What Are BB Creams?
When you’re talking to someone who knows a lot about makeup, they may casually drop a term like “BB Creams”.
What are BB creams and why should they be playing an essential role in your cosmetic kit? Let’s find out.
BB Cream Information
BB creams are simply “beauty balms” or “blemish balms.” They were developed by a German dermatologist who wanted to create a single cream that would protect the skin while also healing it after laser treatments.
BB creams are an excellent way to save space in your counter and makeup cabinet. They do the same work as 5 or 6 other skin care products, including:
— Skin Treatment
Don’t fault yourself if you’ve never heard of BB creams before: they’re a relatively new invention. Since 2011, they’ve been sweeping their way across Asia – starting in South Korea before moving to China and India.
Today, BB creams are finally arriving on western shelves.
Why Are BB Creams So Popular?
In 2012, market research firm NPD performed a study on the BB cream market which revealed some surprising data:
— BB creams were called a “relatively new product” that was quickly attracting a niche following among U.S. women
— NPD reported that 8 in 10 beauty shoppers appreciate beauty products that offer multiple benefits. When buying BB creams, women expected to enjoy the following top five benefits: natural coverage (52%), moisturizing (47%), nourishment/skin treatment (47%), SPF protection (42%), and better skin texture (38%)
— The most interesting part of the study was that only 2% of US shoppers had ever purchased a BB cream. However, among those 2%, 4 in 5 said they would purchase a BB cream again.
That study was published way back in 2012. Today, the popularity of BB creams has risen steadily in the United States, although the market’s growth has been slowed by the fact that cosmetic companies just recently began selling BB creams to western markets.
How Do BB Creams Work?
As mentioned above, BB creams typically do the work of 5 to 6 different makeup products. They heal and protect the skin by acting as a moisturizer, sunscreen, and skin treatment. They also provide makeup coverage, acting as a toner, foundation, and primer.
How do BB creams stuff all of those benefits into one simple solution? Here are some the components typically found in BB creams:
— Zinc Oxide or Titanium Oxide: These ingredients act as physical sunblocks on your skin. They’re also water-resistant, which means you’re more likely to be protected throughout the day.
— Peptides and Antioxidants: Antioxidants like vitamins A, E, and C reduce the effects of aging, tightening and firming sensitive areas of your skin. Peptides are commonly found in many anti-aging skin creams.
— Hyaluronic Acid or Glycerin: These hydrating compounds are found in most moisturizers. They’re used by the skin to create collagen, which is then used to tone and firm the skin. This can reduce the appearance of cellulite, fine lines, and wrinkles.
— Mica: Mica reflects light to give your skin a luminous, healthy-looking glow.
— Silicone-Based Ingredients: Dimethicone and other silicone-based ingredients smooth the skin and act as a foundation.
— Licorice and Arbutin: These unique ingredients help even out skin tone. BB creams for different skin colors will have a wide range of different ingredients to support various colors, tones, and pigmentations.
Advantages of BB Creams
There are three main advantages of BB creams:
— You get to save money (and cabinet space) by replacing 5-6 makeup products with just one cream
— You can reduce the time it takes to apply your beauty products every morning
— You can achieve a low-key, natural appearance. This is why BB creams are particularly popular among women who don’t like to wear a lot of makeup, but still want to cover up imperfections and protect their skin against the environment.
They can also provide superior coverage for those who usually shy away from sunblock: if you find sunblock leaves your skin looking too greasy, or gives you acne, then BB creams may provide skin protection without the irritation.
Disadvantages of BB Creams
BB creams are sometimes called a “miracle makeup solution”. However, as you’ll learn in this section, BB creams are far from perfect. Here are some of the disadvantages of BB creams:
— Many BB creams are a “jack-of-all-trades, but master of none”, so to speak. They provide decent sun protection, and color coverage, but may not be effective moisturizers. Others might provide good moisturizing benefits, but your makeup will look cheap and plastic.
— Another problem is that BB creams are thicker than most skin creams. It’s difficult to pack so many different features into a single product and end up with a light texture. This can take some getting used to.
— It can also be difficult to find a BB cream that matches the color of your skin. Currently, BB creams are popular throughout Asia and work well with Asian skin tones. Lighter skin tones, however, may not find the exact shade they’re looking for. A typical BB cream will come with just 3 to 5 fair to medium-dark hues. Some even come with just one skin tone option designed to suit all tones equally.
— There’s one final weird restriction about BB creams: FDA regulations make it illegal to combine acne-fighting ingredients and sun protection into a single product. So if you need a skin care product that fights acne at the same time, then you’re out of luck (at least if you’re purchasing products in the United States).
Ultimately, the people most suited for BB creams are those with normal to oily skin and light to medium skin tone. Even if you meet those requirements, BB creams are not ideal for those who need heavy-duty moisturizers or acne-fighting products.
BB Creams for Men
BB creams aren’t just for women anymore! Certain cosmetic companies have released a lineup of BB creams for men. They’re popular among men who want to protect their skin and cover up imperfections without looking like they’re wearing makeup.
Currently, there are only a limited selection of men’s BB cream products available. However, as more women’s products enter the market, more men’s products should also appear.
How Much Do BB Creams Cost?
Like all beauty products, BB cream prices vary widely between cosmetic companies. There are cheap generic BB creams which cost $5 to $10, and then there are high-end beauty products from top cosmetic manufacturers which cost $100 or more.
There are also pharmaceutical-grade BB creams which can be found at doctors’ offices. Certain spas have also released their own lineups of BB creams.
Ultimately, I recommend trying a few different BB creams at different price ranges before settling on one that works for you.