If you’ve been to a makeup counter anytime in the past year or glanced through a magazine, you’ve probably seen a mysterious new product called BB Cream. It’s advertised as an all-inclusive, all-in-one makeup product. BB Cream, which stands for “blemish balm”, was invented by a German dermatologist in the 1960’s to protect patient’s skin after surgery. The formula was further developed in Korea in the 1980’s to correct and conceal a variety of skin ailments, from sun spots to acne scars–essentially a kind of super foundation for the face. Most BB Creams contain SPF, moisturizer, primer, and either anti-aging, skin nurturing, or acne prevention serums depending on the brand. Skin whitening formulas are also very common.
BB Cream has enjoyed great popularity throughout Southeast Asian and has only recently made it across the ocean. Traditionally BB Cream comes in a limited array of colors as the product is meant to match the user’s skin tone after oxidization. However, given North America’s rather more diverse population, Western makeup brands are producing and marketing their own BB Creams. However, this can cause confusion over what’s really a BB Cream and what’s merely tinted moisturizer masquerading as BB Cream. Any product that doesn’t contain SPF and some kind of skin nourishment is not really a BB Cream. True BB Cream also has a thinner consistancy and coverage compared to traditional foundations. I’ve listed 3 brands of BB Cream that have had great success rates both abroad and at home:
Dr. Jart Water Fuse BB Cream
This oil-free formula contains SPF25 and hydrating properties. Dr. Jart gives light to medium coverage: it evens out the skin tone and works well for a ‘no-makeup-makeup-look’ as the natural texture of the skin remains visible. There is a cooling sensation during application while the product calms down any irritated areas, leaving a dewy glow. Dr. Jart’s other BB Creams such as Renewalist and Black Lable Detox are similar but contain anti-aging properties.
On the downside, as this is a Korean brand, it only comes in 1 color. It may appear ashy upon application and will require a few minutes to color-adjust.
Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream
Contains SPF42, includes skin soothing and moisturizing properties, as well as whitening and anti-wrinkle formulations, though it is advertised as being suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone skin. Comes in 5 colors. While I would still categorize this as giving light to medium coverage, it is slightly thicker and gives a bit more coverage than Dr. Jart. It doesn’t completely vanquish acne, but certainly appeared to speed the healing process. I quite like the packaging, which includes a pump and a cap, making it easy to use and very portable.
Pro tip: If you create an online account on their website, you’re eligible for a free full-sized BB Cream. Unfortunately you will be limited to a pre-determined color.
Dior Diorskin Nude BB Creme
This hue caters to rosier skin tones and comes in 5 shades, featuring SPF 10 and hydration (a good option for those with dry skin, though I wouldn’t replace or skip using my regular moisturizer). It has a slight floral scent due to the mineralized floral water that is used as an ingredient, which dissipates shortly after application. The formula is slightly watery and slippery, and applies smoothly on the face. However, those with oily skin will want to keep a powder or blotting compact on hand. The packaging is similar to Missha’s.