BB creams have been a steady trend that's been going strong for the past few years, and the trend has even been exported from Asia to the West. A lot of these BB creams make very outlandish claims that are not always backed up by their ingredients list, so I thought I'd write a post on what exactly BB creams are, as opposed to how they are marketed. Because, you know, you can't always trust the marketing!
Part One: What are BB creams? Why do they have so much hype?
First, what is a BB cream? Why is it getting so much hype? Well, a lot of this is due to the marketing that goes behind these creams. They look like tinted moisturizer or foundation in tubes, but the marketing that accompanies these products is often crazily hyperbolic. Often BB creams promise a myriad of skincare benefits all at once (the most common combination is typically whitening, anti-wrinkle, and UV protection), which leads to the perception that these creams are good for your skin.
Some of my non-Asian readers may not be as familiar with BB creams, so let me show you how crazy the hype and advertising can be, by looking at some of these ads. I kid you not, they do promise everything and the kitchen sink:
Above, your usual "whitening, anti-wrinkle, and UV protection" spiel. Below, a BB cream that promises to "supply moist and nutritional contents to keep smooth skin tone". I'm not too sure if "nutritional" is the right word...I mean, you don't exactly eat BB cream. Sure, what you put on your skin does affect the condition of your skin, but your skin doesn't really absorb nutrients in the same way that your stomach does, so you can't really supply nutrition to your skin this way. In fact, most of the time, the function of the skin is to act as a barrier between the environment and your innards, and keep germs and other nasties out.
More "triple functional" BB creams, with the usual "whitening, anti-wrinkle, and UV protection" spiel. Many of them, in fact. This one below has some sort of snail extract, which is supposed to have extra skincare benefits. Now I believe you shouldn't knock something til you've tried it, but I can't help thinking that it's just a bit gross. Snails = gross, slimy creatures. Do not want on face!
And this one below, besides your typical "whitening, anti-wrinkle, and UV protection" sales message, there is also some anti-pimple skincare promise too ("zero trouble").
Contributing to the hype is the fact that some BB cream brands advertise themselves as having natural or organic ingredients, thus furthering the marketing story. As an example, this one below has "15 natural extracts an nutritious ingredients" for "added skincare benefits". Once again, I'm not sure exactly how BB cream (or any makeup product for that matter) can be nutritious to your skin.
Of course, now that Western brands have jumped on the bandwagon, they're no different. 8-in-1 skincare benefits? Really? Sheesh.
Part Two: Why write a post on BB creams?
Now that we're all on the same page on BB creams and what they are, the reason why I decided to write this post is because I feel like given the disproportionate amount of beauty claims these creams are making, most of these BB creams don't actually live up to the hype. In fact, some can actually aggravate acne and sensitive skin.
BB creams have quite the cult following here in Asia, so I might end up getting slammed or seeing some snarky comments on Twitter (it's happened before), so let me caveat: I'm not saying ALL BB creams suck, and I'm not saying ALL BB creams will aggravate sensitive skin. Some brands have better formulation than others, and some brands have more restrained marketing than others, so like any other beauty product, you will find those that live up to the hype, and those that just plain suck. But I'm just making the point that 1) BB creams make a LOT of skincare promises for a cosmetic product (seriously, do most foundations or tinted moisturizers make as many skincare claims?); and 2) Not all these claims can be trusted based on the ingredients in these products. I just felt that, as a blogger, I kind of owe it to my readers to at least say something about this, rather than keep silent.
To illustrate my point, we'll take a look at the ingredients for some popular BB creams, and see what conclusions we can draw from the available information back there (back when I was in University working on my MSc paper, this process was called a literature review, LOL). I know many BB cream fanatics can't stand the thought of it being pointed out that maybe that $50 BB cream isn't all it's cracked up to be, so as always, I'm backing up what I say with reference to the ingredients lists.
Part Three: Let's Analyse!
First, let's start off by looking at the ingredients lists of a random sampling of BB cream brands. I've lined up 15 (yes FIF-freaking-TEEN, man) BB creams for us to take a look at. I didn't have any particular bias towards/against any brand, I just picked out ingredients lists that were available online, and whatever was readily available at the drugstore.
Because BB cream ingredients lists are often very, very long, and because ingredients lists are listed in descending amounts (meaning the first ingredient is the largest single ingredient, the second is the next largest component and so on), I will just look at the first 10 ingredients, since they are the ones that make up the bulk of the product anyway. This isn't the most rigorous way to analyze ingredients, of course, but for our not-so-scientific purposes it's good enough. The rest of the ingredients (especially those after the preservatives) tend to be present in small amounts, anyway. In fact, one of my favourite sites, The Beauty Brains (written by cosmetic chemists - love them!), notes that "the first 5 ingredients are the ones that matter the most". There are a few exceptions like colouring pigments and preservatives. But for skincare ingredients, unless you have a prescription product like retinoid (which I've never ever seen in a BB cream), most ingredients, particularly the humectant and botanical ingredients advertised by most BB creams (e.g. jojoba oil, green tea extract, this-and-that-botanical oil/extract), actually need to be present in good amount before they can effect significant change on their skin. So if we're assessing whether there are significant skincare benefits in BB creams, it's a fair rule of thumb to look for said skincare benefits in the first 10 ingredients. If they're not there, then the benefits could be there, but chances are, they're likely minimal.
Ready everyone? Got your seatbelts fastened? Know where the life vests are stored, and know where the emergency exits are? Good - let's roll! It's gonna be a long ride!
1. Face Shop Hydro Splash BB Cream
Let's start with a Face Shop one. Your typical Korean drugstore brand!
Water, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat, Dimethicone, Talc, etc
The first thing I thought was, my, this has a lot of silicones! Indeed out of the first 10 ingredients on the list, 3 of them (Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone) are silicones. Not all silicones aren't bad for the skin (Dimethicone is alright), but some people are sensitive to silicones, especially the newer, fancier types (Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane). Also, other than the glycerin, there isn't really any moisturizing or otherwise skin beneficial ingredient. To be fair, the Face Shop doesn't promise anything other than moisture.
The second thing I thought was, "this reads like the ingredients list of a foundation!" Yep. It is. Wanna see? Here are the ingredients for Lorac's Oil-Free Anti-Aging Foundation:
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 5%, Titanium Dioxide8.85%.
Other Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Isononyl Isononanoate, BehenylDimethicone, Titanium Dioxide, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Talc, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Glyceryl Ethylhexanoate/Stearate/Adipate, etc.
There is some similarity in the few ingredients (Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Titanium Dioxide) which make up most of both of the product. If BB creams were as radically different from foundation/tinted moisturizer/other skin-hating cosmetics as the advertising for BB creams tends to say, then you'd expect that there would be a greater difference between the two, ingredients-wise.
Also let's check out the Boots No 7 Stay Perfect Foundation ingredients:
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS - Octinoxate 5%, Titanium Dioxide 1.6%
INACTIVE INGREDIENTS - Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Talc, Mica, Ethylhexyl stearate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Silica, Butylene glycol, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, etc.
Again, some similarities in the main ingredients of both products (Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Talc, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Butylene glycol). But at least the top few ingredients are not likely to give you break outs or anything like that.
So as you can see, just because a company slaps "BB Cream" in big bold letters on a packaging, it doesn't mean it's super radically different from a non-BB cream product, like a foundation or tinted moisturizer. As we've seen from reading up on the ingredients list, it's really a little bit of a marketing ploy. Clearly they're not dupes, but there are similarities.
Was that fun? We're just getting started! Let's go on to the next one:
2. SHILLS Super Magic 6 in 1 BB Cream
SHILLS is a Taiwanese brand, and tends to put out products that follow trends. Here, it's hopped on to the BB cream bandwagon.
Water, Beeswax, Dimethicone, Silica, Cyclomethicone, Tocopherol, Titanium Dioxide, Talc, CI 77491, CI 77492, etc.
Once again, this has a lot of silicones (Dimethicone, Silica, Cyclomethicone). Also, beeswax and tocopherol are both ingredients that could be moderately clogging for some people. Looking at the ingredients list, I doubt there is any real skincare benefit from this product - there are some beneficial ingredients (Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate) that appear further down the ingredients list, but they're most likely in low concentrations and may not be sufficient to make a difference.
Let's do another one! The next one is the....*drumroll*
3. Hans Skin BB Total Cream
Hans Skin is a very prestigious brand of BB creams hailing from Korea. They usually charge premium prices for their BB creams. This one was a little tricky because I had to google translate this from Korean (the things I do for you guys), and then translate the translation, so yeah, it's a bit of a challenge!
Water, Butylene glycol, Dimethicone, benzoic acid alkyl (C12 - 15), glycerin, lauric acid, isopropyl myristate, PEG/PPG-14/14 Dimethicone, olive oil, sodium chloride etc.
The first thing that stands out to me, is the isopropyl myristate. Isopropyl myristate is a big no-no for me, as it's extremely clogging! On me personally it's the stuff which causes pimples within a week. Anyway, otherwise, this is neither here nor there skincare-wise. Nothing else strikes me as unusual, however I think the "olive oil" translation wasn't too accurate. Probably more of olive oil fatty acid or extract or something (I think the exact phrase was 히알론산 - anyone knows Korean wanna help?).
4. Skin79 Hot Pink BB Cream
Skin79 is a Korean brand that has quite the range of BB creams - they and BB creams are like MAC and eyeshadows, they just have soooo many types. (If you don't believe me, just google.) This one had its ad featured in Part One, and now we'll take a look at its ingredients.
Water, Titanium Dioxide, Propylene Glycol, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Isopropyl Palmitate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butylene Glycol, Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Sweet Almond Oil, etc.
Isopropyl palmitate in my BB cream? Ugh, no thanks. Isopropyl palmitate is used to make the texture of a product nicer, but can be very clogging for those who are sensitive to it. This, and isopropyl myristate, are the two huge no-nos for anything I am buying for myself. Otherwise, it's mostly the same old, same old. Water, UV filters (e.g. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate), solvents (e.g. Propylene Glycol), silicones (e.g. Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone) - you start seeing the ingredients lists looking familiar after awhile. Here there is also sweet almond oil, which is usually harmless and added as a moisturizing ingredient, but may be mildly or moderately clogging for a minority of people. But for most, this would be just fine - it's actually quite popular as a skincare ingredient.
I think we are almost one-third through the ride, so let's keep on and move to the next one:
5. Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++
Another one we're doing that has really braggy ads. Missha is also a Korean brand - in Korea it's more of a drugtore brand than anything else, as opposed to say, Hans Skin. Let's take a look at this BB cream and see what it actually does.
Water(Aqua), Cyclomethicone, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Zinc Oxide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Mineral Oil, Phenyl Trimethicone, Talc, Arbutin, Hydrolyzed Collagen, etc.
Once again, the same few ingredients - it starts getting a tad repetitive after awhile. Water, silicones (Cyclomethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone), UV filters (here you also see Zinc Oxide, a physical filter, in addition to the usual Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate). There is also mineral oil, which is a little strange, as most BB creams don't really contain mineral oil (this is so they can advertise themselves as "mineral oil free"). Mineral oil isn't actually clogging, although some people (like myself) can still be sensitive to it. Meanwhile, we also see the addition of Arbutin (whitening agent popular in Asian brands), and things like Collagen (doesn't actually penetrate your skin, by the way, so all it does is just sit on top of your skin). If you actually look at the ingredients, the ceramide, chamomile, etc advertised ingredients only appear halfway through the long, long ingredients list. Not exactly honest advertising, but they are there in some amount.
6. Tony Moly Whipping BB Cream
Tony Moly is also a Korean brand, and is a rather upscale brand in Korea, although not so much in the rest of Asia. This is its "Whipping" BB cream, in mousse form, and you apply it with a brush. This is supposed to be some sort of innovation from Tony Moly, but seriously, this looks exactly like the Maybelline Dream Mousse Foundation or whatever it was.
Noone seems to have put the ingredients list for this online, so yours truly has done so. See how much I love you guys!
If you zoom in on the first 10 ingredients on the list, you'll see that it's basically just a bunch of silicones, cross-polymers (they probably mixed them up to get just the right texture), and other things like titanium dioxide and mica. Basically, stuff to make the texture of the product nice, and some UV protection. Once again, the actual skin-benefitting stuff doesn't come in til much later in the ingredients list, in lower concentrations.
Just for fun, I found the ingredients for the Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation on this blog, and I thought I'd compare how the ingredients are:
As you can see, there are some similarities, although one is a foundation, and one is a BB cream. Both are rather silicone-heavy (cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, what-have-you). I imagine both would have a similar feel and texture on the skin.
7. Rachel K CC Cream
Rachel K is something of a beauty pageant girl-turned-minor celebrity, and naturally she has her own skincare line that she fronts. If you've seen the ads for her CC cream, you'll know she also uses her beauty queen looks to advertise her own line - she's literally in every ad with a human face. (She's also the most controversial pageant girl Singapore has ever produced, having admitted that she had gone for breast enhancement surgery, and also having photos of her performing a mock sexual act on a questionable-looking cake surface after having won the title - I'm not going into more details, because this blog is PG, but the information is all public.) Her brand bills the CC Cream as the next generation BB cream, and also as "The Beauty Queens' Makeup Secret". So I guess after that will be the DD cream, EE cream, FF cream and so on. Can I make an LOL cream?
If you've seen the packaging for the CC cream (above), you'll also notice that it promises a lot of benefits (and I quote directly from the box) - whitening, "collagen" (I guess they mean plumper skin), "nourishing" (what is this idea with skins needing nourishment? Skin does not equal stomach!), moisturizing, wrinkle improvement, UV protection, and waterproof (not a skincare benefit but a useful feature anyhow). Now how do the ingredients list stack up against those claims?
Once again, no available ingredients list online, so once again, yours truly has gone ahead to help, using the wonders of iPhone photography:
Looking at the first 10 ingredients, we can see that it basically consists of silicones, cross-polymers (both for product slip and texture), and glycerin, which is the only ingredient with any real skincare benefit (it helps to moisturize). I was a little bit alarmed to see 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, a sunscreen filter, in there, as it can be potentially irritating. There really isn't any ingredient in here that is "collagen", or that would increase the amount of collagen in your skin, or whitening, or "nourishing", whatever that is. There is some UV protection, though, with the titanium dioxide. Again, the actual skin-benefitting stuff (e.g. Hyaluronic acid) only appear in low concentrations in the product, and are much further down the in the ingredients list.
Thus, we can see that sometimes, the skincare benefits of BB creams (or in this case a CC cream) can be rather exaggerated. I'm personally not sure what the difference between this CC cream and other BB creams are - the ingredients aren't all that different. It seems more like a marketing ploy to me.
8. Skin79 Vital Super+ BB cream
I know we already did a Skin79 one, but these guys seriously have TONS of BB creams (I did say they and BB creams are like MAC and eyeshadows!). You'll see at least 5 or 6 of their stuff walking into a drugstore. I did say I'm doing a random sample, so it's no surprise we're looking at more than one Skin79 product. This particular one promises whitening and wrinkle improvement.
Again, I couldn't find the ingredients list online, so here you go. Usually Skin79's ingredients lists are pretty easy to find, but for some reason I couldn't find this particular one.
As with most BB creams, if you look at the first 10 ingredients you'll find the usual silicones, glycerin, emulsifier (dipentaerythrityl hexahydroxystearate), UV filters (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) and polymers. But what also worried me was the isopropyl palmitate, which was number 6 in the ingredients list. Like I said, I avoid the ingredient like the plague, because it can be clogging. Once again, I don't see any whitening ingredients or any other skin-beneficial ingredients (other than glycerin) until ingredient number 13 (sweet almond oil, which even then can be mild-to-moderately clogging for some people). So, based on the ingredients list, any whitening benefit is limited - instead, this BB cream is much more likely to give you pimples!
That was gross, wasn't it? Now let's try another one.
10. Skin79 Intense Classic Balm
Yet another of the many Skin79 BB creams available. The packaging (black box) is really sleek and pretty. But what about the ingredients?
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Titanium Dioxide, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 dimethicone, 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, Silica, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, etc.
Although both are Skin79 BB creams, the formulation has some differences. Most importantly, the first 10 ingredients do not have isopropyl palmitate. Otherwise, it's the usual BB cream soup of water, glycerin, silicon,solvents, emulsifiers, and UV filters. Also, 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, a sunscreen filter, can be potentially clogging too.
11. Pure Beauty Jasmine Water BB Cream
Alright, a non-Skin79 BB cream! Ooh, fancy jasmine water, and also the BB cream claims to correct skintone and repair wrinkles, in addition to UV protection. Let's see how the ingredients list stacks up.
Water, Titanium Dioxide, Glycerin, Glycol, Cyclomethicone, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, Jasmine Water, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 dimethicone, etc.
The first 10 ingredients are predictable: water, glycerin, UV filters, solvents, silicones. At least they do indeed include jasmine water as one of the key ingredients (it's number 7 on the list), so at least the marketing isn't lying. Although I doubt water vs jasmine water makes much difference to the skin. And, I'm not sure that I see any anti-wrinkle or skintone correcting ingredients in the list, other than maybe the moisturizers and sunscreen components (which is really more of a preventative measure).
12. Dr Jart Black Label Detox Healing Blemish Base
Ooh, fancy black label. Dr Jart is one of the premier BB cream brands, from Korea, so this should be good right? And it promises to detox your skin and heal blemishes! Let's see, shall we?
Water, Proplyene Glycol, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamage, Butylene Glycol, Dicaprylate/Dicaparate, etc.
Once again, like most other BB creams, this one is mostly water, solvents, UV filters (both physical and chemical), and silicones. The notable thing here is the addition of Sweet Almond Oil (again, usually harmless but may be mildly or moderately clogging for some people). But there is also the addition of isopropyl palmitate, a highly clogging ingredient. So not only does this BB cream not contain any detoxing ingredients, it's actually much more likely to worsen any acne than help it! Although it markets itself as blemish healing, I'd be very wary of it.
13. Sasatinnie BB Cream
This is one of the cheaper BB creams from Hong Kong - Sasatinne is the house brand of Sasa, a Hong Kong-based retailer of significant presence in the region. This is Sasa's attempt to join in the fray with an affordable product. Let's take a look.
Once again, no ingredients I could find online, so here you go! I realized the price tag is still on. Oops. Good enough for us to see the first half of the ingredients though!
One of the things I'm noticing is that regardless of how branded or expensive a BB cream is, the main ingredients all tend to be the same. Once again, we see water, silicones, UV filters, solvents, and so on, and so on. Man, this is getting boring, isn't it? And as usual, the skin-helping stuff isn't anywhere in the first half of the list. Unless they're hidden under the price tag.
14. Cyber C'kin Power White CC Cream
Ah, another step along the inevitable evolution towards my LOL cream. This one claims "high whitening potency". You know me, you know I like to look at the facts. So let's look at the facts.
The usual water, solvents, silicones, and UV filters, and lots of stuff to make the texture nice, like emulsifiers etc (cetyl ethylhexanoate, lauroyl-lysine, polyglyceryl-3 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone). Squalane helps to moisturize skin, though, so that's a good addition. But I'm not sure I see anything that will "Power White" your skin.
15. Etude House BB Magic Cream SPF30 PA++
Etude House is also a Korean brand, and is known for its girly range of makeup, skincare, and nail polish heavily endorsed by Korean celebrities, both male and female. I'm actually a big fan of their nail poishes! But their BB creams? Well, let's take a look:
Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Propylene Glycol, 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, Titanium Dioxide, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Mineral Oil, Butylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Isopropyl Myristate, etc.
Once again, we have water, solvents, UV filters, and other emollients and stuff to make the texture nice. As usual, I'm not a fan of Mineral Oil (it's harmless for the most part, but for some reason my skin doesn't like it), and Isopropyl Myristate, which is very clogging. Also, 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, one of the UV filters in the BB cream, is also potentially clogging. So there is a lot of stuff here that could aggravate sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Part Four: Drawing Conclusions
Now that we've looked at not one, or two, but FIFTEEN (let me say it again, FIF-freaking-TEEN, man!) BB creams across a range of brands, there are probably some conclusions we can safely draw from the ingredients lists we have seen:
1. BB creams are heavy on the silicones, and chemical UV filters, so they may not be suitable for those who have skins sensitive to either ingredient.
One of the common things across the BB creams is the sheer amount of silicones present in them. Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, BehenylDimethicone, all sorts of -cones and -xanes in there. And the UV filters are always almost chemical - ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor etc. Not everyone is sensitive to silicones or chemical UV filters, and for the most part, both are safe. But if you are, BB creams may not be the best thing for you. Like any other product, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. No product is, since everyone's skin is different.
2. BB creams generally do not offer much skincare benefit other than moisture and limited UV protection.
Most BB creams promise whitening, anti-wrinkle, skin-evening properties, but really, if you look at the ingredients lists, there isn't really any ingredient that really would help to resurface skin or decrease wrinkles.
The main skincare benefit is moisturization, and UV protection (through UV filters such as ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor), and some ingredients that help to provide moisture (glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, dipentaerythrityl hexahydroxystearate).
Even then, the UV protection is likely to be somewhat limited. Most BB creams don't indicate how much sun protection is offered - not all BB creams have an SPF or a PA value on its packaging. So it's definitely not a product I'd recommend in lieu of sunscreen. As I've mentioned before in my sunscreen tips post, a moisturizer or foundation that advertises UV protection isn't going to provide sufficient sun protection, especially if you have high sun exposure. But I'll stop nagging here - if you're interested go read my sunscreen post.
3. BB creams and CC creams aren't that different. Also, there isn't all that much difference between a high-end BB cream and a low-end one.
Interestingly enough, the range of ingredients used in formulating BB creams seems to be rather narrow - each BB cream by and large consists of the same few things - water, silicones, emulsifiers, solvents, etc. You know the drill by now. Thus, although there is some variance, there isn't too much difference between the ingredients used by expensive BB creams and cheaper ones. In fact, in my opinion, some of the expensive ones could potentially use ingredients that are clogging or irritating to sensitive skin. I guess the best way to know for sure is to know your ingredients, and check the formulation before you buy, rather than relying on brand name or advertising.
Also, when we look at the ingredients lists, we see that BB creams and CC creams in general don't seem to have much differences in formulation, if any. It's really more of a marketing play to me. I have a hunch that the next BB cream wave, which will be by then the DD cream (or whatever it is called by then) won't be all that different from the BB cream, either. (Man, I should go and develop my LOL cream right now!)
4. BB creams are also not all that different from some foundations.
One of the interesting things I've found is that when I take a BB Cream's ingredient list, and show it to someone knowledgable about skincare and makeup, without telling them what the product is, the responses I get are usually, "What foundation is this? So many silicones!" or "That's a foundation with a really long ingredients list!" or something similar.
Thus, when I began this BB cream ingredients post, I decided also not to just look at BB cream ingredients in isolation, but also to see whether they were really truly different from normal foundations in a meaningful way. After all, one of the main reasons why BB creams have so much hype is that they are somehow "better" - more natural, less clogging, more skincare benefits etc - from normal foundations. This is why consumers are drawn to them like moths to a flame. After all, who doesn't want a product that hides your flaws, gives your skin a nice finish, AND is good for your skin?
Unfortunately, I've yet to find such a product. And as our examination of BB creams has shown, some BB creams aren't that different from foundations. Sometimes the difference is more of a marketing ploy than any meaningful, fundamental change in formula. The main difference I noted is that foundations are more likely to use mineral oil in their formulations, while BB creams tend to use silicones instead. But of course, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule. I honestly can't draw any line where foundation country ends and BB cream territory begins, because the two overlap so much, ingredients-wise.
In fact, while doing my online research, I found a couple of foundations that have ingredients list that don't differ that radically from those of BB creams. In fact, I'm guessing with a couple of minor changes to the formula (or in fact, without any changes to formula, for that matter), any of them could be repackaged as BB creams, and noone would know the difference. It just goes to show that there really isn't all that much difference between the two. Just check these out:
Topshop Skin Tint:
MAIN INGREDIENTS: WATER (AQUA), DIETHYLHEXYL CARBONATE, ETHYLHEXYL STEARATE, DIISOSTEAROYL POLYGLYCERYL-3 DIMER DILINOLEATE, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, MICA, MICROCRYSTALLINE WAX (CERA MICROCRISTALLINA), HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, CETYL PEG/PPG-10/1 DIMETHICONE, etc.
Rimmel Renew & Lift With Hyaluronic Serum Foundation:
MAIN INGREDIENTS: AQUA/WATER/EAU, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, GLYCERIN, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, CETYL PEG/PPG-10/1 DIMETHICONE, ISONONYL ISONONANOATE, TALC, PHENYL TRIMETHICONE, HYDROGENATED POLYISOBUTENE,etc.
Donny Grayson Perfect Finish Liquid Foundation w/SPF15:
Active Ingredient: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate 7.5%
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Polydecene, Talc, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Dilaurate, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, etc.
The Last Word
Whew. That was one loooong post, and if you made it this far, congratulations, and you have the patience of a saint! I thought my post on Asian undertones was long, but man, this takes the cake by far! I guess once you look at fifteen products at once, it can't be helped. But I hope someone found this useful! That would make all the research, photographing, and post-writing worthwhile!
At the end of the day, regardless of the hype, BB creams are fundamentally makeup products, and shouldn't be confused for skincare. Most BB creams market themselves as some sort of miracle panacea for your skin - not only do they function like a cosmetic product, they often promise skincare benefits too. But for the most part, they are really no more than glorified foundations or tinted moisturizers, as an examination of their ingredients lists have shown. We need to evaluate BB creams just like any other makeup and skincare product - and that is by the facts, not the marketing. So good luck in your BB cream hunting and buying, as I know it can be a jungle out there! I hope you find this post useful as you search for the perfect one! Share | | |