As a half-Japanese 20-something woman who spends a lot of time in Tokyo’s drugstores, I have added a lot of odd beauty tools to my arsenal – some wonderful, some not (case in point: heated eyelash curler. What was I thinking?) However, none has been as useful as the cream that became a sensation in Japan last summer and is just starting to hit American makeup counters: BB creams.
What It Is:
According to Squidoo.com, BB cream stands for Blemish Balm Cream and was initially invented in Korea to help protect and cover laser-treated skin. Korean celebrities realized that it worked great on healthy skin too, which led to the discovery of this cream by Korean cosmetic companies. They tweaked the initial formula and marketed it to ordinary people, and boom! The Korean cosmetics trend was born.
So why should you use BB cream? Because it’s easy. A basic tube of BB cream functions as a moisturizer, concealer, and sunscreen. Some even contain acne treatments or skin-lightening ingredients. (Skin lightening is an extremely popular trend in many Asian countries.) And while the cream was initially targeted to East Asian audiences and so came in a limited amount of colors, American companies have finally started to capitalize on the trend.
Note: If you are of East Asian descent and have access to an Asian beauty store, I highly suggest buying BB creams in Asia. These companies have more experience and so presumably will have a better product.
What To Buy:
Since BB creams are still fairly new in the United States, there are not many reviews out yet. Still, here are some already-popular picks.
For the Beach: Tony Moly Nano Gold BB Cream SPF50+ PA+++, $32.99. This BB cream has SPF50, which is higher than many other BB creams on the market. Not totally necessary for every day, but definitely a plus at the beach
For the Broke Girl: Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector, $12.99. 3 cosmetics in one and super cheap. What’s not to like?
For Anti-Aging: Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30, $37. This anti-aging BB cream from a reliable cosmetics brand fights wrinkles, packs in moisture, and goes on super-lightly.
How To Wear:
The beauty of BB creams is that they’re versatile. For days when you don’t want to wear a lot of makeup, just put on a light layer of BB cream for soft coverage. Or dab just a little on problem spots. The only caveat? BB cream is base makeup with sunscreen, but for full coverage you need to reapply sunscreen at least every 2-3 hours. So make sure to buy a separate sunscreen that goes well over makeup. We like Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 45, $30.
Have you tried BB creams? What did you think?