BB cream: what is it?

BB CreamBB creams are also known as beauty balms or blemish balms.  One container of BB cream allegedly includes over six different varieties of other skincare treatments; consequently, one would presumably only need one container of BB cream for their daily make-up routine, versus the use of a combination of five or six containers of other products.  BB creams contain a concealer, foundation, and at minimum, a 30+ SPF sunscreen, which is the American Academy of Dermatology’s suggested amount to be used on a daily basis.  In addition, BB creams contain anti-aging components that include vitamins A, E, and C, significant moisturizers like glycerin, light reflecting mica that gives the skin a luminous glow, and some silicon based ingredients that help smooth out the skin, like a primer.  Moreover, some BB creams even include anti-acne ingredients.

A tube of BB cream can include more than six separate beauty products

Yes, that is exactly what multiple beauty magazines, dermatologists, and the superstars of today are stating.  BB creams have alleged that they include a moisturizer, primer, skin treatment, concealer, foundation, and a top notch 30+ SPF sunscreen.  But is it true? Yes and no.

A lot of those that use BB cream will agree that it is a great product.  Those that are pro-BB cream will all swear that their BB cream has amazing coverage and rarely will clog their pores.  This is due to the fact that most of the BB creams are oil-free and designed to provide light coverage and allow your skin to breath.  Furthermore, BB creams may be designed as a tinted moisturizer, with the built-in highly conducive SPF sunscreen.  Therefore, using a BB cream will save you from having to apply and purchase a separate sunscreen to use on your face during your regular make-up regime.

Those who feel that a BB cream is just a glorified foundation with a different label slapped on it believe differently.  They believe that if your foundation is working perfectly for you (as foundations also contain moisturizers, provide anti-aging benefits and include sunscreen), at this time, you do not need to spend extra money for an additional product and another foundation.  BB creams can be extremely heavy, and for those who are acne-prone – regardless of the oil-free base of the BB cream – you will probably still break-out with acne.  Even with those BB creams that state they contain acne preventive ingredients, a BB cream may still cause acne.  It all depends on your skin type.


BB creams were initially created by a German dermatologist in order to treat and protect one’s skin after laser treatments.  The BB creams then spread to South Korea and Asia, where they are said to have significantly decreased the amount of time Asian women need to spend treating and caring for their skin.

Can BB cream be obtained in the United States?

The BB cream came on the market in the United States in 2011, and at that time they were bought by approximately 2% of the beauty skin shoppers in America.  According to Bella Sugar’s magazine, BB creams are becoming more and more commonplace in the American household and are being more frequently noticed and purchased. They shared with their readers their top three leading BB creams:  for $39.00 and with an SPF of 45, Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm is available, as is Clinique’s Age Defense BB Cream, which sells for $37.00 and has an SPF of 30.  Rounding out the top three is MAC’s Worldwide Prep and Prime BB Cream that has skincare benefits, while evening out your skin tone and providing your skin with a beautiful glow, all for only $45.00.

Are there any drawbacks?

Tube of BB CreamThere is one serious drawback to the BB creams at this point, and it is that they primarily cater to lighter to medium skin tones and skin shades.  For those with a pale and lighter complexion, they are likely to be unhappy about the dewy glow that of BB cream provides them.  However, for an African American woman, they are unlikely to find a BB cream that will match their skin tone and are, therefore, denied the look of the dewy glow that BB creams offers.

Due to the fact that BB creams are fairly new to America, the beauty industries are more than likely to listen to hundreds of thousands of women in the United States whose skin tones match only the limitations of the designer’s and chemist’s imaginations.  Consequently, it is only a matter of time before a BB cream is able to match the color of any skin tone perfectly

One additional point worth mentioning is that BB creams are not being made just for women, but are increasingly being produced for men, as well.

The bottom line

BB creams are like every other product on the market; you must do your research (ingredients, blogs, reviews, etc.) before purchasing a BB cream.  If foundation usually causes you to have acne, then a heavier BB cream will also probably cause you to have acne.  If you are more of a natural person that does not care to or need to invest in time in your beauty regimen, then a BB cream may be perfect for you due to its all-in-one oil-free base, moisturizer, and built-in sunscreen.

Again, though, every BB cream is different, and because when BB cream may look beautiful on your sister or your friend, it may have a completely different effect on your skin and look terrible!  First try a sample of the BB cream that you may be interested in before buying a large bottle of it and then finding out that it does not work for you.

If you purchase most of your make-up from the same company, approach their counter at a department store and ask them about samples of their BB creams and for their advice.  Let them know about your skin type and see if they have any suggestions.  While you are at the store, visit the other cosmetic counters and get their opinions (and hopefully, some samples!), as well.  There are numerous brands of BB creams on the market, and you must do the research to find out which one is right for you.