Many of you have been in touch with me to ask what the best BB cream is. Embarrassingly until about 2 months ago I hadn’t even tried them and so after the 3rd request I decided it was time to give these a go. They hit the high streets last year and soon enough pretty much every cosmetic company had they’re own version. Each one differs dramatically from the other but here’s what I thought…
What is a BB cream?
BB creams or blemish balm, blemish base or beauty balm, originating in Korea as an all-in-one facial cosmetic product. Each cream is different, but most boast that they offer, moisturiser, primer, concealer, foundation and SPF in one bottle. However check your purchase as not all offer all 5 and some claim to have more benefits too.
As a make-up artist I’m a true believer in buying good quality products that work hardest for your skin and regularly try products out before using them on clients. I’ve come into this experiment as a bit of a cynic as I can’t see how one product can work better than 4 which have been made specifically for one job but even so here goes…
In theory anything that makes life quicker and creates the same result as 5 products but in one bottle can only be a good thing surely, but unless these are put to the test it’s difficult to know. In all cases I wore my usual daily moisturiser and then applied the creams on top.
The first BB cream I trialed was Make Up Academy All in One Beauty Balm at just £4.00 for 30ml, it was the cheapest of the 3. Only available only to buy online and I had heard good things about this brand so I thought it was a good start. The consistency was that of a thick foundation in my opinion. I’m not keen on thick foundations, they’re not easy to blend and you’re more likely to end up with unwelcome patches where it’s not been blended properly. Thinner consistency foundations allow you to add layers and blend each layer so much more preferable. Anyway I’m waffling… back to the BB cream. It comes out just like you would expect a foundation to in texture and colour and sold in 6 different shades which helps as most only offer light, medium or dark. But as you can only order online it’s a bit of gamble which colour will be right for you. Medium shade 2 worked for me though having said that! Applying the cream is easy with a brush (recommended) or your finger tips. Be sure to blend into your neck though to avoid unwanted face / neck lines!! Once applied I felt it left a dewy feel to my face and did as I often would and applied a layer of powder over the top. This immediately mattified (not sure if that’s a word but I like it) the look.Otherwise it blended pretty well into my skin and I didn’t notice any problems with patchiness, but I wouldn’t say it worked very well as a concealer as I felt the need to add further products for this job. As a foundation I would say it worked well as a low budget product but really bares no comparison to my normal foundation. As a primer, hmmm not convinced. But as I said I’m a cynic and not sure I’m going to find anything that primes as well as an actual primer!!
Product number 2 was L’Oreal Nude Magique BB Cream, currently retailing at around £9.99 30ml. The same price as the 3rd product on my list. Price wise I felt the tube was a little small and I’m pretty sure I’ll go through it far quicker than my usual foundation and here’s why…
I got quite a surprise when I squeezed the tube as it came out as a pale, very thin, white cream / liquid, with tiny spots of pigment embedded in the cream, it’s the little spots of pigment that give it the magique name!!! Its a little difficult to manage as it is very liquid, be careful not to squeeze out too much as it could pour everywhere if you’re not careful. I applied it with a foundation brush (naturally) but I imagine it would be easy to apply with your finger tips too. I loved the very light texture and feel of it and really didn’t feel like I was caking myself in make-up. However a little doesn’t go that far… hence why I think you would use it up rather quickly. When you apply it, it goes on like a light face cream, I was thinking well this is strange it doesn’t look like I’ve got any make up on at all. I turned away to grab the rest of my make-up products looked back in the mirror and suddenly I realised I looked very different. The pigment had taken effect and I looked like I was wearing foundation! Magic! I loved the finish and didn’t get the same dewy effect that I felt with product 1, however as I tend to suffer from oily skin I did apply a light layer of powder to finish it. I bought the medium shade (only Light and Medium on offer) and it really blended with my skin tone well. I think this would be ideal for someone who doesn’t like the feeling of wearing make-up or is scared of how to apply it. Providing you spread it out evenly you can’t really go wrong. What I also love about this product is it has SPF 12. Anything that helps me look after my skin in this way is a winner in my eyes.
Finally my Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream samples arrived. The 50ml bottle currently retails at £9.99 so the same as the above, but for 20ml more it is better value. The product is a thicker cream foundation but not as thick at the MUA one, but nowhere near as thin as the L’Oreal cream. I ordered it in light and to be honest it came out fine in this shade. Blended into my skin well and no troublesome foundation lines. It felt nice and had a nice smell, I have to say I didn’t notice a scent on the other 2. I didn’t like the very dewy feel it left on my skin. I needed quite a lot of powder to stop my face feeling sticky and I definitely didn’t over use it. Coverage wise it was relatively good. Adding more would have helped to conceal further but then doesn’t that defeat the object of it supposed to be feeling lighter on your skin. For the price I think I was expecting a little more. I was quite underwhelmed if I’m honest, but I do wonder if it was because I was comparing it too heavily with Nude Magique which had me with the magic bit – I’m a sucker for a clever product!!!
To sum up this was a really useful and enjoyable experiment. In honesty I’m not a complete BB Cream convert but I do get what all the fuss was about. If you don’t have high expectations from your foundation or have good skin then this can easily work for you. I will definitely keep a supply in my kit for those fab faces that really don’t need over the top foundation and for the more foundation afraid bride. In general they’re cheaper and smaller and are less likely to dry out because of the moisturising content.
However I still believe in the seperate products I use. If you want to look extra special don’t try a quick fix, a good moisturiser, primer, foundation (with SPF) and concealer will in my opinion give you a far better finish than any of the above, but for the busy working mum’s or the slightly more lazy days a BB cream is an ideal alternative.
Give one a go and I’d love to hear your recommendations too as I couldn’t try them all!!