What Is a BB Cream?
BB stands for beauty balm, blemish balm or blemish base. BB Creams act as a moisturizer, primer, sunscreen, skin treatment, concealer and foundation all in one—which cuts down on time, counter space, and depending upon the brand you choose—the money spent on cosmetics.
A Miracle Cream?
The BB cream was developed by a German dermatologist to protect and treat the skin of patients after laser surgery.
BB creams soon became the rage in Korea and then throughout Asia. It was inevitable that beauty balms would become one of the hottest beauty trends in Europe and the United States.
What wasn’t to like? Beauty balms were convenient with a long list of benefits. Depending on the formula, a BB cream could contain anti-aging ingredients like antioxidants (like vitamins A, E & C) and peptides, moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, ingredients to even skin tone, silicones to give skin a smooth feel and light reflecting properties that give skin a luminous look.
In addition, many formulas have zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that provide broad-spectrum sunscreen protection and are naturally water-resistant.
A Downside for Skin of Color
Since many of these BB (as well as CC and DD) creams have limited shades, they aren’t often a solution for those with darker skin tones, though there are more cosmetic companies creating CC creams for the skin of color.
Make Your Own BB Cream
While it does defeat the purpose of having an instant all-in-one cream, to save money you can create your own beauty balm with cosmetics that you already use. Here’s how:
1. Pick a Moisturizer
Use your favorite moisturizer or anti-aging cream (use one with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection.) Or
Use a moisturizing water-resistant sunscreen
This is in case the moisturizer or foundation you choose doesn’t have broad-spectrum protection or enough (it’s best to have at least an SPF of 30).
2. Chose a Good Primer
Makeup primers come in a variety of formulations, so it’s great to be able to choose the primer that is best for your skin, whether it is oil-control to minimize the appearance pores and give you a matte finish, reduce the appearance of fine lines and soften skin imperfections, or hydrate the skin.
Primers also help create a flawless makeup application and give makeup staying power.
Pick your favorite foundation, one that matches your skin tone and undertone. You can use a liquid or a mineral foundation or powder. An advantage to using a mineral foundation is that it has SPF protection and is good to use especially if your favorite moisturizer doesn’t contain sunscreen.
Mix the ingredients together. Start by making only a small amount directly inside a small glass jar. (I usually clean out glass moisturizer jars after I’ve used the product because they are great for homemade creams and other DIY beauty recipes.)
Start with a small amount. Begin with a small amount of each ingredient so that you can create the consistency to your liking, as well as blend your foundation to a perfect shade.
- While making your own BB cream might not solve a problem with space, it can solve the problem of not finding a cream that matches your skin tone.
- Another good thing about making your own homemade BB Cream is that you have more control over the ingredients (such as silicones, oil, alcohol, parabens, and fragrance.)
If ingredients aren’t a concern and your purpose for using BB creams is to save time and the use of several products, you can also use a store bought BB cream as a primer under your favorite foundation.
What Does A BB Cream Do?
Blemish Balm or BB Cream is a multi-tasking skin product that truly can be the one product your skin needs. BB creams moisturize, provide sun protection, soothe skin, brighten skin, prime skin, and even out skin tone. Some BB creams not just cover up pimples but fight acne too. Other BB creams can provide the skin with potent anti-aging ingredients such as antioxidants and even peptides. Corporations keep innovating, and new formulations are available all the time, so every kind of skin has its own perfect BB cream.
Products To Try:
There is truly a BB cream for every skin tone and skin type from the oiliest skin to the driest. Companies are finally producing shades that are good for every skin tone too.
Difference Between a BB and CC Cream
The Right Way to Apply BB Cream – 6 BB Cream Application Tips
BB cream, also known as Blemish Balm Cream, is the hottest new thing in makeup and skin care. These products are fairly new in the US but have been a smash hit in Asia for years. (Decades, even!) (What is BB Cream?)
BB cream can be used as a highlighter, primer, moisturizer, foundation, concealer, and facial sunscreen. Yes, all of that in just one product. Since many BB creams have a high SPF level and can conceal and cover-up imperfections, we definitely recommend everyone try one at least once or twice.
Think of it as a tinted moisturizer on steroids – bigger and better than just a tinted moisturizer. BB creams are also great for busy people since one product does so many things at once.
Check out our three favorite BB Creams all available on Amazon.com:
- La Roche Posay Effaclar BB Blur Instant Oil-Absorbing Coverage
Aveeno Facial Moisturizers Clear Complexion BB Cream
MISSHA M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42
6 BB Cream Application Tips
If you’re new to using BB creams, you might be wondering how to use it, so we put together six tips for BB cream application to help you both properly apply and get the most out of the BB cream. Let me tell you that no BB cream is exactly like the next one. Some are matte; some are illuminating. While others give full coverage, some BB creams might just give your skin a hint of coverage.
- No matter what it might say on the bottle, use a moisturizer first. Most of the BB creams says that it can be used as a moisturizer + foundation. However, we suggest you put on an initial base of moisturizer first, particularly if you have a dry skin. When we skipped moisturizing before using our BB cream, our skin felt dry and flaky. In case you have oily skin you will not need to use a moisturizer first. But normal to dry should moisturize before applying their BB cream.
- Sponges or brushes aren’t necessary. Use your fingers to apply your BB cream. We found it the easiest way to get an even and natural look this way. Place a dot on your forehead, each cheek, your chin, and the tip of your nose, and then gently blend out with your fingertips to cover your whole face.
- Start by using it as a concealer. What on your skin do you need to cover-up? Blemishes or scars visible? BB cream does a great job of concealing under eye circles, too! Dot on a little BB cream in those areas first and blend in. After making sure it’s set, apply BB cream to the rest of your face for great coverage.
- Set with powder. Once your BB cream is applied and dry (it can take a minute or two to lose the tackiness feeling) set with powder for best results. Note that some brands have been reported not to last all day. Setting with powder and keeping your hands off of your face (a habit so many people have) will help if you fight this problem.
- If you have the darker skin tone, then you might want to mix with foundation. Many Asian BB creams come in just one color: light. That is because unlike in the United States and its love of tan skin, light, almost white skin, is considered beautiful in Asia. Skin lightening products are also in high demand throughout Asia. Thankfully, the US has many more options for those with darker skin color, but if you just can’t find one that perfectly matches your skin tone, mix a few drops of your foundation into the BB cream before applying. You still can get the benefits of the BB cream with a shade to better suited for your skin color.
- If you don’t like your first one, you better keep trying. Samples are most of the time a great way to try out a product if you can find them, but do your research and check online reviews first before buying. Make sure you think ahead how much coverage you want if you want the BB cream to illuminate your skin or leave it matte, etc… After falling in love with BB cream, we’re certain that if you find the right one for your skin, you’ll love it, too!
Find the Perfect BB Cream
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.