During the big K-beauty boom years ago, BB creams gained major traction in the makeup category. But do you even know what you are asking for? Have you actually taken a second to look in the mirror recently to look at your skin with this so-called "beauty balm" on it? If you had, you would notice that the skin on your face looks like the Sahara desert and you would not be back here asking for more of this hellish product.
As a working makeup artist, at least once a day, a client will say to me "I don't want a foundation — I just want a BB cream." Without fail, the same conversation will follow this announcement:
"Oh, OK, so you would like something oil-free?" I answer while I look at this poor woman's dry, flaky skin.
"Absolutely not! I have dry skin!" she will exclaim in horror.
"OK, so you like something with a heavy coverage." I try again.
"No! I don't like anything heavy," she will explain.
"OK, so you just want something that is matte?" I will ask calmly.
"No. I think I like to look a little dewy," she will answer.
A BB cream is in fact a foundation.
And we are back to square one. I will then explain to her that a BB cream is in fact a foundation. It can be used as a primer under a foundation or as an actual foundation. Either way, it serves to provide moderate to heavy coverage and is meant to be applied all over the face to even out skin tone and hide imperfections, as most traditional foundations do.
It is all quite confusing because "BB" stands for "beauty balm" in the Western world, when in fact this product very rarely helps anyone to look beautiful. Instead, everyone wearing it generally walks around with pale skin that looks like sandpaper.
Whoever came up with the marketing scheme that is the BB cream is a genius. He or she has convinced women across the globe that this is the product for them. Hidden behind the promise of a high level of SPF, there lies a product that is meant to provide heavy matte coverage leaving skin lifeless, dull, and without an ounce of color.
This is not a look or feel that suits most women's skin. Yet, many of you — even after you look in the mirror and see a lackluster face staring back at you and touch your skin and notice that it feels like an alligator — you actually come back to the store and ask again for a BB cream!
It is at this point that I break the news. A BB cream is not for you. It is not for any person, really, unless they are extremely oily and acne-prone.
A big reason American women have been so enticed by this product is that it promises to be an "all-in-one." It provides high levels of SPF, moisturizer, serum, primer, and foundation all in one swipe. To Americans, who are generally rushing in the morning and have very limited time for proper skin care, this sounds delightful.
Alas, like everything else in life, slow and steady wins the race. It is to our benefit to find the time to moisturize and prime our skin before our makeup.
For those of us that claim to "not have enough time" for skin care and primer in the morning, perhaps we can take a closer look at what we do "have time" for. I, for one, have time to watch the weather at least three times on the Today show while I sip my coffee. I also usually find time to check my email and look at Facebook. I often engage in several witty and entertaining text conversations with my girlfriends about nothing.
If we really examine our morning routines, most of us will find that we do in fact have the two extra minutes required to apply a serum, a moisturizer, and a proper primer. These extra minutes that we are applying products with our fingers to our face will make a world of difference in how our skin looks when our makeup is applied. It also ensures that our skin is being properly cared for and hydrated.
Everyone wearing it generally walks around with pale skin that looks like sandpaper.
Those who seek natural coverage should follow those steps with a tinted moisturizer. This step evens out skin tone and provides a light coverage and sunscreen. My two favorite brands of tinted moisturizer are Laura Mercier and Trish McEvoy. Both products will help your skin to look like a better version of itself.
If it is more coverage that you need, then a CC cream is the way to go. CC stands for "color correction," and these products are better suited for most skin types as they are dewy and hydrating and cover imperfections impeccably. My personal favorite is the IT Cosmetics CC Cream. It is a miraculous product that will change your life. This product also claims to provide serum, moisturizer, and primer, but I think it best to do those steps separately to be sure that your skin is treated and primed perfectly.
When all is said and done, do what is best for your lifestyle and your skin! Take five minutes and sit down with a makeup artist or skin care expert to determine what is best for you and stick with it . . . no matter what the latest trendy foundation is to come down the pike.
After applying your foundation, you should always look in the mirror and ask, "Does my skin look like skin? Do I look like a better version of myself?"
If the answer is no, then throw it out and try again.