Have you heard about the BB Cream craze? BB Creams (short for blemish balm or beauty balm or beauty base) were first developed for women whose skin was left bruised, raw, and red from lasers and other surgical treatments. These creams were made by doctors to soothe, heal, and protect delicate skin with the added bonus of breakthrough invisible coverage to hide the irritations without having to use any traditional concealers or foundations. Essentially they’re unique, lightweight coverage creams with sunscreen and other skin benefits built right in. BB Creams are a true marriage of skincare and color – and are often found in the skincare section and not with makeup. They’re traditionally offered as a one-size-fits-all in terms of color using a universal shade that blends into your skin tone perfecting and seamlessly covering redness instead of masking a it the way a foundation does – it reminds me a little of Philosophy’s The Supernatural which gave similar instant results (see my review and photos HERE). You’ll also see some with a PA+, PA++. or PA+++ sunscreen rating (+++ being the best) which tells you how effective the SPF is in guarding against UVA rays – the nasty ones that breakdown collagen and age the skin.
If you like a full coverage foundation you might find that these aren’t enough so use them as a primer to get more skin benefits than what basic silicone formulas provide.They’re really different from anything else out there so go to Sephora where the selection is the best and ask for samples of a few before you commit. I also want to try Lauder’s new BB Cream they’ve incorporated into their Daywear collection which I’ll review separately once I give it a try. For now, here are the 3 I sampled at Sephora and the pros and cons of each.
Clinique Age Defense BB Cream $37:
Oily skin can benefit from its mattifying properties.
A good shade (01) that would work for very fair skin tones – the lightest I found.
It was the heaviest of the 3 and it settled into the skin making pores look more noticeable.
No PA rating.
I couldn’t figure out what the added skincare benefits were (what a BB is all about).
Their site refers to it as a ‘weekend makeup’ along the lines of a quick tinted moisturizer, but it’s called a BB. Not sure if it’s a true BB or just marketing.
Its radiance was a little unflattering (at least on my skin) where it bordered shiny instead of healthy.
I liked the thick, creamy texture and easy blendability. It’s probably best for those with good skin who favor a tinted moisturizer or quick powder for their daily routine.
Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 PA ++ $38:
Great skincare benefits (help for fine lines, dryness, and large pores), which is what a BB should offer.
SPF 27 and a PA++ rating
It has a natural formula without parabens, phthalates and other chemicals.
It did give my skin an immediate boost.
It has these tiny bits of shimmer that, although slight, might not be a fit for oily or mature skin.
Like most BB Creams, the one shade isn’t for very fair or very dark skin tones.
This was my favorite and the only true BB of the bunch, it made my skin look better and covered redness well. It’s something I would buy and recommend to those looking for quick and easy coverage.
Shade range; if you have darker skin you’ll have the best luck finding a color to suit you here.
It gave the most coverage of the 3 I tried, almost as much as some foundations.
You’ll get a pretty glow from its finish.
It does contain some vitamins and minerals, but overall it really is more of a quick makeup than a true BB Cream.
No PA rating and an SPF 20, the lowest of the 3.
These are along the lines of what you’ll begin to see more and more of – a foundation with a built in primer and less of a BB Cream but marketed as such. It’s not a bad thing since I really liked the look and coverage, but if you want more of the skin treatment this one will leave you wanting more. Best for those who want great coverage from a tinted moisturizer and don’t care as much for the added skincare bonuses.
A few others to consider:
Sephora now carries Dr Jart’s signature BBs which are favorites in Asia where competition is big. Check out their Premium BB SPF 45 PA+++ $39 for more mature skin and the Water Fuse BB PA++ $32 for normal to oily skin. They’re both great for the skin formulated without synthetics and are exactly what BBs are supposed to be – skincare/makeup hybrids.
Garnier launched the first drugstore BB for just $13 that comes in two shades – Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. I’m can’t find its skincare benefits (or SPF), but it’s getting some good reviews for its light, even coverage. Look for it in the skincare aisle, not next to the makeup.
What to look for in a BB Cream:
- Sunscreen, PA ratings are a bonus.
- Vitamins and minerals.
- Enough coverage so you aren’t using concealer or anything else over it (unless you want to use it as a primer).
- Adequate moisture for your skin.
- Added benefits whether it be for skin lightening, acne, moisture, or whatever- find one that’s helping to target what your skin needs most.
For a full listing of the popular Asian formulas, check out THIS article from 08′ before the US versions hit the stores.