If you consider yourself a beauty buff, or even just pay attention to some of the ongoing beauty trends, you’ve no doubt heard of BB cream. It seems that nearly every beauty company is chomping at the bit to get one of these bad boys on the market. But what the heck is a BB cream? What does it do, why should you care, and what should you look for if you decide to buy one?
What is a BB Cream?
BB cream, or “blemish balm,” has actually been around since the 1960s, but has just now made its way to the U.S. market. This beauty wonder is supposedly a moisturizer, primer, foundation, setting powder and sunscreen all in one bottle. Essentially, a BB cream is simply a tinted moisturizer marketed as a “miracle cream.”
Every BB cream is different—some provide excellent coverage, while others are better suited for their moisturizing or sun-shielding benefits. In my opinion, a good BB cream evens out skin tone and provides full coverage.
If you’re all about low-key beauty, you might want to buy a BB cream for its multitasking personality. While it shouldn’t entirely take the place of your morning application of moisturizer or sunscreen, it wouldn’t be the end of the world to occasionally skip these steps in lieu of a multifunctional BB cream.
What should I look for in a BB cream?
This is where things get tricky. Most every BB cream that has recently hit the market claims to be the best, promising an all-in-one product enriched with powerful antioxidants and ingredients from nature. They also claim to combat issues such as acne or aging. Unfortunately, many of the active ingredients that make such claims possible include harsh chemicals such as parabens, a preservative that has been linked to reproductive disorders with moderate to high hazard risk, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Don’t go out and buy a BB cream because it promises to defend against aging or packs the most SPF punch. Instead, shop for a BB cream that provides full coverage for your unique skin tone without harmful parabens. The benefit of a BB cream opposed to a basic foundation is that it will even out skin tone without clogging pores, drying out skin or feeling like your makeup is caked-on. But a BB cream shouldn’t completely replace your other beauty products. You should still apply your moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning, and you may still need to cover up troublesome spots with a thicker concealer.
If you decide to hunt for a BB cream, read the list of ingredients before buying it. Because most of the popular creams are enriched with ingredients that you may not want to put on your face, such as parabens, search for safer options.
I have only tried a couple BB creams myself, so I will point you to a couple positive online BB cream reviews; these two natural BB cream products are free of parabens and have a low hazard risk in the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, although the Suntegrity product contains dimethicone, a controversial silicone-based polymer with low-moderate hazard risk, according to the EWG.
We have also included other’s should you want to experiment further.
If I had to pick a favorite, it would be ″ Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 30. It provides my sensitive, combination skin the perfect blend of moisture and warm, sheer color to help even out my skin tone without acting like a foundation. And the antioxidant benefits from red algae and certified organic aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea, along with nano-particle free zinc oxide, all help to reduce UV damage and aid in skin repair. I’ve never broken out from it, the scent is mild and the SPF is high enough to keep me well protected from damaging UV rays. It also very kindly does not pile up in the “life full of laughter” lines under my eyes.
According to the Marie Veronique Organics site, the cream “Protects against both UVA and UVB rays with higher concentrations of non-nano zinc oxide, ideal for heavier sun exposure days,” which I’ve found to be true. Even though I almost always wear a hat and keep out of the midday sun, I find that it can be hard not to be out and about when you are traveling, and for that, I need a real sunscreen, not just a basic moisturizer with a bit of SPF. This screen is 30 SPF and not only does it block sun naturally, it moisturizes beautifully, and covers up my imperfections very thoroughly. It doesn’t rub off easily, and has never made me break out (which other sun protection usually does). Zinc oxide, a natural sunblocking agent, and a green tea/white tea infusion work together for sun protection, and red raspberry seed oil was “the subject of a study published in 2000 that showed that it could help prevent rash, eczema, and other skin lesions, and had superior anti-inflammatory properties. Raspberry seed oil also showed the potential to act as a broad-spectrum UV-shield due to its high anthocyanin content.”
I’m also a fan of Juice Beauty’s new Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream. Described as a “12-in-1 ultimate color correcting cream,” it boasts a long list of benefits to the skin, helps even skin tone with a cooler pigment tone, has a nice texture, provides SPF 30 protection and a cocktail of beneficial ingredients, including the Juice Beauty proprietary fruit stem cells with clinically demonstrated anti-aging benefits. Both the Suntegrity and Juice Beauty options are more similar to a tinted moisturizer with SPF than a full coverage foundation, which works well for those of us seeking to even out skin tone and protect our skin but don’t necessarily want a lot of coverage.
That said, for those seeking full coverage, Jane Iredale’s Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream is an excellent option, with a larger variety of shades to choose from to match your skin tone. Its full, creamy, easy to use coverage formula creates a truly flawless pallette with the benefits of SPF 30, added moisture and beneficial nutrients.
To Sum Up
THE PROS: BB creams typically provide better coverage than your basic foundation; they won’t leave your skin feeling dry thanks to their moisturizing qualities; and they will provide some sun coverage (which is better than none!).
THE CONS: While they may provide excellent coverage, they might not be the all-in-one beauty secret you were hoping for (keep using your morning moisturizer and sunscreen for healthy skin); some of the most popular creams contain harmful ingredients like parabens; and most of them are rather expensive.
I hope this helps you understand BB creams a little bit more. I have also included a CC product above for further research!
Have you experimented with BB or CC creams? What have you learned? Leave me a comment below!