If you have been looking into K-beauty, chances are the Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream has popped up at one point or another. This affordable Korean BB cream has been making waves in the Korean beauty world as well as online, ever since it launched a couple of years ago. After trying it myself I realized there’s more to this jelly product than just its cute looks.
The box reads “Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB SPF 20 PA++ (UV protection sun care cosmetic). Fully water-charged Aqua Petite Jelly! Jelly BB Makes moist and bouncy jelly skin. Has jelly texture that helps spread evenly and creates fully hydrated and shiny skin. It is also perfect for covering up facial blemishes. Mint water hydrates facial skin, and marine jelly complex makes soft and bouncy skin.” Inside is a little, yet heavy bottle made of scalloped glass that could pass as a big shot glass with a polkadot lid on top that has a built-in spatula.
Much to my surprise, the bb cream also comes with a beauty sponge, or ‘puff’. It’s no wonder I’ve never heard of it before, because it -pardon my french- sucks balls. It has a slanted cilinder shape that makes it rather hard to work with. Moreover, the material is so hard and dense that I wonder if this is really meant to be used as a beauty tool at all. The result looked like I had been stamping my face and forgot to blend and buff it in. If you’re used to the beauty blender or drug store equivalents like the Real Techniques Miracle Sponge, you will know in an instant this one just won’t do.
The built-in spatula on the other hand is a welcome addition to the packaging. It makes it more user-friendly and more sanitary if you compare it to regular screw-off foundation bottles that you so frequently find in the US (although I never really know why). Of course a pump is the most hygienic packaging of all, but I think that would make you lose ( a lot of) the ‘jelly’ effect. The real downside to the packaging is that it’s inconvenient to travel with. The glass is quite heavy for a small bottle and the built-in spatula makes it easier for the product to spill in your bag.
Like many Korean face products, the Aqua Petit Jelly BB only comes in a few shades. In this case, only 2: #1 Aqua Beige, a light yellow-toned shade that works well for people with cool undertones, and #2 Aqua Natural, a slightly darker yellow-toned shade that works well for people with warm undertones. Definitely good news for those fearing the infamous bb gray cast. Obviously, this ghost face went for #1, which in the end still was a little bit too dark for me, especially after the oxidation kicked in after a few hours. Now I just wear it with a drop of The Body Shop Lighting Adjustment Drops to make the colour match.
Don’t confuse these with the Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly Starter, which comes in the same packaging but looks pink. This is not a BB cream but rather an illuminating base/highlighter comparable to Benefit’s High Beam.
The Aqua Petit Jelly BB cream contains 80% mint water which causes a slight cooling effect on my face, in other words a good refreshment during the summer. Furthermore, the mint extracts also help with sebum control as they have astringent properties. Another main ingredient is the ‘Marine Jelly’ complex which, according to Holika Holika, is the plant collagen extracts made from 7 different types of seaweed; spongeweed, ulva compressa, kelp, brown alga, red algae, brown seaweed, agar which are full of potent anti-aging antioxidants. It also contains atelocollagen, which is made from shark or cow skin and it is a a collagen protein that is hydrating and has anti-aging properties, softening fine lines and wrinkles. Lastly there’s the hydrating ingredients: glycerin, sodium hyaluronate and aloe vera.
Water, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Sorbitan Isostearate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Codium Tomentosum Extract, Enteromorpha Compressa Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Ecklonia Cava Extract, Gelidium Cartilagineum Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Extract, Mentha Rotundifolia Leaf Extract, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Caviar Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Triethanolamine, Stearic Acid, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Aluminum Hydroxide, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxyapatite, Agar, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Glycerin, PEG-8, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Atelocollagen, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Propylparaben, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance(Parfum), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77499).
All of the ingredients above result in what I would call a nice face product for summer for those with combination to oily skin or when you live in a humid climate. It feels refreshing and has a light-to medium coverage that looks like skin throughout the day. It doesn’t look caky because a little bit of product goes a long way. I just grab a little bit of product with the spatula, place it onto my hand, mix in some TBS Lightning drop, dot it on my face with my fingers and quickly blend it in with a beauty sponge.
You won’t be able to cover up blemishes entirely, but for me it’s enough to even out my skin a little bit without going overboard. I just stipple a tiny bit of concealer on top and I’m good to go. Also don’t make sure to add some SPF underneath, especially during spring/summer, that SPF 20 PA ++ just isn’t enough.
The finish is neither dewy nor matte, but the perfect in-between for the oilier zones. It’s not that moisturizing and dries very quickly upon application making dry patches more visible, so I wouldn’t recommend this to people with dry skin. Even as a person with combination skin, I wouldn’t exactly call the Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB a holy grail. For me it’s rather a summer favourite than a product I’d wear all year round. It just sits better during summer.
Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB (40 ml) – KRW 13.500 / $ 12
Available at Holika Holika roadshops (KR) and online.
Disclaimer: The product mentioned was purchased.