BB Creams and Cushions are often marketed as all-in-one-products with multi-purpose benefits. But are they REALLY that amazing? Here’s the lowdown on BB products – both the good and bad.
OK, not to sound like a complete noob, but…what exactly is a BB Cream and/or Cushion?
BB, which stands for Beauty Balm (or Blemish Balm) is a skincare and makeup hybrid that acts as a moisturiser, makeup base, concealer, foundation and sunscreen. Most BB Creams also claim to have skincare benefits, but I wouldn’t depend too much on that.
What’s the difference between a BB Cream and BB Cushion anyway? Aren’t they just the same thing, but in different packaging?
Well, yes. Kind of. BB Creams typically come in tubes, so you need to apply it with a makeup sponge, brush or your fingers. BB Cushions, on the other hand, have a unique sponge that dispenses product onto your makeup puff.
So do they apply differently on the skin?
It really depends on how noob you are at makeup application, but the BB Cushion generally has a lighter and more even application. Because of its
magical unique cushion, BB Cushions tend to dispense product more sparingly than a BB Cream tube. This gives you better control over how much product ends up on your makeup sponge.
BB Cushions also have a lighter consistency, as compared to BB Creams which are more viscous in texture. In terms of coverage, BB Cushions tend to give a more natural finish, while BB Creams can be built up for heavier coverage.
Do BB products REALLY help with skincare?
There are many BB products in the market that claim to heal and conceal acne (i.e. Garnier’s Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream), but I have my doubts about how effective these products really are. I mean, in theory it sounds like a good idea – just slap on one product and all your skin problems go away right? Ha, I wish.
See, the thing is – products that promise a multitude of uses tend to be less effective all around. What’s that saying again…jack of all trades, but master of none?
BB products that contain salicylic acid (aka the stuff that’s supposed to combat acne) don’t really sit well with sunscreen. Not to get all technical here, but combined preparations of SPF (sunscreen) and salicylic acid tend to be less effective, because of the differing pH levels required for maximum efficacy. So yes, don’t chuck your pimple lotions and potions out just yet. BB Creams may help your acne a tiny bit, but don’t expect any miracles.
My BB product has SPF, so I can skip my usual sunscreen application right?
Good Lord, no. No! *gasps in horrified manner* Even if your BB product contains SPF50, it doesn’t mean that it will give you sufficient sun protection.
Firstly, if you tend to only apply a light layer of BB product, you may not even have enough SPF coverage to adequately shield you from those pesky UVB rays.
And secondly, SPF doesn’t protect you from all of the sun’s harmful rays.
There are three different types of Ultraviolet rays from the sun. UVC rays are the strongest ones, but the Ozone layer prevents most of these from reaching us. (Source: coolasuncare.com)
Let me break it down for you – there are two main types of harmful Ultraviolet rays from the sun which you can protect your skin from.
Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are short wave, and affect the superficial layers of your skin. These rays are the culprit behind sunburns and skin cancer. SPF rates how well a product can block out these UVB rays, but it doesn’t protect you from the other type of rays, Ultraviolet A (UVA).
UVA rays are long wave, and penetrate deep into the skin. When the skin is frequently exposed to these rays without protection, it can lead to wrinkles and premature aging. When choosing a sunscreen, go for one that has both SPF and PA++ on the label. PA ratings measure how well the product protects you from UVA rays, so the more plus signs, the better.
Are BB products suitable for oily or acne-prone skin?
I hate to break it to you, but most BB products aren’t great for acne-prone skin. Even if you just have oily skin, you’re probably better off with a matte finish foundation. Many BB products tend to have a dewier finish, so unless you set it with powder, you might end up looking greasier than usual.
BB creams can also irritate acne-prone skin, because it usually contains silicones, alcohol and fragrances. That’s not to say that all BB products won’t work for acne-prone skin though – certain brands cater specifically to these skin concerns, such as the ones below.
- Ettusais BB Mineral Cream: the coverage is lighter than standard BB Creams, but its lightweight formula is suitable for those with oily and/or acne-prone skin.
- Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control SPF50+: this is good for those with oily but not acne-prone skin. The product is relatively long-wearing, especially since it helps to control sebum production.
- Innisfree Long Wear Cushion SPF50+: this is a less expensive option for those who want a long-wearing BB product that also controls sebum production.
What about for sensitive skin?
It really depends on the BB cream or cushion that you use. As mentioned earlier, most BB products contain chemicals that can irritate the skin or cause dermatitis. Chronic skin irritation can affect healthy collagen production, which in turn impairs the skin’s ability to heal.
BB creams are useful in the sense that they have multiple functions (i.e. moisturiser, base, foundation, SPF), but it may be better to stick to specialised products if you have sensitive skin.
But if you really must, then try:
- Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water SPF35: this has a fragrance-free formula and lightweight texture, so it might sit better with sensitive skin types.
OK, I’m sold! Now, which BB products should I use to get Song Hye Kyo’s radiant and dewy complexion?
I thought you’d never ask. See below for some tried and tested favourites!
For Normal To Oily Skin
Available at Sephora and Laneige counters in Singapore.
Laneige was one of the first brands in the market to launch the BB Cushion, so it’s no surprise that they are always one of the frontrunners in that category. The new Pore Control BB Cushion is designed to give a semi-matte finish, so you’re not going to get dewy boing-boing skin with this. It is, however, more suitable for oilier skin types – especially in our humid climate. The finished look can be a bit powdery though, so remember to moisturise your skin before application.
For Normal To Dry Skin
Hera isn’t a very well-known brand in Singapore yet, but they do have a cult following for their popular UV Mist Cushion. If you want Song Hye Kyo’s enviably dewy skin, then THIS is the BB Cushion to get. The product is hydrating, but not heavy on the skin. Coverage is light, but you can build it up for a more flawless finish.
For Dull Skin
Available at Sulwhasoo counters in Singapore.
Sulwhasoo seems to be more premium than Laneige and Hera, but it’s perhaps interesting to note that all three brands are owned by the same parent company. The Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion is supposed to brighten your skin and control oil, so you get that Korean actress glow.
Although the BB Cushion does brighten the complexion and help a little in controlling oil, I found that it broke me out. The formula is a bit rich, so skip this one if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.
For Sensitive Skin
Available at Ettusais counters in Singapore.
Ettusais’ BB Mineral Gel is one of my all-time favourites, especially when my skin is acting up. The product is free of fragrances, mineral oil and parabens, so it’s a suitable choice for sensitive or acne-prone skin. Although the formula is hydrating, it doesn’t feel too heavy on the skin.
For Everyday Use
Available at Shiseido counters in Singapore.
Shiseido may be a Japanese brand, but that doesn’t mean their BB Creams aren’t as good as the Korean ones. The Shiseido Maquillage Perfect Multi Base BB is a lightweight formula that is ideal for everyday use. It gives good and lasting coverage with just one application, although it doesn’t quite cover dark spots completely. The only downside to this product is that it only comes in one shade, so it might not suit those with darker skin tones.