How BB Creams Work

Active Ingredients in BB Creams

Just like foundation, you want the color of the balm to closely match your skin.
Just like foundation, you want the color of the balm to closely match your skin.

There are quite a few BB creams on the market, so you can be sure that not all of them are created equal. The biggest difference between Asian and American brands -- besides the array of skin tones -- is how it works with your skin. Often, the Asian beauty market touts flawless skin as the ultimate goal, so their BB creams are thicker with more of a primer element. some even contain a lightening ingredient. In contrast, Americans beauty trends toward a healthy, outdoorsy look, calling for a more sheer cream that gives your complexion a radiant finish.

In most western BB creams, the main active ingredients are various sunscreens and tints, but a few manufacturers have added other ingredients touting certain properties, such as hyaluronic acid to moisturize and vitamin C to brighten. It's also important to note that some brands have skipped adding SPF to get it on the shelves faster, so be sure to read ingredients list carefully. Some BB creams even boast anti-aging and skin regenerating properties, but experts say to be wary of these claims. The only known skin regenerators are retinoids and even if a BB cream contains them, it's unlikely that it would be in a high enough concentration to work well.

Related Articles


  • "All You Need to Know About BB Creams." Feb. 3, 2012.
  • "Blemish Balm." Aug. 20, 2012.
  • "BB Cream: The Next Big Thing In Beauty?" Jan. 24, 2012.
  • "BB Cream in Canada: How to Choose?" Jan., 2012.
  • "BB Creams: What the Newest Beauty Craze is All About." Nov. 2011.
  • "Multi-Tasking BB Creams Hit The States!" March 19, 2012.