I’m sure most people up-to-date in the makeup and skincare world have heard the phrase ‘BB cream” uttered continiously over the past few years… But what is it?!
BB Cream beginnings:
BB cream (blemish balm/beauty balm) was originally formulated in Germany by a dermatologist – Dr. Christine Schrammek in the 1960s. It was used for patients post-laser-surgery. The aim of the BB cream was to help protect, soothe and refine skin post-surgery.
Dr. Christine Schrammek’s original BB cream (popular in the U.S.)
In the 1980s, BB cream was introduced into the Korean cosmetics industry. Korean cosmetic companies jumped onto the band-wagon and marketed the cream via well-known celebrity endorsements. With the craze for perfect ‘white-porcelain’ skin in Asia, it became a huge hit instantly.
Most BB creams will have multiple functions, here are some:
- Sun protection
- Pollution protection
- Nourishing skin
- Moisturising skin
- Restoring skin
- Covering-up imperfections
- Reducing redness and hyperpigmentation
- Skin ageing prevention
- Fresh and radiant skin appearance
Personally, I like to think of BB creams as a better version of a tinted moisturiser. I used to use this Ponds tinted moisturiser (is that still available?) when I was in my teens. BB cream is a one up on the tinted moisturiser because it actually reduces the redness on my face and evens out my complexion (without being too heavy). That’s why I love it! Some of them also reduce the size of large pores and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. But I have found that it really depends on the BB cream.
The downside to BB cream is that it has less coverage than a foundation. So if you’re asking for full coverage in a BB cream, you may not get it! Stick to your foundations for that. BB cream also makes my face (which is oily combination) sometimes oilier. In the dot points above the last one mentions ‘fresh and radiant’ skin. This can look like a ‘glowier’ or ‘dewier’ complexion – which oily combo skin peeps like me can do without! The other thing is that it can also make you look washed out (grey-ish), depending on the BB cream. I find the Korean brands do this more often. Maybe something to do with their whitening effect? I’m not sure.
How to use BB cream (what I do)
I tend to use it on my lazier days. Days where I do want to reduce redness, but can’t be bothered with the whole foundation routine. It is simple and easy to use. Here is what I do:
- Put a pea-sized dot onto my fingertips and dot onto face
- Smooth out quickly and evenly over the face – concentrating on the redness and starting from the centre and working outwards.
- Swirl translucent powder over the top to set (and stop being all shiny shiny)
How do I find the best one for my skin type?
Honestly, it is an ongoing process. I have tried a few types so far. Both from Korea and America. You really can’t tell how good (or bad) it is until you actually try it. Sometimes, websites will have charts that will help you find out which type would suit you (like pictured below). But I guess trial and error is usually the only way. Not everyone’s skin type is the same.
Anyway, have fun trying BB creams! If you have any recommendations, i’d love to hear them! Let me know which have worked best for you!
Dr. Christine Schrammek’s website:
Skin 79 (Korean brand) North American website:
Garnier’s BB cream Australian website: