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. It does away with elaborate beauty essentials like the serum, moisturiser, primer, foundation and even sunscreen and provides the benefit of all in one go. Sounds too good to be true? 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 conceptualising their products keeping in mind how more and more women need all-in-one products to stay well groomed in their busy lives. Gone are the days of your grandma’s complex skin care regimes with herbs and home-grown ingredients, ground and applied for hours. In a time when you can hop into a beauty parlour merely to wash your hair on the go; everything from hair care to skin care is cutting corners to offer you instant beautification.
How the BB came about
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.
Out in the Market
BB cream comes in a variety of formulations. Known most commonly as a tinted moisturiser, 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-oxidising properties and when these two are combined in a BB cream, the results can be flattering.
What you should 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 specialised 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 noncomedogenic, 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.
What kind of benefits do you want: Currently BB creams come with multiple benefits. If plain moisturising and SPF are not enough, you can also opt for anti-aging properties, anti-acne, skin-whitening, concealing and smoothening depending on the kind of coverage you want and your lifestyle. The other thing to keep in mind is that some BB creams come with a pink undertone which is not always suitable for warm-toned Indian skin. Even though a BB is known as a tinted moisturiser, make sure that the tint matches with your tone. Generally for wheatish to fair Indian skin, a yellow tint blends in better than a pink tone.
Application: In some cases, the BB cream actually takes a while to sink in and get absorbed into the skin. So initially it might seem that the colour, after blending in, does not match your tone. But eventually it settles down in about fifteen minutes; the matte and white effects go away and the BB Cream can hydrate and deliver a dewy finish on the cheeks. Another thing to note is that if you have extremely dry areas or flaky skin in some areas, it might be a good idea to moisturise under the BB cream as the tint can highlight flaws.