....now here is the question:
Have you heard of BB cream? If you are Japanese, Chinese, Korean, or have ever lived, visited or worked in Asia then you may have done. If not, then the likelihood is that you haven't.
So, what exactly is BB cream? Well, it's kind of like a hybrid moisturiser / sunscreen / skin perfector all in one. It is meant to give you baby soft skin and covers imperfections whilst making you look as if you were born with airbrushed skin. And that's the point of BB cream, it's like Photoshop in a tube. But it's not a foundation. Nor is it simply a tinted moisturiser. Actually 'BB' stands for 'blemish balm' but BB sounds so much cuter and is probably more marketable.
The reason I've suddenly decided to muse upon this new discovery is because I received a sample or Erborian "BB" Creme au Ginseng the other day here in Brussels whilst buying a mascara (Givenchy Phenomen'eyes, in case you're interested :)). I remember that I'd read about BB cream some time ago but had never given it much thought seeing that it wasn't really readily available in Europe and also I guess I couldn't really imagine what place yet another cream could have in my daily routine. Well, how wrong could I be?
Quite wrong as it turns out.
Erborian is a Korean brand subtitled 'Korean Skin Therapy'. It appears to have made it's main debut in France as most of the information I could find seemed to emanate from French websites and most reviews are by French women. Anyhow, it has managed to find it's way to Belgium and I'm so glad it did.
I was suspicious of this cream. It looked to be quite an ashy beige colour and I couldn't imagine how it was going to work. I applied it sparingly over one side of my face and then saw exactly how it worked. Half of my face was smooth, even toned, radiant and peachy if perhaps ever so slightly paler than the other half. I then applied some to the other side and saw a fresh face before me in the mirror. I really did look as if I had been airbrushed!
I've been using this BB cream for 3 days now and there is still at least 2-3 more applications in the sachet (it's a 1.5ml sachet!). So a little goes a very long way.
This peachy perfection lasts all day. It doesn't slide off like foundation and tinted moisturisers eventually do. Whenever I got a glimpse in a mirror when I was out and about I was amazed at how 'perfect' my skin looked in natural daylight. I'm normally very good at applying my foundation so that it doesn't look like foundation, but somehow this product goes the extra mile and smooths out the texture of the skin too.
This product is, like most BB creams, supposed to improve the condition of the skin over time, a claim I cannot yet verify obviously. A little more research has revealed that the basis for a general BB cream formula was first created by a German plastic surgeon who wanted a product which would heal, soothe and conceal the delicate skin of patients who had undergone cosmetic procedures. The formula found it's way to the Korean cosmetics manufacturers and became an instant hit once women saw it's instant skin smoothing results, results which would normally be achieved using a minimum of 2-4 products.
I think this is a major selling point for BB cream. It can replace moisturiser, primer, SPF, foundation and, in some cases, concealer, thus considerably lightening the product load in your make-up bag and on your face.
If BB cream had been around when I was a teenager I would have fallen to my knees and thanked the heavens. It would have been just what I needed to sort out my sallow, uneven, sometimes spotty skin without piling on make-up which would have been deemed inappropriate for school. Now I'm simply thankful that I've discovered it as I can honestly see a place for it in my life. At the same time it has kind of made my foundation a bit redundant. I still need concealer under my eyes, but generally it has also made my concealer redundant too. Well, that's if I choose to buy it, which, let's face it, I probably will at some point.
There are many other brands of BB cream catering for all budgets, although I admit they may be harder to track down. Ebay may be your friend in these cases.
Here in Belgium the Erborian "BB" Creme au Ginseng is €33 euros. A quick scout on the web has revealed that it's also available at Harvey Nichols in London for £34 and also online at lookfantastic.com and strawberryandcream.com for the same price.
For once, Belgium is cheaper.... yay!