The so-called Swiss army knife of skincare—BB cream—has arrived en masse to simplify American beauty routines
Just when it seems Americans are completely addicted to homegrown beauty ideals, a game-changing influence sneaks in from Asia. It’s hard to miss the BB creams currently infiltrating beauty counters at a rapid rate, culminating in a critical mass of deluxe launches this spring. But what is BB cream? “BB cream, or ‘beauty balm,’ is a skincare phenomenon that originated in Germany for laser-surgery patients who needed to protect, soothe and refine highly sensitive skin while providing light coverage for post-laser scars, acne and other blemishes,” says Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza, cofounder of Budapest’s Omorovicza, which this month launched the first silicone-free formula, BB SPF 20, with encapsulated hyaluronic acid, revitalizing amino acids, zinc oxide, vitamins B and C and ruby crystals for optical blurring of imperfections.
But Germany wasn’t where BB creams—with their multifaceted priming, moisturizing, anti-aging, brightening, SPF and foundation assets—really took off; Asian actresses began touting the heroic product responsible for their porcelain complexions, and soon the demand there was deafening. De Omorovicza likens the crossover to the way mineral powders shifted from the US to Europe, plus “chatter on the Internet. It is now available in the US because the concept resonates with so many customers,” she says. “It is a natural progression of merging treatment with coverage.”
Take Garnier’s new BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector—the most affordable version—a non-greasy tinted moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, promising a more even, glowy and smooth complexion immediately. Department store labels Estée Lauder (antioxidant-packed, oil-free DayWear BB Cream SPF 35), Clinique (medium-coverage Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30) and Dior (dark spot-targeting, lightweight Diorsnow UV Shield BB Crème SPF 50 PA+++) are also new to the US arena. Boscia’s take on the product also known as ‘blemish balm’—B.B. Cream SPF 27 PA++—offers a self-adjusting universal shade that repairs, moisturizes and provides broad-spectrum sun protection sans parabens. Says de Omorovicza, “BB cream is right for anyone who would like to simplify their skincare regime while getting the same results typically achieved with multiple products.”