Jan 9, 2013

Rant: Your BB Cream is NOT a BB Cream.

The BB Cream craze has well and truly hit the western shores, with almost every makeup/beauty brand in the US coming out with their own version.

What is a BB Cream, you might ask? I assume most of you have heard of them, but do you REALLY know what a BB Cream is? While they are known in the US as 'Beauty Balm', it was formulated in Germany as a skin protectant after surgery, then introduced to Korea as 'Blemish Balm'. They were used by K-Pop idols and actresses as an all-in-one product to replace serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunscreen, to help correct skin problems while providing full coverage, high SPF and anti-aging properties. Sounds like a lot of multi-tasking for one little product, but (some brands better than others) they honestly work. The BB Cream phenomenon spread through Asia like wildfire and picked up a following in Western countries too, however the lack of shades made their fanbase limited. Then, Western companies picked up on the hype surrounding BB Creams and began to churn out their own versions.

But what are they, really, these Western 'Beauty Balms'? Do they help heal blemishes? Do they provide full coverage, without needing to use concealer? Do they have anti-aging benefits? Do they have a high SPF? The vast majority, unfortunately, do not. They are, in fact, glorified tinted moisturisers. And if they are slightly better, they're most likely a high end, expensive brand. So that BB Cream from Revlon or Maybelline that you love so much? While it might be a great, lightweight tinted moisturiser, IT IS NOT A BB CREAM. You are being fooled into thinking that's what a BB Cream is. You are missing out on the gloriousness of what a REAL BB Cream can do for your skin.

For example, I use Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream (a Korean brand) and while it may not be right for everyone, it is like magic in a bottle for me and many others. It covers all the redness, blotchiness, dark circles, large pores and uneven skintone without me having to use a drop of concealer. It has actually HEALED my blemishes and made my skin texture better. Can you say that about your Western 'BB Cream' (can you feel my resentment towards these impostors? Lol)?

This picture is JUST Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream No. 31, no concealer, no primer, no moisturiser (no editing lol). I have bad undereye dark circles, blotchiness and redness in some areas, uneven and dull skintone, blackheads etc etc. A REAL BB Cream will address ALL those problems and more, while still looking natural and not like you caked on the makeup.

Are you getting my drift now? This is why I'm angry, yes ANGRY, that Western companies are just slapping the name 'BB Cream' on any old tinted moisturiser and selling that to the unsuspecting consumer. You. You don't have to take that! Just say NO to Western 'BB Cream'! It upsets me that the term 'BB Cream' is being associated with these jazzed up tinted moisturisers, and the worst part? Most of the Western companies don't cater to darker skinned beauties either! I understand this in Asian countries, but in America? Step your game up, US beauty brands.

All in all, I feel that the introduction of the BB Cream concept into Western markets has been a underwhelming flop. I'd love to see more people being introduced to Asian BB Creams and really experiencing how life changing (no, honestly. Forgive the corniness) a great skincare/foundation all in one product can be. I will never use regular foundation again after seeing what a REAL BB Cream can do. For darker skinned ladies, Missha and Skin Food have a bigger range of shade options, please go and check them out!

Thanks for enduring my rant, I hope you can one day have a life changing makeup experience like me :p and if you do, I doubt it'll be with one of the Western BB Creams currently on offer. Feel free to argue that point! If you have a Western BB Cream that you think is a REAL BB Cream, let me know in the comments! If you have an Asian BB Cream that works wonders for you, let me know which one!


  1. Thank you so much for this rant! It's so ironic because I was actually thinking about this EXACTLY today! I hate seeing all these girls on youtube who are trying "bb creams" for the first time from Western brands and thinking they are legitimate BB creams and giving them lukewarm reviews because that's what these westernized glorified tinted moisturizers are! It's so frustrating to see these companies slap their name on something they don't even know anything about. I 100% support and agree with you

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one! I wish the brands had put the work in and actually produced something close to the Asian BB creams.

  3. Thanks :) I'd love to use Skin79 as it's such a great BB Cream, but the shades are too light for me!

  4. skinandtonics2/05/2013 3:11 PM

    Yes! 100% agree. I was writing about a similar disappointment with American BB creams on my own blog recently.

    I'm using Missha Perfect Cover right now and I love it. I just purchased Skin79's VIP Gold BB Cream too, but haven't had a chance to use it yet. I also really want to try this Dr.Beauty Cell renew one by The Saem: http://en.koreadepart.com/item/1327649663/the-saem-drbeauty-cell-renew-bb-cream

  5. I haven't heard of that one, I'll have to take a look :)

  6. I haven't heard of that one, I'll have to take a look :)

  7. Great post, something I have been wondering about for a while now. I began using Clinique's version of the BB cream last fall and eliminated my usual Youth Surge cream, and my skin has been a disaster ever since. First, I had to go through more than a month of off and on acne while my skin got used to wearing foundation (which is essentially is), then it just got dull. Sure, the so-called BB cream covered it up, but once I washed my face, it was awful.
    I've scrapped it and gone back to my prior Clinique routine and my skin is looking amazing again. But western companies will never go to a true BB cream, because then we'd only be buying one product instead of the 3 or 4 we have to use to get the results we want...
    Can anyone recommend a true BB cream for a really, really fair skinned person (the kind who burns, peels, then goes back to white, lol)?

  8. It sucks that you had that experience! No Western BB Cream is a real BB cream unfortunately, it's just like you said... they want us to spend more on more products! You should try Skin79, they have some very light options. Here's a post by Kelly of Vampy Varnish, she is quite fair skinned http://www.vampyvarnish.com/2013/03/skin79-plus-super-blebesh-balm-swatches-review

  9. Mary Anne Navarro5/24/2014 3:53 PM

    My suspicions were right not to even try those american bb creams and look for an actual korean brand. Fortunately I am not dark skinned but I am not really fair either... Thanks for the info.


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