I know I’m not the only blogger to notice the number of brands banging out so called BB creams that are so far away from the original intent of BBs that they’re simply just tinted moisturisers. So, while a BB (or Blemish Balm) comes in many different guises, they were originally used for post-cosmetic surgical healing to cover up any redness and treat and calm inflammation, i.e healing enough through ingredients to have a more than moisturising effect. From there, they moved to treating other skin care complaints, such as oiliness or dryness, or even spots because what they contain that is over and above moisturiser is skin care benefits. They almost always come with pigment, like a tinted moisturiser, to even the skintone and give some coverage, although some are so lightly pigmented they can be used instead as primers. From their original purpose, BBs became a multi-functional, all purpose primer, foundation, moisturiser, spf and skin refining (i.e. actively being beneficial to the skin’s complaint or at the least, provide something over and above a basic moisturising function) product.
Their origins were in Korea, but swiftly moved across the far east as a really popular cosmetic coverage, not least because they shield the skin from the sun and white skin is highly coveted in some cultures. Because they were made for asian skin tones, they don’t always suit western tones; different pigments are needed to make the best of each tone type. However, the ones we are now buying in the UK are adapted more to western tones and will generally suit your skin better than asian origin BBs. That’s not a hard rule, but a generalization.
So, without SPF, it isn’t a BB. Without a benefit over and above moisturising, it isn’t a BB. And calling it a BB doesn’t make it one.
If you do want to have a proper western BB experience, there are lots that tick the criteria; ironically it is the Estee Lauder one that seems to come up trumps, but they’ve muddied the waters by insisting BB stands not for Blemish Balm, but for Beauty Balm.
All products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.
Great post, like so many popular beauty products on the market there are bound to be company’s that jump on the BB-band wagon!
Personally I really like the Ginvera Green tea BB, great for guys as well as girls 😉
Wow just what I was thinking! It seems most Western ‘BBs’ are just overrated tinted moisturisers so misleading and uninspiring.
I guess youre right, but eg Garnier which is so slagged off by majority of people, at least it seems like that, they claim that it is ‘inspired’, which I can’t really argue with. Obviously it’s a marketing ‘BB’ strategy, but they are techically right when they say inspired lol Anyways, I’m with my above co-lover of Ginvera haha It works better for me than the famous Skin79!:) xx
Thank you for this! I totally agree! My BB cream of choice is the Holika Holika Essential Petite Orange BB Cream.
All the ones I see at Sephora look and act like tinted moisturizers 🙁
I knew BBs originated in Asia and were popular as brightening creams, but no more than that. Its interesting about the post-surgical bit. I tend to think of creams like La Roche’s Cicaplast for that sort of thing.
Very interesting post.
Hi! In Noway we have Garnier BB Cream, it has tint, moisture and SPF, and it is wonderfull! 😀
As always great post! I have sampled a few in what the state are Light but they are just too orange for me and a lot of them are overly fragranced… I prefer my Sephora tinted moisturizer which has SPF and works a treat just not readily available here 🙁
Thanks for this; its useful to know exactly what you’re looking for in a BB. As for me; I’m just lucky I fell in love with the Estee Lauder one and didn’t have to go through the hunt! although at over £30 I’m definitely saving it for special occasions!
I haven’t tried a BB cream yet and honestly have no desire to try because it seems every brand is coming out with one. Like you said, they really stray from the original meaning.
Pretty soon some company will put in some fancy ingredient like cow dung and tell you what a great BB cream it is for healing the skin and all BB overload will break loose.
Next we will have the CC cream or cleverly cunning cream that will photoshop your face while healing and shielding from the sun.
Okay, sorry for the ramble, just wanted to get on my soap box since I don’t have one at Hyde Park corner. :p
Its not Estee Lauder’s fault they have to call it Beauty Balm, there’s something called copyright which is why many companies have named it ‘Beblesh Balm’. So do your research before complaining.
Ive tried a few bb creams and so far I like the cheapest one I tried, (mua) haven’t had chance to try the Estée Lauder one yet.
The funniest thing I find is how people who want to insult you do it under Anon….
Thanks, this is a great article! And I had no idea of where these BB creams came from! All of a sudden they popped up everywhere! Other than the Estée Lauder one, is there any other good ones on the market? Xx
Great post! BB creams are really taking the world by storm at the moment although I have never used one before. Yesterday I ordered the new Omorovicza BB cream SPF20. It’s the world’s first natural and silicone free BB cream on the market. Can’t wait to try it! Sounds like a really multi tasking product indeed: http://www.omorovicza.com/uk/product-use/skin-enhancers/complexion-perfector-bb.html
I will write a review on my holistic green beauty blog soon http://dannystokeshgb.blogspot.co.uk/
great article, garnier bb cream is good i did try it. plz check my beauty blog bellesdames.blogspot.co.uk
Hh this is soo true! western companies just “stole” the name “BB cream”. I’ve been using bb creams from SkinFood, Skin79, Etude and they can’t compare to the western ones! I’ve tried Garnier’s BB cream, Estee Lauder, mua, mac.. These are just tinted moisturizers under the name “BB Cream”. They do nothing for the skin. The worst thing about it is that big companies such as Garnier sent bb creams to many beauty bloggers, who obviously lied about the quality.
Hi Anastasia, I used the Garnier all last summer and loved it.. it seems to have all the requirements of a BB for the western market at least. Its my favourite one but can see if you line it up against asian bbs it is a very different thing x
There *is* actually a CC cream in the (currently Asian) market and it’s by Chanel (short for “correction complete”) , I don’t think there is any dung in it but it’s seems like a BB cream for people who are too cool to go “BB”. lol.
Personally, I like the Korean BB’s best (but I’m quite pale, so they suit my skin tone)