BB cream, also known as Blemish Balm, Blemish Base or Beblesh Balm, is a cosmetic item sold mainly in East and Southeast Asia, although larger beauty brands are increasingly transferring BB creams to European and US markets as well.
Originally formulated in Germany by Dr. med. Christine Schrammek in 1967 it was initially used by dermatologists to help laser surgery patients protect, soothe and refine highly sensitive skin while providing light coverage for post-laser scars, acne and other blemishes.
Although BB cream was not specifically created for the Asian market, it provided a solution to a common skin problem for many Asians: impure skin. The cream eventually found its way into a broad mainstream market when Korean actresses recommended it publicly.
BB creams come in a variety of different formulations and qualities mainly perceived as being anti-inflammatory, regenerative and having a soothing effect. Some are said to have skin whitening or brightening properties. Others are said to be anti-acne or anti-wrinkle, some are intended to even out skin tone, and yet others to lighten blemish scars.
BB creams are sometimes used like a primer under foundation, and if tinted may supposedly replace foundation and some newer ones are advertised as having functions of primer, foundation, moisturizer, sun block, pore minimization and skin refining together, making them an economic skin care solution.
So what is all the hype about, I did some research to find the best BB creams and this is what I have come up with!
The following are a few reviews I found on True Beauty.
- Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream: “I was extremely skeptical to try BB creams — they seemed too good to be true, and I didn’t believe anything could top my tinted moisturizer. (I’m dedicated to Jane Iredale Dream Tint SPF15 Tinted Moisturizer, $36, which gives me the perfect amount of sheer coverage, contains sunscreen, and is pretty much the only makeup that doesn’t make me break out.) But I did find a favorite, and it’s the only one of the bunch that’s available at the drugstore — for about $25 less than the rest. It hasn’t replaced my tinted moisturizer, but it’s the perfect option if I want a little more coverage, and — miraculously — doesn’t make me break out even if I wear it for 18 hours straight.” — Dawn Davis, NYC Beauty Editor
- Too Faced Beauty Balm Multi Benefit Skin Care Make Up: “This gives me a nice dewy glow and works well both alone and under makeup. On the weekends (or when I’m on vacation) I wear it alone for just a bit of coverage and sun protection, but for everyday I apply makeup on top of it. My mother–in-law recently commented that my skin had a beautiful glow — after a 5-hour plane ride no less! — and all I was wearing was this beauty balm.” — Sarah Carillo, Senior Editor
- Dr. Jart + Premium Beauty Balm: “I apply a pump or two of this shimmery liquid to my face and it evens out my skin tone, gives me a youthful glow, and protects me from the sun. I cannot say enough good things about it — I love it!” — Audrey Fine, Special Projects Editor
- Estee Lauder Daywear Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Cream: “I was excited to try this one because of the high SPF content. I’m fair and burn in mere minutes. The consistency is a little thick, but I found that if I mix it with my regular moisturizer, it glides on perfectly. It keeps me feeling protected and helps perfect my complexion. Total win-win.” — Meghan Rabbitt, Executive Editor
- Boscia BB Cream: “This one is sheer but gives great coverage, and the color is warmer and more fleshy than some of the others. I’ve stopped using tinted moisturizer and now I exclusively wear BB cream.” — Paola Gonzalez Marra, Graphic Designer
- Stila Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm: “If you’re going to have your picture taken, this is the one to try. It contains ingredients to diffuse light and hide wrinkles and pores. While most of the others have a dewy finish, this one is more matte — I can skip powder entirely.” — Dawn Davis, NYC Beauty Editor
- Clinique Age Defense BB Cream: “The sunscreen in some BB creams can make them look yellow or chalky depending on your skin tone. This one blends really beautifully on just about everyone — even though it’s only available in three shades — because it’s more translucent than most. If you’re looking for less coverage, this one is perfect. I’ll use it instead of a primer under my regular foundation if I want more coverage.” — Sharon Yi, Assistant Editor
- Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream: “Smashbox is best known for its primers, so we weren’t surprised when they came out with a BB cream — it seemed like a natural progression. Their version is fragrance-free (unlike most of the others), so it’s ideal if you’re allergic or sensitive to fragrances. It feels fantastic going on and looks great even at the end of a long, hot day.” — Alexis Finc, Associate Editor of Total Beauty’s sister site, BeautyRiot.com
Refinery29 just did a huge write up about BB Creams. Which one am I going to try, you ask? The Smashbox or Clinique. I will let you know how it goes.