Trend Bender: BB Creams Tuesday 12 June, 2012
A look behind the wild beauty phenomenon, BB creams, plus three beauty balms that will have you buzzing: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35, Estée Lauder Daywear Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Cream SPF 35 and Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30.
This is a time where I’m going to admit, shamefully, that I blinked and missed a trend in its stateside infancy.
The story goes like this: In early 2011, I was pulling together a feature about tinted moisturizers, and MAC Cosmetics submitted Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35 for possible inclusion. I did my testing and liked it well enough, though when it comes to my own makeup, I’m more a full-coverage kind of gal. My notes: “It’s thicker than a tinted moisturizer, but not as opaque as a foundation.” After my test drive, I didn’t think much more about it. MAC’s BB Balm didn’t make the cut due to space issues in the story (an occurrence that happens all too often). But this isn’t really the point of my blabbering. The point is: At that very moment, I wasn’t clued in to the “beauty balm” craze over in Asia; I just thought MAC had cleverly come up with a name for their tinted moisturizer. MAC is, after all, very clever.
Six months later, the term “BB cream” started flooding my email inbox. And that’s when I realized: Well, well, well—that MAC product was in a different class of beauty product; it wasn’t a tinted moisturizer after all. And then I thought: You need to educate yourself on this beauty balm/BB cream buzz because it’s going to be another type of “BB”: big business. And it is: According to the NPD Group (via WWD), since BB creams’ stateside introduction, these little do-it-all tubes have generated nearly $9 million (from March 2011 to March 2012). In essence: We like our beauty balms in the U.S.
(Visit smashbox.com for Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35.)
What is BB cream, blemish balms and beauty balms? Mix moisturizer, primer, foundation, SPF and skin-loving ingredients (think: anti-agers, zit-busters, skin-brighteners, etc.) together into one bottle, and you have yourself a BB cream (also known as “blemish balm” and “beauty balm”). The idea for this multi-tasking makeup chimera isn’t exactly new: German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek-Drusio whipped up the formula off of which BB creams were born—in 1968! This derm worked with patients post-cosmetic laser when their skin was raw and susceptible to infection, and she sought to create makeup that would not only help lightly mask flaws during the recovery stage, but also soothe and heal the skin.
(Visit esteelauder.com for Estée Lauder Daywear Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Cream SPF 35.)
BB cream completely blew up in popularity thanks to a Korean actress citing it as the secret to her flawless skin, and from South Korea the word spread like wildfire to Japan, China, South East Asia, Europe and then—finally—America. Is there a difference between the BB creams lining retail shelves in America and those over in Asia? In a word: yes. Asian women prefer more coverage and fairer skin tones, leading their BB creams to have a more opaque finish that has a cool undertone. Re-formulating this do-it-all product for Americans equals creating sheerer finishes that allow natural skin to remain visible while also adding warmth and radiance.
(Visit clinique.com for Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30.)
As for the “healing,” high-performance side to these beauty balms, many beloved skincare ingredients make their way into the formulas. High up on the list: vitamin C (to brighten), hyaluronic acid (to hydrate), vitamin E (to protect) and caffeine (to soothe). And though you certainly could use these magic balms as your only makeup and skincare item, the jury’s still out on whether they give you all the benefits you’d get through a healthy skincare routine.
Who is BB cream best for? Not to be trite, but this is lazy beauty at its finest, so those who are a little slack with their skin care or who really want to condense their skin care and makeup into one step will find BB creams a godsend. But, laziness aside, women with a need for speed due to their own multi-tasking (career, mom, wife, all-around-superhero) will find BB creams to be the perfect addition to their makeup bag. And if you’re still on the fence about trying on a beauty balm for size, this NPD finding may sway you: 77% of BB cream purchasers noted that they are extremely or very satisfied with the product. Satisfaction almost certainly guaranteed? That’s BB—big business—indeed.
Does the idea of a BB cream appeal to you?