I'm a huge fan of Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector Combination to Oily Skin, so when Garnier Miracle Skin Cream launched, I was immediately curious. It retails for $19.99 for a 50ml tube in Australia, which isn't hideously steep but not dirt cheap either. Thankfully, a full tube was included in the recent Priceline skin care gift bag. (It was a real struggle waiting for stock to be replenished to be able to redeem the gift bag voucher for it, but that's another story.) I couldn't wait to slap some of the stuff on my skin and see how it performed. The first day, I tried it as a brightening/skin tone-evening primer underneath my normal makeup, but immediately started noticing issues with how it blended into the skin. Later that day, I was Googling reviews and came across MakeupAlley, where it has a whopping 2.5/5 score. Hmmm...
Most of the reviews on MakeupAlley were negative, some quite scathing. I can understand why, since I'll cut to the chase. There are major problems with Garnier Miracle Skin Cream. Major. I know with any skin care/makeup product, it ultimately comes down to individual experience, but at least from reading others' thoughts, I know I'm not alone.
Marketed as an "anti-ageing skin transformer" that "smooths, evens and illuminates skin", "reduces wrinkles, dark spots and pores" with "micro-pigments [that] automatically adjust to your skin tone" and "an anti-ageing complex with 7 actives [LHA, Pro-Retinol, Vitamin C, Vitamins B3 and B5, Peptides, Antioxidant Ginger] plus SPF15 protection", this is basically a tinted moisturiser where the tint forms upon contact with the skin. It comes out white with some fine granules in it, then blends out to this smooth, orangey tint. I guess you could call it the drugstore/affordable equivalent to Origins VitaZing SPF15 Energy-Boosting Moisturiser.
Firstly, the scent is absolutely overpowering. It's a kind of artificial, sweet, "fresh" but cloying fragrance that is entirely off-putting. But I can overlook an unwanted scent if the product performs brilliantly. If you've ever tried a tester tube in a shop and rubbed some of the cream on your hand, you might be fooled like I was into thinking this blends out well. On the face, it's a different story.
Here's a before and after shot of my bare, freshly washed and moisturised skin, then when I attempted to apply Garnier Miracle Skin Cream. I used Trilogy Balancing Face Lotion beforehand, which is a slightly sticky, quite mattifying moisturiser. The Garnier didn't work well with it to say the least. It started out okay when I applied it mainly to my cheeks and forehead, but things took a steep dive when I applied it on the nose and chin. It was picking up dryness I never knew I had. It was accumulating in areas and not blending out. It was bunching up together in patches. Undeterred, I tried squeezing a bit of the Garnier into my palms, rubbing them together, then smoothing my hands over my face. That only exacerbated the problem. I tried using a very emollient moisturiser like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Riche over the top to fix it and dissolve the patches and unevenness, but it was a lost cause. It was impossible to remedy.
A necessary close-up. Hot mess.
I'd never had a base product be that bad that the only solution was to wipe it all off and start all over again. It wasn't just that it didn't blend out properly and accumulated in patches, it was also that it made my face feel tacky and gross. I started out with fresh, bare skin that was clean, balanced and properly moisturised, and then I undid all that effort and transformed it for the worse, not better.
I ain't a quitter though, so I decided to give it another chance. After rubbing my face with a Simple Cleansing Facial Wipe and then liberally spritzing with Avene Thermal Spring Water, I thought a different moisturiser might be the solution. Clearly, the Trilogy was not cutting it, so I opted for something far more hydrating, watery and plumping. With my face still partially wet from the Avene, I used some Laneige Perfect Renew Emulsion_EX. With some trepidation, I began applying the Miracle Cream again.
This time, the results were much better. Not perfect, but a vast improvement.
I still had some issues with blending out the cream seamlessly, especially around the nose and mouth, but nothing I couldn't live with. Having said that, for the work required in terms of skin prep, ensuring the right moisturiser is used underneath, diligent application and blending with the fingers, and mindfulness not to over-blend lest disaster strike, it's all a bit too much effort for something that delivers the same results as any good, luminising, tinted moisturiser. My skin right now isn't even in bad shape in terms of texture and blemishes. I can't imagine how inappropriate and ineffectual this product would be on problematic skin.
When it works, the coverage is akin to something like Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser and the finish Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector Combination to Oily Skin. It does give me a bit of colour and glow and evens out the complexion, though I wouldn't say it's entirely undetectable because of application and blending issues which makes the product visibly sit on top of the skin. The tint isn't too dark for me, though it is a bit on the orange side.
Overall, too much effort for not enough reward. Not that it matters that much to me, but I can't even comment on the promised anti-ageing/"skin-transforming" benefits since it's unlikely I'll use this consistently enough to notice a change, if any happens. Ain't no one got time for something this temperamental. Maybe if I had no comparable products, I'd continue to use this on good skin days after prepping my face with lots of moisture and finding the best moisturiser to pair it with through trial and error, but when a product is this fundamentally unreliable, it has no value to me other than for occasional experimentation. A new, everyday workhorse base this isn't.