BB Creams – Part 2 of our Foundation 101 series

What exactly are BB Creams?

What exactly are BB Creams?

Have you heard the buzz about BB creams?

Suddenly, Beauty Balm Creams, (or BB Creams for short) are popping up on blogs, in magazines, and on the shelves of both high-end department stores, and your neighborhood drugstore.

We at pro-style-crew based in NYC, have them in our makeup kits for when a photoshoot requires very natural makeup, or when our model has blemish free skin.

While they have been popular in Asia for years, BB Creams are new to the Western market.

So, what are BB Creams?

BB Creams are do-it-all products that combine skin care with light foundation.  You might be saying, “Hey, isn’t that called a tinted moisturizer?”  Well, BB creams do moisturize, but they also claim to do more, such as protecting skin from the suns harmful rays, preventing premature aging, and lightening dark spots.  We tried a few to see what the buzz was all about, here’s what we found out!

Lightweight Coverage

 BB Creams are popular with those who prefer minimal coverage from their foundation.  Depending on the formula, some BB creams provide the slightest hint of color while others have enough coverage to hide some discoloration and blemishes.  Because they are so lightweight, BB Creams can look very natural and feel comfortable for everyday wear.  However, if you need more coverage, or if you will be having photos taken, a traditional foundation would be a better choice. 

 We liked the coverage and the feel of Bobby Brown’s BB Cream.  I actually forgot that I had it on, and then caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and thought, “Wow, my skin looks really great today!”  That is what a BB Cream should do.

All-in-One Convenience

 BB Creams are marketed for women on-the-go who have little time for a skin care routine.  Makers claim that a BB Cream can take the place of your moisturizer, sunscreen, primer and foundation!  The moisturizers and anti-oxidants in a BB Cream may help to improve the quality of your skin.  BB Cream can also take the place of a primer if they contain ingredients that smooth the skin.

So, how well do BB Creams replace skin care?  Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Beauty Balm created a lovely satin finish skin texture, so I could see it replacing primer.  Dr. Jart is known for including luxe skin treatment in her BB Creams.  However, when I tried her Premium Beauty Balm, the texture was too greasy for me.  Perhaps it would be appropriate for those with dry or mature skin. 

 On the other hand, many women are using BB Creams in addition to their usual skin care instead of as a replacement.  Have you replaced your skin care with a BB Cream?  If so, we want to know about it! 



 One feature common to BB Creams is that they protect your skin from the sun – so important for avoiding premature aging and preventing skin cancer!  Depending on the BB Cream, the protection could be anywhere from SPF20 through SPF50 and beyond.  

 However, if you are replacing your sunscreen with a BB Cream,  make sure you are not actually decreasing your level of protection.  I loved the feel of Urban Decay’s Naked Skin, but the SPF was only 20, less than the SPF30 sunscreen I usually use.  Bobby Brown, Dr Jart, Smashbox and Peter Thomas Roth all offered high SPF BB Creams, which make them better options for fair-skinned ladies like me.


 Limited Color Palette

 To me, the major disadvantage of BB Creams is that they tend to come in a limited range of colors.  Most brands offer two or three skin tones.  Because they are sheer, BB Creams are more forgiving than traditional liquid foundations when it comes to color matching.  However, you could still end up with the unsettling effect of mis-matching your complexion!  For example, I found that although Smashbox’s Camera Ready BB Cream presented a range of tones from light to dark, they were all too yellow for my cool skin tone. 


I was curious to know how BB Creams work for ladies with darker complexions, as the “universal” colors seem to be on the lighter side of the skin color spectrum.  Through some online research, I learned that finding a suitable BB Cream is indeed a challenge for women of color.  In response, the beautiful Iman has come out with a line of BB Creams in a range of deeper shades.  Her product has had mixed reviews – although many love the colors, the formula causes some to break out.


 Color Correcting, or CC Creams

 There are some products out there called CC Creams, which offer the benefits of BB Creams plus color correction.  This means that they contain lightening ingredients that can fade dark spots caused by aging, the sun, or scars.  We haven’t tried these creams ourselves, so if any of you have tried them out, we want to hear from you! 


 High Cost

 BB Creams can be very expensive!  At Sephora, prices range from $18 for a .85 oz tube of Miracle Skin Transformer to $135 for a 1.7oz pump dispenser of Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB.  (Both incidentally are SPF20 and come in one universal color.) The average BB cream costs $40 for a 1.5oz tube.  While they may replace other expensive products that you would be using anyway, also consider the quantity of product that you are getting for that price. 


One solution is to create your own D.I.Y. BB Cream by mixing a liquid foundation with primer or moisturizer.  Not only will you save money, you will also be able to match your skin color more accurately.  You can also be sure that the moisturizer or primer you include in your personal BB Cream is one that works well with your skin type.

 Some drugstore brands have come out with BB Creams at lower price points, as well.  Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB costs $8 and has gotten some good reviews.


I hope this article has been useful – Please stay tuned for the next Foundation 101 series – Foundations – So many choices!

Article by Jenn Brehm

for Pro-Style-Crew

and Make-up by Kerry-Lou






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