New BB Cream: Can One Skin Product Do It All?

Courtesy Clinique, BosciaCourtesy Clinique, BosciaHot in Asia and coming stateside, these little multitaskers claim to beautify your skin in seven different ways. But do they? We've got the scoop

Beauty junkies have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of BB Creams stateside, and no wonder.

Already a skincare staple in Asia, BB Creams promise to camouflage pores and wrinkles, moisturize, reduce redness, even out skintone, keep oil in check, offer anti-aging benefits, and shield skin from the sun.

If you think that sounds like the beauty equivalent of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, you're exactly right.

"The 'BB' in BB Cream stands for blemish balm," explains Alyssa Kobel, Marketing Director for skincare company Boscia. "In Asia, a blemish is any skin imperfection-not just pimples. It could be sunspots, blackheads, uneven skintone."

Althought the creams are a hit in Asia, "BB cream was originally developed in Germany for post procedure coverage (i.e. face lift) to treat and conceal," explains Sephora Director of Merchandising for Skincare, Carolyn Bojanowski. "In the U.S, our clients love products that are multi-taskers. We absolutely think that their success and popularity will continue to grow in the here."

Typically, BB Creams provide sheer, buildable, natural-looking color, much like a tinted moisturizer. They also leave skin (temporarily) silky-feeling and poreless-looking, thanks to silicone, which is often one of the first ingredients you'll see if you check the label. (Look for "cyclopentasiloxane" or "dimethicone.")

QUIZ: How Healthy is Your Skin?

"Silicone is a common ingredient in primers because it sits on top of the skin and fills in imperfections," says Arielle Kauvar, M.D., director of New York Laser and Skincare. "Because it doesn't absorb into the skin, it's often used in sensitive skin care products."

Although silicone is often blamed for breakouts, Dr. Kauvar says there's no need to worry. "Silicone is non-comedogenic and shouldn't clog pores." Everyone's skin reacts differently, of course, so you may need to experiment to see if silicone-packed products work for you.

As far as sun protection, BB Creams are a good choice for everyday wear, says Dr. Kauvar. Some contain ideal UV-screening all-physical sunscreens, such as Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 PA++ (which includes titanium dioxide) and Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 PA +++ (which contains both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide). (Quick beauty lesson: "PA" is a measure of UVA protection used in Japan. Products receive from one to three plus marks, depending on the amount of UVA protection they provide.)

Others, like Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30, have a mix of chemical and physical sunscreens.

MORE: Shopping for sunscreen is confusing. Get help here.

The bottom line? BB Creams may not be quite the miracle-in-a-tube they're billed as (nothing ever is!), but they are a quick, easy way to fake a more flawless complexion and get an effective dose of daily sun protection.

And as every girl who's ever hit the snooze button knows, anything that lets you shave a few minutes off your a.m. routine is worth a shot!

- Stephanie Huszar


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