BB creams: Makeup must-have or hype?

Posted by MJC. Filed under Beauty

BB creams: Makeup must-have or hype? 1

Missha carries 14 types of BB Creams (photo from

BB creams: Makeup must-have or hype? 1

Etude House's Precious Mineral BB Cream (photo from

BB creams: Makeup must-have or hype? 1

Bobbi Brown BB Cream

BB creams: Makeup must-have or hype? 1

Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream (photo from

BB creams: Makeup must-have or hype? 1BB creams: Makeup must-have or hype? 1BB creams: Makeup must-have or hype? 1BB creams: Makeup must-have or hype? 1

If you go around the beauty counters these days, chances are, you won’t miss seeing BB creams – they’re everywhere, in several brand versions and various formulations, shades, and finishes.

Short for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm, BB creams were originally formulated in Germany by dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek in the ‘50s. Initially used to protect skin after laser procedures and surgery, these products were introduced in South Korea and Japan in the ‘80s. Because BB creams were endorsed by top Korean actresses, BB creams gained huge exposure in the Asian market. Today, even Western brands have followed suit and introduced their own versions of BB creams.

But whatever name they go by, these products claim to do everything, from creating a luminous complexion and shrinking pore size, to controlling oil and breakouts and lightening dark spots – the list goes on and on. There’s just so many options available, which makes it confusing for customers when choosing which BB cream to buy.

In truth, BB creams are a little more than tinted moisturizers with sunscreen. BB creams actually remind me of this product I used when I was a teenager – a tinted sunscreen by Clinique called City Block. Overall though, BB creams appeal to women (and I hear they appeal to men, as well) because they’re convenient, multi-purpose products, not to mention great alternatives for those like me who don’t like wearing foundation. Some BB creams have a creamier, heavier texture, but as a personal preference, you may want to stay away from them, especially if you have oily or have acne-prone skin. If you need more coverage though, foundation and concealer will do a better job.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that just because a product is labeled “BB cream” does not guarantee you’re getting a superior product. Just like buying other makeup and skincare products, there are good BB creams and there are bad ones, as well. And if you want good skin, it’s achieved with the help of skincare products, and not just with BB creams.

Some BB cream shopping tips:

  1. Test the product on the back of your hand or on your face to check the coverage and texture. Test the color as well if you’re buying a whitening formula or one with a high SPF – these formulas tend to look lighter on the skin.
  2. Avoid luminous and shimmery formulas if you have oily skin. These formulas will only make your skin look oilier – choose one with a matte finish or gel-type consistency, instead. On the hand hand, if you have normal to dry skin, then luminous, creamy formulas will work best for you.
  3. Apply sparingly – a little goes a long way. The good thing about this product is that it will last you a long time. Use a small amount first, and add layers if you need more coverage – too much can lend a mask-like appearance. You can also apply BB cream with a brush to control coverage.  

 Some favorites of the industry experts:

Eunice Lucero, associate editor, Preview Magazine

Missha’s Perfect Cover BB Cream, Laneige Snow BB Essence Balm, and The Face Shop’s Face It Power Perfection BB Cream

Vicky Tensuan, writer and former editor of Blush Magazine

Etude House’s Precious Mineral Sun BB Cream SPF 50 and those from The Face Shop – her faves are Korean and Japanese versions

Other industry faves are Bobbi Brown’s BB Cream and The Body Shop’s BB Creams.  My personal pick is Etude House’s Precious Mineral BB Cream with SPF 30 – I use a dime-size amount with a brush for a sheer finish.

Happy BB Cream shopping!

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