# of shades available: 2 (Fair/Medium)
Other variants: Normal/Dry, Dry/Very Dry
--What does the promo say?--
"Take off those winter layers and reveal your outer beauty this spring with new No7 Beautiful Skin BB Cream. Its unique 3-in-1 formula evens and enhances skin tone and disguises imperfections, while the nutrient-enriched formula helps to banish blemishes. And with the added protective power of SPF 15 and 5 * UVA technology to help skin stay youthful, BB is the only way to wear this season’s must-have essential - perfectly-pared back, beautiful skin."
The black and white squeezy tube adds to the arsenal of colour schemes permeating the BB cream market: I've already seen BB cream packages that are peach and hot pink before this one, so it's always good to differentiate. I'm not such a fan of the shape, though: not for any practical reason, but only because it doesn't look like the rest of its No7 brothers and sisters (primers, foundations etc). This tube is squatter than the other similar products made by No7.
Apply to clean dry skin, over primer if required. Nothing tricky about that.
This product promises light coverage, and that is exactly what you get. If you have blemishes and were hoping that this product alone would cover them up completely before you went outside, you can forget it - you WILL need to use a concealer with this. Another thing you may wish to use, depending on your skin, is face powder: I found that this product did not deliver a mattifying effect (skin began to look shiny within an hour), so I needed to apply face powder to compensate. The colour match, however, was perfect for me (I was sent Fair), so I would definitely be happy to use it on days when I wasn't too concerned about covering up blemishes.
While I have heard other complaints about the scent of this product, I have not personally found this. I would in fact go as far as saying that the No7 BB Cream is scentless. Perhaps others just got a bad batch.
--Texture and consistency--
This BB cream has the nicest texture of any I have tried. It's creamy without being too thick, blends beautifully, and is definitely not sticky. Nice one!
--Effects on the skin--
In terms of what this BB cream offers I have difficulty in seeing how it will clear up my blemishes or offer any other benefit beyond sun protection (which in its turn is a form of anti-ageing benefit), given that the SPF seems to be the cream's main selling point. I don't doubt that it does protect skin from the sun, but BB creams are surely supposed to be more than a tinted moisturiser or glorified sun cream. I haven't been able to use the product for long enough yet to say if this does help my acne, though, so the jury's still out on that one.
--Value for money--
I have to admit that £12.95 is about the most I would pay for this cream, given that I would expect a genuine BB cream to offer more than mere sun protection and light coverage. That, to me, is what a tinted moisturiser does. BB creams have historically (read: in Asia, where they originated) offered whitening properties, which is clearly never going to fly in the UK, so I wouldn't expect them to offer that, but I would expect No7 to offer something extra in their product, such as an active blemish-fighting ingredient (BB does stand for "blemish balm", after all!) or something to reduce scars. Admittedly, Garnier's version does not do much in this regard either, but it is still early days for BB creams in Europe and theirs at least has "inspired by BB creams" in its promotional material, which helps to distance their products from the genuine article. Still, BB cream or no, I'll be continuing to use this product as we get closer to summer (my least favourite season - boo hiss).
Airbrush Away Primer, £19.50/30ml