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I’ve been seeing a lot of BB Creams on the market recently. Are they worth it?
BB Creams are only worth it if you are looking for a makeup, not a skin care treatment, and have pretty good skin in the first place. This is because BB creams are generally far more “makeup” than “moisturizer” or “anti-aging treatment.” The main ingredients are primarily silicones, which can be hydrating as well as aesthetically pleasing to the skin. Unfortunately, silicones lay on top of the skin, not acting as a very effective delivery system for the beneficial ingredients in the product – hence why I do not believe in buying BB creams as a “skin care treatment.”
What Should I Look For in a BB Cream?
My favorite of the ingredients in BB creams are the mix of physical and chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens, like zinc oxide and titanium oxide, prevent UV light from penetrating the skin. On the other hand, chemical sunscreens, like avobenzone and oxybenzone, take UV light and transform it into another form of energy that is not harmful to the skin. Some dermatologists like to use both, as chemical sunscreens have been shown to be unstable (Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2002), and layering a physical sunscreen over top helps the chemical sunscreen last longer.
2. Proper match for your skin color.
BB creams originated in Asia, where there are two desired skin colors: pale and paler. (I can say this and still be politically correct because I am Asian myself, haha). At any rate, this may be great for the Asian markets, but not so great for America, where skin tones could be said to run an entire 256 color spectrum on their own. While some brands, like Smashbox, offer up to five shades of BB cream, most companies are offering only one to three. So be sure that you try your desired BB cream before buying it! Chances are, none of the shades will work exactly right for you, unless you have great skin to begin with and only need to use one small, semi-sheer drop.
3. Appropriate hydration for your skin type.
If your skin tends to be dry, I recommend Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30. The formula contains a large concentration of hydrating silicones, as well as sodium hyaluronate, to assist in moisture production.
If your skin is normal, I recommend I recommend a hydrating formula, like Dr. Jart++ Beauty Balm SPF 45. Its lightweight, pinkish formula is best for those with fairly clear, smooth skin. It also contains arbutin, a skin brightening agent that has not proven to be the most effective on the market, but still illuminating enough to make a somewhat noticeable difference after 4-6 weeks of daily use.
If you are looking for full coverage, look no further than Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream ($39.00, Amazon.com). This BB cream is by far the heaviest of any of the brands I’ve analyzed, and the coverage holds up through the scrutiny of close-ups and 24-hour wear. Definitely a buy for the on-screen crowd!
If your skin is oily, I would not recommend a BB cream. The purpose of BB creams is to provide moisturization, sun protection, and the cosmetic benefits of a makeup in one product. In order to achieve this aim, chemists will formulate BB creams to have a lot of hydrators, like silicones, which are not-so-great for acne-prone skin. I instead recommend Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup ($34.99, Amazon.com) for you – with 2% salicylic acid, it controls oil production, but with enough hydrators to make it dry soft and smooth on the skin, not dry or flaky like some other foundations.
Don’t go expecting a miracle from BB cream: As we all learned from 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, there’s something to be said for using separate steps. The truth of the matter is, I will never say that any of the BB creams listed above are as great as using separate a skin-specific serum/moisturizer, primer, and foundation. However, I will say that BB creams can be an life-saver for women in a constant time-crunch. If you have near-perfect skin to begin with and constantly find yourself running out of time to get ready, then I hope this guide to BB creams helped you out!
Let me know your thoughts in Comments!