Hands up if you used a BB on your face this morning instead of foundation?
If I could actually see this virtual show of hands I would imagine I’d see about half of you with your hands in the air, waving about madly because you’re still so damn excited that you ever jumped on board the BB train.
About a quarter of you are probably not wearing any makeup (totally ok!) and the rest of you are probably scratching your head and wondering if I’m talking in some kind of secret code.
Let me quickly unlock that not-so-secret code and bring everyone up to speed.
The BB in BB cream stands for Beauty or Blemish Balm. The concept of this formula, which was designed to lighten and brighten skin, originated in Asia. There are plenty of beauty bloggers around who swear by their favourite Asian product. Me? I only jumped on the bandwagon when BB cream first became available for sale two years ago in Australia. That was with Garnier BB Cream – one that to this day is loved and used by many SY readers.
I’ve since tried a BB from Korea (thanks Miss Amy for swinging me that stash), a couple when I was in the US last year and I’ve worked my way through almost 30 BB creams as they’ve arrived on Australian counters and shelves.
Obsessed? Most definitely.
The reason for my obsession harks back to that lazy-girl part of my beauty personality. BB cream is a multi-functioning product. A BB cream is more than a tinted moisturiser because it offers complexion-enhancing and illuminating goodness immediately on application AND over time. So you get cosmetic benefits plus ongoing skin benefits.
The upshot? A BB can make you look all glowy when your skin is far from glowy. Winning.
I have some new BB cream finds to share with you but before I do, I need to talk about CC creams.
At first I thought the concept of a CC cream was just clever marketing jumping on the BB bandwagon but on closer investigation and trial, that isn’t necessarily the case.
The CC in CC cream stands for Colour Correcting so the formula contains ingredients which work to disguise redness, dullness and uneven skin tone.
Where I think the lines are really blurred is that many of the BB creams I’ve trialled do this anyway.
CCs tend to offer more coverage but I’ve also found that the coverage between BB creams can vary and my favourite BB creams offer as much coverage as the CCs I’ve tried.
That’s why I’ve created a bit of a How to Choose a BB Cream – or CC Cream – road map for you.
Things to consider
1. How much do you usually spend on a tinted moisturiser or foundation? There are options from supermarket to makeup counter to in-salon.
2. Do you prefer a sheer, medium or heavy coverage?
3. Is your skin prone to dry or oiliness?
4. Do you want an SPF with your cream or do you prefer to apply separately?
5. Do you prefer a natural makeup product?
Once you’re clear on these answers you can start the process of narrowing down a shopping list. Below I’ve categorised my picks of BB and CC creams I’ve trialled and that are available in Australia (there are more out there!) as a starting point for you. Or maybe you’ve been using a particular BB cream and think you’d like to try something else.
I’ve included price, coverage levels, SPF and any other things that might appeal to you.
Don’t panic if you see that only one or two shades are available. In these cases, the formulas are designed so that they blend with – and enhance – your natural skin tone. Where there are more shade options, the formula is more opaque. It’s a personal choice which one you go for.
Garnier BB Cream range ($11.19 on sale): light coverage, available in two shades, available in original, sensitive and oil-free formulas, SPF 15, hydrates and illuminates skin
Garnier BB Cream Eye Roll-On ($11.19 on sale): light coverage for eye area, corrects dark circles, smooths fine lines, brightens and hydrates eye area
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream ($15.95): light coverage, SPF 15, available in four shades, great for a dewy, fresh finish, consider a darker shade for a sunkissed look
Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream ($15.95): light coverage, SPF 15, available in two shades, great for teenage or oily skin, hydrates and minimises pores, contains 2% salicylic acid
L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique BB Cream ($21.95 on sale): light coverage, SPF 12, available in two shades, formula blends with natural skin tone and tiny granules dissolve to illuminate complexion
L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique CC Cream range ($21.95 on sale): light coverage, available in anti-redness, anti-dullness and anti-fatigue formulas, like the BB it transforms on your skin to correct desired tone. Anti-dullness is great under foundation.
Max Factor CC Cream ($13.99 on sale): medium to full coverage, SPF 10, available in six shades, creates instant radiance, matte finish
Rimmel 9 in 1 BB Cream Primer ($12.95): medium coverage, SPF 25, available in three shades, smooth matte finish
Palmer’s Eventone BB Cream ($9.99): light coverage, SPF 15, available in two shades, fragranced, oil-free
Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot BBB Cream ($55): medium-full coverage, available in two shades, anti-ageing and high definition formula
ModelCo BB+ Cream ($19.95): medium coverage, SPF 30, available in two shades, brightening and mattifying finish
Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream ($50): medium-full coverage, SPF 25, available in three shades, hydrating formula
Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream ($36): light coverage, SPF 30+, available in three shades, fragrance and paraben free
Stila Stay All Day HD Beauty Balm ($58): light coverage, one tone fits all, includes anti-ageing formulation
Bobbi Brown BB Cream ($60): medium coverage, SPF 35, available in nine shades, dewy finish
Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm ($47.95): light coverage, SPF 15, available in six shades, oil-free and hypoallergenic
Jane Iredale Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream ($61.20 on sale): full coverage, SPF 25+, available in six shades, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, sensitivity tested, clinically tested, dermatologist tested
Ultraceuticals CC Cream ($59): medium-full coverage, available in three shades, SPF 30, demi-matte finish, includes great formulation for hydration
Thalgo BB Cream ($45): medium-full coverage, available in three shades, SPF 15, powdery finish
Seacret BB Cream ($85): medium coverage, allergy tested, paraben free
Mineralogie BB Creme ($49): medium coverage, SPF 20; includes zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic
Lavera Beauty Balm 6-in-1 Tinted Moisturiser ($29.95): light coverage, natural formula including many organic ingredients, mattifying
Catalina Geo Intensive BB Cream ($39.90): medium-heavy coverage, SPF 35+, perspiration resistant
What I use
A BB or CC cream is still my everyday makeup choice. The ones I tend to reach for more often from the above list include Jane Iredale, Napoleon Perdis, Clarins, ModelCo, Max Factor and Garnier Oil-Free. Mostly because I prefer more coverage and a matte finish. Miss SY is mad for Maybelline Dream Pure BB. If I want even more coverage, I’ll apply a mineral powder over the top. Something I tend to do more often in the warmer months.
When I want to have a more polished finish for an event or where I really need my face to stay in place all day or night long, I use either Maybelline NY Instant Age Rewind The Lifter foundation (read about it here) or Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation, which is based on a BB formula (read about it here).
What’s your BB or CC routine? Found one you like that’s not on this list?