The Beauty Blow-Up: BB Cream Bonanza!

BB creams have been gaining popularity in the beauty world for some time now. Apparently, they have been around since the 1950s, but it’s their more recent popularity in Korea that has sky-rocketed them to the top of makeup mavens’ must-have lists. In the past year or so, major Western brands have launched their own in an attempt to tap into the craze. So for all of you who have wandered through Sephora recently and wondered “wtf is a bb cream??” I put on my investigative journalist hat and (hopefully) bring you the answers you’ve been seeking!

Wtf is a BB cream?

Let’s start with the basics: BB= beauty balm, or blemish balm. Or blemish base.  It depends on who you ask.

What does it do?

BB creams claim to swoop in and eliminate the need for most of your skincare products.  Touted as a multi-purpose miracle worker, BB cream acts as a primer, moisturizer, foundation, and sunblock. Various formulations also provide anti-aging benefits, skin brightening, pigmentation correction, anti-oxidants, and…pretty much whatever the company feels like adding. More is more…I guess?

No, what does it actually do?

You tricky readers, I knew you wouldn’t be satisfied with just a synopsis of product pitches! Since I am a sucker for trendy new and innovative beauty products, I do own a BB cream, and here is what I’ve found: alone, BB cream is essentially a tinted moisturizer with SPF.  If you require more opaque coverage, BB cream can be applied under foundation to utilize its moisturizing and sun-protecting aspects and to give your skin a healthy glow. I haven’t done away with my everyday moisturizer, anti-wrinkle cream, or primer; I do, however, use my BB cream in place of foundation (usually combined with concealer as it’s too sheer to cover up my teenage acne…which I’m not sure why I have at age 25, btw…).  Tinted moisturizer with added benefits? Yes. Miracle product? No.

So if I want to buy one of these BB creams, which should I go for?

There are a few options, depending on your criteria.

Best price point: Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector (Under $15 at most drug stores)

This is the BB cream I went for because I wanted to test out the claims before investing in a pricier product. It provides moderate coverage with a dewy glow, and looks great even in natural light.

Best colour range: smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 ($50 for 1 oz. at Sephora)

Most BB creams come in limited colours (many are only available in one shade), but smashbox has five from which to choose.  Bonus, it is perfume-free and non-acnegenic.

Best moisturizing effects: Estee Lauder DayWear Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Crème SPF 35 ($38US for 1 oz. at

Users rave about this BB cream’s ability to hydrate skin for hours with only a few drops of product.  It’s a great choice when applying BB cream under your standard foundation.

Best photogenic effects: Stila Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm ($49 for 1.5 oz. at Sephora)

From priming to preventing wrinkles, it claims to do it all. This BB cream really stands out due to its light-reflecting properties, making it the ideal choice when flashbulbs run rampant. The obvious downfall is that it’s only available in one colour, but if the cream fits…wear it! (?)  I’m looking at you, fair-skinned dewy brides (and bridal party members, for that matter).

BB Cream bonanza complete!  Only the final, and most important, question of them all remains:

Oh Madison, Beauty Blow-Up guru, do you recommend investing in BB cream?

For something lightweight and moisturizing with subtle coverage, yes, but don’t go tossing out everything in your beauty arsenal to make room for it.  If you’re a gal who uses primer in day-to-day makeup life, try switching to a BB cream next time; it’s worth a try.  Or, if you’re looking for a little more oomph than your average foundation, try a BB cream under your go-to face makeup for some extra glowiness.  That’s a word, right?

Much love, Madison Blake

Images from

PS Got a beauty inquiry? Is there a product you’re dying to try, but you’re not ready to invest? E-mail and let me do the hard work for you! Please, give me an excuse to spend money at Sephora…

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2 Responses to “The Beauty Blow-Up: BB Cream Bonanza!”
  1. Aimee says:

    American and Western BB creams fail in comparison to the Korean BB creams brands. Look up Skin79, Missha, Brtc, Dr. Jart.

    • Funny you mention that, Aimee! We will be launching a Spring & Summer beauty-basket giveaway this month, which includes a bottle of one of the top-selling bb creams in Korea :) Stay tuned for your chance to win! xxMegan West

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