Being a multi- tasker (politically correct term for ADD), I am always doing several things at once and looking for products that do the same. Why apply 3 creams when you can make do with one?
So it was that I was thrilled to discover BB creams. The Beauty Balm originated in Korea and East Asia as a post procedure treatment but has since conquered the world as a must-have beauty item. The concept is simple: an all-in-one facial product that takes the place of moisturizer, primer, foundation and sun block. It may contain ingredients with anti-wrinkle, anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and protective properties and is intended to cover blemishes and sunspots and give you an even, better-than-bare skin tone. I use it as a stand-alone product, but you can gild the lily with concealer, powder or foundation if you just can’t help yourself. However, the lure of putting on just one thing before running out the door in the morning is irresistible to me. And considering the First Commandment for women over 50 is Less is More, something you should try.
BB creams and now their cousins, CC creams are available all over the price spectrum and are practically the same thing. (CC means color correcting which any base should do by definition.) I perused the selection at my local CVS and found no less than 9 companies offering up BB’s including Lumene, Revlon, L’oreal (BB and CC), Maybelline, Rimmel, Physicians Formula, Cover Girl and Almay. These range in price from $7.99 (Rimmel) to $16.99 (Physician’s Formula) and everything in between. If you wade into this jungle, note that the SPFs differ, ranging from 20 to 35, more being always better. So, too, the brands vary in terms of ingredients included and number of shades available, most with only 3. Maybelline offers the most with 5. The drawback is that you cannot test for color or texture at the drug store, so you pay your money, you take your chances.
If you are committed to the idea of BB, move on up to the department stores or Sephora where you can test them on your face for a close color match and also determine if they give you the sheer or heavier coverage you are looking for. While these cost more, they have a more nuanced and broader range of colors. Sephora sells over 50 different brands of BB and CC creams. It boggles the mind!
I have sampled a variety and here is my totally unscientific opinion:
Clinique BB and CC, $35
I’ve tried both the BB (2 colors) and the CC cream (8 colors), each with an SPF of 30. Because the CC cream contains Clinique’s Moisture Surge, it is more blend-able and hydrating, melting into the skin for a super natural look.
Hydroxatone $39 (but always a deal available online)
One of the first I tried through an online promotion. It is thicker than most so gives good coverage, if that is your goal, while providing SPF 40 protection. With only 3 colors offered, the “Light” I ordered was too light. I had to custom blend the color with Dermalogica Color Corrector (a brilliant product to customize your foundation from winter to summer color).
My current favorite for its SPF 50 protective factor, a must for my fair skin. Of the 4 colors, Fair/Light is perfect for me, neither too pink nor too yellow. It has a light and luminous texture.
Ole Hendricksen Perfect Truth CC SPF 30, $36
With Vitamin C, Ferulic acid, green tea and tri-peptide 5, it replaces your anti oxidant serum while light reflecting pigments give a sheer, radiant finish.
Dr. Jart Premium Beauty BB, $39
The first and still one of the best with an SPF of 45. The big drawback is it comes in only one “universal” shade that does not cover all ethnicities.
Trish McEvoy, $85
It primes, brightens, evens tone, hydrates, controls oil and re-texturizes with full coverage. Topping the rate card, it HAS to deliver! SPF 35.
The protective properties of BB/CC creams are only as good as the application. Be sure to apply enough to truly achieve sun protection and reapply every few hours. And as with all foundation type products, BLEND, BLEND, BLEND down the jaw line, fading into the throat to avoid a line of demarcation. Use fingers or a cosmetic sponge for best results.
If you have a lot of red in your skin, choose a more yellow toned shade. It will neutralize the ruddiness.
Original art by Johanna Bohoy