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Beauty Tips: Amabie 101 – What is BB Cream Makeup!?


Last month, we featured a live video on our Facebook of all types of BB creams – basically the epitome of Asian beauty products. Many of us probably started to know about Asian beauty products thanks to BB cream. Let us talk about all the history, ingredients, and characteristics of BB cream makeup. Why BB is cream deemed as one of the best Korean makeup (and possibly the best Korean beauty product) ever invented!?


History of BB cream, what is it?

BB creams have been around for quite a long time, but it only recently became a big sensation in the past 7 years. The first BB cream actually came about in 1980 by a German dermatologist when he invented BB cream that resembled more like a concealer than a foundation. BB stood for "blemish balm" and it was a product that was used for patients who needed a scar healing product after a cosmetics surgery. These "prototype" BB creams were thicker in consistency and helped to conceal scars while at the same time sooth, protect, and strengthen the skin. It was like a protective skin care scar cream.


How & when did BB cream become commercialized?

In 2004, celebrity Korean makeup artist, Kim Chung Kyung, used a BB cream product (the brand was not revealed) on an actress because she felt like using BB cream alone could create a perfect "no makeup" look. The actress’ role was an average-looking Korean citizen, which was perfectly illustrated through the no makeup, modest look that Kim intended to create. After the K-drama aired, the actress’ makeup style went viral and everyone was curious to know how Kim created her look. Slowly but surely, more K-drama actors and actresses started to use the very first commercialized BB cream because they wanted to create a natural glowing skin. Thus, BB cream became a popular Korean makeup product. BB cream became increasingly popular because it evolved into an all in one base makeup product, which includes functions such as moisturizing, priming, and concealing. Even today, BB cream sales are still growing and more European and American beauty brands have joined the scene to create a BB cream product that satisfies everyone’s needs – everything all in one. Visit any Korean beauty blogs, Japanese beauty blogs, and Taiwanese beauty blogs, you bet you’ll see something about BB cream!


What is the main ingredient in BB cream makeup?

BB cream contains oxidized Zinc and Iron, which are both ingredients that have extremely good abilities to conceal skin imperfections. It’s also usually water based so that your skin can be hydrated throughout the day. To make it easier for anyone with any skin type to wear the product, the coloration of most BB creams come from minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are chemical elements that reduces redness or sensitive reactions. BB creams are also formulated so that the consistency is very soft to avoid a lot of rubbing of the skin, which could potentially stretch and hurt the skin.


What is the "Perfect" BB cream?

  1. Uses coloration ingredients that are non-comedogenic
  2. Uses ingredients that locks in moisture such as hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, macadamia nut, rose extract oil, etc.
  3. Contains silicone powder to soften the texture of the cream - this prevents pulling and tugging of the skin as it makes the product very blendable

Steps to using BB cream:

Step 1: Use your finger tips and dot the product all over your face and your neck

Step 2: If you need more coverage on areas such as the dark circles, redness around the nose, you can use a second layer to conceal these imperfections

Step 3: Blend the product with a sponge to create a flawless look.

Step 4: Use a transparent setting powder and set the BB cream lightly.

Tips on using BB cream:

  1. Before using BB cream, be sure to moisturize your face with skin care products such as a lightweight and moisturizing skin care toner or skin care essence. This will help hydrate your skin and make the BB cream a lot easier to apply.
  2. Most BB creams do not have enough sun protecting agent in the ingredients, so it’s best to apply facial sunscreen to protect your skin
  3. It’s usually better to apply BB cream with your fingers as the warmth will help the product blend into the skin better.
  4. If you feel that the BB cream is not sticky on your face, you can skip setting it with powder.
    But if you have really oily skin you could definitely use a setting powder especially around the T zone.

Common Misunderstandings & Myths about BB creams:


It’s true that BB cream is probably one of the best inventions. However, there are many misunderstandings surrounding BB cream. Again, using BB cream depends on personal preference and your skin condition


Myth: BB cream is a good way to re-touch your makeup:

If your skin condition is already in pretty good condition or you just want to look "awake," BB cream is a very good choice for base makeup. BB cream is good for everyday makeup if you just want to look that much better. If you want flawless looking skin you’d still have to use makeup foundation and makeup concealer to achieve that look.


Myth: BB cream doesn’t have enough sun protection

BB creams that were made earlier in the years usually do not have enough sun protection agents. If that’s the case with your BB cream (for example, it has SPF lower than 30,) it’s best for you to put on a layer of facial sunscreen before you apply your BB cream. On the contrary, if your BB cream has SPF 30 or above, that should be enough. Don’t put on extra sunscreen because it might suffocate your pores UNLESS you’re out and about at places with high sun exposure like the mountains, beaches, etc.


Myth: BB cream CANNOT replace your skin care routine

Many BB creams have evolved so that they have specific functions such as whitening, anti-aging, and hydrating. However, BB cream cannot be treated as a skin care product.


Myth: BB cream is a moisturizer so you don’t need to remove it

BB cream is still a makeup product even if it also has the abilities of a skin care product. You’d have to go through your normal makeup removal steps and remove it at the end of the day.


Here are some of the BB creams that have the best reviews on our website:

  1. Etude House – Precious Mineral Bright Fit BB cream

    Etude House is one of the biggest Korean makeup / skin care brands that carry a variety of BB creams and this is one of them (To learn more about Etude House, click HERE)


  2. Missha M Perfect BB cream

    This Missha BB cream is affordable and a good choice for beginners. The packaging is also designed so that the product dispenses easily.


  3. Senka Mineral Water BB cream

    This was a product that was in the #ABsweethearts program. This is a good example of a product that has a strong level of SPF. If you are wearing this and not going out to the sun for a long time, this should be enough to protect your skin. Do remember to re-apply every other 4 hours or so to ensure that the SPF protection doesn’t deteriorate.


BB Cream is definitely the go-to makeup product for you if want that no makeup look but don’t need it to be absolutely flawless. BB creams have been so popular in Asia (you will notice that most Korean makeup bloggers and Taiwanese makeup bloggers review them) because they create the illusion of "not wearing any makeup," "I’m naturally this pretty" kind of look. Korean beauty trends and Asian beauty trends like the dewy, natural finish rather than the completely flawless, contoured finish on the face. Again, you should choose carefully what type of BB creams work best for you. Today, BB creams are formulated for different skin types such as oily skin, sensitive skin, dry skin…etc. Ingredients are adjusted to fit different skin needs! Everyone can find their perfect BB cream out there somewhere! A good BB cream is a must have for your Korean makeup / Asian makeup collection!


We will write a separate article in the future about BB cushions, CC cream, DD cream, etc. so don’t forget to follow our Facebook posts to catch the newest Asian beauty related articles!


Original source from: Bella

Content arranged, translated, and reinforced by Jobobo (Note: It took 5 years to find the perfect BB cream for me personally!)

Edited by Secret Korean Skincare Enthusiast KW

Article Published: December 5, 2016


Amabie.com is a review site for Korean makeup, Korean skin care, and other Asian beauty products. It’s the best way to blog and share your Asian skincare reviews!