The beauty product you’ll either love or hate







One thing I am asked a lot is if it is true that the male seahorse becomes pregnant. Another thing I am asked is: what are BB creams, do I need one, will they change my life, and do they taste any good when dipped in tzatziki?

BB cream is short for “blemish balm” which has probably already turned a few of you off, but in fact, they have very little do with blemishes in their current, lovingly bastardised form.


Essentially BB cream is a hybrid skin care/makeup product. They vary in their offerings, but usually are a blend of:


– Moisturisation
– Sun protection
– Brightening ingredients to lightly fade dark spots
– Sheer coverage
– Anti-ageing/skin protective (antioxidants etc) ingredients

And sometimes primer, skin healing, or anti-blemish ingredients. (Sadly, no BB cream contains the famed elixir of youth, last seen in a small Turkish shoe shop in 1567.)

BB creams have been big in Asian countries (Korea especially) for ages, and were originally created to soothe and heal post-laser treatment skin (working in the same way high-quality mineral makeup does – a bit of coverage and anti-inflammatory qualities), and to noticeably brighten and whiten the skin, which is a massive focus in Asian skin care, and rightly so, because WRINKLES are not the thing that make you look old, it is UNEVEN skin tone that does it. But I’ll yell at you about that another day.

Anyway, they have now evolved to be a mass product that is less medicinal, and more multi-tasker: you’re getting a simple, one-stop product that gives light coverage, sunscreen, and some moisturisation.

This makes it a tops product for: the time-poor or lazy, those who want to have a slightly more even/illuminated skin tone, those who “forget” to wear sunscreen, those who don’t like to wear makeup, or those who have pretty great skin who don’t need heavier coverage. Just apply to clean skin and Bobbi is your aunty.

If the combination of coverage, sunscreen and moisturisation sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because there is a product called “tinted moisturiser” that has been around forever and does this exact thing.

MISSHA bb cream

In my opinion, and after testing the BB creams on offer in Australia and one of the top Korean ones (MISSHA, which is very popular there, but way too pink-based for my skin tone sadly), I prefer tinted moisturiser. I find the over simplified shades of BB creams frustrating, and am always sceptical of products that claim to do more than 2-3 things well.

Want MORE of my fussy reasons?? Read on!

– I demand more hydration than what BB Creams offer me, as I have dry-ish skin, and love a dewy finish, and I do not get these things from BB creams

– I use a dedicated sunscreen on clean skin and then my makeup/tinted moisturiser – to use this one prod as my daily sunscreen isn’t enough for my highly-pigmentation-prone skin. That said; I’d prefer you crumpets use a BB cream with sunscreen rather than no sunscreen at all

– I use The Strong Stuff to even my skin tone and fade my pigmentation, (a serum, at night) I don’t think you can expect very noticeable or long-lasting brightening from a makeup product, although the cosmetic appearance of illumination is always welcome

– I like a little more coverage, and found myself putting foundation on top of my BB cream, (which is not unusual actually, a lot of women use BB cream as a base for their makeup, and in fact some are promoted – MAC’s for example – as the perfect pre-foundation primer/skincare base).

But perhaps I should try a few more BB creams before I start slagging them off.

I am in London now, (I’d had enough of the glorious sunshine and delicious food and friendly people in Greece – ergh, TORTURE!) and know they have Maybelline, Clinique, MAC, Dior, Stila, Smashbox and Estee Lauder versions here (I am most excited about the Lauder one, as I love their tinted moisturiser and they promise the same glowing, light-reflective finish with their BB creme), so if I fall in love desperately with one of these, I will be sure to let all interested parties know immediately if not sooner.

From what I’ve heard, beauty editors and Women in General either LOVE and evangelically swear by their time-saving, do-it-all BB cream, or they abhor them, citing their unnatural colour and matte finish as negatives. Senor BB is one polarising little guy.

… Just like peanut butter and pickles on white, fluffy bread, which I ate today on the advice of some fancy celebrity chef in a magazine, and now recommend with the kind of passion usually reserved for politics or religion.

*Yes. The female seahorse deposits up to 1,500 eggs in the male’s pouch. The male carries the eggs for up to 45 days until the baby seahorses emerge fully developed, but tiny. He then rides into the sunset, (probably to the pub) never to be seen again.

Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air Kisses, Playing The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Have you ever used a BB cream? Would you?


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