The Five Most Ridiculous Claims People Make About BB Creams
You guys, we need to talk about BB creams for a minute. BB creams are not magic and I am sick of people claiming that they are.
I know you want to believe in magic. I want to believe in magic too! I was also a slightly disappointed 11-year-old when I did not receive a Hogwarts letter. I didn’t believe in Harry Potter, but, you know… maybe. And I know that feeling easily translates to skincare and makeup products as well. This product probably won’t make you an ageless paragon of beauty with microscopic pores. But, you know… maybe.
Still, we have to be realistic. Without further ado, here are the most ridiculous claims that I have heard people make about BB creams:
1. “This product oxidizes to perfectly match your skin tone.”
The only explanation I can come up with for this excuse is that people really want to justify why their favorite BB cream is totally going to work for literally every single person. Although this is a claim I frequently hear from consumers, companies do their best to promote this idea by advertising their product as a “universal shade” or as “self-adjusting”. This can get very ridiculous very quickly, and you end up with what are essentially one-shade full-coverage foundations pretending that they can match all skin tones (I’m looking at you, Dr. Jart+. You know you’re lying. We know you’re lying. Just stop.) I can only assume that these companies are hoping that only medium-light skinned women who aren’t looking very closely purchase their product.
The fact is that there is no feasible mechanism that a BB cream could use to actually adjust itself to fit your skin color. By claiming that the makeup is oxidizing to match your skin, these people are suggesting, at its very most basic, that one can involve skin melanin in an oxidation reaction in your makeup. That’s simply not technology that we have, and no other current chemical or nanotechnology mechanisms would be sufficient to change a foundation’s color to match your skin. (Furthermore, I would by far rather just have a product that matches my skin!)
If you are actually purchasing a BB cream, you should have the same expectations of color matching that you have with any tinted moisturizer or foundation. A mask-like face isn’t any more haute if your makeup was imported from Asia.
2. “The whitening products are just about fixing hyperpigmentation. It doesn’t actually lighten your skin. Furthermore, there are no racial implications of using a skin whitening product.”
Skin whitening products inhibit melanin. That is how they work. Although my splotchy face would welcome a product that could selectively find all the awkwardly colored parts and permanently fix them, arbutin and hydroquinone are not capable of such action. They are not selective. They will lighten all of your skin, period. That is how skin whitening works.
I also find it exceedingly troubling that white skin is being held up as an ideal beauty standard. On this very blog, commenters have asserted that skin lightening is meant to be a sign of high socioeconomic status and that is has nothing to do with race. However, the mere association between between high socioeconomic status and light skin is, on its own, troubling. No one is saying that you cannot use these products, but it is unwise to completely discount the issue of skin whitening. Understanding issues in the humanities is just as important for being a critical mind as being science literate.
3. “American BB creams are just tinted moisturizers with
sunscreen, but Asian BB creams are something truly spectacular and
amazing and will mysteriously fix all of your problems.”
For reasons that I cannot figure out, people who cautiously and
carefully investigate American beauty products claims start drooling out
their ears when someone tells them that a product is Korean. The fact is that people in Asia do not have magic products that are missing in the west. You should be just as skeptical of extraordinary claims on Asian products as you are on Western products. Anything else is modern day orientalism.
The reason this claim irks me so much is because yes, Western BB creams are just tinted moisturizers with sunscreen… BUT SO ARE ASIAN BB CREAMS. They are simply twists on foundation and tinted moisturizer. They are not a unique or a revolutionary product, no matter what the blogosphere tries to tell you.
Asian BB creams are more likely to have medium-to-full coverage, but, like all things, it is the individual product that makes the real difference. For example, my MAC BB cream (Western) has far more coverage than my Skinfood BB cream (Asian). Does that mean that the Skinfood version isn’t a real BB cream? Of course not. They both qualify as BB creams. BB creams are not a special, exclusive club because, again, they are not magic.
4. “BB creams will fix your acne/wrinkles/scarring/pore size/excessive oil production/hideous boils/need to floss/hairiness/lack of being a centaur!”
|It’s all in the BB cream.|
Unfortunately, we simply do not have the necessary tools to fulfill all the claims listed on BB creams. Anti-aging claims are hopelessly optimistic at best and downright deceitful at worst. No matter what you do, you will have pores. You just will (and you want them! They are there for a reason!). There are are no terrific ways to combat these aesthetic imperfections. If there were, we wouldn’t have these problems anymore. I am not sure why these incredible claims are suddenly seen as credible when they are in the form of a tinted facial product.
Furthermore, some of these claims are simply contradictory. For example, FDA regulations prohibit any single product from containing both SPF and acne-clearing ingredients. It’s not because they have a weird desire for sub-par BB creams. Rather, it is because going out in the sun covered in acne products can fuck your skin up.
5. “It means you can use far fewer products and get the same result.”
Combining too many functions into one single product creates sub-par results. Even though you almost certainly are aware of two-in-one shampoo and conditioners, you likely buy them separately because you know that they are more effective that way. BB creams do not have the lasting ability of a primer, the coverage of a foundation, or the hydrating properties of a moisturizer. They do them all, but not as well as the individual products.
It is certainly possible for BB creams to be good products. For many, they cut down on makeup time and provide lovely results. I have several and am wearing one as I write this. However, expecting miracles from any cosmetic product is a recipe for disaster.