If you haven’t heard of the term BB cream yet, you certainly will. They are popping up everywhere; from drug store brands to high end and everything in between. But everyone seems to have the same question – “What is a BB cream?”
The original BB cream was created by a dermatologist in Korea. He created a special formula of skincare, tinted moisturizer and UVA/UVB protection all in one for his famous patients that had laser treatments and the such and needed quick results in healing time and prolonged overall health of the skin. People saw how great the skin looked on these famous people and word and product spread quickly. Now seven years later they are making an invasion in the US. BB stands for blemish balm or blemish cream – not necessarily intended for acne as we think of with the term blemish, but instead any skincare issue from dark spots, firmness, luminosity and more.
What makes the BB cream different than tinted moisturizers? Besides the fact that they moisturize and have a sheer tint of color to them, a true BB cream has a high concentration of a physical sunblock – typically titanium dioxide. They also are packed with anti-aging and skin healing ingredients – these two factors are the main reason they are different than a typical tinted moisturizer. SPF coverage and the anti-aging ingredients will vary depending on the brand, so it is best to do research before buying the first one you come across – they are different.
Recently I’ve tested several of them and here are my personal results and opinions on the ones I’ve used:
3LAB Perfect BB Cream SPF 40/PA+++ (3+ are the most protection) and contains titanium dioxide of 12.16% – the highest of all the BB creams I’ve tried. It is also infused with 3LAB’s signature bio-engineered growth hormone and apple stem cell technology. It firms and lifts the skin, regenerates new skin cells, brightens, soothes and calms irritated skin, of course moisturizes and gives a tint of color. This comes in 3 shades, but with this high physical sunblock do keep in mind that you may need a bit darker shade than you think because of the whiteness associated with sunblocks. Of the four I’ve tried, I felt 3LAB’s BB cream gave me the most coverage – in sunscreen and texture. It blended nicely, but not as quickly as some of the lighter versions, it isn’t greasy feeling and overall love the way it makes my skin look. It illuminates without looking oily like some tinted moisturizers can look on my skin. It also stayed put on my skin a very long time – the longest of all the ones I tested. It is the most expensive of these four at $95 for 1.5 oz, but from what I’ve read it also has the most skincare properties in the formula and that may make it worth it.
While not “officially” called a BB cream – I was introduced to Revision Skincare Intellishade by my dermatologist. I had gone in for a peel and she suggested this cream. It used to only come in the non-matte formula, but now that it’s also available in a matte finish I was pleased and decided to purchase. It sells for between $45-$50 (I don’t recall what exactly I paid for it as it was several months ago) for 1.7 oz. The matte finish is more like a “glowy-matte” finish, which can work perfectly for my skin. It’s moisturizing, has SPF 45 – a physical sunblock of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It contains anti-oxidants and peptides to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pores and to increase collagen production, firmness and skin elasticity. Intellishade comes in only one shade and is designed to adjust to your skin tone. While personally I’m not a firm believer in these “adjust to skin tone” claims, it does work with my skin tone, gives my skin a nice glow, goes on lightly and easily and gives a bit more coverage than a regular tinted moisturizer. My dermatologist says she recommends this to all her patients that have lasers and peels done and for those who don’t like to put several layers on their skin – this has it all in one.
While this image isn’t of the reformulated DiorSnow version – it is similar packaging to what you will find of the newly reformulated, but it will include the word “BB Creme”. These are just hitting the stores now, and I tested this BB cream for a few days. This one is is called DiorSnow UV Shield BB Creme SPF 50 PA+++ and contains 4.26% titanium dioxide and octinoxate of 7.49%. DiorSnow is Dior’s skin brightening and lightening skincare line that reduces the appearance of dark spots and imperfections. It now is newly reformulated with Icelandic Glacial™ Water, which is one of the purest waters in the world. The rare filtration process of Icelandic Glacial™ Water leaves it with skin brightening benefits. This DiorSnow BB Creme sells for $50 for 1 oz., comes in only one shade and it is lightweight in texture and coverage. It gives the skin a nice glow without looking oily and the ingredients work to give the skin luminosity, evenness, better skin texture, moisture and firmness. With the high SPF I did not feel this gave me the sunscreen whiteness that high concentrations of sunscreen can give to the skin, which I really liked. I also liked the texture and the wearability of it – it lasted throughout the day.
Estee Lauder DayWear BB Cream has a broad-spectrum SPF 35 – the least of the four I tested and the most affordable of the four at $35 for 1 oz. Their BB Cream focus appears to be protection – with the SPF, illumination and moisturization. It does contain Estee Lauder’s most powerful anti-oxidant complex, and they say that it provides 8 hours of continuous anti-oxidant protection. It also illuminates without making the skin oily, in fact, it contains ingredients to control excess oil. It is lightweight and they advertise that it can be used alone or under a foundation. Personally I didn’t feel the need to apply foundation on top as the coverage was sheer – sheer/medium. I liked how this looked and felt on my skin. This one has a slight scent of cucumber and has a slight cooling feel when first applied to the skin.
Overall my thoughts on all of these are I feel they’re a good way to make sure I am getting my sun protection and I love the added benefits of skincare repair and foundation coverage all in one. It sure makes beauty more simple! As you can see just from these four comparisons there is not only a range of prices, but a range of SPF protection, and skin care benefits. With countless others available, my suggestion is to do the homework before purchasing. Figure out what it is you are looking for – the higher SPF protection, the lightest in weight/texture, shade availability and/or skincare ingredients, these are all factors to consider when choosing a BB Cream.
Only 3LABS was sent for consideration of review. Other BB Creams were either purchased or small tester samples received from the beauty counter.