BB Cream

Around this time last year, I was planning a trip to Asia. I was almost en route to Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing in order to take part in some consumer research and digital marketing strategy for Shiseido. When I arrived, I immediately learned how important skin care was for the Eastern market. It was a completely different perspective on beauty, and one that makes a lot of sense. Asian women care more about correcting a problem than covering it up. They pay less attention to eyeshadow and lipstick and more attention to skin care lines and foundation. While they want their skin to be perfect and porcelain (the whiter the better) they also want skin care benefits in whatever they put on their face.

While this has been a trend in the Asian markets for some time, it is just making its way over to the United States. There is a certain miracle product beloved by Asian women and it’s known as a BB Cream. Most of the creams in Asia have whitening properties as well as pigmentation correctors and exfoliants, but thus far the ones I see popping up stateside are more along the lines of a tinted moisturizer. Nevertheless, the concept is still new and interesting in the Western world of makeup.

Essentially a BB cream is supposed to deliver the coverage of a foundation and the hydration of a moisturizer, while applying smoothly and self-adjusting to your skin tone. Most BB creams are only offered in 1 or 2 shades. The truly authentic BB Creams are slightly grey in tone until blended into the skin, and they are thicker than a traditional tinted moisturizer. The first drugstore BB Cream has come to the United States via Garnier, but I’ve seen reports of Maybelline and L’Oreal planning to develop them as well. In terms of high-end brands, everyone is jumping on the band wagon including Bobbi Brown, Dior, MAC, Clinique, Smashbox, Too Faced, Stila, Boscia, Dr. Brandt and Dr. Jart. I’m sure other brands will be fast to follow.

Out of that list, I have thus far only tried two. The first was by Dr. Jart and I absolutely love it. The second was from Clinique and I didn’t care for it at all. The main difference between the two was the feel of the product and application. For a cream that is supposed to be hydrating, I found Clinique’s version to be quite the contrary. It didn’t blend well into my skin and it felt very dry. The color match was excellent, though, so it’s really too bad. Dr. Jart, on the other hand, applied so smoothly and it felt very moisturizing. So much so that those with oily skin might shy away from it. After a few hours my skin was glistening but it was a nice healthy glow. If you have extremely oily skin you might end up looking slightly greasy, but this can be tempered by setting it with a powder as you would a foundation. It did a great job at evening out my skin tone, I just needed to add a little concealer (Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage) to hide any redness. It’s perfect for both winter and summer and I’ve already repurchased. They also contain SPF, and I don’t wear a primer underneath.

I do urge you to try a BB cream, from any brand you choose. It’s a more natural approach to makeup which is perfect for the upcoming summer months. Keep in mind though that the Americanized BB creams aren’t exactly the same as the authentic Asian ones, but at least you can test them out in store. I do know women who buy Korean and Japanese BB Creams on eBay and the like, but you have to make sure you can really trust the seller. Indulge at your own risk. Or, just plan a trip to Asia! Problem solved.

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