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04-02-12 | Posted by

Until recently, it felt like you needed a serum, moisturizer, eye cream, sun block and primer just to leave the house. So a warm welcome to the new BB creams; they promise a lot more than many a skincare or makeup item has in a long time – containing multiple benefits in one tube.

For a BB cream is not only makeup but also a skin-protecting and soothing treatment that has caught the beauty world on the trot; brands have been falling over themselves to launch causing journalists to froth up like a cappuccino with enthusiasm. So what is this BB buzz?

First up, a brief history lesson. BB stands for Beauty Balm or Blemish Balm depending on the brand. The concept was originally created by a German dermatologist in the 1950s who wanted to give her patients something to cover up and protect their skin with after giving them a skin peel.

Oddly, it has taken around sixty years for the big beauty companies to see the potential and it was their popularity in Korea that made them sit up, take notice and go bust for BB. So what does a BB cream do? Well, the question should be what doesn’t it do.

To begin, a BB cream protects the skin with SPF starting at SPF 12 in L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique BB Cream (available only in the UK), to SPF 15 in Origins A Perfect World BB along with Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector. Clinique Age Defense BB Cream features an SPF of 30 but top sun protection prize goes to Estée Lauder DayWear BB Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Cream with an SPF of 35.

It’s clear that BB creams provide sun-protection, but so what? Well, in addition, these creams are like a tinted moisturizer but on steroids. First of all, the coverage is much more advanced using, in the case of the Estée Lauder BB Cream that I love, brightening optics and light reflective pearls. So after you moisturize you can put on a quick layer of BB. However, it is not going to replace the vat of sun-protection that you are meant to use ten minutes before putting on makeup. But as someone who finds it impossible to leave the house without procrastinating like a cheap-rate Hamlet, I never really have time to do this so a BB cream is a step in the right direction.

In addition, BB creams are chock-full of antioxidants that fight off wrinkle causing free radicals. Origins has even gone so far as to scent the cream with essential oils to lift the spirits. BB cream coverage is such that redness is reduced and in the case of Nars they claim imperfections and wrinkle depth reduction is up to 84%. They also all reduce the appearance of pore size – I know because I tried them and my pores can sometimes get as wide as a subway door.

However you aren’t going to find any promises of eye wrinkles reduction; the aim of a BB cream is to protect the skin and give a bit of coverage. And as they were made to soothe skin that had just been peeled, they are great if your skin is prone to sensitivity.

Although a BB cream is as close to “one size fits all” that you can think of, you do need to choose a shade – an elementary process given that Origins has only six shades and Garnier only has two. But don’t let that put you off as these creams are super adaptable.

So what’s the hero product of this category? Drum-role for L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique (UK only), which comes out like an off-white sludge with purple beads. Now I was a doubter when I first used it but then it evolved into a beautiful skin-matching shade with lovely coverage and best of all, it dries to the touch. This really is quite a discovery; after-all who doesn’t like discovering a magic trick that also makes you look great too? Campaign for it to be made an internationally distributed product, pronto.

BITB’s Top Six BB Creams

1. L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique BB Cream (available only in the UK) – £9.99  or $15.91 – beg borrow or steal to get one.

2. Est̩e Lauder DayWear BB Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Cream SPF 35, $38 РGood coverage with decent sun-protection.

3. Origins A Perfect World BB, $35 – Goes on super-smooth plus contains white tea antioxidants.

4. Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector, $12.99 – Your new handbag staple.

5. Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30, $37 -  From the skincare gurus is this new spin on the classic Clinique City Block.

6. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30, $42 – Described as a BB cream on the back label. Works well instead of a full-on foundation.



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