ALL EYES ON | North American BB creams

For those of you that can’t wait until the 16th (online exclusively at for the new Marcelle BB Cream ($22.50 CAD, in stores Feb 6th), here are a few others…

What makes up a BB cream?

The blemish balms that have been sweeping through Asia over the past few years are finally making waves in North American brands, too. These all-in-one bases are lightly tinted to even out the skin, creating a smooth, even base under foundation (or, depending on the brand and shade, replace foundation altogether.)

I’ve also seen “BB” cited as “beauty base,” “beauty balm,” and “blemish base,” but they’ve always been blemish balms in my head. You may recognize them from brands like Skin Food, Dr. Jart, Etude House, Missha, and The Face Shop – and those are just the big ones. BB creams are, more or less, the tinted moisturizers of the other side of the world; sheer foundation with an extra marketing punch. (And, hopefully, an extra-punchy formula, too.)

There are a number of multinationals that do Asia-exclusive BB creams, so perhaps they’ll show up here sometime, too. I know Maybelline, L’Oreal, and Garnier do them, as well as department/boutique brands like La Roche Posay, Dior, Estee Lauder, and Bobbi Brown, so perhaps it’s not too much to hope for! (Note, the Estee one sold here is different from the one sold in Asia; theirs launched earlier and is part of the Cyber White line, not the DayWear range.)

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  • In my head, the BB stands for blemish balm too. If we go further back, it's also referred to as belbesh balms but I feel like that one was a translation error.

  • Marcelle is coming out with a bb cream? exciting news!

    I have to disagree that bb creams are basically tinted moisturizers though. A bb cream from Asia tends to provide fuller coverage, although the marketing and reviews I’ve seen for North American versions seem to make it out to be fancy tinted moisturizer.

    • Hence the, "And, hopefully, an extra-punchy formula, too." :P I definitely agree with you that a good, Asian BB cream will have more coverage, but I can think of a number that (unfortunately), don't! :(

      Crossing my fingers that Marcelle's will be of the former category, and not the latter. It would be great to see a non-sheered-out version of the product, yeah?

  • I've always thought of BB creams as blemish balms too. It's nice to see these finally coming over to North America (and now I'm hoping that quality+affordable sheet masks aren't far behind). Wonder how Marcelle's version is, I love their ad!
    My recent post Hello, Daisy!

    • I'll let you know! ;) Won't be able to speak toward long-term skin improvement ('cones), but I should be able to try it out enough to do a basic review.

  • mostlysunnybunny

    La Roche Posay SO doesn't do BB creams here in Europe! Though I guess it's because nobody would really know what they are! I didn't start getting into makeup till I moved to Belgium though, but this summer when I go back home (Taiwan) I should check BB creams out!
    My recent post FOTD: Glittery Darkhorse and (Accidental) Dramatic Liner with Urban Decay Naked Palette

    • Another Asia-only exclusive, I'm afraid! I'd love to read your BB cream reviews if you ever do them :)

  • I am so bummed we're not getting most of these in Europe, or at least not in Belgium/France. Well we have the Garnier one but it's meh, I was hoping to try at least the Estee Lauder but no, not available. The Asian ones, well the Korean ones at least, often have a weird tint that doesn't work for me. Plus I'm always a bit disturbed by the fact I can't read what's on the packaging lol
    My recent post A Rouge Bunny Rouge FOTD

    • Sorry to hear that, hon! I hope they make their way into Europe soon :)

      And oh my god, I know what you mean. I find it quite unnerving when I can't find myself an ingredient listing, at minimum!

  • Jamilla

    I've got the Clinique and Estee Lauder – interestingly, they are NOT PINK, like the Asian versions I tried out at Honolulu Duty Free! Go figure!

  • I’m SO excited for Marcelle BB Cream! CAN’T WAIT!

  • agree that it would be awesome if I didn’t have to lurk Asian malls with inflated price tags or order online (crossing my fingers that the shade will match) to get a good bb cream!

    • LOL! Yes, it would be :P There was a chunk of time in which I really wanted to try one, but the hassle that it would have been to order one online was a huge deterrent. (And the shipping fees to Canada; my goodness!)

  • Connie

    Wow, I had no idea that Smashbox, Clinique and Estee Lauder all have one now! I knew they had versions in Asia – but it's interesting to see them now in North America! Have you tried any of them? I'm using the one by BRTC right now – texture is not bad, but is slightly ashy on my olive complexion…
    My recent post Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Soup

    • Yep! They're getting quite popular – and fast, too.

      I haven't tried any of them yet, sorry! Haven't been able to find one without 'cones, and it's not exactly fiscally responsible to buy a product that I'd never be able to use just to review it :P

  • I wanted to try the Estee Lauder one, too, and the Smashbox. But if this Marcelle one gets good reviews, I may try that one instead, and rifle through all of your old paraben-free Marcelle posts to see if I can find other stuff to get free shipping :P
    My recent post Yu-Be Foaming Skin Polish

    • Ha! Shouldn't be hard; you'd just need one more item. I've been really into their retractable 3-in-1 liners, recently, if that helps ;)

  • I have never tried a BB Cream mostly because of the way the are marketed here as sort of a frilly tinted moisturizer (of which I already found "the one that I love"—GREASE flashback!). I don't necessarily like the idea of having something that is supposed to be like a skin treatment be combined with a tint/color (not to mention that I have seen so many shades that look grey, what's that about?) because on days when I just want to moist/treat I don't want tint too. My regime doesn't really have room for such a product, but maybe I have it all wrong and I'm just behind the times >.<

    • Huh. I like the idea, but I suppose that's because I'd use it as a tint (and still keep a treatment around). I haven't found a TM to give my summer lovin' to, yet! :P

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  • Rola

    I sampled the EL BB cream, it is quite sheer. Do you know which other ones you mentioned have better coverage? Thanks!
    My recent post Random Sightings of Spring 2012 Makeup Displays

    • I wouldn't know, sorry Rola! You'd probably have the best luck looking for individual reviews of each, if not just looking for a light-coverage foundation, instead. :)


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  • Kristina

    Dior is coming out with a BB cream for the North American market soon too – sometime in the next couple of months… :)

  • I'm really excited about BB creams coming to North America. I've tried the Asian ones, which look great, but tend to be loaded with fragrance. Hopefully, there will be a fragrance free version released soon :)
    My recent post Giveaway Winner + Marc Jacobs &quot;What's In My Bag?&quot;

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  • Shellzdoll

    Cant wait for Marcelle’s BB cream!

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