December 26, 2012

MAC Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm Compact Review & Swatches

I purchased my first MAC Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm Compact in August I believe? MAC launched the BB Beauty Balm Compact a few months ago but not many folks realized it was hanging out on the website.

It comes to the forefront this Spring 2013 as part of the general catalog. I mentioned in a few posts already that you’ll see BB Creams getting a big push for Spring so I suspect that’s why MAC is kinda bringing this forward.

Also keep in mind, it was supposed to launch with the Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm but for some reason there were some delays thus the new “relaunch” of the product.

Take a look!

This is a long over due review. I purchased the Light Plus version of MAC Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm Compact this Summer. Now MAC recently sent me the three shades available so I decided it was time to review.

Sadly, this is lacking in the shade department. Shades available are Extra Light, Light, and Light Plus. Honestly, with a shade range like this, very few will find a match. If you are lucky enough to find a match I can honestly say that BB Beauty Balm Compact is a brilliant product.

Light, Light Plus, Extra Light

BB Cream Compacts are a dime a dozen in Korea. Every brand seems to have one. It’s basically a BB Cream in a compact form which has a denser cream formula than you’d find in a tube. In my experience I dislike cream compact foundations overall. That dislike stems to BB Creams in this format as well. In most cases, I find them too thick, too heavy, and too moisturizing.

The one exception to my rule is Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer Creme Compact. Speaking of which MAC’s BB Beauty Balm Compact is very similiar in texture to this product.

Where as Laura’s version was sheerer, MAC seems to have better pigmentation. Coverage is sheer still but still overall coverage is a bit better than Laura’s version. Now I loved the Tinted Moisturizer Creme Compact I purchased and even Muse Approved it. But MAC’s BB Beauty Balm Compact is better.

I find the glide is most moisturizing but not greasy or oily. It glides onto skin and evens out skin tone, perfecting it, and creating the illusion of flawlessness. It does accentuate drier skin so be sure you prep well prior to application. I noticed it clung rather unnaturally and badly to flakier areas around my cheeks. So exfoliating, moisturizer, and primer are a good idea…heck, they should be apart of your daily regime anyway but just be sure to take extra care with application.

Coverage is not life altering. Don’t expect it to conceal major problems because it simply won’t do that. However, if you desire a “my skin but better” appearance this will surely give you that. It’ll blur minor imperfections, even out uneven spots, and just create a beautifully perfect canvas for makeup.

It’s a touch dewy at first but dries down to a satiny soft finish. It comes with a sponge for application which does the trick perfectly however, be sure to rinse it with each use to avoid bacteria.

Wear time is iffy. On my drier skin I notice it fades within a three hour period. You might see longer or shorter results depending on your skin type. I imagine the shortest wear time will be for oily skin. It is easy enough to tuck into your bag for touch ups so the short wear time might not be too much of a bother.

It does contain SPF 30 but you really NEED to apply a ton for that to be effective so proper sunscreen prior application is a smart idea.

Overall, I don’t love a ton of coverage and merely use a smidge of BB Cream or foundation so this is ideal for someone like me. My skin is good overall sans acne or any major issues. I suffer from dullness and this does an excellent job easing that and creating a smooth, perfect canvas for makeup. If you lighter, sheerer coverage which perfects already good skin I highly suggest checking out Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm Compact. The downfall is the unfortunate lack of shades but if you can find a shade to match your tone, you’re in for a treat!

Excellent product.

Available now at all MAC stores or online at

Tried it?

Do share!

Disclosure: This review contains a compact I purchased as well as press samples provided by MAC for review.

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‘.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Josh :D

    Hi Muse! I can’t find the ingredients for this anywhere online — do you happen to have them? I’m not one to buy foundation without knowing the ingredients since my skin is so fickle and I tend to know what ingredients cause issues for me. Thanks! 😀

  • Ada

    I took issue with MAC over twitter, in regards to how limited this product is in terms of darker skin tones. And then MAC tweeted me back suggesting prep and prime. But this balm seems to be a pressed compact cream version of a bb cream? And in that brands across the board should do better when it comes to accommodating darker skins. I don’t think my skin is that complicated, I don’t understand why it’s so hard for brands to do this. They’re cutting out a huge chunk of the market.

    • Debster

      I think that applies to both ends of the spectrum. I’m so pale, I hadn’t found an american brand with a colour that’s light enough for me (I use to mix white theater stage make-up with a foundation that I liked). One of my good friends is incredibly dark and she doesn’t bother with foundation since she can’t find something that matches. I wish I knew what the deal was.

      • G

        Not a BB but an awesome pale foundation I recently fell in love with…Dolce & Gabbana The Foundation, Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation, in Classic 60. I’ve got every pale shade imaginable and this one is amazing on me. Try it Debster! The Armani Face Fabric in their new shade 05 is pretty pale too though a totally different look. Still, I’m loving it too. I’m definitely going to try the Mac Prep + Prime BB compact. Hooray for more super light shades!

  • Littlecreek

    I am so excited you liked this! I have to admit I’ve been withholding purchase til I heard what you thought. And from your description it is what I hoped it would be. I even think extra light might be too light for me. I love when that happens, makes me feel tan. 🙂

    • the Muse

      it’s GREAT Brooke well worth picking up ;-D I had to combine extra light and light plus to get the perfect shade!

  • Suzanne

    Thanks for the review Muse 🙂 Just curious whether you were able to find a good color match with this BB cream compact. I use Nude in Laura Mercier’s TM, looks like we may be of similar coloring. Thx!

    • the Muse

      suzanne not really dear. seems I’m between light plus and light…combining the two works. light plus might work if nude was a good match for you but may be a little too beige.

  • christi

    I agree Ada, and I am very pale & have trouble finding a shade light enough as well.

  • Cj

    I’m glad you liked this lol! I was trying to wait untill I saw your review before I ordered it… buuut that didn’t last lol. I should be getting mine tomorrow 🙂 sucks about the wear time tho!

    • the Muse

      i know I had it since like august? or September? and never reviewed! I kept pushing it to the “to be reviewed” pile but everything else kept coming before it. You’ll love it, wear time is iffy but overall great product!

  • Christi

    I LOVE this product! Just got it a few days ago! Why didn’t u muse approve this one? Lack of shade selection? I for one am happy they have a shade pale enough for me! Extra Light works beautifully on my nc15 complexion!

  • Priya

    I love this bb compact light plus it worked amazing on my skin,i dont like foundations as doesnt leave any track to know that we had put on make up