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Benefit Cosmetics LLC

The balm that claims to be a moisturiser, sun block, primer AND foundation, but does it work?

We’re now so beauty savvy that when it comes to creating the perfect canvas, we know exactly how to juggle primers and concealers and what to do with mineral powders and colour correctors.

But just when you thought you had it all sewn up, here comes another product. Meet the BB cream, hitting the UK this summer and — if experts are to be believed — set to be this year’s biggest beauty trend.

Unless you’re tapped into the Korean cosmetics market or an avid reader of beauty blogs, you’ve probably never heard of BB creams. The initials stand for ‘blemish balm’, which might sound like a euphemism for spot cream, but actually refers to a cosmetic/skincare hybrid.

Time-saver: BB cream is billed as the answer to all your skincare woes in a single tube

Time-saver: BB cream is billed as the answer to all your skincare woes in a single tube

The BB cream is billed as the answer to all your skincare woes in a single tube.

It brightens skin in the same way a primer does, evens out complexion like a lightweight foundation, covers blemishes like a concealer, has the hydrating properties of a moisturiser, soothes skin like an anti-inflammatory, contains UV protection — so no need for sunblock — and has the sort of anti-ageing ingredients more commonly found in serums.

In short, it’s the Swiss Army knife of the beauty industry.

The concept comes from Germany where, in the Fifties, dermatologist Dr Christine Schrammek created an ointment for her patients after they had undergone peel treatments.

The cream not only soothed and protected skin, but also covered redness. Dr Schrammek later commercialised the ointment and sold it as blemish balm.

It’s especially popular in South Korea, where BB creams account for 13 per cent of the mass-market make-up sector. But could it be as popular here? Garnier believes so. In August, its version — Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-In-One BB Cream — hits our shelves.

The company is calling it its biggest skincare launch in years.

And Garnier isn’t the only one jumping on the BB bandwagon. Spanish spa brand Germaine de Capuccini has just launched its BB Cream Perfectionist (£49.25, 0845 600 0203), a tinted cream with SPF 12 that’s rich in moisturising ingredients.

In April, Harrods began selling Dior Snow White Reveal UV Protection BB Cream (£36.50), while Estee Lauder’s Cyber White Brilliant Cells Extra Intensive BB (£26) is available at Heathrow airport and, from July, Mac’s Prep + Prime BB Cream (£22.10) and Clinique’s Age Defence BB Cream (£19) will also be available at Heathrow.

After trying out a number of these creams, I have no doubt they’ll be popular. They feel comfortable on the skin and offer light coverage.

I applaud the idea of sun protection in a light, tinted formula, though acne sufferers relying on BB creams to do anything more than cover it up may be disappointed.

Reviews suggest that while BB creams don’t block pores or exacerbate existing problems, they don’t seem to improve them significantly either.

‘The heritage of BB creams has always been about soothing,’ says Shakila Bik, Garnier’s scientific adviser.

‘And that’s something we concentrated on. We’ve incorporated technology that offers intense moisturisation.

‘We’ve also tested it on women who suffer from redness, who expressed a preference for it over a conventional tinted moisturiser.’

Whether BB creams really are the new miracle product depends on just how effective those results are.

Over the next few months, that’s something you’ll have the opportunity to judge for yourself.

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