March 18, 2013

BB Creams: What's the 411?

To BB or not to BB (bad pun aside)....that is the question!  lol :)  Or at least that was the question I was presented with by my good friend & hair stylist extraodinare, Lawana Stewart of Moods & Attitudes, too Salon & Day Spa.  And I have to tell you, I was stumped!  I have seen the countless television commercials for this BB cream but I honestly assumed that it was a hair product and not one used for the skin (think Bumble & Bumble).  So, I immediately took to my iPad and started doing some research.

What are BB Creams you might ask?  BB Creams (short for "beauty balm" or "blemish balm") are a pretty nifty mixture of skincare and cosmetic coverage with the added bonus of an SPF - all in one handy tube!  Depending on the level of desired coverage, these creams can be worn alone as a tinted moisturizer, over serum and moisturizer (to serve as a foundation), and/or under powder.  As many of my readers know, I am a HUGE fan of tinted moisturizers.  In fact, my daily beauty regimen pretty much consists of that and a pressed mineral powder.  So, although BB Creams sound pretty magical, I still had questions.  For starters, how are they much different from a tinted moisturizer?

The BB Cream formula was initially created by a German dermatologist as a post-procedure cream for patients who had gone through laser surgery, due to its soothing and skin-regenerating properties.  These creams had been used cosmetically in Asia for decades before gaining popularity over here in the States this past year.  In short, BB Cream is like tinted moisturizer on steroids! 

General Product Features and Benefits:

*Like a foundation, it provides perfect coverage without clogging the pores

*Produces a very natural, "no makeup look"

*Has healing properties that soften, smoothen and refine the skin

*Encourages skin regeneration to create and maintain youthful skin

*Contains UV Protection for heathly skin (SPF levels differ by brand/ product)

Sounds too good to be true, right?  Well yes, there is a slight downside.  While most formulas are designed to match all skin tones, finding an exact match may be a little tricky.  Since they were initially formulated for the Korean and East Asian markets, BB Creams tend to target fairer skintones and are generally offered in a limited number of hues.  However, there are a few companies like Maybelline and Smashbox that cater to darker skintones, so make sure to check them out!

Best of the Best:

Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB Cream: Maybelline considered all skintones when making this product.  While most brands only offer three tones, Dream Fresh offers 5 ranging from Light to Deep.  Doubling as a primer, this BB Cream is lightweight and contains SPF 30 to protect skin from harmful UV rays. $8,

Smashbox's Camera Ready BB Cream:  Who needs foundation when you have Camera Ready in your makeup arsenal? Available in 5 shades, this BB Cream contains SPF 35 and offers a natural coverage and matte finish which is ideal for those with oily skin. Not to mention that it leaves the skin feeling silky smooth! $39,

Two Faced Tinted Beauty Balm:  With light-diffusing pigments, this hypoallergenic formula provides a natural, healthy looking glow. The light coverage formula helps to make skin look and feel smoother.  It also contains Vitamin A which helps to even skin tone and reduce wrinkles over time. Note:  You may notice a bit of a shimmer on your skin with this product. $34,

Iman Cosmetics Skin Tone Evener BB Creme:  This beauty balm cream is great for women of color!  And out of all of the BB Creams that I tried, this one provides a moderate-to-heavy coverage.  It evens the complexion with Skin Tone Evener Complex enriched with Acai, Licorice and Grape Seed, protects with an SPF 15 (kind of on the low side), and hydrates with Almond Oil and Aloe.  Not recommended for acne prone skin!.  $20,

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream:   Perfect for uneven skin, this blemish balm cream behaves more like a lightweight foundation.  It contains caffeine to soften lines, and Vitamin E and seaweed extract to control oil production, which will help makeup stay on longer.  A little of this stuff goes a long way!  $37,

Estee Lauder Daywear BB Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Creme:  Mature Beauties will surely appreciate this BB Cream which works to treat age spots, minimize pores and conceal discolorations to keep you looking younger than your years.  $38,

Well beauties, that's the 4-1-1!  I hope that I was able to provide a little insight into the world of BB Creams.  While the use of this cream sounds like a no-brainer, I'm not completely sold on them just yet.  However, out of the brands that I mentioned above, my personal fave was Smashbox's Camera Ready BB Cream.  Its "Deep" shade matched my skin perfectly and I was impressed with the level of coverage that it provided.  So, I will definitely give this one a try to see what all the fuss is about and maybe just maybe my tinted moisturizer obsession will become a thing of the past!  :)




  1. How do you typically apply it? Brush? Sponge? I'm leaning towards the Smashbox BB cream b/c of my oily skin.

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