Beauty balm, blemish balm, blemish base: BB creams are the newest cosmetic industry craze, but the cute-sounding foundation solution also carries a certain mystique as to what exactly it is and does. Though popular in Asian cultures, where women go to great lengths to maintain their ethereal epidermis, the idea of BB cream is said to have originated in Germany in the 1960’s. A resourceful dermatologist, Dr. Christine Schrammek saw a need for an all-in-one product to nourish and conceal patients’ delicate skin after surgery. A few decades later, the compound caught on in Japan and South Korean as a new 80’s fad marketed by Korean celebrities. Two decades later, it makes up thirteen percent of the make-up market in that region.
Due to the language barrier when buying Korean cosmetics and the marketing buzz around its American counterparts, it’s tough to decipher which BB creams perform what duties. Can it really be a product that does all the things, replacing the need for all other creams and foundations? At its core, BB cream is meant to be a lightweight replacement for serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunblock. Think of it as a high caliber tinted moisturizer. Some BB creams also boast a powdery finish to eliminate shine. Formulas are generally mineral-based and meant to deliver the following benefits: covering and treating zits, sun spots, and age spots, while providing anti-wrinkle, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
Curious about this “healthy” make-up that would keep me looking fresh and protect my pallor from the elements, I was recommended Holika Holika Petit BB Cream in the Clearing variety. It’s meant to do all of the above, and the added tea tree oil boost claims to prevent breakouts. Sounds good to me. The shade was right for my skin tone, which was a gamble since you don’t get to choose– read reviews to find descriptions of BB shades if you’re buying outside of Western markets. The application does look really smooth. A slave to routine though, I was reluctant to give up my SPF moisturizer as a base and it made me super slick. (I’m moisturizing at night now instead, like a grown up). Once I learned to give up that step, I saw a serious improvement in the BB cream’s staying power and productivity. My skin really is showing signs of healing– so far– and while that’s subjective, at at the bare minimum I can say I’ve experienced a decline in breakouts and am pretty clear.
Bargain hunters should pay around $10 for this BB cream, mine was six bucks on eBay with free shipping, but I sprung for expedited postage rather than waiting a month for it to arrive from overseas. Which BB cream have you found that works for you? –Casandra Armour