Today I’ll be talking about BB creams and what I personally think about them. I have a lot of friends who are looking for miracle creams, and from what they have read about and heard, it’s touted to be the miracle cream that makes you look beautiful, polished, moisturized, glowing and keeps you young at the same time.
But is it really the case? Let’s get down to it.
A Little History
BB creams or blemish balms (beauty balms as known in Western markets) is a cosmetic item that captured the Asian market by storm. It was first developed in Germany by a dermatologist who wanted to create a single cream that would provide coverage and protect the skin especially for patients who have just gone through laser surgery treatments. This all-in-one formulation eventually became very popular in South Korea, and then spread throughout Asia.
When it first came out on the market, it was promoted as an all-in-one miracle stick that could replace your host of serums, moisturizers, primers, concealers, foundations and sunblock. It can be worn alone, as a tinted moisturizer, under face powder, over moisturizer – or even as a night cream! And no matter how you wear it, it has been guaranteed to do wonders for your skin.
Over time, major beauty brands have hopped on the bandwagon and have released their own versions for Europe and North America. Major beauty companies, from drugstore brands to high end lines have their now have their own versions, with prices ranging from $10 to$100 per tube.
Why Not BB Creams?
I understand that this post may make BB cream lovers sit uneasy, but I’m not here to bash it. Truth be told, I am not against BB creams, per se and I am not saying that they’re bad products. What I just do not agree on is how they are marketed and sold to the world – as all in one miracle cream that moisturizes, primes, conceals, protects against the sun, slows down aging and reduces fine lines and all that jazz. I personally believe that BB creams should be marketed for what they are – hydrating liquid makeup with skin-benefiting ingredients.
Another thing; because of the increased demand for organic and natural skin care products, many manufacturers are also putting out their own line of herbal, natural and organic BB creams. Truth be told, apart from some additional plant extract, most of these “organic” or “herbal” creams have the same composition as any BB cream, which means that some of them they still may contain many synthetic ingredients. Even certified organic BB creams are not a miracle creams at all. I have tested many because I was curious and I am telling you, there is no such thing as miracle. Some of them were horrible, made my skin worse and they provided little or no coverage at all. It makes me wonder are there any ethics in this cosmetic business at all?!
That said, the problem lies in how the product is being marketed, and how people react to it. In a nutshell, here are some of my thoughts:
1) BB creams moisturize, provide mild coverage and limited UV protection – and not much of anything else
Most BB creams promise you brighter skin, even skin tone, reduced fine lines and wrinkles. But if you look at the ingredients of most of these creams, you would not see ingredients that actually resurface the skin or reduce wrinkles on the face. What you would find, however, are ingredients that hydrate and moisturize and UV filters that provide limited UV protection.
2) Most BB creams are all the same, and are very similar to CC creams, too
Many BB creams contain similar ingredients – water, solvents, emulsifiers and the like. Although there are slight differences (like the addition of aloe or jasmine extract here and there), the distinction is not so great. Thus, you really do not have to buy an $80 tube of BB over a $10 one. So what’s that have to do with anything? Check ingredient lists first instead of relying on brand names.
Also, we took some time to compare BB and CC creams. As you know, CC creams are supposed to be hybrids or improved versions of the blemish balm. Think of them as BB cream version 2.0. But upon comparison, you also won’t find much difference in the ingredients. Personally, I think it’s more of a marketing ploy, and sooner or later we’ll see next wave products like DD and EE creams, which will probably be just the same and may be even more expensive.
3) BB creams are very, very similar to foundation or tinted moisturiser
One very interesting thing we did recently was to compare various BB cream ingredient lists and liquid foundation lists as well as tinted moisturiser lists, and guess what we found out? Some BB creams are not that different to foundations. You’ll probably find more silicone in BB creams in comparison to mineral oil for most foundation formulations, but that’s basically about it. The overlap is so large that you can package a BB cream as a foundation (or do it in reverse) and nobody could tell the difference at all.
This is what strikes me as funny, because the main reason why people have moved away from foundations towards BB is the fact that it was hyped to be more natural, better and have more benefits on the skin. So that said, if you’re currently using a good liquid or cream foundation and it works well with you, there’s really no need to make the switch to BB.
4) BB Cream is makeup, not skincare
This thing, I should stress well enough, because many people actually put BB creams as moisturizers at night and sleep in it. This can do more harm on the skin than good. Remember, the real idea behind the creams was to allow women to wear coverage on their skin after laser treatments – so it’s still makeup for you, no matter how many hydrating ingredients it contains.
If you decide to use BB creams – treat it as any normal makeup product. Unless you want to clog your pores and wake up with pimples, be sure to clean it all off before going to bed and use an unadulterated serum or moisturizer at night.
5) BB creams are not necessary substitutes for sunscreen
Another common statement that you would regularly hear from BB cream manufacturers and marketers is the fact that it can take the place of sunscreen products. After all, most tubes have lines that say “SPF protected” or “with UV protection,” which leads us to thing – hey, no need to buy sunscreen, that’s cool!
Now this is wrong on several levels. First, most products don’t tell us how much SPF protection they actually give. Second, manufacturers recommend that you use a pea-sized drop of the product for the whole face, which I guarantee won’t give you enough sun protection from damaging sun rays.
If the cream you’re using has SPF – fine. Treat it as an extra, but don’t let it be the reason for you to skip using actual sunscreen. Invest in sunscreen. Keep your skin protected all the time.
6) You really can’t rely on just one miracle cream
Lastly, as sad as this might sound – you really can’t rely on one miracle cream to do all the work for you. There isn’t a cream in the world that does everything that you would need for your skin, that includes the BBs and the CCs.
If you have acne, then you’ll need products to treat acne. If you have dry skin, then you’ll need a serum or a moisturizer. If you want coverage, then you’d be best off with a good concealer or a foundation. If you’re worried about fine lines and aging, then there are different products for that as well. One cream cannot do all the work, so don’t throw out everything in your skin care cabinet just yet.
Cleanse, tone, exfoliate, moisturize and treat (if there are any specific issues. In the morning, use simple and unadulterated makeup to conceal blemishes and highlight parts of the face. You’ll need to go through all of these to get a great skin.
While I say that you’ll need more than one product, I’m still a believer in keeping things simple. That’s why our products at Alexami Cosmetics only contain all natural, organic and plant based ingredients. Best thing is, we use only what’s needed. No fillers, no preservatives, no extra fluff that does nothing but harm the skin.
What Do I Think?
So, what do I really think about BB creams? First, it’s not all that bad. It’s fine to have and use, especially if you have it now. If you don’t use it, then it is also okay. Don’t worry about what the commercials and ads are telling you. You are not missing out on anything miraculous.
A Note From The Writer
This is winding up to be really long, but here’s my last message to end this post:
Today we’re so caught up with finding miracle cures to prevent aging, and we fall for many marketing ploys, only to end up using stuff that aren’t really good for our skin. Apart from Botox and surgery, there really is no way to stop aging, and the only thing you can do is embrace it as it comes.
BUT – you can nurture your skin, keep it hydrated and glowing, even when you grow older. That’s what we believe in here at Alexami Cosmetics, and that’s what I think is the most important thing to consider when looking for skin care and cosmetic products. You do not need a hundred products to look beautiful nor you have to be a skin expert. Just keep it simple!