In Search of the Perfect BB Cream – Part One

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After a less-than-positive experience last year with Garnier’s BB Cream, I put it aside and didn’t give BB creams another thought. Temporarily, that is. The continued popularity of BB creams, their new cousins, CC creams, and the countless commercials for them that bombard me every time I watch t.v., ensured that I didn’t ignore these newest skin-care innovations for long.

Beauty Balms (or Blemish Balms) were originally created in Germany by a dermatologist named Dr. Jart. They were intended for patients who had undergone chemical peels or other harsh facial treatments, to make their skin look and feel better during the healing process. Beauty Balms then became extremely popular in South Korea before cosmetic companies in the West caught on to them last year. Many Western BB creams have been called glorified tinted moisturizers when compared to the Korean creams, which adhere more to the original concept of the BB cream. I certainly found this was true of the Garnier cream I tried. So within the past 6 months or so I’ve been trying out an assortment of BB creams to see if I can find one that gives the coverage I need but that also matches my skin tone. I’ve purchased five BB creams, and one CC cream, to see which one I like best. And I’m happy to say we have a winner. But I purchased six creams, people! Since this review would be rather lengthy if I went into all of them at once, I’m dividing this review into two parts. Tune in tomorrow to see which one wins.

After trying and not liking the Garner BB cream (the “Light-to-Medium” shade was too dark, and it had a fragrance), I thought that maybe a high-end BB cream would be better. I chose the Bobbi Brown BB Cream ($42.00 for 1.35 oz., above) because it came in a greater variety of shades – 5 to be exact – from Extra Light to Medium-to-Dark. I chose the Extra Light.

$42 is a lot to spend on a BB cream, in my opinion, but I felt it would be justified if I really liked it. Did I? To be honest, yes and no. I loved the coverage – slightly matte, and it improved the look of my skin. It also has an SPF of 35, which I need, being a fair-complected redhead. The downside is that Extra Light, which looked fine in the department store when I tried it on, looked too yellow on my pink-toned complexion when I got a look at myself in the bathroom mirror at work. And the Light shade, which I also tried on in the store, was a little dark. My skin is pale and often runs between the lightest and second-lightest shades. If I buy the lightest, it’s too light, but if I get the next-lightest shade, it’s too dark. But Bobbi Brown’s foundations are known for having yellow undertones to neutralize the skin. In my case, it just didn’t work. But if you find a shade that works for you, the coverage and the quality can’t be beat and it’s well worth the $42.

My next foray was the Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm ($39 for 1.4 oz.). Dr. Jart is the originator of the BB cream and his company makes three different BB Creams. I thought the Premium would be better suited to my dry and, ahem!, aging skin.

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It only comes in one shade, which adjusts to one’s skin tone. And it did to mine. While I liked how Dr. Jart’s cream matched my skin tone better than Bobbi Brown’s, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the coverage. It gave me a sheer, “eggshell” finish which I find doesn’t even out my complexion or hide flaws as much as I would like. Despite the high SPF of 45, which is a huge “plus” for me, my search for the perfect BB cream continued.

After trying both high-end and drugstore BB creams, I went for something in-between with The Body Shop’s All-in-One BB Cream ($20 for .84 oz.). It comes in three shades: 01 for lighter skin tones, 02 for medium skin tones, and 03 for darker skin tones. I chose 01.

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The Body Shop’s All-in-One BB cream comes out white in the tube and adjusts to your skin shade. It’s much like Josie Maran’s Matchmaker Serum Foundation. $20 seems like a lot of money for less than 1 ounce of product, although I see on their website it’s currently on sale for $12. Still, this is the tiniest tube of all the BB creams I’ve tried. While the color does adjust to my skin tone, it oxidizes over time and turns a little orange on me. I feel it’s overpriced for the size of the tube, and I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. I ended up putting this away in a makeup bag along with other products I no longer use.

Okay, I’ve rambled on so much about BB creams today that I’m probably going to have a dream about them tonight! Check back tomorrow for Part Two of my review. To paraphrase RuPaul on RuPaul’s Untucked: “Three down and three more to go until Boston Red Lox declares a winnah!”

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