Think of BB creams as the next generation of
tinted moisturizers. Also known as a blemish or beauty balm, BB cream is a multitasking product that combines many of the components you are probably already using. It’s a moisturizer, a primer,
and a foundation, all packaged into one convenient little tube, sometimes even powered with an SPF protection.

Initially formulated in the 1960s by German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek-Drusio to help cosmetic surgery patients protect their highly sensitive skin from the sun, BB cream soothed the skin and concealed post-treatment redness and even scars. A few years ago, its outstanding ability to even out the skin’s texture was praised by famed Korean actress Song Hye Kyo, inspiring a slew of Asian cosmetics companies to produce commercial versions of the balm.

Recently, BB creams made it onto Canadian beauty counters, with several different options to kick-start your BB cream routine. Keep in mind that North American BB creams take a slightly different approach to their Asian counterparts. The original formulations provide heavier coverage, while North American brands fall more in the tinted moisturizer territory, but all are powered with anti-oxidants and, more often than not, a hefty SPF defense. Depending of your skin’s needs, here is an overview of BB creams currently available in Canada.

For ample coverage

If your complexion is uneven or if you are prone to breakouts, then you are most likely looking for full coverage. In that case, you might want to look for Korean products like Dr. Jart BB Cream SPF 35 ($32.99, and Elemong BB Cream by Jang’s Cosmetics SPF 25 ($50, These BB creams will give you a very opaque coverage; one could potentially break free of their concealer. While these original balms do live up to their hype with fantastic coverage, SPF protection, and anti-aging properties, one might find the colour range a bit limiting, with only one or two shades suitable for very fair complexions.

Learn more about BB cream and how it can work for you on the next page …
For medium coverage

As aforementioned, North American brands tend to be less chalky, therefore providing moderate, semi-sheer coverage. Smashbox Camera Ready BB cream SPF 35 ($50, Sephora), which comes in four shades, and Estée Lauder Daywear BB Multi-Perfecting Beauty Benefit cream SPF 35 ($45, Estée Lauder), which is available in light and medium, both have a creamy texture that allows for foundation-like application. As does Marcelle BB cream ($22.95, London Drugs and Shoppers Drug Mart), which is available comes in two shades, although you might want to note that it is missing the SPF component. For extra coverage, one could simply apply an extra layer, although a concealer might be needed to camouflage some stubborn blemishes and dark circles.

For brightening

If you’ve been blessed with a near-perfect complexion and all you need is a little brightening boost, then look for super-sheer BB cream like Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB cream SPF 15 ($19.99 at London Drugs and Shoppers Drug Mart). It comes in two shades — light/medium and medium/dark — and because of its sheerness, it is quickly blended into the skin, giving it a very natural look with the help of mineral pigments. Again, because of its light coverage, don’t say goodbye to your cochlear just yet.

For oily skin

If shine and excess oil top your list of skin concerns, then look for oil-free formulas like the above-mentioned semi-sheer BB cream by Estée Lauder’s or the sheer Boscia BB cream SPF 27 ($46, Sephora). Boscia is also unique in the way that it’s the only SPF solution that eschews a chemical sunscreen for a titanium dioxide one. Unfortunately, it is only offered in one shade, falling somewhere between a light and a medium skin tone. However, for those looking for a natural BB cream solution, Boscia is as close as it gets at the moment.

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