If you’ve looked at a women’s, fashion or beauty magazine in the last 6 months then you have some idea about the new skincare wunder-product known as beauty balm (or BB, if you’re excruciatingly hip). It’s discussed in Real Simple “The Best BB for Your Skin”, Marie Claire “BB Cream”, InStyle “The New Multitasker” and Oprah “Why We Can’t Stop Talking About…”. Even more mainstream magazines are talking: New York Magazine “Which Beauty Balm is the Best” and The Wall Street Journal “Beauty Balm Makes Quite an Entrance…” (seriously,Spain needs $40B to get through next week and you’re writing about make-up?). If you don’t know what I mean then you’re probably a guy and should head to some DIY truck blogsite.
Beauty balm is the general term for a group of products that have been around inEuropesince the 1950s when they were used to help the skin recover from plastic surgery. They were just that- a balm to provide super healing to traumatized skin. It’s only recently that they’ve morphed into what we’re now seeing in theUnited States: tinted moisturizer on steroids.
Depending on what you’re looking for there is likely a BB that will work for you. I wanted anti-aging properties with only sheer coverage. I’ve used translucent powder for the majority of my life and only recently have found that it’s settling into fine lines- not a look I want.
My BB journey began at the low end with Garnier’s Skin Renew. For $11 it can’t be beat but this is a product for women who want foundation. I found it to be far too heavy and it only comes in two shades. If you are fair skinned this product will not work for you as even the ‘light’ is more of a mid-tone.
I realized that, maybe with a product like this, you get what you pay for and I prepared to up the ante and go to Sephora, which in its usual marketing savvy fashion, has capitalized on this trend. I made the first trek by myself with a product in mind, Clinique’s Age Defense BB. Only after getting home and trying it did I realize this one also falls in the make-up category and while it was noticeably better than the Garnier it still felt too heavy on my skin and the color was not a great match.
Time to go back to Sephora, suck it up and ask for help. I haven’t been a big fan of this option simply because the sales help there is so young and often so extremely made-up that I don’t believe they’ll understand my needs. The good news is that I met an incredibly knowledgeable woman whose first question was, “Are you looking for a skin-care option or more of a make-up one?” Yes! Thank you! Hayley not only gave me several options but gave me SAMPLES, a concept of which I was unaware. This is the greatest thing ever and now I’m a Sephora convert.
My first trial was Boscia’s BB Cream. The company is out ofJapan so this is definitely a skin-care product. It’s plant botanicals with no phthlates or parabens and isSPF 27. While it looks like a mid-beige color, don’t panic, because it will disappear into your skin providing a nice, light, even coverage.
My second trial was Dr. Jart+’s Water Fuse BB. This is another Asian company with the focus on the skin and another great product. Again, it appears to be pigmented but when on the skin it simply provides a nice texture, blending evenly without leaving a sticky or heavy feel. I even gave it the gay friend test (because they will always be honest) and asked in broad daylight, “Do you see any lines? Can you tell I’m wearing make-up?” and was pleased when the answer was, “No, you just look really rested” which at my age equates to “You look like a supermodel.”
Final trip to Sephora, where I dithered for 20 minutes between the Boscia shelf and Dr. Jart+s. Truly? I liked them both and went with Dr. Jart+ because it was the one I had used most recently and its texture was slightly more appealing. I’d highly recommend either.
In the time it’s taken me to write this there are probably three more companies who have released a BB. I know of one (Origins). The most important thing you can do is know what you want. The lines are pretty clearly drawn between products that focus on skin-care and those that focus on coverage. Once you know the type of product you want, don’t just rely on an in-store swipe of it along your jaw line or on the back of your hand. You’ll never get a true sense of a product with store lighting. Ask for samples and use the product at home in a variety of lights. Rely on yourself, not magazines or sales help, to find what works best for you.
Beauty balms may not solve all the world’s woes but for women who want help in the fight against aging and also want to look polished with a minimum of effort this is a great solution.