What's the big deal about BB creams?

Jan 27, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. ET

You may have noticed lots of buzz around cosmetics aisles lately, and it's all about a new product: BB creams. What's all the fuss about and do you need to be using BB cream? Find out here.

Applying BB cream

Confused by this new product every cosmetics brand is coming out with? You're not alone. BB cream is being touted as a multi-tasking miracle product. But can it really replace just about every skin care product in your cosmetics case? Here's what you need to know.

What's a "BB cream"?

"BB cream" stands for "blemish balm" or "beauty balm." It was originally created in the sixties by a European dermatologist to reduce redness and soothe skin after a peel. The product really took off in South Korea, where it was further developed to help mask skin post-cosmetic procedure. The product is very popular in much of Asia, where the formulas tend to focus on whitening the skin to create a porcelain-like complexion, with a heavier coverage than what we are accustomed to in Canada.

All-in-one beauty

In North America, BB cream can be considered your all-in-one product, with varying degrees of coverage, depending on the brand. Think of it as tinted moisturizer with benefits: benefits such as a built-in primer, and illuminating properties and even SPF. Some BB creams boast anti-aging ingredients so you can battle fine lines and wrinkles at the same time.

The shades offered tend to be rather limited (for now), and depend on the weight of coverage. In the lightweight coverage family, the few shades will adjust to perhaps 75 per cent of skin tones, mostly in the lighter range. So, if you have a dark skin tone, it may be harder for you to find a shade, for the moment. The light to medium coverage, by the way, also means you will still need to apply concealer on dark undereye circles, blemishes or reddish areas around the nose.

BB cream brands

Interested in testing out a BB cream? Here are some of the BB creams that are already on the market in North America:

  • Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream SPF 15
  • Marcelle BB Cream
  • MAC Prep + Prime Beauty Balm SPF 35
  • Boscia BB Cream
  • Maybelline Pure Minerals BB Cream SPF 27
  • Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30
  • Estee Lauder Daywear BB Multi-Perfecting Beauty Benefit Cream SPF 35
  • Vichy Neovadiol Lumiere

More beauty articles

7 best foundation primers
Best moisturizing-lotion ingredients
Celebrity skin secrets revealed