BB creams: The quick fix buy for instantly flawless skin

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BB creams are the essence of any make-up bag, but that's only if you get it right. Pick the all-rounders that are tried and tested by Marie Claire.

Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, what on earth did we do before the humble BB Cream became a thing? I have a good idea; we either went full coverage, bare, or somewhere in the middle with a chalky tinted moisturiser that made our skin drier than the desert.

I think the BB cream was the starting point for our obsession with all things Asian skincare; particularly any skin trends and products to come out of South Korea. Flawless, reflective, almost ethereal skin, is the goal in South Korea and, with the countless products that make up their daily skincare routine, they easily achieve that level of perfection they?re after.

A BB cream is known in Asia as a Beauty Balm, or occasionally, a Blemish Balm. Essentially, it’s a one-product-does-everything kind of thing. You?ll find super-hydrating ingredients like shea butter or hyaluronic acid, normally a broad spectrum SPF, and other skin loving ingredients like antioxidants – plus, of course, a touch of pigment to even out your skin tone without looking like you’re wearing a heavy foundation. They’re a tinted moisturiser and then some.

Some women have replaced their entire face kit – including serum, moisturiser and SPF – with their BB. It sounds like a lazy girl’s dream, but I don’t recommend it. A BB serves your skin best when incorporated into your routine and not as a substitute for proper skincare. Korean women use a BB in place of a foundation and that?s how I like to use it too.

Although BB Creams found their market in Korea, it was actually formulated the first time round in Germany in the sixties by Dr. Christine Schrammek, a dermatologist, who needed a product to bridge make-up and skincare for her patients after they had a peel or cosmetic surgery. South Korea was the first to adopt the product and now BB Creams make up 13 percent of their cosmetics market.

Western markets got in on the action in 2012 and now, the BB is a part of our everyday arsenal too. Most brands offer BB options and in plenty more shades than you?re likely to find in South Korea where they favour porcelain skin.

But it doesn’t stop there; spotting a prime marketing opportunity many of the brands overflowing our department store shelves have taken the alphabet theme and run with it. Now you’ll find CC and DD creams too. But, nothing will diminish my fondness for the BB – I wear one every day to work. My everyday BB of choice? The Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water SPF30, £29, which you can read about on the following pages, along with a round up of all the other totally brilliant BB’s that we love.

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