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.

My Face Serum May or May Not Contain Foreskin; Advances in Skincare

Scanning over the ingredients of my super luxe TNS Essential Serum I see that it has Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media at the top of the list. Could this strangely sounding element really be why the serum is know to be so effective (not to mention pricey at $260 a pop)? And is it the skincare equivalent of Soylent Green? Is it really made from humans?

Actually, I think it is.

SkinMedica, the company that makes TNS calls Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media ‘ A physiologically balanced, naturally secreted and stabilized growth factor blend that helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and overall skin tone and texture.’ Googling around gives some mixed results; it’s thought by some to be derived from newborn babies’ foreskin (!), but I can’t find a clear explanation about its origin and the company isn’t giving details so the jury is out. Since it’s listed as ‘human’ on the ingredient lineup, I’ll assume it’s something of the sort however it’s derived.

While the use of young stem cells is gaining some serious traction on the scientific front in age reversal research, some companies who can afford to purchase the technology (like SkinMedica) are starting to offer products that are more cutting edge than ever. TNS Essential Serum isn’t new and has developed a bunch of crazed loyalists claiming that it has made their skin look 15 years younger and that they’ve tried to do without it but because of the cost, but they eventually return when they discover nothing else works as well. Its function is to repair and protect by fading discolorations, improving skin tone and texture while also preventing future damage – it’s a do-it-all (better be for the cost right?) replacing other creams and serums and narrowing down the steps to your routine.

I’m only a few weeks into using it during the day, it replaced my C serum and moisturizer and does a good job of hydrating and priming the skin for makeup. It has two separate chambers inside so when you pump it out you get a serum from one side of the bottle and a light lotion from the other that you mix together and apply. I hear the scent has recently changed which is good because it stinks. Really stinks (like foreskin?). But the scent fades and you don’t smell it any longer after it’s blended in.

It’s too early to tell if it’s making a difference, but it’s worth a shot. Because I’m pregnant I’m off Botox and my skin has been lackluster to say the least so I’m hoping for a miracle in a jar. I’ll keep you posted with an update in a few months to see if it works as well as they say.

Arcona Triad All-In-One Cleansing Pads

If you’re into those all-in-one cleansing cloths you get at the drugstore, Arcona has a luxe version that works just as well but is much better for your skin. Triad Pads are pre-soaked with their best selling Cranberry Toner for ease of use when you want to remove makeup, cleanse, tone, and refresh skin all in one quick swipe. Everything made by Arcona is done is small batches using pure, chemical-free ingredients like the toner – rich with natural AHAs, Vitamin E, Cranberry Extract, and Omegas so it soothes instead of strips. You’ll find that your skin is so hydrated and balanced after you use them that you won’t go back to the chemical-laden cloths again. Great especially for travel or gym bags.

$30 for 45 pads- check em out on Arcona.com, Dermstore.com, or Skinstore.com

Make Up for Ever Fluo Night Black Light Pigment

This skin of mine hasn’t been exposed to a black light in many moons, but if I were still hitting the clubs you can bet I’d have some Fluo Night Black Light Pigment on hand. It’s a transparent-by-day powder that when used alone or blended with other makeup becomes visible once under the glow of a black light. Its uses are pretty limitless since it can be sprinkled in hair, combined with a clear mascara for lashes, or dusted over stencils to create a specific pattern. You can also write something totally offensive on a friend’s face and laugh your ass off once you’re inside the club at their total lack of awareness to what’s going on. Ah, to be young again…

Make Up For Ever Fluo Black NIght Pigment $31 Sephora

Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronzer Concentrate

Even though I didn’t pony up the $40 for Dr. Hauschka’s Translucent Bronzing Concentrate the other day at Whole Foods, I’ll probably grab it once my other liquid bronzer is gone. I use a liquid bronzer mixed with a moisturizer on my neck since it’s naturally several shades lighter than my face. I also use it mixed in with a body lotion or oil and apply it to my arms, legs, and chest when I want a little more color in a pinch.

I liked this deep shade which gave my arms a nice bronzy glow that wasn’t too dark. Because it’s concentrated, it’s meant to be used as a mix-in so you’ll get more use from this smaller bottle than you’d expect. Though it’s a little higher in price than the one I’m currently using, its clean ingredients and good brand reputation will push this to be my next beauty purchase.

EYE M GLAM by Giella & Mario Dedivanovic

Last week I shared this vid from a workshop given by Mario Dedivanovic. I also mentioned one of his most loved products (that he himself custom blended) – EYE M GLAM, the super highlighting powder he developed with Giella and uses often.

I ordered. I tried. I like.

At first glance it’s just another warm toned highlighter, but it has an exceptionally fine texture with a balanced amount of pigment so it’s incredibly versatile and easy to wear. Its strength lies with its ability to morph into whatever texture you need. I like mixing a shot of it into my Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer so it has a greater intensity and staying power. I’ve also mixed in a dab with foundation to highlight cheek bones so it blends into the skin and doesn’t just sit on top – it makes for a more  subtle highlight.

Both a pro and a con is the larger jar. I had to break it down into 2 smaller jars for my own use as well as my professional kit so it didn’t take up too much space. I felt like I got my $40 worth, but I’d rather see it in a smaller container at a smaller price.

Click to enlarge

Giella EYE M GLAM