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A favourite new addition to most of our make up bags in recent years, BB cream is that rare thing; a buzz beauty product that really can live up to the media hype.
Sitting somewhere between a moisturiser and a foundation on the beauty scale, BB cream is used to even out skin tone, without feeling heavy on the skin, like a traditional foundation.
Ideal if you like the smoothed out look of made up skin but feel overdone in full make up, a BB cream gently covers spots and blemishes, while protecting and soothing skin with its moisturising formula.
The beauty of BB cream is in its versatility, as light as your usual moisturiser but with just a hint of coverage, most BB cream products are suitable for sensitive or challenging skin types.
Choosing a BB cream for dry skin is as simple as opting for a thicker formula or one containing oils or similarly moisturising ingredients selected for their skin nourishing benefits, like rosehip oil or shea butter.
For oilier skin, you may opt to give your usual moisturiser a swerve on those days your complexion demands the light coverage of a BB cream foundation.
BB cream is about much more than simply hiding the aspects of your skin that you are unhappy with.
These creams tend to contain a beneficial selection of skin friendly ingredients, such as vitamins, hyaluronic acid or antioxidants, feeding your skin while providing light coverage that lets the natural tones of your skin shine through.
Using a BB cream with SPF can be particularly beneficial, giving you reliable UV protection with no need to use a separate SPF, many of which can be comedogenic, causing spots and leaving a greasy film on your face.
For those looking for a little extra coverage or with oily skin types, a mineral powder foundation is a great alternative to traditional cream beauty balms.
Giving buildable coverage without clogging pores, pressed mineral foundations from brands such as PHB provide a similar smoothing effect, without over moisturising an already oily complexion.
The PHB range also comes in a wide range of tones with greater suitability for black and Asian skin, which can look ashy in some BB creams, particularly those containing a mineral SPF.
Some brands state that the BB in BB cream stands for beauty balm, though the consensus seems to be that it was originally coined to stand for blemish balm.
Both reflect BB cream’s impressive capabilities.
Although both are multitasking creams doing the work of a primer, foundation and moisturiser all in one, BB and CC creams are very different products.
The CC standing for colour control or complexion corrector, CC creams tend to provide a little more coverage than BB creams, correcting discolouration caused by redness and irritation, scarring, hyperpigmentation, dullness and dark circles.
While many people choose a mineral foundation or BB cream for oily skin, you may in fact see more benefit from a CC cream.
Lighter in consistency, many CC creams offer a matte finish and are less liable to caking or sinking into pores.
The beauty of BB cream is in its flexibility. Worn alone or over a serum or moisturiser, a BB cream gives you the lightest touch of coverage, gently blending away blemishes.
On those days when you feel that you need to break out the big guns, BB cream can provide the perfect base for a heavier foundation that will provide additional coverage.
With a good BB cream in your arsenal you can theoretically do away with other products such as primer, mattifier and sunscreen. It can also stand in for moisturiser over short periods, for example during a city break when every inch of make-up bag space counts.
Use your BB cream every day instead of foundation.
Apply to cleansed skin after using serums and moisturisers, using clean fingers, a foundation brush or sponge to smooth over your face and neck. Follow up with concealer in areas of concern, like undereye circles or breakouts.
BB cream does not need to be set with powder but you may wish to add a light dusting over concealer if you have used it.
If your skin is especially oil prone you may find that a BB cream gives enough moisturisation to allow you to remove day cream from your shopping list.
Most skin types, however, will not find their BB cream to be quite rich enough to nourish their skin.
In some cases, you may find that a decent, soothing BB cream allows you to downgrade to a lighter moisturiser or to use a serum alone.