There’s a (pseudo) new kid on the beauty block here in the US, and from the looks of it, BB creams—otherwise known as Beauty Balm, Beauty Benefit, Blemish Base, Beblesh Balm, or Blemish Balm–are quickly becoming the crème de la crème of the cosmeceuticals (skin care + makeup) industry.
BB creams can be traced back to 1950s Germany, when Dr. Christine Schrammek created a salve to aid skin healing in post-peel and laser surgery patients, while also masking splotchy, inflamed redness and shielding sensitive skin from the sun. Fast forward 50+ years, when BB creams exploded in popularity in Asia, Japan, and Europe–thanks to drop-dead gorgeous Korean actresses like Song Hye Kyo singing its praises–and suddenly everyone is clamoring to introduce their own to the US market.
Why? “The appeal of a highly efficient, multi-tasking product such as this couldn’t be limited for long—the phenomenon grew and expanded throughout Asia, and now to North America,” Nick Gavrelis, Vice President of Product Development for MAC Cosmetics, told us.
The reason they’re so appealing is this: If you find yourself slathering on a ton of products on a daily basis, all-in-one BB creams could be your cosmetic savior, since they potentially save time, space, and most importantly—cold hard cash. “It’s a brilliant concept that combines many complex steps in a woman’s typical skincare regimen,” said Gavrelis.
Think of it this way—BB creams can do any or all of the following, depending on which one you choose: hydrate like a moisturizer; fight acne and aging like a specialized treatment; nourish like a serum; brighten like a toner; smooth skin texture like a primer; cover blemishes like a concealer; even out your skin tone like a sheer foundation; refine fine lines and wrinkles like an eye cream; add luminosity like a highlighter; and protect against UVA/UVB rays like a sunscreen.
In addition to being efficient at providing superficial covering and brightening, they can be quite beneficial to your skin as well. “BB cream isn’t just a tinted moisturizer, it’s first and foremost a skin treatment,” Cindy Lin told us. Lin is the Director of Product Development and Beauty Solutions for Dr. Jart, a leading skincare brand in Korea. She said, “All have a host of skin nourishing ingredients—some have collagen-boosting peptides, some have detoxifying properties, and some deliver deep hydration.”
So how should you use it? Generally you should emulsify it in the palm of your hands and massage it into your skin in small circles. But for an extra radiant look, MAC Senior Artist John Stapleton suggests focus on applying it through the center of your face. “The added tint provides the brightening benefit.”
Have you tried a BB cream yet? Now’s the time, because they’re everywhere. Click through to see our BB cream picks at every price point.