To start off, what exactly is BB cream? With many beauty brands now offering BB cream, the term is vaguely known by most women but largely remains a mystery despite the hype and rave reviews. Couturing is here to answer your questions and to add two L’Oreal BB creams to our Tried and Tested products, which are absolute must-haves for your summer makeup bag.
BB cream – the ‘BB’ standing for blemish balm or blemish base – has appeared in the Western market only in recent years, and so I was surprised to learn that they have been a staple in Asian women’s beauty kits since the 1980s. Packed with antioxidants, BB cream is designed as an all-in-one product to moisturise, even skin tone and to provide sheer makeup coverage. As a result, they are an ideal alternative to foundation, especially for those hot summer days when heavy makeup can feel and look unpleasant. I see it as the superior cousin that tinted moisturiser wishes it could be.
BB creams are sold in generalised hues such as light, medium or dark but since they are designed to oxidise to match your skin tone, don’t be put off by the limited colour range. With this in mind, the colour of BB creams usually change on your skin within the first few minutes of application.
This is certainly the case with the L’Oreal Nude Magique BB Cream ($26.95). From the tube, the product is thin and white with tiny purple particles. As the cream is worked into the skin, its colour self-adjusts to your skin tone and the purple ‘smart pigment capsules’ burst, refining skin texture, tone and any imperfections. This product has a matte but natural finish, creating that natural glow of bare skin, and is available in two colours, Light and Medium.
As a part of the anti-ageing L’Oreal Revitalift Total Repair 10 range (aimed at women aged 35-45), the Revitalift BB Cream ($35.95) is designed for mature-age skin with the additional benefits of firming and smoothing wrinkles, and spot correction. Featuring the renowned anti-ageing active ingredient Pro-Retinol A to smooth wrinkles and Stimulift to naturally firm skin from within, this product works to fight signs of ageing. Packaged in a pressurised pump, half a pump of product is plenty for application of the entire face. The cream has a light, almost mousse-like consistency, and absorbs quickly into the skin. This product has a more dewy finish than the Nude Magique and has a small amount of a perfecting L’Oreal foundation mixed into the formula for slightly more coverage.
Having added SPF like most BB creams, the L’Oreal Nude Magique and Revitalift BB creams have SPF 12 and 15 respectively, which is a bonus in the strong Aussie sun. However, depending on the sensitivity of your skin to the sun, you may want to pack it out with a sunscreen underneath. Furthermore, BB creams provide only sheer coverage, but since they also even out skin tone and imperfections, they create a natural ‘no-makeup’ look. Coverage is buildable, but if this is insufficient, BB cream can also be used over a primer for a more flawless finish or beneath a foundation for fuller coverage.
HOW I USE BB CREAM:
Having tanned Asian skin, the Medium shades in both products suited me best. I found that the best way to apply the Nude Magique was to work it well into the skin with clean fingers, allowing those pigment capsules to burst and for the colour to match perfectly to my skin. The Revitalift BB cream was best applied using a stippling foundation brush (I used MAC #187 Duo Fibre Face Brush, $85) to lightly buff the product into the skin.
In terms of hydration, my normal/combination skin felt well-hydrated throughout the day using the BB creams alone. However, concurrent with my regular skincare routine, I used lightweight products Kiehl’s Yerba Maté Tea Gel-Cream ($44) and Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution ($65) before applying the BB cream.
To finish my everyday summer look, I used Couturing favourites YSL Touche Éclat ($55) to brighten up the eyes and NARS Bronzer in Laguna ($55) to contour the face. I then added a swipe of mascara (L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara, $26.70) and a natural looking lip stain (Benefit BeneTint, $55).
I also found BB cream to be the perfect base for day-to-night makeup. After wearing the above makeup all day, for my night-time look I would layer a lightweight foundation (YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat, $78) on top, and apply a winged eyeliner (Shu Uemura Liquid Glitter Eyeliner) and high-impact lipstick (Illamasqua Lipstick in Magnetism $25 or newly-released Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in The Red $55) for added drama.
My L’Oreal BB creams will be seeing me through my upcoming tropical holiday, and through the rest of the blazing Australian summer when I return. BB cream is a truly versatile product that looks and feels amazing, and unlike many other products, isn’t uncomfortably heavy for your skin. Try it once, and no doubt you will be reaching for it over your foundation every day.
Images by Amanda Wong and L’Oreal Paris.
Special thanks to L’Oreal Paris.