It was a little under a year ago when I first discovered BB Creams. BB, which stands for everything from Beauty Balm to Blemish Balm, is a newish type of skin coverage that lives somewhere between a foundation and a tinted sunscreen. For the past couple of years, I’ve been weaning myself off of full-on foundation and hitting the lighter tinted sunscreen coverage. This hasn’t been an easy process. It has required me to take REALLY good care of my skin so I require less coverage and to be okay with some flaws showing through.

I love many of the tinted sunscreens I tried, including:

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 at Sephora $42

Josie Maran Tinted Moisturizer at Sephora $38

Stila Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 at Sephora $32

(all of them are awesome, but I especially love using the Stila illuminating version for evenings out)

But the biggest issue with the tinted moisturizing sunscreen was the coverage. Not quite enough…and they would inevitably fade away through the day. I had to apply twice in order to stay fresh.

Not so with the BB Cream. The BB Creams are still light coverage, but because of the multi-layered effect of them (they are said to include moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock as well as having a soothing effect – they were originally formulated to help cover and heal skin post-surgery), they pretty much cover all day…without looking like you are wearing any foundation at all.

In fact, the last time I went for a facial, the aesthetician cleaned off the BB Cream and said, “Wow, your skin is quite uneven underneath your makeup, but I couldn’t tell you were even wearing makeup!” When I told her I was wearing a BB Cream, she winced. They haven’t really gained cred amongst the pros yet.

But the Koreans have known for years what we are starting to discover. BB Cream was invented in Germany in the 1950′s, but gained popularity over the past few years in Korea and was called “the secret of beautiful Korean actresses.” Indeed. I’m actually dying to be invited by Sephora (or the like) on one of their Korean tradeshow buying trips. The skincare and makeup that one of my best friends’ Mom brings her from Korea is completely amazing.

As I mentioned, I have problematic skin. I actually have rosacea and scarring and various levels of discoloration from years of abuse. Though it’s getting better with more rigorous skincare, I need good coverage. But I hate the heavy makeup look of foundation, so I’ve found my salvation in BB Cream. That being said, not all BB Cream works on all skintypes. And for my fair, sensitive, dry and irritated skin, these are the ones that I love the best:

BB Cream Beauty Balm at Marcelle.com $24

Stila Stay All Day 10-In-1 HD Beauty Balm at Sephora $38

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm SPF 20 at Sephora $32

Garnier BB Cream at Well.ca $20

I haven’t tried every single one of the BB Creams, but I didn’t get along with the Dr. Jart versions and I found the Smashbox one to be a little thick (though nice, it looked like full-coverage makeup). My personal favorite is the Marcelle BB Cream, which is now available in SPF 20, but I don’t know if it’s available in the US (maybe online?). I loved the Stila and the Too Faced had a nice glow to it. I was pretty impressed at the Garnier version. It’s pretty cheap in the US ($12-14) and performed well.

So, there you go. Of course, my skin type is personal and you may have better luck with the others. That’s the problem with beauty products, our skin is so particular!

As a little bonus, though, I have to say that I have found a completely different product that I love quite a bit for those days I need a bit more coverage without completely saturating my skin. It’s a bit of a miracle maker. I think it’s because of the Argan Oil and I love pretty much every product by Josie Maran. It is especially nice in the fall/winter because of it’s moisturizing properties. It also matches light:

Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation at Sephora $42

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