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BB creams are popping up on shelves everywhere – but what are they?
BB stands for beauty balm, blemish balm or beblesh balm, depending on which brand you’re looking at. BB creams are said to have originated from a cream that dermatologists recommended after cosmetic surgery to help repair skin and cover damage. They became popular in Korea after some actresses revealed them to be the reason for their flawless skin, and lo and behold, a trend was born!
What’s so great about them?
The main pro of a BB cream is that it’s a multipurpose product – most BB creams combine sunscreen, moisturiser and foundation/concealer. In terms of makeup coverage, they sit somewhere betweem full foundation and tinted moisturiser; however, unlike traditional makeup, they usually claim to improve your skin rather than clog it up. They often contain anti-irritant ingredients as well, so they tend to be good for sensitive skinned gals.
There’s a BIG difference in formula and function between the original Korean/Asian BB creams and the newer Western brand ones. The Asian BB creams generally contain better skincare ingredients and provide better coverage, whereas most Western BB creams are nothing more than glorified tinted moisturisers. Accordingly, BB cream devotees tend to use “true” Korean BB creams, and people who have only tried Western formulas end up disappointed. There are some exceptions with more Asia-centric creams released by Western brands, such as Bobbi Brown.
What do they do?
Almost all BB creams combine basic moisturising ingredients, coloured pigments and sunblocking chemicals. Additionally, some BB creams also contain antiwrinkle (adenosine), blemish-fading (arbutin), and anti-inflammatory (chamomile extract, beta-glucan) ingredients. Some BB creams also claim to minimise pores and control acne.
What are the drawbacks?
Colour range – The biggest drawback is that BB creams tend to only come in 2 or 3 shades – luckily, they tend to blend into your skin, so it’s not a huge problem, but using a sample first is recommended. Additionally, since the Korean brands produce their BB creams for an Asian market which loves skin lightening as much as Western girls love their tanners and bronzers, the creams can sometimes look unnaturally light.
“Ashy” problems – Because they tend to have very high SPF ratings, BB creams can look unnaturally grey or pink when you put them on, but this usually goes away after a few minutes.
How much? – The most annoying thing for me is that the BB creams have very nice ingredients, but they never tell you how much of each there is in there.
Is it for me?
If you want a one-step skincare product to slap on in the morning, and there’s a shade that suits your skin tone, a BB cream might be your solution!
I’m a massive fan – I love my sleep, and I hate spending time in front of the mirror when I could be in bed. I currently have Skin79 Pink Label, Skin79 Gold Label and Missha Perfect Cover on rotation – I haven’t quite decided which one works the best, but I love how good the results are for so little effort!
Which BB creams have you tried, and what did you think of them?