Decoding BB Creams: What They Are & Why You'll Want to Use Them

woman makeup bb cream

Korean beauty products are having a big moment -- and one in particular is as ubiqutious as ever: BB creams. You've probably noticed this product multiplying on makeup counters and in the beauty aisle of your drugstore. Yep, BB creams seem to be here to stay. Still not sure what the hype is about? Well, we've prepared a little primer.


BB cream stands for Beauty Balm or Blemish Balm. Originally created by a dermatologist in Germany for her laser post-op patients, BBs really started getting buzzed about in Korea after starlets credited the creams for their glowing complexions. Now the multitasking foundations are also a hit here ... and for good reason!

BB creams target several skincare concerns with one fell swoop. What better for those of us who have no time to spare, but still want to look good? Check out their many benefits:

Sun Protection
Most BBs offer effective sun protection to broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher and contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide (physical sunblocks that keep the rays from getting to your skin). In fact, the Environmental Working Group wrote that BB creams have one clear benefit: "You may be less likely to forget to apply sunscreen if it’s already in your one-step cream."

Most Beauty Balms have peptides (proteins that stimulate the production of collagen and help skin repair itself), Vitamin A (another popular treatment for increasing collagen), and antioxidants such as vitamins E and C (skin-care nutrients that destroy free radicals and keep them from gobling up your skin's collagen).

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Thanks to hyaluronic acid and glycerin, BB creams hydrate and prevent water loss in all skin types.

Evening Skintone
Ingredients like licorice and arbutin lighten your skin to make it more uniform. Buh-bye, brown spots and skin damage!

Light-reflecting mica present in most BB creams provides a radient, dewy finish. Shine on!

Minimizing Pores and Fine Lines
Silicone-based ingredients, like dimethicone, fill in uneven texture and wrinkles to create a smooth and flawless finish. But beware, if you have sensitive skin, you might want to opt for a silicone-free BB cream!

Have you started using a BB cream in your skincare routine?

bb creams 101

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