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If you’re looking to downsize the skin care products in your morning routine, then consider trying BB cream.
Otherwise known as blemish balm or beauty balm, BB cream is a makeup product formulated with skin care benefits that include hydration, anti-aging properties, and SPF protection.
Not sure if BB cream is right for you? Read on to learn about its benefits and how best to use, plus a few product recommendations to get you started.
The best way to describe BB cream? It’s an all-in-one product for your skin. In one bottle, you get the benefits of two or three different products. This means that you’re not only saving time, but you’re also saving money.
Here are three other reasons to choose a BB cream as your base.
Multitasking, all-in-one treatments
BB creams are part makeup and part skin care products. Your skin can reap the benefits of several products from one application.
Makeup artist and green beauty expert Maria Velve says they blend the qualities of a tinted moisturizer with the qualities of an anti-aging moisturizer and SPF skin care product.
“Because BB creams can contain a cocktail of beneficial ingredients such as mineral SPF with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, vitamins and antioxidants, you’ll cut down on products and ingredients applied to the skin, and save time,” she says.
Go on light and look natural
The coverage you’ll get with a BB cream is natural and dewy, never heavy or cakey. Plus, you can easily apply BB cream with your fingers, which Velve says allows the product to melt into the skin for a fuss-free makeup application.
For those who require more coverage, Velve says BB creams are light enough to go under a layer of regular foundation.
Cover blemishes and imperfections without irritation
If you have acne-prone skin and need to conceal blemishes, Velve says your skin could benefit from a BB cream. The soothing minerals often found in BB cream formulations are beneficial for treating blemishes.
“Acne-prone skin will also benefit from the lighter textured product that allows the skin to breathe as well as the shorter ingredient list,” she adds.
A typical drugstore brand of BB cream can contain up to 40 different ingredients, better than the 70+ ingredients that a separate moisturizer, foundation, and sunscreen can contain.
The short answer is yes, BB creams are good for all skin types, including oily, dry, acne-prone, and more. But there are a few caveats to point out.
Airi Williams, lead aesthetician at Skin Camp, says if you have more of an oily skin type, you should definitely choose a BB cream with humectants to make sure you get the proper hydration required by your skin.
The other caveat, says Velve, is finding BB creams for all skin tones.
“Women of color can have a harder time finding a BB shade that suits their skin, and if the match is not right, BB creams can look ashy, a quality of the mineral-based SPF ingredients that most formulations contain,” she explains.
You can use a BB cream as part of your daily routine in place of foundation.
If your skin tends to be oily, the moisturizer in a BB cream may be enough. But if you have normal or dry skin, you may want to apply a moisturizer before your BB cream.
Here are the steps Velve recommends for applying BB cream:
- Apply BB cream to cleansed skin after any additional serums or moisturizers.
- Use a foundation brush, sponge, or your fingers to apply the cream. Velve likes to use her fingers because they warm up the product and allow it to blend into the skin more easily. Let the product settle on your skin.
- Apply foundation for more coverage and concealer in any problem areas. BB cream doesn’t need to be powdered, but the concealed areas might need to be set with a bit of powder.
- Add an additional SPF product if you know you’ll be in the sun for long periods of time.
In general, BB creams are an excellent choice for people who want a foundation with extra benefits. That said, there are some cons you may want to consider before purchasing a product:
- They may lighten skin. Velve says some BB cream products lighten the skin, so consumers need to read the packaging to understand what the product does before purchasing. Choosing the incorrect product can leave the skin pale and ashen-looking.
- The SPF coverage may not be enough. Although BB creams offer SPF protection, Velve says they also offer a false sense of protection. “Most women don’t apply enough of any makeup product on their faces to get adequate SPF protection,” she says. This means people who want the light, barely-there coverage a BB cream offers are less likely to wear enough of the product to get the SPF protection designated on the bottle. To remedy this, Velve recommends applying additional SPF when going outdoors.
- The moisturizing benefit might not be enough for dry skin. “Consumers with dry skin might have an expectation that the moisturizing effects of a BB cream will moisturize their skin adequately, but an additional moisturizer might be needed,” says Velve. To fix this problem, layer a moisturizer under the BB cream.
When it comes to ingredients, celebrity makeup artist Mary Irwin says hyaluronic acid and glycerine — both humectants — add hydration to the skin. She also likes cucumber and aloe for soothing and hydrating benefits.
If you have oily skin, Irwin says to look for a water-based formula. If you have very oily skin, go with a BB cream that has kaolin clay, which helps to absorb excess oil without irritating the skin.
Additionally, Irwin says to steer clear of fragranced formulas and opt for hypoallergenic formulas to help avoid irritation. And of course, SPF is always a nice addition to a BB cream.
Finally, before buying a product, Williams recommends doing a few swatches on your neck to see how it blends. Consider working with an aesthetician to get the best BB cream for your skin type and tone.
We’ve collected a few BB products to get you started.
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream
Affordable and available online and in drugstores, the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream is a top seller for all skin types. Plus, it comes in a variety of shades, including light, medium, and deep. This BB cream smooths, hydrates, and comes with a dose of SPF 30.
e.l.f. Cosmetics BB Cream SPF 20
Ideal for both dry and oily skin, this BB cream will give your skin a natural look while also providing even coverage and protection from the sun. The e.l.f. formula is lightweight, which makes it an excellent choice for everyday wear.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur
Ideal for acne-prone skin, La Rouche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur is oil-free, fragrance-free, noncomedogenic, and it helps minimize the appearance of large pores and covers blemishes. It also has SPF 20.
Iman Cosmetics BB Creme
Iman Cosmetics BB Creme, with its sheer hint of color, SPF 15, and a touch of creaminess, works well with darker skin tones. Available in a variety of darker shades, this BB creme will help even out skin and provide a nice glow.
Including a BB cream in your daily skin care routine is a simple yet effective way to add a touch of color to your skin while also moisturizing and protecting your face from harmful UV rays.
To find the right BB cream for your skin type and tone, it’s always a good idea to talk to an aesthetician or makeup specialist.