Pale People, This is the Korean BB Cream You've Gotta Try

Holika Holika's Aqua Petit Jelly is a cult favourite for a reason (and now it's here in North America!).
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Michelle Villett
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Holika Holika's Aqua Petit Jelly is a cult favourite for a reason (and now it's here in North America!).
Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB

Now I finally understand why the BB craze came out of Asia. Those people make beauty so friggin' FUN. Let me share a bit of the marketing copy for the subject of today's post, the Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream. (Which even on its own sounds fantastic, right? Who wouldn't want something "petit" and a "jelly"?)

Here's how they describe it:

Contains over 80% cool, refreshing healthy aqua!
Supple jelly texture!
Makes moist and bouncy jelly skin!

I don't know what "bouncy jelly skin" even IS, but I know I want it.

Cool copywriting aside, I'd probably want to buy this product anyway, just based on the cute packaging. Did you see those polka dots? And the flower-shaped container? The outer box is real pretty, too:

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (packaging)

The reason I'm showing you this is because Holika Holika—which is South Korea's number one celebrity-endorsed beauty brand—has now arrived in Canada! They not only have an online store offering cross-country shipping, but two actual Toronto-area shops (downtown at 311A Queen St. W., right near MuchMusic, and at Pacific Mall in Markham). They also have a US e-commerce site and are on Amazon.ca and .com, too!

So now we can get our Korean beauty fix without, y'know, actually having to go there. As I'm sure you've heard, Korea is where it's at these days in terms of beauty innovations. Once you try this stuff, you will totally understand why.

First, let's talk ingredients. Here's the list:

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (ingredients)

Okay, so it's a bit long. But water is the first ingredient and titanium dioxide, the second—which will give you some SPF protection even if they aren't claiming that on the label. (Almost always, that's because of time it takes to get Health Canada's SPF approval.) There are quite a few botanical extracts, like aloe and peppermint, along with the lightweight moisturizers hyaluronic acid and glycerin.

The general takeaway should be that these ingredients are suitable for combination/oily skin types, or anyone looking for a water-based makeup.

Here's another look at the REALLY cool bottle:

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (1)
Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (2)

It comes with a giant sponge that they suggest you apply the product with. I ignored this advice because I much prefer to use a proper foundation brush and I can't imagine working with this enormous thing.

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (sponge)

Another point of interest is the little wand attached to the cap:

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (3)

It's flat and makes for an easy way to scoop out small portions of the product. I don't suggest you touch this applicator to your face; just use it to put the BB cream on the back of your hand, and then apply with a brush from there.

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (5)

Despite the name, how this actually feels isn't really like a jelly, though—at least not in the North American sense of the word. It looks like a pudding in the bottle, but on the skin it's more liquidy.

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (4)

Note that there are two shades. This one is 2 Aqua Natural, which is a neutral and in between warm and cool. It also comes in 1 Aqua Beige, which would be warm (and may or may not have slightly different packaging... I'm not sure).

The texture on first swab:

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (6)

Then spread out (it's really easy to spread):

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (7)

And here's how it looks blended out and dried down after a few moments:

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (8)

They do recommend letting the first layer sit for five minutes before building up on it or adding powder. Even still, I found one layer alone gave me enough coverage. I would describe it as about medium (and I don't like to go higher than that).

The nice thing about this is that even though it covers well, it doesn't feel like anything on your skin. The dry-down is completely non-greasy and imperceptible; it's also semi-matte. It reminds me a lot of the Pixi H2O SkinTint, although the Holika Holika offers much higher coverage.

Here is my before and after:

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (before and after)

I didn't add concealer here, but I would want to layer on just a bit for extra coverage on blemishes. I think it did a pretty nice job of hiding redness around the nose; I'd probably be inclined to build it up a little more in that area.

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream (after)

So what's not to love?

Well, like I said in the headline, you need to know that this is for pale people only. Even on me—and I consider myself pale—I find the colour verrry light and just borderline in terms of creating an Eagle look. (Light face, dark body.) I probably won't use this too often in the summer for that reason.

That said, blush or bronzer would definitely help to diminish the lightness. (I'm not wearing either of those in the "after" pic.) I also applied the cream all over my face, whereas you could definitely focus it just in the centre and blend out so that the lightness isn't at the circumference. Fortunately, I don't find the colour gives me any greyish cast, which is what I was afraid of with a Korean BB.

The second downside—and this is only because I'm really fussy—is that along with the lightness, I feel like you just faintly see the product sitting on top of the skin, the heavier you apply it. I got around this by misting my face pre-application with my Caudalie Beauty Elixir, and then blending on the BB cream while it was still quite damp. I found this helped sheer it out more and gave me a natural look that I was comfortable with. You could do the same with any face mist (and any foundation, for that matter).

The Bottom Line

This is one of the best BB creams out there for us paler folks. The coverage is good, the finish is as natural as you can hope for, and the 2 Aqua Natural shade is not too warm nor too cool (nor grey!). I think it's excellent for all skin types but especially oilier ones. Plus, how fun is it to delve into the Korean beauty craze?!

Let me know if you try it?

Where to Buy

Find the Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream at the following retailers:

PS: Although they don't appear to be carrying the BB yet, Urban Outfitters sells a selection of other Holika Holika products. Check 'em out—that Watery Cheek has my name on it!!

Have Your Say

Have you checked out the Aqua Petit Jelly yet?
What's your favourite BB cream—Korean or otherwise?