L’oreal BB Cream (Youth Code) vs. Garnier BB Cream (Skin Renew)

I was walking around Walgreens when I spotted L’oreal’s Youth Code BB Cream! You may or may not know… but I LOVE BB Creams and I’ve done many reviews on them. I quickly snatched one up and hurried home… giggling like a school girl.

Experience 5 complexion-perfecting benefits in a single step. Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator instantly evens, illuminates, perfects, moisturizes, and protects skin. In one week, tone and texture are improved and skin is healthier looking. Contains Broad Spectrum SPF 15. Available in 2 shades (Light & Medium). Buy at the Drugstore.com for $16.99

As soon as I opened up the cap, I thought… “Wow, it’s really similar to Garnier’s BB Cream!” Just like Garnier’s BB Cream, L’oreal’s BB Cream provides a dewy, sheer coverage. Although the box says “Illuminator,” there’s no shimmer or sparkle in the cream.

In this review, I’ll do a side by side comparison of Garnier and L’oreal’s BB Cream. They’re so similar, I thought it would be helpful for you to know the differences (and similarities) between the two drugstore brand BB Creams. 🙂

L’oreal BB Cream (Youth Code) vs. Garnier BB Cream (Skin Renew)

  • Price: Garnier $12.99 | L’oreal $16.99
  • Packaging: Exact same 2.5 oz flip cap bottle.
  • Smell: Garnier has a nice fragrance, but the fragrance sometimes irritates my (uber sensitive) eyes for the first 5-10 minutes after I apply. L’oreal is not completely fragrance free, but it has no apparent fragrance and does not irritate my eyes.
  • Color: The “light” shades are almost the same! But if I’m being super picky, L’oreal’s BB Cream is a little pinker.
  • Coverage: Light. Gives a subtle sheer coverage. If you want more coverage, I’d recommend Smashbox’s BB Cream or a traditional foundation.
  • Consistency: It’s scary how similar they are. Almost wonder if they just changed the fragrance and packaging but used the same formula! Tricky, tricky… but we’re on to you! (FYI: L’oreal owns Garnier)  Sorry, I’ve digressed. Both are very moisturizing and leaves the skin with a dewy finish.
    If you have oily skin, I don’t recommend these BB Creams during the hot summer. You might want to give them a try during the colder months 🙂 Also, depending on how oily or dry your skin is, you can use (or skip) a separate moisturizer.
    * To find your perfect BB Cream match, please check out my other BB Cream Reviews: Smashbox & Stila | Clinique, Dr. Jart, boscia, Dr. G | Estee Lauder | Garnier.
  • Sun Protection: I highly recommend using a separate sunscreen to protect against all UV rays. Remember, SPF does not mean complete sun protection. Read this post to learn the ABC’s of UVA, UVB and SPF.
    ~ Garnier: SPF 15 | Active Ingredient is Oxtinoxate 4% = UVB rays protection
    ~ L’oreal: SPF 15 | Active Ingredient are Oxtinoxate 4% and Titanium Dioxide 3.6% = Oxtinoxate protects against UVB rays and titanium dioxide protects against UVB and short UVA radiation. Too bad it doesn’t protect against long UVA rays which cause sun damage and premature aging.

Bottom Line: So which of these 2 BB Creams do I like better? It’s a really close call because they feel so similar… But if I had to choose, I’d choose Garnier. It’s cheaper and the color matches me (slightly) better. Even though it has less sun protection than L’oreal, I’d use a separate sunblock anyways so it doesn’t matter. I just wish Garnier didn’t irritate my eyes!

What BB Cream have you tried? Let me know in the comments below!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin 



  1. Amber
    November 12, 2014 / 1:40 pm

    I don’t get it. I tried Gaenier bb cream. It was NOT moisturizing. It was not that color, no where close. It was ORANGE. It was the worst I tried. I tried several and read and read reviews. Finally, I gave in to buying a higher end bb cream and I’m glad I did. I love smashbox camera ready bb cream. I stayed away from it do to all the reviews and blogs saying how monistat chafing relief powder gel was the same as smashbox primer. (It is not. I tried both.)

  2. Marie
    October 20, 2014 / 6:55 pm

    I normally use Estee Lauder foundation make up. Couple of weeks ago I just grab the Garnier BB cream – Miracle Skin Perfector for sensitive skin. I have tried this three times, today is being the 3rd day. Every time my eyes stings and weep. Yesterday my 22 year old daughter wore this and the same happened to her. Today I wore it and just after about 1/2an hour, my eyes started to sting and weep. Anyone else had this experience??

    • Rakhi
      November 29, 2014 / 7:55 pm

      Same reaction for me – totally stings and irritates my eyes all day until I wash my face. I can’t even use the product. As for my skin, it makes me quite itchy. No thank you!

  3. Em
    August 12, 2014 / 4:43 am

    My eyes have been stinging for a whole day after using Garnier BB cream. So annoying!!!

    • Rakhi
      November 29, 2014 / 7:57 pm

      Exactly the same reaction… I thought it was just me! It’s extremely painful, to the point of making my eyes tear up and water all day long. It makes my skin itch, too. Awful, and not worth it, because it gives me such a greasy effect! The worst!

  4. July 17, 2013 / 11:34 pm

    I recently purchased the Garnier BB Cream, I find that the coverage it gave was amazing and it was so lightweight

  5. ouk bunchaknak
    June 8, 2013 / 8:38 pm

    i want to buy this product bb cream loreal .how can i buy .there no sale here in cambodia .

  6. Lindy
    January 17, 2013 / 7:42 am

    Thanks for the review. It was very informative. I had purchased L’Oreal’s BB Cream after receiving a sample (I live in Canada so options are limited) but actually had no idea what a BB Cream was or really what to do with it. You clarified that beautifully and now I know how to use the product. Also was thinking of trying Garnier’s as well but as I have ultra sensitive eyes that react to almost anything, I think I fortunately, and unknowingly, made the best choice for me. Thanks again. And I have just liked you on Facebook.

  7. Meredith
    January 13, 2013 / 2:43 am

    I was happy to see your review, as I just happened to buy these exact two BB creams to try out. I alternate between them but find that they are very different. I much prefer the L’Oreal, because the Garnier BB cream is so shiny and greasy – it doesn’t matt down at all. It feels heavy on my face and looks like badly over-applied makeup. I’m throwing it out and sticking with the L’Oreal, until I can buy some other brands to try out! I have my eye on Boots’ or perhaps the Maybelline.

    • Haleemah
      April 10, 2013 / 10:28 pm

      Hello Meredith,

      Garnier recently came out with a BB cream that is for combination/oily skin. Maybe that one will work better on you. Hope this helps.

  8. LaLa
    December 22, 2012 / 12:28 pm

    I started using Garnier’s a few days ago and it seems to be making my skin break out. Have you heard any reports of this? Is there another brand that might be better?

    • Iryna Harpy
      May 12, 2013 / 6:59 pm

      Hi LaLa. I don’t know whether you’ve had any other responses, but I’m 54 and I BROKE OUT when I tried the Garnier over our Aussie summer! Personally, I find it a goopy, oily mess (and is only an SPF 15). If I were you, I’d seriously think about trying some of the Korean brands which you can purchase from Sasa and other online retailers. It’s a bit of a hit and miss thing with BB creams. Personally, after having tried about 6 or 7 brands, I’m really happy with Dr. G (Gowoonsesang), but it’s definitely dependent on your complexion.

      I’m fair skinned (a redhead) with both yellow & grey undertones, so leaning too much to warm colours or cool colours can make me look either jaundiced or grey (in that order). Another reasonable BB cream for fair skin is BRTC Jasmine Water BB Cream SPF 30 PA++. It’s paler (definitely something I’d only be able to use in winter) than the Dr. G and, personally, I find it too drying for my skin but, if you’re an oily, it could just be the one for you.

      BB creams are all potentially pore cloggers due to the nature of the ingredients used which actually act as the serious sunscreens. You will probably need to try at least another couple until you find the one that works for you. I always use a good setting powder to get rid of the slight plastic doll skin look they all create whether they claim to be mattifying or glowing. A good translucent powder will combat the oilies, plus soften the appearance of the finish. You can always find a lightly coloured setting powder to offset the wrong tones in the BB cream and powder will make you more photo friendly for those snaps taken when you don’t want to be photographed! Remember that good BB creams give you a ghastly pallor not visible to the eye when you get photographed…

  9. November 7, 2012 / 12:41 am

    This is a very detailed review that I’ve been searching for all this time. Thanks for sharing with us your review. I will wait for your another bb cream reviews. Best wishes!

    • November 14, 2012 / 3:05 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

  10. Lawz
    October 15, 2012 / 3:13 am

    Great job!! Here in NZ we’re a bit behind the times!
    We’ve just got the L’Oreal BB just saw it on an ad and went for a google! I use the Garnier most days but experience the exact same problem with the stinging eyes, its such a catch 22 because you can’t just avoid eyes because then the skins 2 colours! Thanks for all the info on the difference between the two!

  11. tina
    September 26, 2012 / 4:31 pm

    i was wondering the difference between the youth loreal bb cream and their other bb cream, besides spf? i got a sample of the magic bb cream and loved it, went to the store and picked up the youth code.. not knowing there may be two different types…thanks

  12. LouisaFInnell
    September 4, 2012 / 3:39 am

    I really like your reviews. Well done. I bought Garnier’s BB cream because the drugstore carried it and I didn’t want to invest in Dr. Jart’s until I figured out if I even liked this stuff. Now everyone has a BB Cream. Even Bobbi Brown has given in.

    Anyway, I got the Garnier light, but it’s still WAY too dark for my pale skin with yellow undertones. The way I’ve been using it is working for me though. I moisturize my face and neck with a cheap and simple facial moisturizer, then apply a thin coat of pure golden jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax. It plumps your skin and smoothes and firms out the surface (including fine lines). Let it soak in a little. I then blend a very small dab of the BB cream and mix it with high SPF sunscreen. The small amount mixed with the white sunscreen gives me a barely perceptible hint of color without undoing my porcelain complexion. I follow with Peter Thomas Roth’s mattifying gel. It zaps all the shine from everything I’ve put on my face to this point and it feels like velvet. I lightly tap concealer around my eyes and some cream blush on my cheeks, then a very light careful dusting of sheer pressed powder. It takes a fast, light touch to avoid upsetting the surface the jojoba oil, etc. creates on my skin, but my skin looks absolutely perfect all day. It looks as good before I wash it off at night as it did when I left the house.

    I have completely chucked foundation. Good skin is better than foundation. Also, I’m 56 and with this routine I do not look it. Even my jaw line has straightened up. The most important part of it is the jojoba oil + the mattifying gel. I get my moisturizer and jojoba oil from Trader Joe’s and it’s cheap.

  13. Karen Lee
    August 12, 2012 / 5:38 pm

    Thank you. Your review is very helpful. There are so many creams and so many brands. Now I have a place to start.

    • August 12, 2012 / 5:45 pm

      Glad I can help!! Thanks so much for visiting and I hope you’ll visit often. xoxo

  14. Marianne
    August 9, 2012 / 10:22 am

    By the way, you can get L’Oreal Youthcode BB Cream for $11.99 from Amazon.com 🙂

  15. Marianne
    August 9, 2012 / 10:21 am

    I just purchased the L’Oreal Youthcode BB Cream (never tried Garnier) and I am VERY happy with it. The Medium tone matches my skin perfectly. What does BB stand for? Either way, it does a nice job of evening my skin tone and the SPF is an added bonus. Thanks for your comparison. It was interesting to read/see.

    • August 9, 2012 / 10:24 am

      Glad you liked it!!! Bb stands for beauty balm, brightening balm, or blemish balm…. Depends on who you ask. Thanks for reading and sharing about your experience!!! Xoxo

  16. Maggie
    August 7, 2012 / 11:29 am

    There is nothing on the label of the garnier bb cream saying it has any SPF. What would you recommend as an additional sun protection as you mention you apply it separately?

    • August 7, 2012 / 1:14 pm

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. Here’s the sunscreen I use and the reasons why! Click Here!

  17. Yogeeta
    July 28, 2012 / 9:19 pm

    I have dry skin, just needed your suggestions for suitable bb cream.

    • July 29, 2012 / 12:22 am

      Garnier and L’Oreal are all great options for the various reasons I’ve outlined in the reviews. 🙂 Just find one that best matches your skin tone. If you want a BB Cream with a little more skin care benefits, Dr. Jart and Dr. G are also great options. If you’re interested in those, be sure to check out what I had to say about them too!

  18. Malori B.
    July 18, 2012 / 8:05 pm

    I’m sorry I have to do a post again because I accidentally unsubscribed 🙂

  19. Malori B.
    July 18, 2012 / 8:01 pm

    I’m sorry if I’m making you repeat yourself, but I was wondering if you could explain your application process. Do you rub it in more like a lotion or dab it more like a foundation? And also, should you let it dry for any time before applying powder? I’m new to this and so far I like it, I’m currently using the Garnier brand and just bought the Maybelline.

    • July 19, 2012 / 2:57 pm

      Hi! thanks for visiting. You can apply what is most comfortable to you. For me, it really depends on the BB Cream. I’ll either use a sponge, or use my fingers. There’s no wrong way, so do what feels right to you. I typically try to wait for my foundation, bb cream, primer, etc to dry before dusting powder over it. 🙂 Hope this helps. xo

  20. Karamel
    July 16, 2012 / 12:39 pm

    Hi, thank u so much for ur review..I have caramel skin and I found that the medium option Garnier has its just awful, very pale and dry (texture). I was thinking of trying Maybelline’s Nude BB cream..has anyone tried it yet?

    • July 16, 2012 / 12:53 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂 Maybelline’s BB Cream is the next BB Cream I’ll be reviewing!~ Stay tuned. xo

  21. Marissa
    July 5, 2012 / 11:39 am

    I don’t think the l’oreal bb cream is available in Canada yet… hm… I guess I’ll have to pick up the Garnier one if I want to try a bb cream!

    • July 5, 2012 / 12:23 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I wish all the products were available in Canada… I have so many Canadian readers that are missing out on some cool products. I personally wish The States had access to all the Korean and Japanese brand in Asia! Have a great week! Xo

  22. Sumiji888
    July 5, 2012 / 10:42 am

    To be honest, the package is really attractive. Now i’ve read this, i know i don’t want to get this because I got the Garnier one and I didn’t like it, not even a bit. For this price, I rather order online and go through the inconvenience of waiting.. Asian bb creams have more coverage and I never have to use foundation afterward (maybe a little bit of bb cream concealer). I just hope BB cream in the States would improve someday.

    • July 5, 2012 / 12:21 pm

      I hear ya! My favorite BB Creams are still the Korean brands. Hope you’re having a good week! 😉

  23. Jennifer
    June 22, 2012 / 12:59 am

    Have you tried the Too Faced Beauty Balm? I really like it!

    • June 22, 2012 / 8:56 am

      I actually have one that I’m excited to try out! Does yours have shimmer in it?!

      • Jennifer
        June 22, 2012 / 4:18 pm

        Yes, it is more luminous than the Smashbox BB Cream. I like the luminous finish. My cousin tried mine and used a highlighter over it and she had a JLo glow! It does have more of a sheer coverage too and multiple colors. I think I have the lightest color (vanilla glow). Originally, I had the second lightest but it turned out too orangey-tanish. 🙂

  24. Kim W.
    June 21, 2012 / 12:05 pm

    Thank you for the review! I was wondering about the comparison! I didn’t care for my Garnier BB cream sample I recieved in the mail. But after this, I think Ill give the Loreal a try! I have been trying to win the Hydroxatone BB cream on Facebook…(its pretty expensive), but I love the reviews its getting and I know they specialize in anti-aging, so we will see! 🙂 p/s Thanks for chance at Pixi! Loving Coral Cabana too! 🙂

    • June 21, 2012 / 3:03 pm

      Hi! If you didn’t like Garnier’s BB Cream, you may not like L’oreal’s BB Cream… The formulas are VERY similar. I just picked up Maybelline’s BB Cream and I think you might like that one better. I’m still testing it out, so I’ll be sure to review it as soon as I can. 🙂 Be sure to stay tuned!

      • Kim W.
        June 21, 2012 / 6:04 pm

        Oh Wow! See…didn’t even know that Maybelline made a BB yet! Thank you soooo much for reviewing drugstore brands also. More in my price range! Can’t wait to hear more! 🙂

  25. Mamavalveeta03
    June 21, 2012 / 8:13 am

    I thought Garnier and L’Oreal were owned by the same parent company…I wonder if that’s why they are so similar to one another?

    • June 21, 2012 / 3:01 pm

      Yes, L’oreal owns Garnier… so I wasn’t surprised that the formulas were very similar… but my goodness. In terms of consistency, they’re identical!! Thanks for gossiping with me!

      • September 3, 2013 / 4:12 am

        pretty i want to know that these BB creams are look like Foundations..is it so??i am scared from foundation base products..so will you please tell me that is it just moustrizing like cream or its also like foundation,i realy dont like to use makeup,i just want a clean skin,so will you please help to tell that its works like a cream or foundation? 🙁