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What's a BB cream and why do I need it?

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Get in on the BB cream craze

Any beauty junkie worth her makeup brushes knows there's a ton of buzz this year about BB cream -- the new must-have product. This multitasking cream that once had to be imported from Asia can now be found on drugstore shelves. So what is this stuff and how do you know if it's something you should try? Find out here.

Woman applying lotion

What does BB stand for?

BB stands for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm.

Where did it come from?

German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek first invented this multipurpose cream in the 1960s. Her intention was to provide a soothing cream to patients recovering from laser procedures or surgery. In the 1980s, BB cream made its way to Asia and its popularity surged when creamy-skinned Korean actresses began touting the product. Now, the cult following has jumped over to the United States where women are raving about the effectiveness, convenience and value of BB cream.

What does it do?

BB cream is a skincare/makeup hybrid that provides the hydration of a moisturizer, coverage of a light foundation and, in some cases, the sun protection of a sunscreen. How is it different from a tinted moisturizer? The texture is creamier than most tinted moisturizers and BB creams generally offer more coverage than tinted moisturizer (though less than foundation).

Who should use BB cream?

Tell us: Have you tried BB cream? What did you think? Share in the comments below!
  • If you're looking for good value, BB cream is a great choice. It gives you the benefit of a moisturizer, a foundation and, in some cases, a sunscreen -- in one affordable product.
  • If you want a simple daily beauty routine, BB cream streamlines the process of makeup application.
  • If you're looking for a beauty product that moisturizes your skin and provides light coverage with a matte finish, BB cream just might be the one product you need.

L'Oreal's BB creamWhat's a good BB cream to start with?

Start with a BB cream like L'Oreal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream. Described by a reviewer as having a “soft, silky finish,” L'Oreal BB cream contains skin-nourishing antioxidant vitamin E for all day hydration, and evenly distributes a sheer coverage with tiny micro beads of color. Choose from four shades (Fair, Light, Medium, Deep) to match your skin tone. L'Oreal's BB Cream dries with a matte finish, which is great for oily or combination skin types.

How do you apply BB cream?

Using your fingers, dab BB cream around your face, then blend with your fingertips or a sponge. Use additional layers for areas that need more coverage. You should see a smooth, flawless finish after applying.

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