Ace of base

Tinted moisturiser, foundation, skincare, or something new altogether?

That’s the head-scratcher most women find themselves presented with when they try to get to grips with one of beauty’s newest buzzes, BB creams. The BB in the moniker comes from blemish, beblesh or beauty balm, and these hybrids are the latest, greatest things to hit counters.

Coming at us from Asia where they’ve been popular for years, BB creams sit in their own category and offer a care, colour, protection and skin refining aspect.

Versions there are developed with high tolerances for humidity, strong sunshine and excessive temperatures. Out of necessity, then, BB creams for our market are a little different, leading to claims that they’re not much more than new generation tinted moisturisers.

Is that a fair assessment? Makeup artist Ellie Balfe, and the girl behind the Ellie Loves... beauty and lifestyle blog, says “they are invaluable for their cocktail of moisturiser, colour, SPF, and anti-ageing goodies in one.” But she does point out that “I think BBs are tinted moisturisers that have grown up. Saying that though, they do offer a myriad of benefits that old school tinted moisturisers don’t.”

So who should be looking to buy? Definitely not fans of full-coverage, matte foundation. “I think they work for anyone looking for a sheer, light base that is easy to apply,” says Balfe.

Makeup artist Leonard Daly’s not so enthused, saying, “I found that they are a little drying on the skin, so they do not suit all skin types. If you have very oily skin they work.”

The other great advantage of BBs is their sheer simplicity. While they’re best used after your regular skincare steps, there’s no specialist knowledge required and you can apply with your fingers. “They are an excellent option for days off, good skin days and when you are in a rush. As a busy mum myself, I wear one almost every day,” says Ellie Balfe. Currently impressed with Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Daily all-in-one BB Cream, €14.99, “the shade suits me and I like the finish,” she reveals.

Best surprise

Prepare yourself: L’Oréal Paris’ Nude Magique BB Cream, €14.99, comes out of the tube as a white fluid. But worry not, it smooths out to a skin-matching shade. Available in two colours, this offers SPF12 and 24 hour hydration.

Best for oily skins

Clinique’s Age Defense BB Cream with SPF30, €32, has a drier texture than most BB creams, making it a good bet for oilier types. In three shades, the palest on offer is a good pick for a Celtic skintone.

Best SPF

Daywear Antioxidant BB Creme, €40, from Estée Lauder, has excellent skincare benefits and is definitely the pick of the BB bunch for older girls. SPF35 provides anti-ageing benefits.

Best budget

Not as sophisticated as the others but far less pricey too, 17’s BB Blemish Balm is just €9.79, has an SPF of 15 and delivers soft, dewy coverage. In two shades, the lightest is a great pick for pale girls.

Best versatility

BB Creams can be limiting shade or skin type-wise. No7’s Beautiful Skin BB Cream, €15.95, has a big point of difference. Two shades are available for three varying issues — choose from Normal/Oily, Normal/Dry or Dry/Very Dry.

And the launches keep coming as beauty brands cotton on to the fact women love these easy-to-use dream creams.

Origins A Perfect World BB SPF 15 Age-defense Tinted Moisturizer With White Tea, €35.50, left, will arrive on counter in April, while Superdrug’s first own-brand BB Cream offering, €11.15, below, will hit stores in May.


17 at Boots; Clinique at pharmacies and department stores; Estée Lauder at department stores; L’Oréal Paris at pharmacies and supermarkets; No7 at Boots.


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