…And, sadly, a pretty unsatisfying conclusion: BB cream is actually no one thing. Once it became solidified as a beauty juggernaut in the Asian market in the ’90s–leading to the inception of brands like Hanskin, the first company to specialize in BB (here’s one)– it branched into too many different products to talk about as anything other than a (very broad) category. There are some basic features most BB Creams have–tint, coverage, an SPF, moisturizer, acne-fighting chemicals, anti-aging components, nebulously “purifying” stuff–but there are no hard and fast rules. Some brands specialize in a straight-forward flawless complexion, others in moisturizing, still others in longwear, and more in things like whitening and anti-aging. Many brands offer products that promise to be “more than a BB,” like Lancome‘s version which skews toward a lifting and firming effect, or Dior’s, which emphasizes its moisturizing properties. Basically, there’s no one kind of BB cream, as they are all different species spawned from the skincare-oriented original blemish balm.
…But that’s nothing against BB; which brings us to the second part of our search, Should We Care? My answer is, yes, it’s actually pretty great. For all the hype, BB has splintered off into some many different specializations and, for girls who don’t like heavy, full-coverage but want a little more security than tinted SPF, it means there’s suddenly a shitload of options. What BB cream you want is, of course, entirely up to your specific skintype and needs stemming from that, but I’ve tried to be helpful and put together this little list of BB Creams We Have Tried & Liked.
As is the case with all beauty products, go test them first, especially with stuff that goes on your face. Go to Sephora, find that floor display and put on as many as you can, because they really do offer different things. In fact, their only real unifying characteristic is that they’re… lighter than foundation but (generally) cover better than a tinted moisturizer. So it’s not just a makeup store employee platitude; it’s actually kind of true.