BB Cream vs. Foundation

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

A lot of people are confused about the BB cream trend and have a lot of questions. What is a BB Cream? Should I use a BB cream? How is a BB cream different from a foundation? Which is better, BB cream or foundation?

This post answers a few of those questions, and includes mini reviews of my favourite products, from both the BB cream and foundation families. Read on to find out more.

What is a BB Cream?
BB (a.k.a. blemish balm, and a host of other names since "blemish balm" was trademarked in Korea) cream was first formulated in Germany, and was used to treat the skin of patients who had just undergone surgery. BB cream is formulated with a host of skin-treating benefits, such as acne treatment, whitening, wrinkle treatment, sun protection, etc. The trend took off in a huge way in Asian countries (particularly Korea) and has started making waves in the Western cosmetics industry as well.

Should I use a BB cream?
Honestly, it's totally up to you. BB creams (generally) offer a bit more coverage than foundations, and almost always come with a generous amount of SPF. They are also thicker than most foundations, though less is needed compared to foundations when it comes to covering the skin. In my opinion, the skincare benefits of a BB cream compared to a foundation are negligible, so a BB cream is really not going to offer you that much more skin benefits compared to a foundation - it's mostly a marketing gimmick. So really what you want to do is compare the finish between a BB cream and a foundation to determine which one suits you and your needs best.

BB Cream Finish
BB creams tend to give your skin a more dewy, radiant finish. Because it was the Koreans who first caught on to BB creams, most formulations are very much oriented towards the Korean glowy skin trend. They are mostly quite full-coverage, providing a sort of all-in-one product, theoretically eliminating the need for concealer, sunscreen, or moisturiser.

Foundation Finish
Foundations offer you a lot more variety when it comes to finishes. They have sheerer formulations, matte ones, cream-to-powder, and so much more. Foundations tend to steer towards the more cakey side compared to BB creams (not all of them, mind you!) when they're full coverage, and if you're looking for something less cakey, you will need to use concealer to cover up any blemishes or dark circles.

At the end of the day, you need to listen to your skin's needs. If you live in a humid climate and/or have oily skin, you won't need a dewy finish foundation/BB cream. If you have lots of small imperfections that need covering, BB creams might work better for you because they contain more pigment and therefore give more coverage. Here's a more detailed list of the skin types that each type of base would cater to more adequately:

Oily skin (go for mattifying foundations)
People who want a lighter texture in their base
People who like sheer coverage foundations (these look more natural)

BB Cream
Blemished skin
People who like dewy skin
Dry skin

My absolute favourites? They're all here!

Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream - great coverage, about average thickness. A teeny bit ashy.
La Roche Posay Hydreane BB Cream - fantastic coverage, not too thick. Their two colours are lovely - one has a pink undertone and the other yellow, but both aren't overwhelming so they look really natural on the skin.
Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream - a lovely light formulation with medium coverage. Great for those with oily skin because this is quite light.
Diorsnow BB Cream - fantastic coverage and a great glowing finish. Also not too thick.
Dr Jart+ Black Label BB Cream - this one has less coverage but is quite light, but is quite 'wet' on the skin. It gives the skin such a beautiful glow though!

Hera Age Away Foundation - I love this because it gives the skin a boost in radiance, yet doesn't feel too sticky or wet on the skin.
Make Up For Ever HD Foundation - this is a fantastic one because it is really light and you don't have to use a lot, but it does cover imperfections well. Looks fantastic on camera.
Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation - this one has decent oil control and coverage, and gives the skin a healthy look.
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation - this product really gives the skin a lovely glow, and despite its name, it actually is semi-matte, so it's great for humid climates/oily skin.
Diorskin Nude Foundation - I love this one because it's not dewy or sticky, but it gives the skin a glow, and the coverage is quite decent.

Do you have a favourite? Which do you prefer - BB cream or foundation?

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