Beauty & Beyond: B.B. Creams

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Ah, a world of acronyms. Used to be that CIA, SCUBA and ROUS were the only ones I heard. One, because I had family members in it (shhhhhh....). Two, because I'??m obsessed with clown fish. Three, because I love Princess Bride.

Today it'??s almost ridic. BFF, LOL, BRB, TTYL, OOTO, EOD'?¦BB. Wait. What?

What are these B.B. creams that seem to be everywhere. And should we go ga-ga over them?

An acronym for Beauty Balm or Blemish Balm, they were created in the '??50s by a German dermatologist as soothing post-treatment creams. Their high SPF and light coverage protected and beautified tender and damaged skin. They did everything you would want a face cream to do'??soothed with anti-inflammatory properties, moisturized, helped fight aging, and evened out tone.

As no makeup '??miracles'? go unnoticed by the entertainment industry, Korean actresses popularized this phenomenon in the '??80s when they began touting B.B.s as beauty heroes. Eventually Japan, China, Taiwan, and South East Asia followed suit. Why? They claimed the absolute look of a flawless complexion. Imagine that. Amazing coverage without looking made-up.

Fast forward 20 years, and they'??re taking the Western market by storm. Since Garnier'??s February introduction of its B.B. Cream Miracle Skin Perfector, the U.S.'??s first mass market cream of its kind, more than a dozen brands have followed.

While B.B. creams get an A+ for multi-tasking efforts, they might sound like glorified tinted moisturizers with built-in skin care elements and SPF. However, they'??re a welcome do-it-all step to streamline our already-packed beauty process.

Here are a few of my faves that will turn you into a B.B. Queen ASAP...

Boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27'??This self-adjusting, universal shade warms to complement most skin tones with sheer coverage. It'??s oil-free so it pampers even complex complexions while moisturizing and nourishing.

Dr. Brandt Flexitone BB Cream'??Don'??t be fooled by its initial gray appearance (a common trait of traditional B.B. creams). This somewhat thick cream self-adjusts its color. Like I said, somewhat thick. It ends up a little sticky but I like how it looks. It also boasts glow-worthy pearl powder and plant extracts, evens out skin tone and provides anti-aging and SPF 30.

Dr. Jart BB Cream'?? A Korean native, this is the largest line of creams. There are six (including one for men), from über-hydrating Moist Water Fuse to the new Black Label Detox Healing. All offer whitening, anti-aging, SPF and moisturizing properties.

L'??Oreal Paris Youth Code B.B.'??The newest cream on the scene, its highlight is its light-reflecting particles and a hint of tint, for instant luminosity and improved skin tone.

Maybelline Dream BB Cream '?? Also relatively new, this oil-free, gelled-water formula comes in an impressive palette of five skin-adjusting tones and touts eight benefits for skin.

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35'??I like this so much better than their regular primer. Not only do I love the high SPF but I also dig that there are five shades so all my girls can find the right tint. The formula'??s coveted optical pearl pigments means your finished canvas really glows.

Too Faced Beauty Balm Multi-Benefit Skin Care Makeup '?? A long name with a long list of benefits, this cream comes in four tones (names like Vanilla Glow and Beach Glow) and gives a dewy...you guessed it...glow that stays put.

Cheryl Fenton is a Boston-based freelance writer, who writes beauty, fashion and fitness for Boston Common, Stuff and Glamour magazines.

Momtrends was not paid for this post. We did receive samples for review purposes.

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