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  • BB Creams: Hip or Hype?

    Annet KingIf you are anything like me, then the much-hyped marketing term “BB Cream” makes you want to roll your eyes just a bit, which of course you’d never do in front of a client! For those of us who have been at this party for a while, we’ve weathered all kinds of promotional puff over the years – from stretch mark creams that supposedly erase wrinkles, to gadgets that zap hairs and pimples to the latest crop of glued on everything from lashes to nail art to tooth gems! But we can’t ignore the popularity of the BB Cream, which according to a report by The NPD Group, has amounted to over $9 million dollars in sales in U.S. department stores in the past year. And with a new BB cream being introduced every second in the professional, prestige and mass channels, the trend isn’t dying down any time soon.

    So what’s the history? The BB stands for Blemish Balm, Blemish Base, Beauty Balm or Beblesh Balm. The concept originated from Christine Schrammek, a Polish-born, early pioneer of skin care training and products in Germany who developed the cream for patients to use after receiving her peel. It was designed to provide light coverage and to protect and soothe the skin. So how does a German cream become an overnight sensation with Korean celebrities? It may have begun with the popularity of the peel among Asian women who wanted to quite literally peel away their hyperpigmentation and lighten their skin. The original Blemish Balm was then retailed for the client to use at home. Korean celebrities were quick to share their enthusiasm, and product endorsement ensued, igniting a craze in Korea marketed as “the secret of Korean actresses.” They now comprise 13% of the Korean cosmetic market. Faster than a Kardshian marriage, the trend spread from Korea to Japan, China, South East Asia and has since made its way to Europe and the U.S.

    So what makes them so special? In a nutshell, they help to save time, as they are truly just a multi-purpose cream much like a tinted moisturizer with SPF. They are essentially a cream that provides skin benefits or treatment, coverage and UV protection. They come in a variety of different formulations and levels of quality, so make sure you check that ingredient list before recommending one packed with artificial colors and Mineral Oil to an acne-prone client. Some claim to have skin brightening properties, while some say they’ll fight acne or wrinkles. Others can be used like a primer under foundation, or they can replace foundation. Some recently introduced creams claim to function as a primer, foundation, moisturizer, SPF, and pore-minimizer all in one!

    As with any trend, it’s important to thoroughly investigate and research a product or treatment before jumping onto the beauty band wagon. Ensure you educate your clients on the facts, and as this truly is just a marketing term, the next time you are recommending that Sheer Tint SPF20 hydrating moisturizer, feel free to say it’s just like a BB Cream!