SO many conditions can affect your skin, ones you can control — diet and cleansing routine — and ones you can’t — the weather, menstrual cycle, genes. The beauty industry constantly seeks products that deliver radiance, evenness and perfection to a mass market desperate for perfect skin, hence BB creams.
BB creams, or blemish balm creams, have been around for ages, but until recently were only available in Asia, where they’ve been selling like hotcakes, especially in Korea. Touted as a ‘wonder product’, we are told they deliver what all of us want — perfect skin.
What’s brilliant about the BB cream is that it’s a multi-tasker, even an overachiever, with the ability to answer all your skincare needs in one easy solution.
The formulations here are different to those on the market in Asia, but the aim is still the same: even coverage with skincare benefits, radiance-boosting qualities, sun protection, primer, and pore minimisation. If you’re short on time, they’re a godsend, and if you’re getting sick of having a ton of products cluttering up your bathroom cabinets, or you’re on a budget, then they’re also a handy option.
Sounds perfect? Well, there are a few problems with BB creams.
While they all boast of fantastic skincare qualities, if you have dry skin, like I have, then they are just not enough.
When testing, I wore them without any moisturiser underneath (as you’re supposed to) and I found all of them too dry. You can, of course, just wear a moisturiser or serum underneath, but this ultimately means that you’re wearing them as you might a foundation, which almost defeats the purpose. If you have skin that is oilier, a BB might work perfectly.
The other problem with BB creams is that they come in a limited range of shades (unlike foundations and tinted moisturisers), and it can be a little tricky to find a shade that suits your skin tone. Most products only have one or two shades available.
Okay, so there you have the negatives. Now for the positives.
As well as being insanely popular (a sign that they’re doing something right, and that women love them), BB creams work brilliantly if you are trying to get the ‘look’ of flawless skin. They add radiance to the skin, and, moreover, they look completely natural.
I really liked the L’Oreal nude magique BB cream.
At first, I was a bit confused by it: it looks white and the cream feels very, very slightly sandy or bumpy, but once you put it on your skin, it transforms into a light tint that lasts very well throughout the day and looks incredibly natural, hardly like you’re wearing make-up at all. Estée Lauder’s daywear antioxidant beauty benefit cream is also a good option.
It has the same fresh cucumber scent that all the daywear products have, and despite being slightly thicker in consistency than most BB creams, I found it to be the most moisturising of the ones I tried.
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