BB Cream Ingredients…and why we need to explain to our kids what’s in the products they see in advertising

Over the recent holidays we went places as a family that we don’t tend to head during normal months…so there were trips to the movies, shopping centres and a bit of extra TV watching. And it seemed like we’d stepped into the world of Garnier’s BB Cream. Everywhere we turned, every page we flipped, every poster and ad we saw was about this BB Cream.

“What is that stuff?” My 12yo daughter asked dreamily…just like the soft lens everything seemed to be filmed in.

“Let’s find out,” I replied. “Well, on their website they say it’s a ‘miracle skin perfector’.”

“Ooooh,” said the 12 year old. “What’s in it?”

And then we discovered finding out the ingredients of BB Cream would actually need a miracle! After lots of searching on the official Garnier BB Cream site, the only information we found out about the ingredients were lines like this:

“…a hybrid formula…unique mix of active ingredients including vitamin C…mineral perlite…mineral pigments…SPF15…”

We also read that: “Garnier believes in the power of nature. Based on this philosophy, to use active natural ingredients wherever possible.”

Righty-O…I thought, if they’re not happy to put the ingredients on their site in an easy to find place…that’s an alarm bell. Surely it’s not about “trade secrets” and all that stuff, maybe it’s just there’s something in the ingredients that won’t help them sell more of the stuff….maybe things with erky names!

More research. And this proved tricky. With one search engine I couldn’t find any sites with info on the ingredients because for pages and pages, it was all just glowing reviews and Garnier pages…did discover though that the “BB” stands for “Beauty Balm” or “Blemish Balm”. I had a bit more luck with a different search engine though and came across a site called CosDNA (

Just a bare bones site, and with information for a legal advisor on the front page…I typed in Garnier BB Cream Ingredients.

Ummm, here’s just a couple of the ones listed for starters. Half of these (maybe more than half!) we had no idea what they were so had to turn to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic database for more information. The EWG is a great resource for all sorts of information about the ingredients in cosmetics and more, and I’ve used it the past to work out the ingredients in the also heavily advertised Bio-Oil.

Here is some of the information about the ingredients listed in CosDNA as being in the BB Cream:


ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE (also known as Octinoxate)

Alcohol denat

Nylon 12

Propylene Glycol

And that was just for starters, there were plenty of other long-named and double-barrelled ingredients.

“Oh,” said the 12 year old, the disappointment in her voice meaning she knew we wouldn’t be becoming a customer. Sure, she’d love to get caught up in the glamour of something mum hasn’t made at home (we make a moisturising balm for ourselves and for sale using beeswax, and organic oils including coconut, jojoba, rosehip & evening primrose oils), but she also knows there’s no way we’d pay out for a mix of stuff we can’t pronounce and wouldn’t want in our kitchen cupboard.

It can be hard to do the research about possible purchases, but it really is up to us parents to help educate ourselves and our kids about the facts behind the advertising fluff.

“Only put on your skin what you can eat”… is something we say a lot in this house because it just seems to make sense for our health and the health of the planet. There are lots of sites and books from which you can learn how to make your own lotions and potions, so why not give one a go with your little one in tow!?!


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