Thursday, 2 February 2012

Beauty Trend: North American Brands Jump on the BB Cream Bandwagon!

As many of you will remember, several of my posts from last year inspected a fascinating phenomenon- that of the BB cream. I was captivated as I learned about this potential beauty panacea; what more could one ask for (superficially speaking) than a product that improves skin as it conceals imperfections, provides sun protection, and controls oil? An interesting beauty trend indeed!

Through my exploration of this growing cosmetics trend, I researched and tested out several Korean BB creams, ultimately settling on Missha's Perfect Cover BB Cream (reviewed here:, which has become a regular in my beauty arsenal. Recently, it seems that the North American market has begun to take note of the prominence of BB Creams in Asia, and has worked to transport that trend to domestic shores. The result? Several North American brands have launched BB Creams (or are soon to do so) that similarly offer a plethora of beauty benefits, specifically targeted for the American (or, on this side of the border, the Canadian) woman.

I did some investigation into these new products, and have outlined 5 of them for you below. I haven't tested any of yet (but am in the process of scoring samples!), so what I have to offer at the moment are my impressions of the formulations, benefits, and (sometimes outlandish) claims of these up-and coming products. I've also added my two cents about what seems promising and what could lead to disappointment about each. I hope you find them helpful!

1) Clinique: Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30
I have not yet spotted Clinique's new Age Defense BB Cream in Canada, but I believe it has been on the U.S. and international markets for some time now. Marketed primarily as an anti-aging and antioxidant-rich formulation, it comes in 2 shade and retails for $37 USD. Both of the shades are suited for fair to light skin (one for pink and one for yellow undertones), which I think would significantly limit the range of women who could wear this product without looking ghost-like! It is, however, touted as being suitable for all skin types, so at least dry-skinned and oily gals can partake! Aside from wrinkle and free radical-thwarting benefits, Clinique claims that their BB Cream offers enough coverage to effectively conceal imperfections, while it also serves as a primer for any makeup applied on top.

The Promising: I appreciate that Clinique isn't touting this as a "miracle" product offering dozens of outlandish claims. The description of "weekend makeup in a minute" sounds like a realistic moniker, as BB creams in general do offer sun protection, moisturization, and coverage in one quick step. Also, this BB cream seems to offer a decent level of SPF!

The Disappointing: With only two shades to offer, this product should not be suitable for those with medium-to-dark skin tones. I am always disappointed to see a limited range of shades because all ladies deserve to indulge in a good BB cream! :)
Promo photo for Clinique BB Cream

2) Smashbox: Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35
I recently spotted Smashbox's BB Cream at Sephora here in Toronto, and was quick to grab a sample. I opted for "Light" (the second lightest of 4 available shades), and am hoping to test-run the formula soon! Camera Ready BB Cream is slightly more expensive than Clinique's offering at $39 USD (approximately $50 CAD at Sephora), and is encased in a sleek black squeeze tube. Smashbox boasts that this product is the "5-in-1 secret for achieving flawless skin", as it multitasks as a moisturizer, primer and sunscreen while it masks imperfections and controls oil. Taken together, these 5 benefits work in tandem to produce a "glowing, ethereal look". Hey, who wouldn't want to their skin to look beautifully cosmic and angelic? :) Additionally, this product claims to be appropriate for all skin types and to offer buildable coverage (sheer to moderate, based on the density of application).

The Promising: Even though there are only 4 shades to choose from, the options range from Fair to Dark, covering a larger span of skin tones than most BB creams. Plus, with SPF35, it offers a decent amount of sun protection!

The Disappointing: The price of this BB Cream is rather steep. I would not shell out nearly $50 unless it truly lives up to its "ethereal" skin promise!

Promo photo for Smashbox BB Cream

3) Estee Lauder: Day Wear Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Creme SPF 35
This product is also rather pricey (at $38 USD) and comes in 2 shades (light and medium), which are supposed to suit a range of skin tones. It is said to contain a potent combination of Estee Lauder's "super antioxidant complex" and a high SPF to protect skin; in fact, this BB Cream boasts the brand's "most effective antioxidant power ever". An impressive (yet largely untestable) claim, indeed! Aside from the antioxidant overload, Day Wear BB Cream promises a light-weight finish that can be worn alone or under foundation, oil-free hydration and oil control, suitability for all skin types, and the promotion of an "instant even-toned, healthy look". Who doesn't want to achieve a more healthy glow?

The Promising: This BB Cream offers a decent level of SPF protection and the shades (albeit only 2) should make this product suitable for all ladies with fair-to-medium skin tones. Plus, an oil-free formulation makes this an attractive option for those with combination or oily skin types.

The Disappointing:  Again, ladies with darker skin tones will most likely not find a good match with this product. Also, the extreme claims of superlative antioxidant powers is a bit off-putting.

Promo Photo for Estee Lauder BB Creme, from

4) Marcelle: BB Cream (a plain and simple title!)
Marcelle's offering is marketed as a "beauty balm" (rather than "blemish balm", the typical Asian label) with 8-in-1 benefits for the skin. In particular, it is meant to even skin tone, moisturize instantly and over the long term, protect against aging and environmental stressors, promote skin regeneration, mattify and reduce shine, soothe and calm skin, minimize pores and imperfections, and act as a radiance-enhancing makeup base. Phew, that was a mouthful! Additionally, Marcelle claims that their BB Cream is appropriate for any age and every skin type, and is particularly suited to the "needs of Canadian women". It comes in 2 shades that the brand says will be suitable for many skin tones, as the specialized pigments in the product (magically) adapt to your individual shade. This particular product is not yet on market (so I could not find a price), but you'll be able to track it down at your local drugstore as of Feb 6th!

The Promising: Marcelle is one of my favourite skincare lines, particularly because it is affordable, cruelty-free, and suitable for my sensitive, finicky skin. I can only hope that their BB Cream will be likewise wallet- and skin-friendly.

The Disappointing: Again, even if this formula is meant to adapt to your individual shade (which suggests it has a rather sheer finish), the offering of only 2 shades does not bode well for it being suitable for many skin tones. Plus, this product does not appear to offer sun protection, which is super uncommon for a BB Cream. Despite its 8-in-1 claims, the lack of SPF may leave some consumers wanting more out of this product.

Promo pic for Marcelle BB Cream

5) Garnier: Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream SPF 15
Finally, Garnier's contribution to this beauty trend is one that claims to be "Canada's first BB Cream!" I'm not sure just how coveted this title was, but impressive nonetheless! Their Miracle Skin Perfector is offered in 2 shades: Medium Light and Dark Medium, which aim to suit a wide array of skin tones. It boasts 5 major skin benefits, including hydration, treatment of wrinkles and other skin imperfections, sun protection, the evening of skin tone and the promotion of brighter skin. Additionally, it features mineralized colour pigments and the inclusion of vitamin C, a skin care ingredient known for brightening and rejuvenating the complexion. I've spotted this recently at Shoppers Drug Mart, where it costs between $15-20 CAD. Rather pricey for a drug store product, but still more affordable than many similar creams!

The Promising: Being available at Shoppers, this product will be a budget-friendly and easily accessible option for those hoping to test out a BB Cream for the first time. Plus, it includes a shade suitable for medium to dark skin tones, which is more than many other BB Creams can claim!

The Disappointing: With only an SPF of 15, this BB Cream offers much lower sun protection than most others on the market. This would definitely be a weakness for summertime or for those with sun-sensitive or pigmentation-prone skin. Also, with only 2 available shades, it is likely that many ladies won't be able to find an appropriate colour match, no matter how sheer the formula.

Promo Pic for Garnier BB Cream

Well, there you have it! I hope that this overview has given you some insight into how North American companies have formulated and marketed their own westernized versions of BB Cream! All eager to jump on the bandwagon, drug store and high-end brands alike have indeed taken strides to introduce this "miracle" product to Canadian and American audiences. Whether you view these new formulations as breakthroughs in skincare science or merely rip-offs of products that the Asian market has already perfected, hopefully these new offerings will pique your interest in the BB Cream beauty trend. I would love to hear the experiences and opinions of anyone who has tried any of these products!

As always, thanks for reading! :)

1 comment:

  1. I loved BB creams.. Somehow I felt like they were healing my skin from all the pimples. I tried a few other non Korean brands found locally but they could not compare at all =/


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