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Tidbits – BB Creams

I have a love hate relationship with BB Creams. I love very few of them. I love to hate most of the US ones that are glorified tinted moisturizers. I probably hate 90% on the US market. My favorite BB Cream is no secret, it’s the Korean Holika Holika Essential Petit BB Cream SPF 30 PA++. It comes in a shade that’s light enough for my complexion, which most do not. BB Creams, also known as Blemish Balms, Beauty Balms, or Beblesh Balm, were originally created in Germany before they took Asia by storm. In my eyes, BB Creams are basically a multi-tasking skincare / makeup / complexion perfection product.

BB Creams are supposed to have the following properties:

  • Moisturizer
  • SPF
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Anti-Wrinkle
  • Brightening
  • Nourishing
  • *some also claim to act as a primer

They’re a time-saving multi-functional product. When I had to get up at 5am for work, I relied heavily on my BB Creams It made my skin look flawless. To me, if I only have time to focus on one feature, I want to focus on my skin, so the BB Creams was essential.

The reason most of the American ones drive me crazy are that they only seem to have the following properties:

  • Tinted Moisturizer
  • SPF
  • *sometimes nourishing ingredients

In other words, in my experience, most of the American ones were glorified tinted moisturizers with SPF. That is ok for a product, except they were trying to capitalize on the BB Cream name. As such, a lot of people were like ‘Why would I use this? It’s nothing special. It’s just like a tinted moisturizer.’ And in most cases, they were right!

I learned about BB Creams at the feet of the master, Izzy from Musings of a Muse. She’s got a ton of BB Creams reviews, both American and Asian, if you want to check them out.

What do you think about BB Creams? Do you have strong feelings about the Asian or US ones?  Do you use them?

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  • About Phyrra Nyx

    Phyrra is an award-winning cruelty-free beauty blogger. She is hair obsessed, into alternative fashion, an avid urban fantasy reader, and a standard poodle fan.
    • http://demiurgiclust.net/ shellygrrl

      I’ve not tried any BB creams yet, but I’ve read enough bad things about the western/US ones to know to stay away from those. I don’t even recommend them if someone asks about them; I steer people toward the Asian brands.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        shellygrrl So I tried samples of the Smashbox bb cream and it was good, but it’s been the only American one that I felt was good, if you’re looking for an American one. I’m still in the process of reviewing the Jane Iredale one, which is American, too.

        • http://demiurgiclust.net/ shellygrrl

          Phyrra I’m a little concerned the Smashbox one may be a little too dark and, possibly, too pink? (I’m about as fair as you are, but my undertones are more neutral.)On the Asian side I’m curious about Missha Perfect Cover and the ones from Skin79.

          • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

            shellygrrl I haven’t tried the lightest shade in the Smashbox one, so I don’t know if it’s too dark for us. I just meant that the texture of the Smashbox one was really good, and it actually seemed more like an actual BB cream instead of a tinted moisturizer.I’m actually fair with neutral undertones that lean warm. I just have an annoying pink overtone. When MUAs match me to foundation and match the pink, I look sunburnt. Any time you see my skin and it’s naked and freshly cleansed, it looks very pink because I have sensitive skin.I’ve only received samples of Light and Light/Medium, not Fair from Smashbox. Next time I make it to a Sephora I’ll see if I can swatch it.I’ve heard good things about Missha and Skin79 from Izzy, I think.

          • http://demiurgiclust.net/ shellygrrl

            Phyrra Oh, okay! :)I’ve checked out Izzy’s blog, couldn’t find anything on Missha there (not the BB cream anyway), and one of the Skin79 ones. I’ll have to take another look, then. :)

          • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

            shellygrrl I can say with certainty that the Jane Iredale i light enough for me, I really like the color of it.

    • amberlikes

      I’ve been saying the same thing about US BB Creams.  If you compare the ingredients and claims of tinted moisturizers and US BB creams they are essentially the same exact thing. 

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        amberlikes And it drives me crazy! I’m glad I’m not alone.

    • Whimsical Kelly

      I am not a fan of US BB Creams at all. My favorite is Holika Holika Watery, which is just a tad bit darker than Holika Holika Essential. Nothing I’ve ever tried on the US market works as well for me, and especially not at the $10 price point.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        Whimsical Kelly Yeah the price point is so amazing!

    • Miss Madd

      I have the Holika Holika in purple although I don’t know the difference of the 4 colors. I also have the SkinFood BB Cream which I liked better than HH. For some reason the HH one made my skin look cakey. :(

      • Whimsical Kelly

        Miss Madd It’s funny how each BB cream is different for each person. A friend of mine loves Missha Perfect Cover, but it made me look cakey and I didn’t like wearing it.

        • Miss Madd

          Whimsical Kelly I know! I wanted to buy the Skin72 BB Cream but didn’t because the reviews said that it made their face look gray. I should have taken into consideration my skin because I’m asian and not caucasian. lol I do like SkinFood because of how their cosmetics are made with natural ingredients like fruits and vegies. :)

          • Whimsical Kelly

            Miss Madd I actually really like the Skin79 Diamond Pearl BB cream. It’s the only other BB cream I have now besides HH Watery.Another friend of mine is interested in trying SkinFood. She’s probably an NW15 or NW20 and she wanted to know about the mushroom type. Have you tried that one, and if so, do you like it?

          • Miss Madd

            Whimsical Kelly I don’t know anything about the mushroom but I got the Peach Green Tea BB Cream and it’s so nice! It gives me that kinda glow that you see on the korean girls. Problem is the weather’s kinda sucky here in Chicago right now so I can’t really mess around with it. I’ll probably wear it more during the Winter time though. How do you like the Diamond Pearl? I wasn’t sure about those because they have skin whitening stuff that I don’t like.

          • Whimsical Kelly

            Miss Madd I like to use it in the wintertime along with HH Watery. I’m a little more pale in the winter and it helps even things out for me. I also love the pearl highlighter in the cap for my cheekbones.

          • Miss Madd

            Whimsical Kelly I didn’t know it had a highlighter! LOL Well I’ll definitely keep that in mind when I’m scouting out for a new BB Cream. Thanks!

          • Whimsical Kelly

            Miss Madd You are so welcome. If you want, I’ll send you a sample of the cream itself to try. I don’t mind.

          • Miss Madd

            Whimsical Kelly It’s okay, I was eyeing their sample set so will probably get that. My boyfriend’s been complaining about hogging the bathroom cabinets with all my makeup. haha

          • Whimsical Kelly

            Miss Madd Well thanks to you I’m going to try the Peach Green Tea SkinFood BB cream. So we’ve both helped one another today. :D

        • http://www.outinapout.blogspot.com/ OutInAPout

          Whimsical Kelly I adore my Missha Perfect Cover, granted I like fuller coverage. I recommended it to my cousin, who was having a tough time finding something that didn’t emphasize the flakiness resulting from her starting a retinol treatment. She had the same issue at first, felt it was too heavy and the grey cast was too strong, until I mentioned that a half to one pump is plenty. She tried again with less product and she adores it now. It sounds like you’re familiar w/ BBs, so that may not have been your issue, but I know when a lot of people start using them, they do equate them with tinted moisturizer, so they tend to apply way more product than they need. BBs are so much more pigmented than moisture-plus-tint formulas, which is why I love them (and hate most of the US versions). 

          • Whimsical Kelly

            OutInAPout Oh, no kidding. I use a little bit less than a green pea sized amount for my entire face and jawline.

    • http://www.cinseven13.blogspot.com/ cinseven13

      I agree, the US ones just don’t measure up.  I love the idea of bb creams but generally require heavier coverage.  Shade is always an issue too; Illamasqua is the only one that I’m happy with. 

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        cinseven13 I also love that Illamasqua says it was influenced by BB Creams, instead of calling itself a BB cream. I think Illamasqua’s Skin Base is an amazing product :)

    • http://www.xi-feng.org xifeng

      I haven’t tried BB cream yet, but from what I’ve read here and there, I’m forced to draw the conclusion that most American BB creams are sort of like most American beer. D:

    • misfitgirlie

      I haven’t tried any. I feel like they’re almost too good to be true, so I’m skeptical! But, from what I have read, it sounds like you are right that the American ones are basically glorified tinted moisturizers. I think the companies are just cashing in on the buzz of the name. Funny that you mention Smashbox because they make the only tinted moisturizer I’ve ever used. Funny also that you mention the shade matching issue because I find that most tinted moisturizer s(including the Smashbox one, haha) are too orange-y for me.

    • blueraccoon

      I avoid American BB creams because I have two tinted moisturizers I like, so I don’t see the point in shelling out for an American product that’s going to be the same. I did however buy both Missha’s Perfect Cover and skin79′s the oriental gold bb cream and am looking forward to them arriving so I can play with them a bit. I’ve also heard decent things about Bobbi Brown’s BB cream – it’s not everything an Asian cream does, but it’s better than most American creams, so I may try that if I get a chance.

    • Lisa Brown

      I agree, most I find in stores, are just tinted moisturizers and have do nothing for me, so I have been turned off to them. It’s nice to know there are foreign brands to try. Glad you like this one.

    • emilyhudspeth

      I agree. I really like the one I have from 3Lab, but I mostly like it because it has nice coverage and makes my skin feel nice, and the SPF is a bonus. I don’t think the American ones are doing it justice. I haven’t had the pleasure of trying any of the Asian ones yet. I would LOVE to! Im sure I would never want anything else again, that would make me so spoiled:) 

    • kawaiiferreto

      I’ve really been wanting to try some of the Asian BB cremas because I love the idea of a multi-tasking product that can get me ready faster in the morning, but I’m afraid I’m going to have trouble finding one that looks OK with my skin tone.  It sounds like a lot of them have pink tones and pink just does NOT work for me. 

      • Whimsical Kelly

        kawaiiferreto Holika Holika Essential wasn’t terribly pink, so if you’re fair skinned, you might give that one a try. Missha tends to be less pink on my skin as well.

        • kawaiiferreto

          Whimsical Kelly I might just have to break down and try the Holika Holika one.  They are pretty cheap at least!   My skintone is just disagreable with so many things. I’d say I’m a pale warm-ish and olive-ish tone — most pure olive toned things are way too green and most “warm” toned are a little too warm or peachy etc. and anything with pink is just ACK and then neutrals aren’t warm enough etc.  It’s such a pain! 

    • http://dtan0914.blogspot.com/ dtan0914

      I do like that the American BB Creams cater to people with different skin tones versus Asian ones, but I agree like you the only one I have liked so far from here is the Smashbox one. I’m really interested in the Jane Iredale one, but I’m not going to purchase it until there’s reviews! Everything else on the market labeled as “BB Creams” really are not :’(I also think it’s kind of ridiculous that all Asian BB Creams are light on me despite being Asian myself and only a NW30 :( The only BB Cream that has matched me so far (although a bit more yellow than I would like) is the KATE BB Gel Cream in the darkest shade, and that was a bit light as well. I’m going to try out the Missha BB Cream again since they released more colors, but if that doesn’t work then I’m done!

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        dtan0914 I think in places like South Korea, they’re obsessed with being lighter, the way people here sometimes obsess about being tan.

    • lithiablack

      I really like the idea of BB Creams but I have  trouble finding one that doesn’t give me break outs. The Holika Holika one you show in this post was a great match to my skin and gave a flawless look but every time I wore it I got pimples the day after. I think my skin reacts to silicone or parabens or possible both because I reacted the same way to Body Shops Extra Virgin Minerals Compact foundation which according to the ingredients list contains both. In fact my skin reacts badly to most conventional bases I’ve tried so I’m stuck with the eco and “natural” side of the foundation market. I have mineral foundation I really like but i would like to have a good cream one to for those really chilly winter days when my skin gets really dry.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        lithiablack Oh no!

    • nycRed714

      This looks extremely interesting! I’m fair as well.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        nycRed714 For reference,  I wear Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation in .5, Illamasqua Skin Base in 2, NARS Siberia and Meow Pampered Puss foundation in Inquisitive Siamese.

    • http://judixo.blogspot.com/ memorymachine

      I hate that I have to settle for the crap US versions of BB creams because they’re the only ones who make darker shades for people with deeper complexions.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        memorymachine Yeah, bb creams are definitely hit or miss with shades.

    • http://vulcanbutterfly.blogspot.com Vulcan_Butterfly

      I’m just getting into BB creams and I LOVE THEM! Well, I love the Korean ones. I have been trying a bunch of Skinfood stuff and the BB cream that I got is awesome, it gives me lots of coverage for those lazy days when I don’t feel like doing full makeup and my skin looks good after I wear it! The US/Canada ones are all crap, I must agree. My only complaint with Korean BB’s is that the lighter ones tend to be slightly too pink for me and the yellow-toned one are slightly too dark.

    • http://mindbodysoulutions.info Sapphire Kharyzma

      i am so grateful for this post. I wish my blog stop(s) had led me here, as I think I understand a little better now! I have yet to actually try and was trying to get some expert opinions (from real women) who have experience. I have yet to even find a shade I care to explore, as usually I have to buy two (one light and one medium dark to blend perfectly with my skin — and your local beauty shop (won’t allow you to try or play around with shades). My question is this, will the Korean brands have anything even close to a dark skin tone?

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