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Queen of Creams: BB creams

May 26th 2012 / Santa Montefiore

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A one-woman quest to find the finest skincare money can buy. This week: testing out the moisturiser-foundation hybrids that are set to revolutionise beauty

It’s hard to believe that the advent of the BB cream is a relatively recent innovation. Now the market is positively awash with them, and they come in all shapes, shades and price ranges. Essentially, the idea is that they should combine all the qualities of a good foundation with those of a moisturiser – perfect if, like me, you’re not keen on wearing a lot of make-up but want even-toned, glowy skin.

But do they work? Well, that depends. Not all BB creams are equal. I tried about 15 different brands and the L'Oreal_2.jpgresults varied widely.

My favourite is unquestionably Nude Magique BB Cream by L’Oréal (£9.99, Boots.com). It has the appearance of melted vanilla ice cream, white with little black specs, so you can’t imagine how it can possibly give you any cover at all, but it does. It claims to transform on contact with your skin, and after my initial cynicism, I have to admit that it really does work. It evened my skin tone and I swear it made me look younger, which, at 42 is verging on the miraculous. It has 24-hour hydration and SPF12 and is very light, making it perfect for the day. It also didn’t make me shine like a boiled egg, which many of the others did.

If you want a little more coverage, I’d recommend the tinted BB creams, although I warn
you, they are a little thick and sticky in texture – perhaps due to the high SPFs they contain. I mixed them with my moisturiser to thin them out, and this was a huge improvement. Garnier do two very good ones, called appropriately, Miracle Skin Perfectors (£9.99, Boots.com). These work beautifully, although they left me a little shiny, so I added a touch of powder, which did the trick. Stila, Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm (£26, Stila.co.uk) is smooth to apply and gave me a very satisfactory glow as well as improving my skin tone; and I like Bobbi Brown’s Ultimate Beauty Balm (£28, available in August from Bobbibrown.co.uk) and Vivo’s BB Cream (£5, Tesco.com), although again, if you find them heavy, make a paste with your moisturiser and they glide on better.

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Clinique Age Defence BB Cream SPF30 (£25, Clinique.co.uk) and Estée Lauder Daywear Anti-oxidant BB Creme SPF35 (£32, Esteelauder.co.uk) are both a little too rich for my liking, but once the creams had settled on my skin, the results really were excellent. If you want a lot of coverage, and don’t mind the slightly sticky texture of the cream, go for these. In fact, I think they’d be extremely good for older skin. I’ll ask my mother.

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The only real dud was Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB Cream (£7.99, Boots.com), which brought me out in an ugly rash. I switched back to my favourite L’Oréal, which disguised the problem as well as any cream could until it cleared up.

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