Read the Label: Erborian BB Crème Au Ginseng SPF 20


Declared as “the true secret of Korean skin perfection,” Erborian's BB Crème Au Ginseng product claims to transform the skin with a velvety, ultra-soft, spotless finish.

The cream contains a high concentration of longevity herbs, used in Asia for centuries. Its high-tech formulation unifies skin tone to conceal imperfections, while hydrating and nourishing for a “baby skin effect” and velvety touch.

It is available in three shades, clair (fair), doré (darker) and caramel. This column will review the ingredient listing for claims substantiation and functionality.

Formula System

This formula is a water-in-silicone system. Multiple compounds form the silicone phase, including: cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-10 dimethicone, dimethicone, dimethicone/vinyldimethicone crosspolymer, vinyl dimethicone/methicone silsesquioxane crosspolymer, acrylates dimethicone copolymer and methicone.

Emollients and Humectants

The emollients in the formulation are hexyl laurate, isoeicosane and palmitic acid, and  humectants include glycerin, dipropylene glycol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate and glycosyl trehalose. Emulsifying agents include betaine and C12-14 pareth-3, and the emulsion stabilizers, opacifiers and viscosity-modifying agents include talc, silica, magnesium sulfate, aluminium hydroxide, disteardimonium hectorite and aluminium stearate.

Pigments and Preservatives

The pigment mixture contains titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and iron oxide, and the UV filter is ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate. This formula is preserved by phenoxyethanol and ethylhexylglycerin; tocopheryl acetate serves as antioxidant.

Extracts and Fragrance

In terms of plant extracts, Piper methysticum (kava) leaf/root/stem extract has toning and refreshing properties, although questions over its safety have been raised in the past. 

Additional extracts in the formula—with anti-aging effects for dry skin, and to activate skin metabolism and impact skin immunity—include: Dioscorea villosa (wild yam) root extract, Equisetum giganteum (horsetail), Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, Kigelia africana fruit extract and Panax ginseng root extract.

Finally, Portulaca oleracea (green purslane) has anti-inflammatory properties and has been implicated for wound-healing and psoriasis treatments.

This BB cream is also fragranced. Potential allergens include: alpha-isomethyl ionone, citronellol, eugenol, geraniol, hexyl cinnamal, linalool and butylphenyl methylpropional.


In my view, the ingredients in this formula support the claims made for this tinted moisturizer with sun protection; i.e., concealing imperfections and hydrating skin with a light, velvety touch. The plant extracts could also have a mildly stimulating and revitalizing effect.

Active Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (syn. Octyl Methoxycinnamate), Octinoxate, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Ginseng

Additional IngredientsWater (Aqua), Cyclomethicone, Glycerin, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Talc, Isoeicosane, Hexyl Laurate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Betaine, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Root Extract, Mequisetum Giganteum Extract, Kigelia Africana Fruit Extract, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Magne, Sium Sulfate, Silica, Glycosyl Trehalose, Aluminum Hydroxide, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methicone, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Fragrance (Parfum), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Eugenol, Limonene, CI 77492/Iron Oxides, CI 77499/Iron Oxides, CI 77491/Iron Oxide

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