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Behind the Buzz: BB Creams

Here's what you need to know

3 20 2012

So much of this season’s beauty buzz involves chatter of Beauty Balms, BB Creams, Blemish Balms, and the like. What started as an Asian cosmetic phenomenon, has made its way west. . . and we are intrigued.


And, we’re not the only ones. Lots of women are curious about BB Cream: What is it? Is it OK for oily skin? Does it come in just one universal shade? Will it work on dry skin? Are there shades for deeper complexions? How is this different from Tinted Moisturizer?. . . the list is endless. Luckily, our BG Beauty Girls know a thing or two about BB Creams. Our Beauty Editor has been following the trend since visiting Asia four years ago. . .

A little back-story

Though originally formulated by German dermatologists as a treatment to soothe and camouflage post-laser scars, acne and other blemishes, BB creams reached cult-like status in East and Southeast Asia as a go-to product for women in search of an all-in-one foundation product with heavy duty skin care benefits. Going a step further than traditional foundation and tinted moisturizer, BB Creams are known for their do-it-all formulations, which include: moisturizer, primer, concealer, foundation, mattifier, sun protectant, and treatment properties that improve the appearance of skin over time. BB Creams bridge the gap between skincare & makeup.

Western Approach To BB Creams

Since making its way west, we’ve noticed two major improvements in BB Creams: Texture & Shade Range. Newer BB Cream compositions are formulated to feel like an invisible layer. Most of the creams we’ve sampled feel light, cushion-y, and melt into skin.

What’s The Difference Between BB Cream & Tinted Moisturizer?

Think of Tinted Moisturizer as a diluted version of traditional foundation (offering less/lighter coverage). And usually, SPF is the most significant skincare benefit. BB Creams, on the other hand, generally offer a bit more coverage and loads more skincare multitasking.

Is BB Cream Right For You?

It depends. Are you a one-stop beauty maven who likes your makeup and skin care bundled? After cleansing, do you want to slap on a single product and hit the road? If you’ve answered yes to either question. . . BB Creams might be right for you. But, hold it — Do you also like complete coverage of your imperfections? . . . well, let’s further discuss this. . .

Recommendations For Your Skin Type

After surveying the BG Beauty Level and testing BB Creams on the girls around the office we can, with a high degree of confidence say:

1) BB Creams are not one-size-fits-all. . . no way, no how!

2) There’s a BB Cream or BB-like cream for everyone. . . if all-in-one-makeup-plus-serious-skincare is your thing.

Natura Bisse The Cure Sheer Cream Color Enhanced Moisturizer SPF 20 (212 872 2693) – This velvety day cream relies on “self-adapting” pigments to adjust and neutralize visible skin imperfections, imparting a “soft focus” that lessens the appearance of dark circles and shadows.

Skin Care Benefits: Contains Sulphorane – to smooth skin and boost radiance, Hyaluronic acid – to maintain moisture levels, Fermentus Glaciarum extract – to relive creasing.

The verdict: Our dull skin appeared renewed and bright. The weightless formula adapts to skin’s color and creates an even veil of clear skin. Best Complexion Match: Fair, light, and light to medium skin tones.

Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB SPF 20 (212 872 8619)The all-in-one BB cream is silicone-free and formulated to moisturize, conceal, treat and protect against harmful UVA/UVB damage.

Skin Care Benefits: Contains Encapsulated micro-injected Hyaluronic Acid – to plump and resurface fine lines and wrinkles, Vitamin C – to increase skin’s elasticity, White Lupin – to energize, Ruby Crystal to reduce the appearance of imperfections, Vitamin C – to brighten and firm, Hungarian Thermal Water – to improve collagen production.

The verdict: We let our Social Media girls and a few graphic designers sort through this one. The silicone-free skin perfector glides on with ease and quickly absorbs. Within seconds it dramatically reduces the appearance or redness, broken capillaries, and uneven tone. The girls around the office were particularly impressed with all of the good-for-skin benefits infused into the cream and the subtle ethereal shimmer effect. Best Complexion Match: Fair, light, and light to medium skin tones.

Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening BB Cream (212 872 8726) – This herbal based brightening BB cream smooths and illuminates.

Skin Care Benefits: Rich emollients – to give skin good glow, optical pearl pigments – to impart an ethereal veil of luminosity, UVA/UVB protection – to prevent premature aging from the sun.

The Verdict: Our Assistant Beauty Buyer Sheila loves the coverage and texture. While on vacation she wore it daily and noted that the coverage lasts all day. . . especially when set with powder. Without powder, the coverage still lasts but gets a bit “dewy” by day’s end. Sheila is a stickler for maximum coverage. . . she gives Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening BB Cream two thumbs up for complete camouflaging of blemishes, discoloration, and blotchiness. Best Complexion Match: Shade 1 – Porcelain and fair skin tones. Shade 2 – light to medium skin tones

Lancôme Rénergie Éclat Multi-Lift (212 872 2740) – While not technically a BB Cream, Rénergie Éclat Multi-Lift is similar to BB cream in that it delivers targeted treatment and complexion correction in one multi-functional product. However, Rénergie Éclat Multi-Lift ups the BB Cream ante with a focus on both brightening AND lifting. . . it’s an anti-aging one-two-punch. With the help of color-balancing pigments, skin immediately appears younger and more radiant. Over time, skin feels more resilient.

Skin Care Benefits: Contains a proprietary blend of hyaluronic acid fragment, adenosine, R.A.R.E. Oligopeptide, linseed extract, soy extract and black tea ferment to target and lift skin’s upper layers.

The Verdict: Finally, a BB-like Cream that caters to a wide range of complexions (four shades in total). Best Complexion Match: All skin tones, from fair to deep.

Bobbi Brown Extra SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm (212 872 2681) – Eureka! A lightweight foundation alternative for very dry, parched skin. Extra SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm is ultra-rich, creamy and totally unrelated — but resembles a decadent mousse dessert. SPF 25 helps protect skin against damaging UVA and UVB rays. The balm gives skin the slightest hint of healthful color. While not a textbook BB cream, Extra SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm offers a soft glow, lots of skin care goodies, and sun protection in one.

Skin Care Benefits: Contains Glycerin, Shea Butter and Squalane – to moisturize deeply, Vitamin A and Carrot Extract – to lessen the visibility of facial creasing, Angelica Seed and Chamomile Oil – to calm irritated skin.

The Verdict: So dreamy! The texture is rich yet incredibly light on skin. It applies like a nourishing treatment cream. . . you feel like you’re doing something wonderful for your skin. Best Complexion Match: Extra light to deep skin tones.


Our BG Beauty Girls know all sorts of tricks for waking up tired skin.

With just a few quick steps, we show you how to revive sleepy eyes and make dull complexion glow!

212 872 8819