Want to streamline your bulging wash bag? Looking for a product that brings joy – or at the very least – better looking skin? South Korea seems to be the epicentre of grooming new-ness and it may have created the answer. Over the past decade it’s given us those creepy but effective sheet masks and, better still, BB creams (blemish balms).
BB creams aim to blur out imperfections, whilst also taking care of pigmentation, oil control and hydrating the skin simultaneously. It’s essentially the Swiss army knife of skincare. With a bathroom shelf that was probably cluttered with individual products promising to do this or that, the BB offers to simplify our regimes with one multifunctional product. Haven’t you tried one yet?
What Is BB Cream?
Those in the know actually put the origins of this grooming product in Europe. Germany became a popular destination for affluent Koreans seeking laser treatments and other cosmetic procedures in the 2000s. Post-treatment, they were prescribed soothing and camouflaging creams that would help speed up the healing process and disguise any ‘work’ that may have been done.
The trend spread. Local companies began adapting these medical skincare products into formulations for the mass market. Trends in beauty often cross over to the men’s grooming market and in 2012, LabSeries brought out one of the first men’s BB creams in the UK.
You get the benefit of sun protection, oil control and an anti-ageing cream in a good BB. Yes it makes things easier, but truthfully we think their real purpose was to introduce more men to the concept of ‘coverage’. Most BB creams aren’t tinted but, like foundation (synonymous with makeup), some come in different shades to match your skin tone and they can enhance the look of your skin.
For those seeking to cover blemishes, spots and pores, scars, pigmentation, soften the look of wrinkles or dull skin the BB is basically an Instagram filter in a tube. Suffering from a hangover? A BB can make you look fresher. Apart from LabSeries’s bestseller, there aren’t many BBs specifically targeted at men, but, if you’re comfortable using a unisex product, there’s a huge choice of BBs.
And how should you use it? Simply apply it to your face like you would a moisturiser, although be extra careful to evenly spread across your face. Start off small and make sure your skin fully absorbs it. Remember, you can always add more afterwards – just try to match your skin to the shade of the cream for best results.
The Best Brands For BB Creams
LabSeries Skincare for Men BB Tinted Moisturiser SPF 35
The original men’s blemish balm comes in one universal shade that adapts to your skin tone and even adjusts as you tan. It looks natural, can be layered for extra coverage and covers any blotchy patches and redness.
Clinique Anti Blemish BB Cream SPF 40
When you want to cover your spots and prevent any new ones at the same time, try Clinique’s Anti Blemish BB with built in oil control. With high SPF 40 it’s also good for high summer and travel and it’s available in four broad shades.
Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream
Those looking for subtle enhancement and skin tone correction could try Kiehl’s BB cream. It blends to your skin tone and has a very high SPF 50 and Vitamin C to inhibit the development of pigmentation. Hyper pigmentation should improve over time with continued use.
Erborian BB Cream
Want to get your hands on the real deal? Korean skincare brand, Erborian is available in the Uk too, and the original BB cream is available in one of the widest choices of skin tones we’ve come across.
Ren Satin Perfection BB Cream
Ren’s BB comes in one universal shade for fair to light olive skin. It has a matt finish, so won’t leave any shine. It contains anti-oxidants for an anti-ageing boost and also has a lower SPF 15 which is good for most of the year.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur
La Roche-Posay is a French pharmacy brand, found in some high-street chemists. (French chemists, if you didn’t know, carry cult skincare products – so always check them out if you’re there.) It’s great for oilier skin types and has a mousse-like texture that feels light to touch and blends in easily.
Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream SPF 30
This skin-improver is easy to apply and looks natural, whilst concealing pores and uneven looking skin. The darker shade will suit black and Asian skin, while the SPF shields the skin year round, and indoors, from harmful rays. It feels light to wear too.
Bare Minerals Prime Time BB Primer-Cream Daily Defense SPF 30
Available in light and medium shade, the pump-action dispenser makes for easy application of this flaw-hiding formula that combats flaky dryness, excess oil and the appearance of pores – all at the same time.
Vichy Idéalia BB Cream
For fair skins that are prone to pigmentation Vichy’s (another top French pharmacy brand) super light BB has SPF 25 for year-round protection. Its illuminating formula makes skin appear brighter whilst anti-oxidant ingredients work to limit the appearance of dark spots.
Bobbi Brown Beauty Balm SPF 35
From a professional makeup artist, this BB benefits from a very wide shade palette – including one for very pale skin tones, which can be hard to find. This BB counteracts redness and won’t highlight any dry or flaky patches by keeping them moisturised.