully it’ll enlighten you to what a BB Cream is.

With Summer here, we’ll be seeing more and more BB Creams popping up but these products aren’t new by any means as they have been popular in Korea for a very long time and just over the last year or two Japan and the rest of Asia.

BB Creams are a cool product in the fact they offer flawless, long wearing coverage with the added benefit of anti-aging, whitening, and SPF ingredients to keep skin looking its very best. There are SO many brands of BB Creams in Korea in a variety of formulas to try but lucky enough we are a bit more limited here in the US. I say lucky because sometimes it does get overwhelming and finding just the right BB Cream for your skin tone and issues comes down to trying many products before finally finding just the right one for your tone, skin type, and issues. Believe me, I’ve tried hundreds!

Not many Western brands have succeeded in capturing the idea, concept, and formula of an Asian BB Cream but the attempts and tries so far are interesting.

Stila Stay All Day HD Beauty Balm will essentially be a disappointment if you’ve tried Asian BB Creams before however it might just prove a win for those who haven’t been initiated into the world of Asian BB Creams.

Let’s take a look!

I like this.

I even suggest you purchase it.

It creates a flawless look and has a creamy, lightweight texture.

But it’s not a typical BB Cream.

For one thing, it lacks an SPF. Most all BB Creams have an SPF 30 to 50 or even higher. This eliminates the need to apply an SPF as your BB Cream acts to protect your skin from harmful sun rays. Stila failed miserably in not including an SPF in the product as it is an essential and key factor in an Asian BB Cream. It’s one of the keys that gives BB Cream its multitasking abilities.

Their claims are it helps reduce pore skin, provides oil and blemish control, hides skin imperfections and reduces the appearances of wrinkles. It also features a complex to reduce redness and skin irritations.

Mmm…..much of this is indeed promised by Asian BB Creams but also anti-aging aspects as well as whitening and brightening ingredients such as Arbutin are typically included.

The formula is a thin, creamy gel-like consistency that absorbs easily into the skin. It offers flawless coverage and photographs beautifully. It evens out skin tone and has a lightweight texture that allows skin to breath easily. It should work well on most all skin types since the texture has a lighter finish that mattifies yet still manages to gently hydrate for those who have drier skin. Truly it creates picture perfect skin. For me it eased dullness considerably.

The problem?


The product is very sheer. Unlike Asian BB Creams which have buildable coverage this takes on more of the role of a tinted moisturizer with a far denser formula that isn’t as thin as this one. This isn’t surprising as this seems the route that most BB Creams that grace our market have taken. It’s seems like companies and brands are playing with the idea of a BB Cream as a hybrid tinted moisturizer slash foundation with a creamier texture and feel than a more traditional tinted moisturizer which tends to run a bit thinner.

If you have fairly decent, smooth, blemish-free skin you’ll find this wears very nicely and enhances your skin while easing dullness and creates a nice airbrushed finish.

However, those prone to break outs, those with acne scarring, or other issues they wish to conceal will find the coverage is disappointingly sheer.

In Asia, BB Creams are released in a single shade sometimes two and if you’re extra lucky a third shade. Stila’s BB Cream is a single universal shade. It fit me near perfectly. The color is a lighter beige that looked very natural on my medium fair skin. There isn’t any pink tones in this beige but a small of amount of yellow is in the mix. The medium shade of beige goes slightly creamy in tone as you apply. Sadly, the shade does limit darker skin tones from indulging but….it’s so sheer you might just be able to get away with it if your medium or tanned, olive skin or darker might have to test and see.

I liked it.

As a BB Cream it’s disappointing as hell.

But as a tinted moisturizer/base of sorts, it’s actually fairly nice. My skin is dry and dull with no acne issues or scarring. It eased dullness and delicately hydrated my skin. My skin was perfected after use. The product also had a nice wear time without oxidizing too quickly, with primer I could get six hours of wear and without nearly five.

Overall, if you fall into the right skin tone I’d suggest trying it. The creamy texture is a delight to apply and enhances skin beautifully.

It’s definitely not a BB Cream in the traditional sense but it is a nice base product on its own.

Sadly, I’d love to Muse Approve it but the lack of SPF among other things prevents me from raving it too hard.

Tried it?

Love it?

Do share!

Available now from Stila Cosmetics.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Nana

    I feel like American BB Creams are just embarrassing >_< Most of them are double the price of an amazing Asian BB Cream. For what? worse product -.-……..

  • Candee

    There was one BB that you were hopeful about. Was it Estée Lauder or Lancôme? Have you had the opportunity to test it yet?

  • Jeanne

    “10 in 1” and one of those 10 claims doesn’t include SPF?? It’s a shame most these western versions of BB creams aren’t living up to their claims, I picked up the Missha BB Cream while I was on vacation in SE Asia and it broke me out horribly! 🙁 I was hoping the western versions might be better suited for my sensitive/combination skin but if they don’t even provide decent coverage, I’ll stick to my regular foundations.

  • Phyrra

    Why is it that American companies are missing the main points of a BB cream?

    I still say Holika Holika FTW. <3

  • Maggie

    I was just looking at this the other day at Ulta! I’ve been on a foundation/base kick lately, and have been rediscovering my BB creams. I can’t wait for your Smashbox BB cream review!

    • the Muse

      I like both the same em, they are two of the better formula I’ve run into in the US market. Clinique’s version offers more coverage though and SPF

  • Ashley

    I recently discovered your site and it’s become my favorite! I’ve been using this product since it was released. I reviewed it on my blog and I have to say I love it. I agree with your review it is NOT an Asian BB cream/beauty balm. This product won’t work by itself for those with problem areas they wish to conceal. It’s great as a base for other products though. I use this with foundation on days I want added perfection otherwise I use it on its own. I get an unusually long wear time on this. On its own I’m getting a good 8 hours of wear. With powder and setting spray it lasts until I wash it off. It’s also made my skin softer and my minor wrinkles are noticeably diminished. Since its marketed as an “HD” product I didn’t think it would have sunblock in it because sunblock can photograph/video horribly. I prefer to use my own sunblock. Allows me to control any over cast from it.

    • the Muse

      i did too ashley. coverage is a little sheer but it perfects beautifully 😀 I got great wear out of it as well, it doesn’t oxidize on me which is fab ;-D interesting and true, I never thought about the “hd” part of it!

      • christi

        Hi Muse! I have just discovered ur blog and I am loving it! It’s so thorough and I have recently embarked on an Asian Bob cream quest. These American “BB Creams,” while some r nice TMs, r nothing like the Asian one, Missha, that I own. I agree that this Stila one probably doesn’t have spf because it’s called HD, and an added spf would make it photograph horribly, especially a high spf thst is expected of a Bob cream. I also have tried tons of American BB creams, either purchasing them, or obtaining samples of them. U always mention that it is hard to find one for darker skins, but it is also hard to find one that isn’t too dark for my extra pale skin! I have just ordered a skin79 orange label Beck’s everyone on all the beauty forums and blogs said it’s a pale one. We will see! Btw I know there r lots of fakes on ebay and Amazon, so I researched heavily b4 choosing amazon, which everyone says sell authentic ones. Anyway, keep up the great reviews! Oh and I also ordered a holika holika one that I am waiting g on too!

        • christi

          Lol that was supposes to say BB creams in the beginning of my last comment, not Bob creams! My tablet did that lol. Every time I type BB it wants to change it to Bob!

  • Christina

    “Stila failed miserably in not including an SPF in the product as it is an essential and key factor in an Asian BB Cream. ”

    Dear Muse, I disagree with this! Based on my reading and intuition, I am VERY skeptical about wearing SPF on my skin every day of my life (a lot of medical publications suggest it may be harmful, some say it may potentially be linked to cancer, but this link needs to be tested scientifically more extensively, a lot say it is a chemical product unnatural to the skin whose benefits should be balanced with the potential downsides carefully..). My intuition tells me: It’s a chemical bomb if it manages to keep natural sunrays away from my skin. Personally, I choose it for sunbathing where chances are I will harm my skin more without than with it.. but i HATE that so many day creams, tinted moisturizers and makeups force the SPF on me. I specifically search for products that don’t have it written on them and hope its not still included.
    Thats me, I don’t know how many others there are.

    So Stila may have found a niche by providing SPF skeptics like me with a BB. Whoever likes to use SPF can still use it before/underneath. right? 🙂

    • the Muse

      hey christina

      the irony right? damned if you damned if you don’t as staying out in the sun without spf can also potentially cause skin cancer :-0

      • Christina

        ya absolutely damned if you do, damned if you don’t 🙂 for my complexion (mediterranean olive) and climate i live in (central europe) i’ve decided i will not use chemicals unless i really want to stay in the sun in summer or if i ever decided to go skiing in winter (which i don’t so far 🙂 ).. the wicked thing with skin cancer is you’ll know if your decisions were good only long after your actions.. really wicked!

  • Quinctia

    Picked up a Missha BB Cream, I really like it. (That was totally your fault, too, by the way. You and your BB creams.) I was worried about its beigeness, but the color plays all right with my undertones. I don’t need to prime, and it’s a nice satiny/matte-ish finish for me. I’m still on a search to find a tinted moisturizer/BB cream that leaves me with the dewiness of the UD one in a tone that matches me better. Sometimes I just want dewy?

    As for this Stila one, it’s a shame it only comes in one shade, because that one looks like it wouldn’t work on me. Reminds me of UD tinted moisturizer, haha.

    • the Muse

      yay! glad to hear it quinctia 😉 UD tms run really light or is it me!?

  • Lemony Licks

    I thought this was interesting and had high hopes for it. I’ll stick to my BB Cream.

    Have you ever tried the Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer? I got it on sale – it’s quite sheer but it’s good for a light makeup day. I am kind of wondering how this stacks up with their existing line of tinted moisturizers.

    • the Muse

      i have some somewhere Lemony but haven’t used it in a bit…it’s alot thinner than these, this is creamer, more coverage as well.

  • Grace

    Agree, the lack of spf is a big disappointment 🙁 I was hoping for at least medium coverage which is generally how asian bb creams are, but I guess I will have to skip this one 🙁

    Btw Jeanne, Missha might not be the best for sensitive skin, at least in my experience with the brand. The only bb creams that didn’t break me out were the Dr. G hydrating one (spf 30??), Hanskin Acne Control, and the Vichy one (spf 20 I believe). Currently testing out the Hada Labo BB Moist Cream spf 32 and loving it so far 🙂

    • Jeanne

      Thank you so much for the recommendations, I’ll definitely look into trying those! 🙂

  • Cj

    Uhh is it just me or is the price for this kinda high for stila? I mean $38 is higher than Mac foundations. Maybe I’m turning into a cheapo lol. This seems a lot like Marcelle’s bb cream, and that one is only $22.

    • Nana

      it IS insanely priced -.-….. And I agree I’d rather get a mac foundation for that price rather than this junk xDD

      • the Muse

        that’s a little harsh, might be expensive, but I didn’t think it was junk 🙂

        • Nana

          Lol its just junk in my opinion 😛 You could get 2 AMAZING Lioele BB Creams for $38 instead of a mediocre kind-of-okay-bb cream 😛

          • the Muse

            True but sadly, prices for base products in the US aren’t anywhere near what Korean prices are :-/ damn shame, but I prob wouldn’t dub it junk less you try it first 🙂

    • Nana

      P.S.S Did you see Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball stage that shes using on her next tour????????? OMGGGGGGGG

      • Cj

        OMG I know right!!! It’s AMAZING! I definitely need to go see her this tour lol!

  • Sarah S.

    Hi Muse! I really agree with your assessment! And I find this smells a bit liked mashed bananas, haha. If you consider it not against other BB creams but as its own product, it actually is quite nice, isn’t it? I do have some acne and scarring, but this is great when I don’t have time for separate moisturizer and sheer base and I’ll just pop this on and run off to work and spot-conceal once I get to the office. I just love it when your reviews agree with my experience (which is like ALL the time so I know I can trust your reviews 🙂

    • the Muse

      oh wait, I have to go smell it again lol! ;-D I agree, def, so long as you keep BB out of it, it’s a gorgeous product imho! It really perfects skin! AWWWWWWWWW thanks chicky!

  • Sarah

    Muse, I’ve been following your reviews of American released BB creams and none of them seem to be living up to the standards set by the original asian BBs. After looking through the BB Cream tag archive, I just became overwhelmed so I was wondering if you could help me out.
    Out of your experience which BB cream would be the best for relatively normal (sometimes a little oily) skin, that is acne prone with acne scarring and redness that need to be covered being the main concern?

    Basically I just need a full coverage BB, that doesn’t make me look dead. My coloring is pretty similar to yours.

    Thank you so much, liquid foundations just aren’t cutting it anymore and I’m tired of living with my acne scars peeking through. This sounds like a miracle product.

    • the Muse

      Sarah, bb creams are something you really have to explore in my opinion as what’s great for me isn’t always necessarily great for another person. I’d look into BRTC as they make some very good pigmented BB creams.

      • Sarah

        Thanks for your response. I ended up ordering Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream after reading through reviews on makeupalley. it sounds promising. *fingers crossed*

  • sara

    What were they thinking? Wow, to expect women to pay $38.00 with no SPF! Pass for me. Thanks for the review Muse!

  • sarah

    I actually tried this at ulta and couldn’t believe how badly it SUCKED!! and i’m sorry to say that bc i enjoy their tm. But this? no coverage, no spf? why put a product out that like that where the consumer can get MUCH better results w all of the other bb creams that provide coverage and spf? stila missed the mark with this one for shizzle.

  • lexi

    I’ve just tried my first BB cream today – the MISSHA Perfect Cover in 21. I’m NC20 and this matches me pretty perfectly. I’m hoping it lasts nicely throughout the day because I am loving the coverage and feel of this!

  • Amber

    I just purchased this product and I really like it. I don’t need a lot of coverage, but I am getting older (35) and I wanted something that would take care of the greasy feeling, tone down blochiness (I do t like heavy coverage because I actually like the natural color of my cheeks and skin), and moisturize ( my old skin gets super dry spots).
    I was surprised how smooth and clean my skin felt, even sitting in a hot car it feels nice.
    I do worry about the pric, though. It is not a lot of product for that price. I would expect there to be 2 months of daily use for $40, but I worry I may only get a few weeks out of it. If that is the case, I will not be able to afford it.

  • bianca

    Being an Aesthetician & Makeup artist I have to defend this product. It wasnt made to be a bb cream, its more on the side of the anti aging blemish balm. Which is great for adult acne. As far as the spf goes I love that’s its not included for 1 reason being there is no way we put enough on to act as an spf (spf 30 or higher should always be in your skincare regimen, not makeup).
    I love this as a primer especially under pressed & loose powder. The color is self changing as well. Im mixed raced with dark tan yellow undertone skin & hd beauty balm matches seamlessly. Just go into the stores & see what you think. Thx

  • Shell

    I love the Stila BB Cream! It’s a lovely color for my late summer skin (I’m fair and pink/blue), and it blends beautifully. I’m divided about the SPF issue. Chemical sunscreen irritates my eyes, and so many Western BB Creams go the chemical route–at least the Stila doesn’t have that. I can always do a hat or my Shiseido SS with it.

    Unfortunately, since it only comes in one color, it’s too dark for fall and winter. I’m currently test driving Dr. Jart+’s premium gold BB cream. I haven’t decided yet–it’s pretty close though. 🙂

  • Jamie

    I didn’t see the price for this, but I know this brand is pretty expensive. I have yet to find a bb or cc that covers wrinkles, acne scars, brightens spots, and minimalizes pores. Tall order, I know. I don’t like creams that match the skin because I tan and cover my face, so I have to use darker foundations. Also, I don’t like SPF in my products because there are so many dangerous and toxic chemicals in the average SPF bottle. Still waiting for an affordable cc drugstore cream. =)

  • Lucia

    Great post! But even if a makeup product has sunscreen in it, it is still recommended to use a sunscreen or a sunscreen-moisturizer under it — because you don’t apply the makeup as liberally as you would a sunscreen, and this is the only way you would even get the SPF or UVA protection labelled. I mean, I’m assuming you’re not slathering on the BB cream the way you would a moisturizer, and when manufacturers label the sunscreens, they’re assuming that you ARE slathering the product on.

    • Amy

      Whoops just found your updated post on this product lol my bad :/