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Q&A Monday: The Best BB Creams for Brown Skin?

QUESTION: “I know I’m late, but what exactly is the big deal about BB Creams? Are they all hype? And do they work on brown skin?” — JTWHeart

ANSWER:  You are not late, darling. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I’ve gotten oodles of tweets and emails asking for the real tee on this, the most coveted, raved-about — yet oddly mysterious — beauty product to hit the shelves this year. Created ages ago in Korea and introduced to US this year, BB Creams (short for beauty balm or blemish balm) are a magical hybrid product that do five major things: moisturize, provide anti-aging benefits, act as a primer, provide serious SPF and even-out skintones like a tinted moisturizer. Basically? BB Creams are tricked-out tinted moisturizers spiked with high tech skincare. The exciting thing here is that you’re using one product to do all these things — and they really do work. Your skin feels heavenly, it’s luminous, it’s protected from dangerous UV rays, you know it’s going HAM on your fine lines…so what’s the issue?

When they first hit the States earlier this year, the handful of brands (won’t name names…but I think you know who they are) that debuted BB Creams offered them in Light and Medium/Deep, or somesuch. Usually the one meant for darker complexions looked a chalky scandal on anyone browner than Beyonce. One crazy-popular drugstore BB Cream has the nerve to carry a “Dark” that’s ashy on me. Honestly, am I the darkest person these makeup brands have ever seen? I totally rejected the idea of BB Creams when they first came out, for this reason. Why invent such a revolutionary product that only 50% of the population can wear?

And then came Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream, $38  (sadly, it’s sold out everywhere), and changed the game. It’s last three shades — Light/Medium, Medium, and Dark — are pretty on most girls running the brown gamut. To give you some perspective? I wear the Medium. I’d do a before/after pic, but Lina Bobina through my Smashbox in the toilet.


The BB Cream to end all BB Creams.

Instead, I’ll flaunt the fierceness that is my favorite BB cream, ever! In my opinion, Origins’ brand-new A Perfect World BB Cream ($35 ) crushes all the competition, in terms of brown girl flatteration (it’s my blog, I can make up words). The color range is ridiculously thorough — there are six, which range from Light to Extra-Deep. I’m a medium. Check out what this miracle balm did to my horrible undereye bags and sundry shady areas! Voila, the terribly wan “before:”



I’m kinda humiliated to really show you what I look like sans makeup — nothing, zero. But I’ve discussed lesbian leanings and shaving my vagina (not in the same post) with my girls, why stop now?



So pretty, right? I have on no other makeup, just the Origins A Perfect World BB Cream and a bronzey lip tint. I cannot get enough. If you’re brown and BB Creams leave you stumped, throw yourself at the nearest Origins counter. Glowing, nourished, hydrated skin awaits!

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  1. June 11, 2012 7:47 pm 

    I am going to have to get some! I was in the same boat as the person who asked the question. I was unsure what it really was but you broke it down. I will check out the Origins BB cream! I think I am about your shade so that should make it easy.

  2. ro
    June 11, 2012 8:59 pm 

    Thanks for sharing! I was starting to think these brands just neglected us on the BB Creme tip. Glad to know there are some out there that I can give a try.

  3. Nicki
    June 11, 2012 9:56 pm 

    Your timing is too perfect!

    I have been on the hunt for a BGBB (Brown Girl BB) Cream! I tried the Smashbox and while the color was decent (I am NC50), it laughed while it slide off my oily skin. The Garnier shades are laughable.
    In my research (aka reading tons of beauty blogs), I have discovered the Maybelline and L’oreal are both releasing drugstore versions of BB Creams. It also looks like they have some medium and darker shades. I don’t know the release dates but the pics are up on Target.com if you search for “BB Cream”.
    The Origins BB Cream looks great on you. I have to sample that one next.


  4. Pam
    June 12, 2012 2:30 am 

    Thanks for the review! I’m disappointed that it’s not at a department store near me…I’d love to have a color match….went with medium, hoping for the best. Fortunately, it’s not too expensive, so if “medium” doesn’t work, I’ll try again.

  5. June 12, 2012 3:58 am 

    Cover FX BritePrep FX is supposed to be good too. I am going to get a good sized sample at Sephora to try out and see.

  6. Tee
    June 15, 2012 7:10 pm 

    Love this post! The smashbox in dark is sold out Urywhere! Tried the Origins and it was bit to oily for my taste even thought it’s supposed to be oil free. (wassup with that?!) But Ahh haaa my fellow brown sisters here’s a secret from an insider Bobbi brown is coming out with a BB cream and Bobbi loves the Brownies 🙂 Expect that in stores this fall! I already got my sample LOVES IT!

  7. KIM
    June 30, 2012 7:55 am 


  8. Sharon
    September 30, 2012 12:36 pm 

    I am looking for something that doesn’t look like the thick makeup I see people wearing. I am just looking to even out my skin tone and was told to try A perfect World BB Cream #6. I want to know can you put it all over your face even around your eyes without mascara?

  9. Teekay
    October 7, 2012 8:59 am 

    Thanks for the tips on BB creams..I have recently come across the BB cream rave going around and very keen to try one.i am at a stage where I want to stop wearing heavy make up or moreso tired of foundations that smear..

    So in my limited research I purchased the maybelline BB online ad waiting for its arrival..am keen to try the origins BB creams

  10. Shavonne
    October 24, 2012 12:47 pm 

    Maybe this will be the end of my search for bb creams. The shade is just one problem I have, the other problem is my break out prone skin. I’ve tried garnier and smashbox and both broker me out. Does this contain sodium chloride? What shade do you were in foundation?

  11. Afrolicious
    December 30, 2012 4:02 pm 

    Has anyone tried Iman’s BB crème?

  12. natty
    July 11, 2015 6:52 am 

    dose it reallu works