BB Creams have been on a huge rise in the U.S. “BB” stands for Blemish or Beauty Balm (sometimes other “B” words stand in but all indicate the same meaning), and this product was first created in the 1950’s in Germany to heal and cover post-facial procedure skin. It has been hugely popular in Asia, where women are all about skincare – so BB Creams typically have SPF, skin brightening properties, and other skin benefits in addition to providing a flawless base.
According to WWD:
BB creams are designed to heal problematic skin and create a smooth canvas for makeup. They can be applied directly or blended into foundation. “BB creams aren’t marketed as either makeup or skin care; instead they’re about enhancing a woman’s natural beauty,” says NPD’s Karen Grant, who says the growing popularity here is an “evolution of the brightening craze.”
BB Creams don’t tend to have a huge color selection – it’s made to brighten the skin, so typically there is 1-2 shades and it was general made to suit light to medium skin tones. See below for displays at personal care stores in Taiwan (you’ll see that Maybelline has two versions of BB Cream available in Asia – one regular cream in the tube and one foam, both in aqua packaging):
The dark blue tube in the picture below is actually a BB Cream targeted towards men.
Here in the U.S., more established brands have been putting out BB Creams targeted to the wider range of skin tones that American women have. Smashbox has been promoting their range on Sephora, and the Asian brands Dr. Jart and Boscia have had BB Creams out there as well.
As for the texture, it really varies. Some are thick and provide very heavy coverage, while some are lighter and feel just like a tinted moisturizer. Maybelline has a foam version that my cousin actually uses (she says it’s just ok). There has been some controversy in Asia recently that says BB Creams have been the culprit behind clogged pores, and there are actually facial cleansers that are just for removing BB Creams.
I’ve tried a BB Cream from MAC before – it was WAY too light even for my NC25 skin, but bear in mind the original intent of BB Creams was to brighten and lighten scars and redness, and when I was in Asia, I noticed that some girls purposely wear a lighter shade to “give their skin more radiance”. I recently purchased one from Etude House, a Korean brand, while I was in Asia and that color shade suits me really well and actually gives me a tanned glow.
I wanted to get more when I was in Asia (namely #02 Natural by Laneige), but I restrained myself as I have way too many foundations and tinted moisturizers to get through already. I use BB Creams just as I would my Chantecaille Just Skin and my tarte Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer. I make sure I have SPF underneath and still use concealer where I need it.
Will you try BB Creams? Have you tried them before? Share with us your favorites!