Blemish balm, more commonly referred to as B.B. cream is a well-known product in the Asian markets. I've heard about this product previously, but I haven't had the chance to try it until my recent trip to Asia. Now that I have, I'll have to say I'm pretty in love with this product! B.B. cream is suppose to be an all-in-1-product, it acts like a moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, concealer, whitener (Asians love that), foundation - pretty much does it all!
There are different types, some with more or less coverage, some with anti-aging properties, some that are more water based so they have a more sheer feel to them. It is a product based on ointment created in the 1950's by a German dermatologist who used it on her patients after undergoing laser and peel treatments to soothe, protect and conceal redness in the patient's skin. However, today's BB cream has been attributed to origins in Korea with its popularity by Korean actresses using this product and other brands capitalizing on the success.
In Asia, almost every single makeup/beauty brand, even ones used in the U.S. such as Maybelline, Garnier, etc. B.B cream has recently been introduced to the U.K. markets with a bunch of different brands including Clinique, Estee Lauder, Garnier, Mac, etc. and is thought to be the year's biggest beauty trend. However, the U.S. market has been a little bit slower to welcoming B.B. cream. Sephora recently released Boscia B.B. cream, this is the first in the U.S. It is well reviewed on Sephora and I have heard decent things from a friend of mine as well... so definitely worth trying out, plus Sephora is pretty great at exchanges/returns if you end up not liking a product.
I tested out a multitude of different B.B creams in Asia, but there were so many that it was way overwhelming! Their drugstores are great in Asia - I went to Watsons for most of my drugstore beauty products and then some specialty stores such as Skin Food, Etude, The Face Shop just to check out their products. SaSa and Colourmix were another some other popular beauty stores. One of my friends had just came back from Taipei so I was lucky to get her input and use her recommendations
One she recommended to me and really liked was the Maybelline B.B. Cream , SPF 26++, it comes in two colors. The bottle says its an 8-IN-1 skin transformer:
- Brightens skin: visible whitening effect
- Covers imperfections, reduces the appearance of pores, skin redness disappears
- Moisturizes and protects: all day hydration + helps to protect skin from UV rays and free radical
I used the 02 Natural color, since after a month in Asia, I was definitely much tanner and in general I would say I'm not as fair-skinned as the Asians living in Asia. I personally really liked this product a lot! Its definitely replaced my other tinted moisturizer (Laura Mercier) and Nars foundation as my everyday routine. I like the consistency, its very light and it reminds me closely of a water based moisturizer I got in Asia (will review later). I think the coverage is pretty average, not too much or too little... you can always add another layer if you want more coverage. I prefer buildable coverage as opposed to it feeling heavy once you put it on. Although, I had great success with this product as well as a few of my friends, I did have other friends who felt that the color did not fit them. Most B.B creams either come only in 1 or 2 shades and that doesn't always work with everyone's skin tone.
The best thing about the Maybelline B.B. cream though is the bang for your buck. Definitely one of the cheapest ones out there. Prices I noticed were cheaper in Thailand and Malaysia, while Taipei and Hong Kong were more expensive. I bought it at a Watsons drugstore in Thailand for about $6 for 18mL(0.5 oz). The Nars foundation is $42 for 1 oz, so I'm saving $30, while the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is $42 for 1.5 oz - I could buy 7 bottles of the Maybelline B.B cream for the price of 1. Well of course part of the reason for the low price is the exchange rate of American dollars to Asian currency, but it definitely was one of the cheapest B.B. creams I encountered in the Asian markets.
I also tried the Missha B.B. cream, probably one of the most well-known brands. I actually just found out they are sold in the U.S. by Korean retailers. So if you do end up wanting to try it instead of trekking to Asia, definitely check out to see if theres a cosmetic store by you that sells it. I personally did not like the Missha B.B. cream. I felt that it was heavier and the color did not match my skintone. It made me look very white and ghostly. The coloring looked like it had a whiteish cast to it, which for is great for some Asians who have paler complexions or want their skin to look that way, but I'm not one of them. I didn't feel like this brand was natural enough for me. My friend had mentioned that likely the reason that the Missha B.B. cream is thicker consistency and the coloring is lighter is because it originated in Korea, where the temperatures can get cooler and skin tones may be paler as opposed to SE Asia.
Skinfood B.B. cream, I thought was a little too shimmery for me. There were a few others I tried, but I don't remember them too well now. I decided just to stick with the Maybelline B.B. cream since it was budget friendly and it did its job! I did notice that Bobbi Brown had a new B.B. cream and I would be interested in trying that out... but that was near the end of my trip and I had already collected enough face goodies!
As for an all-in-one product, I'm not sure if I am convinced if it is that for everyone. For me, as an everyday product, I think its perfectly fine. I still wear SPF in addition, but thats because I am pretty particular about making sure I have on SPF 50 everyday... I don't use concealer or any other products besides moisturizer with SPF and either foundation/tinted moisturizer so this product works perfectly for me. If I wanted more coverage and staying power, I think I would definitely use a powder on top of the B.B. cream, but overall I am pretty satisfied with it and I would recommend it! Hope my review helps!
Have you guys tried B.B. cream before? What brands do you like?
info via, photos by me