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.

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