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How to get the most out of your BB cream

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Make it work, girl!

A high-quality BB cream can be a busy woman's best friend. We've done the research for you so you'll know exactly what to look for and how to incorporate a BB cream into your busy lifestyle.
Woman with hands on face

What is BB cream?

BB cream

By now, most women have seen advertisements for BB creams splashed across the pages of magazines and websites. The trend is the latest skin-care craze in the U.S., but BB creams have actually been around for years in East Asia and Europe. BB creams, otherwise known as blemish balms or beauty balms, exist to pack all kinds of good ingredients into one product.

Dr. Vicki Rapaport, a dermatologist and skin-care expert in Beverly Hills, says that BB creams are one of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to creams. According to Rapaport, BB creams "combine a moisturizing element, an antiaging element or sunscreen and, finally, a tint to hide any flaw in the skin once the superpower balm is blended in." She is a strong proponent of BB creams, because women who use BB creams can expect to enjoy skin protection and even a natural glow, as long as they find a good product.

How do I use it?

BB creams exist to simplify your morning routine, so they're easy and intuitive to use. Most BB creams come in three or four different tints, so your first task is to find one that works well with your skin tone. Once you find a brand that's a good match for your skin, you can either use a makeup sponge or your fingers to apply the cream. You won't need to moisturize first, because the moisturizer is already in the cream. And because BB creams have a tint, you won't need to apply any foundation on top of the cream. If you feel you need a little more coverage, you can always double up on application in your problem spots. Many BB creams advertise that you won't even need an additional concealer after application, because the cream can hide dark under-eye circles and skin imperfections.

Rapaport recommends that you spend a little more on your BB cream than is typically offered in drugstore brands, because the tints in drugstore brands can sometimes cause breakouts. Some drugstores, however, have started to carry higher-quality BB creams to meet market demands.

What should I look for in a BB cream?

All BB creams on the market offer some variation on the idea of packing multiple beauty products into one cream. So what sets certain creams apart? As Rapaport says, the quality of the tint is important in order to avoid breakouts, so try to find a brand that has a high-quality tint. It's also a good idea to find a product with a substantial SPF, since sun protection is an important step in diminishing signs of aging. And if you're looking for a brand that follows through on the promise of a "natural glow," try to find a product with a touch of sheen.

More beauty advice

Skin boot camp: The 4-week solution
6 Skin-care secrets from Hollywood starlets
Can your makeup look influence people's perception of you?

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