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What is BB Cream?


By Staff Writer

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BB CreamOnce called the "secret of Korean actresses," BB cream is being trumpeted as the latest must-have beauty helper, and by all accounts, it's actually living up to the hype.

BB cream, also known as beauty balm, is a one-step product that combines moisturizer, primer, foundation, setting powder and SPF all into one sweet little package.1 What that means is that you have a single product that protects, conceals and corrects, all in one application.2

BB cream is not only a huge time-saver, but is also less expensive than using all the products mentioned above.2 To a multitasking woman who wants her beauty products to work as hard as she does, these "miracle" makeups can seem like the answer to her beauty prayers.

The History of BB Cream



Formerly known as blemish balm, BB cream has been around for quite some time. It was first developed in Germany in the 1960s by a dermatologist named Dr. Christine Schrammek and was used for patients recovering from peels and laser surgery to protect their healing skin and provide light coverage. A few decades later, "blemish balm" caught on in Japan and Korea, where actresses began touting the benefits of it, which made it hugely popular.1, 2

BB creams were introduced to the U.S. market a few years ago and now seem to be everywhere. Naturally many of the larger beauty brands are coming out with their own interpretations. The Western formulas are a bit different from the brands that are popular in Korea which tend to be a bit more opaque to achieve a paler, more porcelain look.1

BB creams in the U.S. are light and sheer and aim to give the complexion a glowing finish. The consistency is somewhere between a tinted moisturizer and a medium foundation. Ingredients in BB creams vary, but they can include antioxidants, hydrating ingredients and brighteners like vitamin C.1

Is BB cream right for all skin types?



Dr. Neil Schultz, a New York magazine's "best doctor" award-winning dermatologist spoke with Boston Globe's Stylephile about BB cream. "Today the BB creams are much more sophisticated than they were when they started and much more complex in a good way. I love combination products because not only are they easier to use, but they don't require women to layer products. And there's the cost savings." Dr. Schultz added that a secret benefit to having a beauty and skincare routine condensed into one product can help women correct at least one mistake they're making in their routine. "By having a product that has a moisturizer and all the other actives mixed with your sunscreen, you don't have to worry about which order you put them on. One of the most common mistakes women make is that they put on their sunscreen last, thinking it should be closes to the sun, but it should really be put on first [before your makeup] or you don't get the full SPF protection."2

When deciding which BB cream to buy, be aware that BB cream is a category of cosmetics or skincare product.2 That means that not all of them have the same ingredients or functions you’re looking for. Read the ingredient list and pay attention to what you're looking for and whether a specific BB cream is going to do it for you. For instance, some BB creams have oil control, which is great for people with acne. Some have a complex combination of moisturizers that make them perfect for dry skin.2 The thing everyone seems to agree on is that whether you just want to incorporate BB cream into your existing routine or you want to go the simple route and use it alone, this hard-working, lightweight life-saver is a welcome addition to your makeup bag or morning beauty ritual.

Sources: 1. "BB Creams Are the Next Big Thing in Beauty, But Are They Right for You?" January 18, 2012, http://beautyeditor.ca/2012/01/18/bb-creams-are-the-next-big-thing-in-beauty-but-are-they-right-for-you-heres-how-to-decide/.
2. "What the Heck is a BB Cream," May 24, 2012, http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/fashion/stylephile/2012/05/what_is_bb_cream.html.
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