BB creams (aka Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm) creams have been getting a lot of discussion recently on a fashion/beauty forum I'm part of . So I decided to do a little online "research" and visited the local Korean market near my work a Korean cosmetics store in the South Bay.
So was are bb creams? In short, they're an alternative to tinted moisturizers that also provide some type of skincare benefit. According to many beauty blogs & youtube reviews, BB creams began when a German dermatologist created a cream for his patients post-laser skin treatment. The Asian cosmetics companies, especially those in Korea, took the concept and ran with it. They're available online through Amazon.com, eBay (though care is needed to avoid the fake ones) and Korean and/or Asian stores in major US metropolitan areas. They are are now slowly popping up in cosmetic brands in the US as well.
My favorite sources of bb cream review sites are the BB Cream Queen blog and this one. They go into the multitude of brands out there.
Compared to some other beauty bloggers, my bb cream collection is actually not that big. But before I discuss the brands I've tried so far, I'd like to point out that some of them were samples and/or gift-with-purchases (GWP's). From left to right are:
- MAC Cosmetics Prep & Prime Beauty Balm BB Cream - Not a true BB cream. It works great as a foundation primer. It's currently only available on MAC's online site. I purchased this after I used up my regular MAC Prep & Prime SPF 50 face primer.
- Dr G Gowoonsesang Brightening Balm Cream - on the recommendation of the Koreana Market sales associate (SA). This is my favorite in terms of oil control for my combo skin. It's a little gray on initial applicaton & also a bit lighter than my skintone.
- The Face Shop Power Perfection BB cream - on the recommendation of the The Face Shop SA. There are up to 4 The Face Shops in the South Bay now (Santa Clara, Milpitas, and San Jose). Actually sheerer than Dr G & not as good oil control, but a little less gray. Also, the only one that made me break out so far.
- Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in #27 - Shade-wise this is the closest to my skin tone, but the oil control isn't as good as Dr G. Missha is one of the most popular brands used the US because it's got the broadest range of all the Korean cosmetic companies. It's still rather limited though. Most brands only have 1 to 2 shades that have a gray or pink cast on initial application.
- Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in #23 - This is actually a first-time buyer GWP for ordering from the Missha US website. Full-size! And it also came in a travel size set that was another of my GWPs. It's lighter than the #27 of course, but mixed with the travel size #31 (not shown) that came in the GWP set, I can get closer to #27.
- Missha BB Boomer - This is a "primer" before the BB cream. It's got shimmer & a slight pink cast. I'm still undecided on the benefit of this, but it may be useful in the cooler months under the bb cream for more moisture.
- Missha Signature Real Complete BB cream - Also part of the travel-size set GWP. I haven't tried this yet.
Not shown are the little samples I got from Sephora for Boscia and Dr Jart+ . Unfortunately I forgot to ask the SA which Dr Jart+ sample she gave me as Dr Jart+ has 2 different versions. The Boscia has little glitter flecks which I don't like. It's sheerer than the other bb creams I've tried & has no oil control whatsoever. Dr Jart+ was also a disappointment as it's the sheerest of them all & also had no oil control.
Here are most of the BB creams swatched on my arm not blended out. For comparison purposes, I've added my foundation shades on both ends. Starting left to right:
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish liquid in NC37, MAC's BB cream, Boscia, Dr Jart, Dr G, The Face Shop, Missha #27, Missha #23, Missha Signature Real, Missha BB Boomer, NARS Sheer Glow in Punjab and a NARS Sheer Glow sample in Syracuse.
Here they are again blended out a little bit, but not as much as I would on my face.
I blended the creams out a little more to get closer to my actual application process & then took a pic of the swatches over an hour later. Unfortunately my sunlight got covered by clouds, so my lighting isn't the same. BB creams tend to oxidize over time, some more than others. This usually tends to help the bb creams match skin tones better, but it can also make it harder to determine which bb cream to buy.
I haven't found my holy grail bb cream, but I've come closest with my Dr G & Missha #27. And I'll still need to experiment by mixing them together. I'm good for now & probably won't buy more for awhile. I may or may not buy the other most popular bb cream out there, the Skin79 Hot Pink. Interestingly enough, it hasn't been that popular at the Koreana Market so they stopped selling it. They do have the Missha brand, though not the full range of colors all the time. I hope this helps if you ever come across these.
I'll be back to crafting in my next post.