Decoding the ‘beauty balm’

BB cream is the latest rage in the fashion world! Find out why the BB cream’s popularity has gone through the roof

BB, the two most advertised letters recently have been marketed variously as beauty balm, blemish balm or blemish base. Sold as an all-in-one facial cosmetic product, the BB cream is promoted as the modern women’s panacea to a quick, light coverage to match her busy lifestyle. Users vouch that it is good and it is true. It should not come as a surprise that the cosmetic market has taken a new direction. From advertising to promoting, various brands are conceptualizing their products keeping in mind how more and more women need all-in-one products to stay well groomed in their busy lives.



Although you might think of BB as a modern product, the seeds for this wonder cream were sown as early as the 1960s. Formulated by German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek, it was originally conceived as a recuperative cream for patients after skin surgery. By the 1980s it made its way into Korea where it was hailed as the secret of the ‘porcelain skin’ of actresses and became popular across Asia. While we absorb a lot from the West, from cosmetics, to trends to movies, the BB cream is perhaps one of the few things that the West has woken up to after it has already been popular in Asia throughout the years. Originally the BB cream was used by Korean women as an alternative to foundation, especially of Western brands as these offered cumbersome coverage and also had limited skin tone ranges. With Asian skin known to have a more yellow tint, the BB cream was an indigenous product to match that requirement and coverage. Furthermore, one of the reasons that contributed to the popularity of the BB in Asia was its skin-whitening property.


BB cream comes in a variety of formulations. Known most commonly as a tinted moisturizer, it is aimed at offering you coverage according to your skin type in addition to extra benefits that you might require like sun protection, anti-aging properties, skin-whitening, anti-acne and several others. While it is debatable whether these creams actually offer all of these in one small tube, your safest bet is to use it as a substitute for heavy duty foundation for a quick light everyday matte look. You can spread the BB cream like your regular moisturizer and apply it with light circular strokes from the middle of your face outwards on perfectly cleansed skin. Some BB creams come with jasmine extracts which have added functions of whitening, wrinkle repair, and intense nourishment.

There are other creams with gold and caviar extracts. Caviar is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid and it also contains essential vitamins and minerals. Gold is known for its anti-ageing and anti-oxidizing properties and when these two are combined in a BB cream, the results can be flattering.

What should you keep in mind?

Although the BB cream seems like a one stop solution to all your skin woes, the downside is that there still are not enough creams for the darker Indian skin tone varieties. While brands like Garnier and Maybelline have emerged as popular choices, people with dark skin tones are yet to enjoy the benefits of these products. Garnier, for instance, has BB creams based on the normal and the combination to oily skin types with light and medium choices.

So while the dusky beauties have to wait for their perfect beauty balm, keep in mind some of these tips before buying a BB cream:

What is your skin type: While a lot of brands have BB creams suitable for all skin types, it might be a good option to get a specialized cream if you have to look after some essential requirements. If you have problematic skin and are nervous to try cosmetics on your face, you can venture for products that are non-comedogenic, or those which do not clog pores. These types of BB creams are said not to aggregate existing skin conditions, if not improve them. The Garnier’s BB cream for combination to oily skin is currently a suitable option.

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