If you don’t know your beauty acronyms then get on board because BB’s are about to blow up big in beauty. BB stands for Blemish Balm, that, beauty rumour dictates, were originally formulated back in the 1970’s by Dr Christine Schrammekit to be used by dermatologists to help laser surgery patients protect, soothe and refine highly sensitive skin while providing light coverage for post-laser scars, acne and other blemishes. (Although the same was said about mineral make-up back in the day)
So why are they suddenly so popular now? Because they have taken Asia by storm, where they are usually very white and help to lighten and brighten tan phobic locals who crave, pale, porcelain white, flawless faces. Global beauty companies, quick to see a marketing opportunity have now reworked them, adding pigments to suit western skin tones and are selling them as the new one size fits all cosmetic/foundation/skin care miracle.
The truth is that BB creams come in a variety of different formulations and with a range of active ingredients. Some are said to have skin whitening and brightening properties, some aim to be anti blemish, some are anti-wrinkle, some are anti age spot, some even claim to reduce scars (the jury is very much out on that one). What is for sure is that all are formulated to be a one stop skin shop. In other words they replace your serum, primer, sun block and foundation. Which, to be really frank, is the real USP here. In a world laid low by recession, teetering on the verge of a double dip, these creams are really formulated to help save you money.
My advice though is to choose carefully. Now that I am finally on Twitter (yes I know, I know shame on me for joining so late) I have realised that women are confused by BB creams; but that’s because they are confusing. They are not a one size fits all cream, because no two skins are alike. So choose with care, try before you buy and make sure that you are a clever consumer. Choose one that suits your skin needs and will tackle your skin concerns. And beware some give really heavy coverage, others super light. In the end I think these will suit, oddly enough, two ends of the foundation fan spectrum; those that love a tinted moisturiser but want it to have skin care properties and those that love a heavy, long lasting anti oil cover up.
What I suspect is that many beauty brands saw the huge demand for the whitening/brightening BB products in Asia, caught on to the incredible success and cult icon status of products like Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser, Dr Perricone SPF30 No Foundation Foundation and Chantecaille Real Skin and Future Skin, saw their sales fall because women have less to spend on layering products, and thought ‘Hey we can solve the problem by creating a single product solution?
Here’s what has already hit UK stores – but be warned none of these come in an array of colours suitable for black skins. Keep an eye out for more coming in 2012 from Estee Lauder, Clinique, Maybelline, Vichy and Lancome.
Une Intuitive Touch BB Cream £14.49, but this has no spf and is more of a cream compact foundation
MAC Prep + Prime BB Cream £21, MacCosmetics  is more of a super lightweight, softly tinted primer, but gives great radiance to the skin.