Ask Ashley: What’s the Deal with BB Cream? | Bellingham Makeup Artist

“Dear Ashley,

I’ve been wondering about BB Cream! What’s the deal with it? Should I use it? I’m not currently using any foundation but would like a natural looking one for when I’m dressing up and what not.

– Tori”

Thanks for asking, Tori! BB Cream has taken the cosmetics market by storm the last few years and it continues to grow as a hot new seller. I’m sure there are lots of other ladies out there wondering the same thing, and so I’m excited to share a bit more about it!

BB Cream is short for beauty balm; it is a multi-purpose skin care/cosmetic product that I like to refer to as a tinted moisturizer on steroids. If you have really dry skin (like myself), you may still want to use your regular moisturizer under it, but otherwise it has a lot of moisturizing properties and so you can be just fine by using your BB cream solo. In addition to moisturizing and adding a tint, BB cream’s other big claim to fame is having a built in primer as well, which will helpBellingham Makeup Artistfill in pores and smooth out fine lines/wrinkles (Still learning about primer? Check out my recent post here). Because it is a skin care product that acts as a cosmetic, many BB creams also carry added bonus’ of antioxidants and other healing properties. It is definitely a kick-butt product!

When to Use It
BB Cream really can be used most any time. It is perfect for the person who wants a light, second skin, refresher without the heavy coverage of foundation. BB Cream is usually light to medium coverage, so if you are looking for something for a night out but don’t often wear foundation, it may just be the perfect solution for you. For myself, I wear full coverage foundation daily and so BB Cream is just not enough for me. But I find myself reaching for it when I travel or go on vacation. It’s perfect for those occasions because it means I can pack less products in my bag and it lightweight/has SPF for the sun. I also use it on those few really hot days in place of my foundation each summer, too.

The only time I would not recommend using it is as a moisturizer/primer under foundation. It is really meant to be a stand-alone product. In addition to feeling/looking too heavy under foundation, I’ve noticed it changes the finish of the foundation to appear flat/one dimension, losing it’s luminosity. Pick one or the other, don’t mix both!

How to Use It
BB Cream is easy-peasy-breezy to apply. Although I would recommend avoiding your fingers and using a brush to apply foundation, BB Cream is just the opposite. Since it is half moisturizer/primer, your skin absorbs it more than regular foundation, therefore applying it with a brush can get tricky. I have found best success applying it with my fingers and rubbing it in just like moisturizer. Just be paying attention when you apply it; it’s easier to miss spots when using your fingers and you don’t want it to be streaky! Make sure you spread it all of each area of your face and blend it down into your jawline/neck. That said, if you find you have better luck with a brush, do it! The key is always finding what works best for you. If you have redness in areas (like your nose and chin) use your ring finger to dab/stipple in a little extra product over the areas that need more coverage.

If you want/need, conceal and set with powder, just like you would with regular foundation. It’s not necessary to set with powder, but I like to because it has a stickier finish than foundation due to it’s skin care properties.

BB Cream Recommendations
Since it is part skin care, you want to select a BB cream for your skin type, just like you would any moisturizer.

For dry skin:
I recommend Garnier’s BB Cream Skin Renewal Miracle Skin Perfector ($13) or Too Faced’s Tinted Beauty Balm ($34). Both add an extra kick of moisture and a glowing-dewy finish that us dry-skinned ladies often long for.

For oily skin:
I recommend Bobbi Brow’s BB Cream SPF ($40) or L’Oréal Paris’ Studio Secrets Magic Skin Beautifier B.B. Cream ($10). These are among the lighter-weight BB Cream options and will help mattify and fill-in large pores.

For acne-prone skin:
Estee Lauder’s Day Wear BB Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Cream ($40) is one that jumps ahead of the pack with lots of antioxidants as well as skin-soothing properties. It has a oil-free formula that still provides moisture and a glow to those dry, blemished areas. Clinique’s Age Defense BB Cream ($37) is another leading solution for not only acne-prone skin but sensitive skin too.

For normal/combination skin:
Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Beauty Balm and Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm are the leads in the category – a good catch all for any skin type or normal skin. Both have radiant, glowing finishes and blur imperfections wonderfully.

BB Cream vs. CC Cream
If you do much research, you’ll find not only are there BB Creams, but there are also CC Creams! What the what?? How do you decide?! Well, CC in the CC Cream stands for “color correcting”. CC Creams usually have all the same features of a BB Cream (tinted moisturizer + primer + SPF + antioxidants) but also has some more color-correcting components and usually has a fuller coverage. This is great if you want the benefits of a BB cream but need fuller coverage or have heavier discoloration that you want to correct. My favorite CC Cream is this one by Peter Thomas Roth ($48).

BB and CC Creams tend to come in a one-size fits all package (light, med, dark, etc) but sometimes one size does not fit all. So try them out if you can/need to. And if one doesn’t work, most stores (especially drug stores and department stores) have great return policies, so don’t be afraid to try again if you need to. But if you’re looking for the perfect summer/travel/lightweight coverage product, the BB Cream will be perfect for you! Have fun trying it out!!



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