What are BB Creams?

by LyraKua

BB creams have become an essential product in many women's beauty routine. There are many types of BB creams, each having different purposes.

My mother would often tell me that the no-makeup look was the prettiest of all. I believed her and so I grew up not knowing anything about cosmetics at all. During my teenage years, I would often overhear my peers exchanging tips and ideas on makeup while I just pore my nose over my books or something else un-girly. Yet, as I grew older, I realized the need to be presentable during special occasions. There were times when even though I might look pretty without makeup, I was still required to wear makeup as part of the dress code.

However, suddenly jumping into the makeup realm was very overwhelming to me. The only stuffs inside my beauty cabinet were my boring skin care products and a tube of lip gloss. My acne-prone and oily skin was very picky to the things I put on my face, adding more challenge to my situation. I often got intimidated whenever I walked by a cosmetics store due to my lack of knowledge on makeup. I was worried the cosmetics I would buy would end up a disaster.

After learning about BB creams, I knew that these can be a great transition from my no-makeup look to a more presentable yet natural look. The lightweight multi-functional BB creams were better than applying layers of different products. I just needed to focus on buying the right BB cream rather than worrying about buying the right primer, foundation, or concealer.

But first, what are BB creams? Why are they so popular?

Image Credit: Holika Holika Pore Clearing Petit BB Cream via Amazon
Copyright © 2014 by Lyra Kua. All rights reserved. DO NOT COPY ANY PART OF THIS PAGE WITHOUT PERMISSION.
Copyright © 2014 by Lyra Kua. All rights reserved.

The Purpose of BB Creams

BB cream, short for Blemish Balm cream, is an all-in-one facial cream developed by German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek. She intended to use this product for her patients that had undergone laser treatments. A bottle of BB cream may function as a moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, foundation, and a concealer. In other words, it's a makeup that covers blemishes and other skin flaws and at the same time treats the skin for different concerns, such as acne or age spots, depending on the type of BB cream you're using.
If you're following a skin care regimen, you are already aware of how you should religiously apply 3 or more skin care products (6 or more for Asian women) on your face, twice daily. Aside from the fact that following a routine requires long-term diligence for a payoff, the expenses for different beauty products can be quite hurtful to the pockets. With a BB cream to replace the function of some of these products, you can indeed save more money by just investing on a BB cream. Also, applying a single product to replace several products saves a lot of time.

BB creams can be more expensive compared to your ordinary skin care products, only because it already contains several functions. Since it is up to this product to take care of the rest of the skin care products benefits, it's important to know how to choose the right BB cream for you.

A Guide to Cosmetics by Paula Begoun

Just something I find really interesting. Author Paula Begoun is a cosmetics advocate who uses scientific literature to guide consumers on choosing cosmetics. The book also sheds light on the hard-to-understand ingredients list in order to help us choose products wisely rather than just follow the hype and spending too much.

How to Choose BB Cream

It seems that every cosmetics brand is now selling its own BB cream, resulting to a wider range of selection for us the consumers. Choosing the right BB cream may be very confusing at first, but once we narrow down our selection according to our skin type and needs, we'll arrive at what our skin truly needs.
Step #1 Know your skin type first.

Just like with any other beauty product, the first step to find the right BB cream is to know your skin type. Is your skin normal, dry, oily, combination, or sensitive? Once you know your skin type, you can already narrow down the choices for your BB creams.

Step #2 Find the product that addresses to your skin concerns.
After narrowing down your choices based on your skin type, the next step would be to look for the functions that each BB cream offers. Do you want anti-aging properties? Or do you need whitening ingredients? How about a BB cream to dry out the pimples?
Step #3 Check if the BB cream matches your skin tone.
Choose the shade that matches your skin tone. Most BB creams have 2-4 shades available. On the other hand, some only offer a single shade, but once applied will adapt to match your skin tone. Many shops offer testers in order for you to find out a suitable shade. Just apply a squirt of the product at the back of your hand, and wait a few good minutes until the cream sets in. You'll know that you've tried the wrong shade if it turned grayish. Check FrmHeadtoToe's video to take a look on different BB cream swatches.
Step #4 Determine if you're going to use it during day or night.
When are you going to need to apply this BB cream? Is it during the day at work or school? Or at night when you go out with friends or date? If you're going to use it during the day, then a BB cream with SPF is for you. Choose the ones that have at least SPF 30. If you're going to wear the cream at night, then an SPF product won't be necessary. Keep in mind though that BB creams with SPF won't work well for flash photography. So if you're out in a party, and someone took your picture, don't be alarmed to find how pale you'll appear in the photo.

On the Spotlight: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream

Women who love the camera would often shy away from SPF-containing cosmetics, as the SPF would give off a white cast. Many BB creams contain SPF, so does this one from Smashbox. But one great thing about the product is it is camera-friendly. Now, it's possible to achieve a flawless look in front of the camera while staying protected under the sun. Aside from that, Smashbox has great oil control function and has an easy-to-blend consistency.

On the Spotlight: Fairydrops BB Cream

Fairydrops BB Cream is my top pick when it comes to SPF-free BB cream. Of course, since it does not contain SPF, you should only use it at your evening getaways. It follows that an SPF-free would mean it doesn't produce the unlikable white cast. Unlike with most lightweight BB creams, Fairdrops provide a good coverage on the skin, giving off a flawless but natural look. It's great to go with you full evening makeup.

Tips for Using BB Creams

Different BB creams offer different amount of coverage, but many of these products offer little amount of coverage. Despite this, consumers love BB creams because of the natural appearance they give to the wearer. It's the better option for people who are uncomfortable wearing makeup. BB cream, when applied to the face feels light and natural. Unlike conventional makeups, your skin become better and better after each use.

For beginners, here are some tips for using BB creams:
  1. Though BB creams are supposedly multi-functional cosmetics, there are some cases when you still need to add more layers of makeup, such as a concealer over your dark under-eye circles, to achieve a flawless look.
  2. Because many BB creams are lightweight, they don't hydrate the skin as much as a heavy duty moisturizers do. If you have dry skin, you would benefit more by applying a moisturizer beneath the BB cream.
  3. Applying moisturizer beforehand prevents caking. Some BB creams dry quickly over the skin, leaving visible pigments that make the skin appear cakey.
  4. Always try the sample or testers of BB creams first to see if they match your skin tone before purchasing the product.

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Updated: 09/26/2014, LyraKua
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Telesto on 10/01/2014

Ah! Thank you, so now I know!

Mira on 09/30/2014

Great page. I'll buy that Smashbox BB Cream. I found a light-tone version on Amazon, and am quite excited reading the reviews. Thanks for spotlighting it!

LyraKua on 09/29/2014

I'm glad that you learned something here. Thanks for visiting!

CountrySunshine on 09/29/2014

Useful information! I never knew what BB stood for, much less knew what it was all about! Now I'll know how to choose the proper cream for my skin type.

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