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BB cream user trial

CHOICE puts 10 BB creams to the test with some interesting results.
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01 .Beauty balms


If you believe the makeup manufacturers, it’s time to throw out all your skincare and cosmetics products and replace them with a one-step BB solution. CHOICE puts these new products to the test.

In this report, you'll find:

What is a BB cream?

The claims manufacturers are making about BB creams are astounding: some are miraculous, one nourishes your complexion and protects it from free-radical damage, while another contains ginkgo water and 50 kinds of botanical complexes to help make skin healthy. They one-up each other on the number of products they claim to replace as a five-in-one, all-in-one, or a nine-in-one “super-makeup”. 

According to Paula Begoun, author of the popular Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me guide to cosmetics and creator of the Paula’s Choice skincare and cosmetic line, BB (beauty balm) cream was originally developed in Germany. It was subsequently adopted with great enthusiasm around Asia, and finally spread to the rest of the world.

Many of the BB creams available on the Australian market come in just one, two or three shades. “There’s nothing in the formula that can magically match your skin tone, but Western BB creams tend to be sheer and have a thinner, more lotion-like texture, so it’s easier to match a variety of skin tones when there is less coverage,” says Begoun.

A good-quality BB cream should be a good all-rounder. “If a BB cream is well formulated it should contain beneficial ingredients beyond sunscreen, and sometimes these ingredients [can] improve dark spots, brighten an uneven skin tone, or help further reduce signs of ageing,” says Begoun.

But despite the big claims and fancy advertising campaigns, she doesn’t believe BB creams are in general a revolutionary new product. “A state-of- the-art foundation or tinted moisturiser can do the same [things as a BB cream], so it doesn’t mean BB creams are necessarily better. [Cosmetic companies] are just marketing a name, not a new category of product, at least not in the West.”

Although BB products on the market are available at many price points, we found that more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better - to find out more, check out the results of our user trial.


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