One of the things that dragged me back into femme and makeup and all this stuff is the emergence of BB Creams in the western marketplace. Apparently this stuff has been floating around Korea for years, but it eventually started trickling through to the western markets, where it's popularity promptly exploded once a certain critical mass of adulation among the "right" people occurred. To be honest, I find the excitement over it being a "foreign", "exotic" product kind of tacky. The way some people talk about them, it comes across like our neighbors in the mysterious East have been hiding beauty secrets in the sleeves of their kimonos, away from prying Western eyes, which makes me uncomfortable to say the least.
So why am I dabbling with this stuff at all? Most of the reports of it being a "miracle" product base this claim on the idea that it will replace your toner, primer, foundation, concealer blah blah etc to infinity, which of COURSE you are already using. And now you can just use one thing!! As someone who has virtually no interest in using any of these things on a regular basis, this hardly seems like a miracle. However, it is an appealing option between "proper" makeup (which takes way too long to do every day) and just eyeshadow and mascara (which looks adequate, but takes two seconds).
The factor that really convinced me to dip a toe into the confusing, seething, morass of choice that is BB cream was just one simple ingredient - sunscreen.
Australia is a bright fucking country, and I am extremely pale. I also have a ton of moles, and a history of cancer in the family - I really REALLY should wear sunscreen. But, at the risk of sounding pathetic, I don't because it feels ooky on my skin. It's all greasy and/or sticky, and it makes my hands greasy and/or sticky and it makes me all shiny and gives me pimples. Well, maybe. It might. I know, I know, I'm a sook. So this is why I started looking into BB Creams - because I am a total sook about sunscreen, I really should wear it, and these apparently have SPF as well as looking pretty. So you know, why not?
Well, for starters, because there are approximately a BILLION different brands, and that's just if you're restricting yourself to the Korean formulas. I chose to do this because my skin is actually pale enough to match the Korean idea of "pale", and from hanging around forums of serious makeup people I got the impression the Korean formulas offer more in the way of actually making your skin look better. If I'm going to spend five minutes of my precious morning wakefulness putting goop on my skin, I want to at least make a visible difference.
If your skin is anything warmer than Goth White, you're going to want to investigate the Western BB creams, because despite the claims that the Korean brands "match" your skin, I think this is an enormous lie.
I ordered a bunch of samples from Ebay, which seems to be the most cost-efficient way to go about this sort of experimenting. No matter how many reviews you read, you can never tell how something is going to actually sit on your skin, and there is way more variety of formula between different brands than I would have ever guessed. Some are like water colour paints, some are thick and dense like expensive hand cream, and there are others that are every gradient in between. The only thing to keep in mind when messing around with these is that they're not meant to be a proper foundation - none of them will cover every little tiny pore and speck and look "properly" made up - it's not what they're designed for. They're designed to make you look like you've had a little bit more sleep than you have actually had, and that your skin is actually a teeny bit more "perfect" than it is.
I have come across some that I actually really liked, that look almost as good as doing the whole primer-concealer-foundation-powder dance - but today I want to talk about one I hated. Missha make some great stuff, but their Missha Signature Wrinkle Filler BB Cream is going straight into my Bullshit Bin.
|The sample packet looks like the full size bottle! How sickeningly cute!!|
I'm not going to do photos of what it looks like coming out of the packet because, well, I am going to go ahead and assume you can all imagine what a blob of pale pink goo looks like. Instead, here are some pictures of my face with it on.
As I said above, I don't expect this stuff to cover my under eye bags entirely, just make it look like I've gotten a little more sleep than I have. And it more or less did. If I squinted or stood right back, I looked a teensy bit less blotchy. Maybe a little bit moister, what ads would probably call luminous. That's it. Not exactly a life changing experience, and certainly not enough visible difference to encourage me to spend five precious morning minutes putting it on when I could be packing my lunch instead. To be honest, I actually had a little trouble telling the before and after shots apart when resizing them.
The real down side is what happened to it once it had been sitting on my skin for more than ten minutes. Suddenly my face felt all greasy, like when you've been eating hot chips and gotten your hands all smeary and then rubbed your hair out of your eyes. So I get a tissue to get the icky oil off, carefully blotting, not wiping, like the internet told me to. Hurrah, I thought! Oil gone, problem solved.
Then the itching started. Not full on "I am being eaten alive by mosquitoes" just a niggling, slightly burning itch that came up in the corners of my nose and behind my glasses, where I imagine there was small amounts of sweat mixing with the cream. I figured a tingling itch when damp was probably a bad sign, and pottered off to the bathroom to have a poke around my face.
Imagine my annoyance to discover that not only was the cream now not covering shit, it had actually separated into waves of greasy chip oil, leaving gritty little sandy bits in their wake. GROSS, GROSS, GROSS, GEDDITOFF!
Calm down, I thought. It's just worn off. You just need to reapply. You remember reading about reapplying. That's a thing that you sometimes have to do with gunk on your face. It's all good. No need to declare this a complete failure yet.
So I patted my face until I had gotten off all the gritty bits I could, and dutifully reapplied. And you know what?
AN HOUR LATER IT WAS EXACTLY THE SAME.
As soon as I got home I scrubbed my face furiously to GEDDITOFF, and later that evening was STILL finding little gritty bits in the corners of my nose. So I won't be getting any more of that. Not only did it not do anything I wanted it to do, it gave me all the unpleasant side effects of a trip to the beach without the joy of playing in the waves.
INTO THE BIN!!