What are BB Creams?

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:

-Pros-

Oily skin can benefit from its mattifying properties.

SPF 30

A good shade (01) that would work for very fair skin tones – the lightest I found.

-Cons-

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.

Overall:

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:

-Pros-

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.

Good coverage.

-Cons-

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.

Overall:

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.

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm Multi-Benefit Skin Care Makeup $32:

-Pros-

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.

-Cons-

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.

Overall:

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.

Because It’s Worth It… Where to Spend a Little More Money

If you haven’t watched the adorable Marcel The Shell video that’s such a huge hit on YouTube – you have to check it out below (and click HERE to see it if you get this post delivered via email). The the couple who produces it has already written a book and is in talks to develop a series staring their lovable one-eyed shell after just 2 videos. I watch it religiously. It just makes me smile.

http://youtu.be/Ta9K22D0o5Q

My favorite line is at the end when he says he smiles because it’s worth it. Which caused a mental domino about what’s really ‘worth it’ in terms of popping the lock off the wallet and spending a little more for an investment in your skin looking great. I’m not someone who thinks you have to spend a ton to look great – I recommend drugstore finds as often as department store ones – but there are a few exceptions that are so great that I’ll spend the extra cash because I know they’re worth it.

Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation:

I’m scraping the bottom of my jar of Chantecaille Future Skin that I got almost 2 years ago. I heard so much about their foundations that I purchased the jar at a counter not knowing it was $72 and then tried to play it off when she told me my total like it wasn’t twice as much as I’d ever spent on foundation. I quickly discovered that after I tried every type of foundation that passed my desk, I’d happily return to Future Skin. Its coverage is fantastic, staying power terrific, and the look of it is so natural – which might be because it’s made of 60% water and seaweed. The higher price tag could be attributed to its treatment benefits like reducing sebum and calming redness with chamomile and green tea – but who knows. All I know is that I’m mentally preparing for another $72 purchase very soon, but at least this time I know it’s worth it.

Liz Earle Cleanser:

Cleanse & Polish, the cleanser that I’ve referred to as ‘near perfect,’ is so worth an order from the UK based Liz Earle (or from Fred Segal Santa Monica- their only stateside location I know of.) It’s not a pricey buy at $25 for a 3.3oz pump (and around $7 to ship), it’s the ordering that makes it a little more of a challenge than grabbing a bottle at a store like we’re all so used to doing. I’m so addicted to this thick, creamy, lightly Eucalyptus scented gentle cleanser which removes all makeup so effortlessly, that when I try out a new cleanser to review it’s what I measure them all against. It’s a gold standard for a cleanser and one that’s so popular they have an automatic refill service and also a 3 pack available to make getting this perfect cleanser as easy as possible.

SkinCeuticals Serums:

SkinCeuticals is renowned for their high-potency, crazy effective serums designed to correct, fade, protect, and calm – whatever your skin happens to need. Their C E Ferulic is probably their best known do-it-all serum with vitamins C and E and Ferulic acid to protect the skin against environmental damage and skin aging. They use the purest, best forms of vitamins (like L-Ascorbic for their C) for maximum benefits and create combinations with other vitamins and acids for the very best skin absorption. Serums compliment any skincare routine and are so beneficial using only a few drops a day making them worth their $100- $150 cost.

Estée Lauder Eye Creams:

Eyes show age. It’s that simple. Getting that thin skin moisturized and protected is important, as is finding an eye cream that has some beneficial ingredients and proven science. So many eye creams are a complete waste – basically just plain moisturizers in a smaller jar without any true benefits. I trust and love Lauder’s eye creams – they have something for every skin type and concern, but their Re-Nutriv eye creams are their supreme offerings. With too much science in them to explain (or understand, really) I just know that when I use a Lauder eye cream, I can see the difference. I can waste money $35 at a time with something that isn’t working, or just fork out the $100 (ish) to see a difference and keep the Botox away a little bit longer.

Don’t worry, I’m also rounding up a ‘not worth it list’ (hello mascara!!) so you can save your pennies on things that are all pretty much the same.

How to Cover Acne Video Plus Best Full Coverage Foundations

My friend Cassel sent me this video last week (below) about a girl with severe acne who bravely takes all of her makeup off (for almost 3 million people and counting) and starts from scratch showing every step she takes to make sure her red welts are well hidden. Though my skin is temperamental at times, I don’t apply nearly as much makeup as she does (I think she has 7-ish steps!), because one good full coverage foundation should do the trick in most cases. Here are a few of my favorite full coverage foundations for when your skin just isn’t cooperating.

I never really fell in love with Armani’s Luminous Silk, their signature foundation that was all the rage a while back – I found it to be too light in weight to do any serious covering. Their new Designer Lift Foundation however, is like a delightfully thin coat of paint (I mean this in a good way) that covers the worst of it while maintaining a natural finish. The bases for most foundations are white or even black, then pigment is added in to create a skin color – but this one begins with blue pearl giving it a beautiful base to create luminosity and cancel out dullness. It’s one of the best foundations I’ve tried in a long while – worth the $65 especially when you’re serious about coverage.

Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover $40 is what she uses in the video to get her liquid coverage, it’s a great foundation that I’ve used it in the past for a before and after post. Its medium to full coverage and luminous finish is best followed up by their HD powder so you can enjoy the glowy look it gives the skin. Blending is your friend, use tiny dots at a time and work it in as you go around each section of the face to build up the coverage you’d like until all of your redness is gone.

Cover FX gained fame when it was rumored to be the foundation used to cover Angelina Jolie’s tattoos on a movie set years ago. Good enough for me. Their Natural FX Water Based Foundation SPF 15 $37 is the one I carry in my kit for when I need to bust out some super serious coverage on the most challenging skin. It’s oil, fragrance, and paraben free and will outlast your desire to wear makeup for the day. I’d say it gives the most coverage of the bunch and it’s especially formulated to cover acne, eczema, rosacea without adding additional irritation or causing breakouts.

Check out the video below, click HERE to see the video if you’ve received this post in an email.

 

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint SPF 15

I’m thrilled that Liz Earle has dipped her toes into the world of color with the launch of her new Sheer Skin Tint, a foundation that fills in the gap for women who like complete coverage and natural formulations at the same time since there isn’t much there in terms of good quality stuff. It’s a foundation that makes your skin look as healthy and radiant as good skin care does. Ah, I love Liz Earle. Let’s check it out..


This 1.3oz tube packs a big punch, it’s so concentrated that it should last a long time.


Just a tiny dab will do.


Does anyone know where I can find like a veiny, somewhat hairy hand? Ugh. I wanted to show its consistency and coverage. It’s really rich and blendable with a believable coverage and a beautiful finish – if I had to compare it to something, it would be Laura Mercier’s Silk Creme but with a more natural ingredient lineup. Score!

I think last time I talked about Liz Earle I called it a near perfect line and I’m sticking to it. I really do love this foundation, I’m so excited to see what they come up with next!

Tip Of the Day: How to Wear a Foundation That’s Too Dark For You

We’ve all bought foundation that doesn’t match. When it’s too light, take it back- it’s hard to get it to look good (unless you use FACE atelier Zero Plus with it, but that’s another story…) When it’s too dark, you have more options. You can mix it with your daily moisturizer which dilutes the color and makes a custom blended tinted moisturizer. Or you can do what I do every day and use the darker foundation on your neck since our necks are typically a shade or two lighter than our faces even before we add blush and bronzer making the discrepancy more obvious. Just a few drops of a deeper foundation shade brings my neck to a believeable shade that matches my face so the look is seamless and balanced.

Makeup Before and After: Bronzy Bridesmaid

Another day, another makeup transformation. I took these over the weekend at a wedding I worked at the Brown Palace here in Denver. It’s the brides sister (and maid of honor), who requested a punched up version of her usual look with some bronzy highlights that would photograph well. Here’s the before and after along with a few things that made the look possible.

My Hero Products for the Look:

Estée Lauder: Bronze Goddess Soft Duo Bronzer

Finding a bronzer that looks good in the office is one thing, but finding one that photographs well and lasts all day is another. Lauder has gotten good at bronzing and their one-shade-works-for-most duo is a go-to for a lot of makeup artists because of its instant tanning affect that’s perfect in any light. Keep in mind that bronzer isn’t meant to be used all over the face, just the top of the forehead, chin, and under the cheek bones gives a dynamic look. A little bit of brozner is pretty and youthful, bronzer all over is Jersey Shore.

Tarte: emphasEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Black

emphasEYES is as good as any gel liner out there (better than Bobbi for precision because it isn’t as slippery) but with mineral-derived pigments and a natural formula.I used it on her upper lash line with the pointy side of the brush (shown below), then I did a smudgy application under her lower lash line with the diffusing side of the brush. I’ve seen girls literally cry over this liner without it moving. Liner is important to a look and this is one I trust.

L’Oreal: Double Extend Eye Illuminator in Black Quartz

I’m still using Double Extend in my kit – I’ve never had a problem with smudging or moving and these are brides and bridesmaids who are basically sweating and crying all day long. Double Extend Eye Illuminator offers the same great formula on one side in black, but replaces the primer side with a shimmering formula and a round tipped brush meant to highlight the lashes. I don’t know how much the glimmer actually brings a highlight to the lash, but I love the shape of the brush to work mascara into the outer part of the lashes where they’re the longest and need some extra bulk.

KohGenDo: Maifanshi Moisture Foundation in Shades 2 and 3 blended together

I’ve blogged about KohGenDo Foundation before, it’s a well-loved pick for Makeup Artists who forgo airbrushing for a more controlled (and safer) application. It enhances skin and gives a good amount of coverage without making it look like you’re wearing a mask. You can see in these pics that some of her freckles are still showing (I outright refuse to cover freckles beyond what the foundation does because I think they’re so cute), but the bulk of her discoloration is gone and her skin is still showing through and glowing. No need to powder over top either, the formula itself contains 10% powder so it’s self-setting.