Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, you have undoubtedly heard the term BB cream and have seen them springing up in stores everywhere. What exactly is BB Cream?
Originally developed in Germany and named Blemish Balm, these creams became extremely popular products in Asia. As their popularity soared in Asia ( where there name was changed to Beauty Balm) it wasn’t long before the US market picked up on the trend and voila – we have BB cream.
According to Paula Begoun “BB creams are not must-have products. Essentially, the BB creams (Beauty Balms) sold in Western countries are little more than tinted moisturizers with sunscreen. In contrast, many of the BB creams sold in Asia have thicker textures and higher levels of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for sun protection, and are intended to leave a white cast on the skin. They also are often formulated with antioxidants and skin-lightening ingredients because the marketing for these products in Asia is mostly about lightening the skin.”
Basically BB creams (and their counterparts tinted moisturizers) provide sun protection, moisture and sheer coverage. They generally contain:
- zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
- anti-aging ingredients
- Ingredients that help even out skin tone
- Light reflecting particles to give the skin a glow
- Silicone based ingredients to smooth out the skin and act like a primer
Some BB creams have a thicker, creamier texture; some offer a bit more coverage than standard tinted moisturizers. Finding a BB cream that will match your skin can be difficult as many of the cremes only come in 3 shades (or less).
The best reason to consider a BB cream is if you want more coverage than a tinted moisturizer but not as much coverage as your regular foundation. Honestly – for the price I’m just not sure it’s worth it. Most BB creams are double the price of tinted moisturizers or foundations.
The first BB cream that I tried was the Smashbox BB Cream. I used to buy the Smashbox tinted moisturizer and they replaced it with the BB cream. I was a little thrown by the price but decided to give it a try. I didn’t think it was amazing and the tube didn’t last me long at all. Factoring in the price I decided I wouldn’t repurchase it.
When I ran out I decided to see what other BB creams were out there.I only have the local drugstore in town to make purchases so I decided to try the Garnier BB cream. It had good reviews so I figured why not. Well – the reason not is that it only came in 3 colors and the lightest color was too dark and too orange for my skin. I also found the scent wayyyy too overpowering.
The next time I was at a Sephora they were featuring BB creams and I tried a whole assortment but I really didn’t think any of them were good enough to justify the exorbitant price. Finally the salesperson showed me the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (nope not BB Cream). It was a little bit more than I wanted to spend but when I put it on it felt fantastic (very smooth) and the color was an excellent match for my skin (It comes in 11 colors). It provided good coverage without feeling thick (I still cover my red spots with concealer but that’s it) and I’ve been using it for a month now and still have quite a bit left. A little goes a long way.
Overall its up to you, but I personally won’t waste any more money overpriced, over-hyped BB creams. I’ll stick to my tinted moisturizer thank-you-very-much.