REVIEW: Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream SPF 15 – “Fair to Light”

Although the Bobbi Brown BB Cream is currently my only favorite “Western BB cream,” I have yet to be happy with the performance of other brands – high-end AND low-end. I innocently stopped by Walgreens to get chapstick and stumbled upon Olay’s new Fresh Effects collection for the skin. I was intrigued.

While the new collection includes face wipes, a moisturizer, and other skincare necessities, I was drawn towards the Fresh Effects BB Cream (SPF 15) and purchased it. To get to the point, I hated it and it’s going to be returned. It’s not even worth keeping around for lazy days. For me, if I don’t like a product I just don’t write about it. However, since Western BB creams are all the craze right now, it’s only fair for me to tell you WHY I disliked it so much compared to my beloved Asian BB creams.


The box indicates – that this BB creams contains “no oil or PABA” and has “just the good stuff” in it. The Fresh Effects range apparently is a line catered towards those who want to “create a customized skin care that’s as expressive and vibrant as you are.” It claims to provide an airbrushed finish while giving your skin 24-hour hydration and a “splash of sheer color for a flawlessly radiant look.” Supposedly, we can say “bye bye to blotches and imperfections, and hello to instant skin-perfecting coverage.” The BB cream claims to contain 6 “skin perfecting benefits” – it “refreshes, brightens, evens skin tone, hydrates, smoothes, and protects.” Marketed as a product that is an “all-in-one solution for instantly brighter-looking, smoother-feeling, [and] even skin tone,” the claims are VERY high.

First of all, this is the only product I’ve tried that did absolutely NOTHING. In fact, I figured if I didn’t get any coverage, at least I’d get all the hydration. Fail. Second, the coverage – although the product said it would be sheer – was SO sheer that it did nothing and looked like nothing. Fail. Third, a BB cream is NOT a tinted moisturizer; just like a tinted moisturizer is NOT a foundation. Using the terms synonymously and expecting equal results from products that do different things is wrong to begin with!! Saying that the product is sheer yet it provides all this coverage is misleading – and, unfortunately, Western BB creams haven’t been able to hold up to these claims yet.

Also, the whole purpose of a BB cream is to be a multi-tasking product with lots of sun protection. That’s the whole point. Yet, this product contains only SPF 15. Again, Fail.


I chose the color “Fair to Light” and it was fine. The consistency is thick and goopy but spreads evenly despite the initial texture. There’s a lot of product in a single tube and the opening allows for a lot of product to be squeezed out at once. This product is NOT buildable so the excess product goes to waste.

The scent is a light, almost fruity scent that quickly disappears. It doesn’t bother me, although if I were keeping the product, it would help for it be unscented. When applied with a buffing brush, the product was hard to blend in. It just moved around on my face and clogged up my brush with product – which, again, is wasteful. When I used my hands, it was slightly better – but, I swear, the product transferred more onto my hands than onto my face. Again, fail.


Final results yielded nothing. Once applied onto the skin, nothing happened. Nothing was covered – the redness or blotchiness. It didn’t even minimize it; and, my face looked like I hadn’t applied anything at all! FAIL! What was supposed to be a quick application turned into an ordeal – I had to go back and apply concealer and powder over it to get the finished look I was going for. And, even then, I still wasn’t happy with the overall look. What’s upsetting is that I’m not one who needs a lot of coverage to begin and I LOVE the natural look. But even for me, this product was useless.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this product. You’re better off spending a little extra on something that provides results – like a real tinted moisturizer – perhaps like the Chantecaille ‘Just Skin’ Tinted Moisturizer; or, the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. If you’re on the hunt for a Western BB cream, I’d go for the Bobbi Brown BB Cream that I mentioned before. Above all else, I still prefer Asian BB creams, which are widely available on eBay and other websites that cater towards Asian products, such as I hope this was helpful to some of you. The search continues for a good, well-performing Western BB cream. Onward!

On sale at Walgreens for $12.99 USD.
2.5 fl. oz. (75 ml)
Made in USA.