So, what are BB creams? If you think of this stuff as a miracle cream, you’ll be underwhelmed. But if you think of it as a one-step makeup time saver — great.
BB Creams are simply a mash up of several products you’re probably already applying. Based on a formula developed in 1968 by German derm Dr. Christine Schrammek-Drusio to soothe, protect and lightly camouflage patients’ skin after cosmetic work, BB creams are multi-taskers that combine skincare ingredients with moisturizer, primer, foundation and SPF. Also referred to as beauty balms or blemish balms, they became wildly popular in Korea when a famous Korean actress credited one for her flawless complexion.
Over the last year or so, several BB Creams have popped up in North America. Maybelline New York, MAC and Clinique have aleady launched versions (none of which is available to Canadians right now, sorry). But, released earlier this year in the US and available at Sephora there, Boscia BB Cream will officially hit Canada in January. Garnier debuted their BB Cream in Europe a few months ago; it’ll be on Canadian drugstore shelves in January, too, as will Estée Lauder Daywear BB Cream SPF 35. And in February, look for a BB Cream (sans SPF) from Canadian brand Marcelle.
The Western formulas are a bit different from the brands that are popular in Korea — those tend to be a bit more opaque, with cooler undertones (Monica of BeautyParler.ca reviewed Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream here). In Asia, the beauty ideal is flawless, porcelain skin. In North America, we like glowing-with-health skin, so our BB creams are more sheer, designed to give the complexion a radiant finish.They’re somewhere between tinted moisturizer and medium-coverage foundation. Skincare ingredients vary, but can include hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, brightening ingredients such as Vitamin C, and antioxidants.
BB creams can be used on their own, or as a base (like primer) for regular foundation. They generally come in one or two shades designed to suit a wide range of skintones. Apply sparingly.