Dr G. Brightening Balm SPF 30 PA++

This is not so much a review than it is me finally introducing you all to one of my favourite beauty products of all time.

Dr. G. Brightening Balm

Dr. G. Brightening Balm

This week, it occurred to me that I am at the 10th anniversary of my ‘relationship‘ with the Dr. G Brightening Balm (I believe it used to be called the Dr. G Hydra Intensive Blemish Balm) and it was about time I mark the occasion with a post just for this very special BB in my life.

Yes, the Dr. G Brightening Balm SPF 30 PA++ has had pride of place in my makeup bag for a full decade and it sets a kind of personal record for being the most enduring product in my entire cosmetic stash. To date, I’m onto my 16th tube.

Now, I don’t have perfect skin. I get blotchy and splotchy with the best of them but this does the best job of helping me cover it up while still letting the skin show through.

I dislike looking completely airbrushed and I don’t like my skin to have that much makeup on it that I look like I am made of plastic. I really prefer a more natural skin look and this is my go-to BB that delivers the medium and comfortable coverage that I need.

With the Dr G. BB, I love that it works fantastically as an all-in-one base and this is what every good BB Cream should aspire to.

In fact, on my most basic of days, I wear it alone in a single layer without anything else – no primer, concealer, setting powder – to achieve a more natural, almost no-makeup look that I prefer. My ‘point makeup’ products like blush sit better on my skin after a layer of this BB too.

Best BB Ever

Best BB Ever


  • Medium coverage but somewhat ‘buildable’ to a heavier coverage. I wouldn’t encourage more than two layers as I find the skin can appear cakey with any more than that.
  • Counters redness on application and lightens the visibility of spots and blemishes on application.
  • Effectively masks light pigmentation and corrects the appearance of an uneven skin tone
  • Minimises the appearance of pores.
  • Has an immediate brightening effect but thankfully, contains zero sparkle.
  • Non-greasy and non-sticky formula.
  • Neither leaves a matte nor dewy look but places the skin somewhere in between and I feel, looking natural. You may still require the use of a mattifying powder to keep the shine at bay if you have very oily skin because oil control is minimal.
  • The texture of the formula is neither dry nor runny – the cream does not settle stubbornly into the skin’s natural lines or pores to emphasise them. Moves with the skin and allows the skin to breathe.
  • Does not crease or look waxy on the face but may oxidise after extended wear and appear a little grey by the end of a long day. You might want to consider a removal and reapplication if you intend to go from day to night for a fresher look.
  • You may witness a grey cast on the skin on application. I just give the Dr G. BB a few seconds more to warm up on my skin and find that the ashy cast magically disappears and my skin looks natural…but better!
  • I’ve always found it available in only one supposedly universal shade which was to me a light beige. Personally, I feel it works better for people on the fairer and more pinkish end of the spectrum. You can always work it in with a bronzing product if you find it too light. Curiously, I have been made aware that it is available in an even fairer version labelled with Super Light BB.

Strangely, I could not find a direct link to the Gowoonsesang site about this Super Light version which seems to be available only online at Amazon and ebay. Shade-wise, the original was made for me but my sister, who has much darker skin and is about three or four shades darker than me, complains that it is too lightly-coloured and isn’t convinced this works for her. Obviously, the Super Light shade is going to be worse for her.

Now also available in a Super Light BB?

Now also available in a Super Light BB? I have not seen this new version yet.

  • Dare I say, it really seems to have had an anti-ageing function for me. I’m really pleased to say this but it’s hard to simply isolate the Dr G. BB as being the reason for the low number of wrinkles for my age because, realistically, I’ve been using many other skincare and cosmetic products along the way with it and then, I have good genes when it comes to things like wrinkles because the women in my family don’t look our age.
  • Dermatologist-tested and I’m not allergic to it
  • There is a very minimal and pleasant scent that’s difficult to describe as anything other than a foundation smell but I’ve been wearing this product that often for so long that I can barely detect any scent now that I’ve grown so accustomed to it.
  • Leaves my skin looking more even and better than it really is in real life…and in photos! Always a good thing in this day and age!
  • This BB has sun protection at SPF 30 PA++ .  If you’re familiar with sun protection quotas, then you’ll understand that this product offers fairly good protection under UVB rays (SPF30) as well as medium protection under UVA rays (PA++). That said, I spoke to a qualified dermatologist recently who maintains that it is still necessary to wear an adequate sunscreen under a BB cream that has sun protection because a cosmetic product can only do so much on top of its cosmetic functions.
  • Effective and economical because a little goes a long way. You won’t need very much and its best to start with a little and blend, blend, blend before adding more to the skin. It’s a good idea to let the first coverage rest and sink in before considering a second layer. You may not even need the extra amount.
  • Made in Korea


Here are a few swatches for your benefit…

This is my arm.

Nicely balanced texture that is neither thick nor runny

Nicely balanced texture that is neither thick nor runny.

The following two images of swatches are not on my arm but for the convenience of photography, I borrowed a passing inner arm that is about a shade or two darker than my own arm. The arm shots are taken in natural daylight under the shade.

Three swatches here-: Left to Right –

Dr G. BB swatched & blended in natural daylight

Dr G. BB swatched & blended in natural daylight

Note that there is a slight pinkish/ grey cast in the swatch to third blended swatch. This disappears when the BB cream warms up on the skin.

Dr G swatches

Same Dr G swatches as above – shown at another angle (again, in natural daylight)

The back of the tube

The back of the tube


Price-wise, I think it is reasonable and isn’t really much more expensive than drugstore varieties of BB and foundation.

Remembering that a little goes a long way with this BB; it’s actually very economical.

I find myself reaching for this product almost daily and a tube of this in the 45ml size lasts me the best part of a year – literally months and months.

In Malaysia, at SASA these are the RRPs-:

45ml – RM69 RM79 (price has increased as of Sept 2014)
60ml – RM95

I prefer the 45ml tube because it fits into my makeup bag and is easier to carry around. Besides, SASA runs more promotions in this size.

I buy all of my Dr. G BB at SASA where I’m comfortable with the fact that I am buying the original and where they regularly have promotions for this product. Once, they even had a spectacular ‘Buy One Get Another Free’ promotion! Obviously, it’s money-wise to keep an eye out for these deals.

* Speaking of promotions, SASA Malaysia are actually running a promotion for this product from now until the 21st September! It’s two for RM90! That means it’s only RM45 each for the 45ml size. Usual price: RM69. I’m going to stock up!*


I think by now you get what I mean when I say that the word LOVE doesn’t really come close to how I feel about this product. It’s literally a second skin to me. I need it and I kid you not when I say that I take a tube of this in my bag everywhere I go and it is the only base product that I have returned to again and again.

By the way, I have combination/ sensitive skin. A very oily t-zone with dryness around the cheek, chin, forehead and temples. I have a horrible tendency to flake around the nose.

The Dr G. BB formula may have changed a little over the years because at one time this product was called the Dr G. Hydra Intensive Blemish Balm but as I no longer have these older tubes in my posession, it is difficult to make a direct comparison.

I  shall check with SASA to see if the Dr G. Hydra Intensive Blemish Balm is the same formula rebottled as the Dr. G Brightening Balm and will update this post when I speak to someone about this. I do know that when I first started using the Dr. G BB it was only as the Dr. G Hydra Intensive product. Either way, I seem to have achieved the same quality of usage from both despite the difference in name and have not been able to detect a difference in the formula.

Have you used the Dr. G Brightening Balm before?

What do you think of this product? Do you find it as awesome as I do? I’d be interested to hear all about it.

Available at SASA outlets nationwide or through leading online stores trading in Korean cosmetics.

SASA Malaysia Facebook


HAN Cosmetics


[Disclaimer: This is a personal tribute post to my favourite BB on the market. I love this product and have paid for each and every tube I’ve ever used or gifted with my own money.  Consider at your own risk. Images remain the property of this blog. Please do not republish without permission and a link back to this blog.]



  1. Thank you for this post ShopGirl! I really love the way you write about this BB cream because I see it full of love, hehe 😀 i was darn pissed off with Poslaju today because my parcel hasnt arrived after 2 days, but your post is like a splash of refreshing cold water on my fiery heart, I am feeling a lot better now ^_^ thank you for gifting me with a tube of this BB cream, it is marvelous! I agree that on my dark skin, it seems too white at the beginning but with controlled amount of application and blending blending blending, yes the key is blending, it looks normal after the cream sets on my skin 🙂 super love it!

  2. The first blended swatch in natural daylight photo looks like it has a bit of greyish tint to it but I’m glad to know it matches the skin tone after a while. In fact most base makeup goes on with different shade and changes to the original shade after it sets.

    I couldn’t go out without setting with powder. The more matte it is, the better. I don’t know why I like touching my face throughout the whole day lol.

    The promotion seems like a great deal! 😀

  3. @ Mieza: You’re welcome! I know you personally asked me to review this on the blog months ago and I’m sorry it took me so long to deliver but yes, this was for you and me and everyone who wants a good BB to start with…and perhaps, stay with!

    I’m so glad you like using this BB and I really did think the best way to show you how great it is was for you to try it for yourself. I often buy extras to give to deserving lovelies like you 😉 By the way, as much as it requires blending, don’t you just love how easily it blends?!

  4. @ Street Love: This was the first BB Cream I had ever come across and there weren’t as many brands around back then. I was introduced to it by the lovely BA at SASA because I asked her why her skin looked so good so she walked me over to this and so the love affair began 🙂
    At the time I hadn’t even heard of a BB Cream and when I first put it on I found myself looking a little ashy but yes, it totally transforms and gives me better ‘skin’ once it settles. Yes, the SASA promo is good for this – I’m off to stock up!

    Interesting you like a matte look and I should too because I am an oil field at the T-zone but I like some slight dewiness although in my case it’s a fine line between dewiness and oil slick. I am the complete opposite and try not to touch my face during the day.
    You would love BECCA’s Ever Matte Primer. Seriously, the mattest product I’ve even come into contact with. Like a lid on all my pores for around ten hours. No shine but I felt it made me look a bit powdery and I was not used to the complete lack of shine.

  5. I meant to ask you on BECCA. Where to buy it? So wanted to buy Ever Matte Primer after hearing from you that it mattifies your skin the whole day. That’s like my dream come true haha.

  6. @ Street Love: I get all my BECCA from either Sephora US or eBay. Never buy it from Australia. It’s an Australian brand but always costs much more in Oz. Even then, BECCA is not a cheap brand but I found this listing to give you an idea…http://ebay.to/1s9yqz9
    Hope it helps!

  7. Wow you really love this BB cream so much you stayed with it for 10 years. I don’t really recall any products that I have stayed so loyal for !
    I mostly buy a few tubes of bb cream when I go back to Taiwan as I find most of the bb creams here are so pricey.
    Now this bb cream you reviewed here sounds so good – especially the anti aging part – I think I will give it a try when my bb cream runs out !

  8. @ KJ: I really have been loyal to this BB cream for ten years and it just seems to light me up that I feel quite dull without it. As a beauty blogger, I’ve tested my share of BB and CC creams, and some have been good but I love this one.
    I imagine you have a huge choice of BB in Taiwan. I didn’t realise prices were much better too. I haven’t been to Taiwan since I was a teenager. I miss the big night market in Taipei.
    By the way, I’m holding a blog giveaway in a matter of days and this BB will be in the prize parcel 😉

  9. The choices are way too much – you can easily get them in Watsons. Some of the big brands like Shisedo, Kanebo want to get a market share from a younger crowd, so they have manufactured things at an much more affordable price as opposed to purchasing at special counters in department stores. I remember I bought a Freshel BB cream (Kanebo) at around RM 25 in Taiwan. Good price right?
    I will be sure to check out your give away and see if I have a chance to use your magical BB cream !

  10. @ KJ: You’re making me want to visit Taiwan again! Yes, please do check out my upcoming giveaway – some practical items in that! And, good luck!

  11. I’ve never forgotten that you love Dr.G to the moon and back and how finding products that work for your sensitive skin means that they’re a keeper like Vagheggi… unfortunately and this is very true with most BB creams out there is their limited shades for darker skin tones. Perhaps that’s why I love Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer so much. It’s not a BB cream and doesn’t have the broad benefits associated with it but it still works for me.

  12. @ Sharonsree: I feel a little embarrassed knowing that I have been gushing too much about Dr. G all the time and now that this post is out, the whole world will know how much I love this BB! You know how it is when you find something fantastic and want to sing it from the rooftops! Everyone needs to try it at least once and I think you could try and mix in some bronzer to adjust the shade to your skin.

    That said, I totally agree on the frustratingly limited shade options of most BB creams and to date I have not found that any other BB creams compares as well to this Dr. G on my skin. I feel it does seem to magically adjust itself to me in a way that no other base has.

    I agree with you, Laura Mercier is a base goddess and has some excellent options and I know BECCA does too. You already know how much I love BECCA so I won’t say anymore 😉

  13. Uh ok so you’ve got me sold on this although I’m not usually a fan of Korean bb creams. I’m going to have to check it out. Just hate walking into Sasa though ugh!

  14. @ Paris B: Oh my, I’m so chuffed you stopped by at my blog, Paris! Really, really lovely to see you here.

    Back to topic, however, it’s interesting that I’m the reverse and prefer the Korean & Japanese BB Creams. I’m not convinced that the western & Euro brands have nailed the concept just yet. Of course, as with all things about beauty…I remain open to discussion and new discoveries and am sure that this will change.
    As for SASA, I have to confess that I practically live there but it’s true, loving beauty products and buying beauty products can be two very differing experiences. I hope that whatever they have done to make you despise going into SASA will be corrected in your future visit. [Note to SASA: Pull your socks up – this is Paris B!]

  15. @ arpitabread: Can you believe I have at least 4-6 tubes of this at any one time in my stash?! It’s true. This is my best friend.
    Too bad the limited shade situation isn’t inspiring you because it’s just awesome. I know I said it a million times in this post but yes, I just want to say it once more. It’s SO good.

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