About Victoria Strander

Writes about the latest beauty procedures. Her articles are available for syndication. Use Contact Page for inquiries.

Differences Between Western And Asian BB Creams

difference_asian_western_bb_creamThe BB cream (blemish balm) is a relatively new, yet sensational product. Originally designed in Germany for patients who had undergone intensive skin procedures, the BB cream quickly took over the Korean cosmetic market starting in the 1980’s. Designed to multi-task in any combination of these functions – moisturizer, color corrector, anti-aging, sun protection and even skin lightener – it quickly became one of the most innovative beauty products in the worldwide beauty blogosphere.

East Meets West

Ever since the first BB cream (Dr. Jart Black Label Detox BB) was revealed to be Korean actresses’ secret to flawless skin, its formulas and uses have changed. After circulating around the East Asian market, it made its way to the United States in early 2011.

One of the first BB creams to be sold in the Western market was Korean brand Dr. Jart, which made its debut in Sephora retail stores. Other popular Asian brands such as Missha, Etude House, Skinfood and Lioele also found footing in the Western hemisphere, albeit at a slower pace, since many of these need to be purchased online.

It was only a matter of time before Western brands caught on to this craze and began to manufacture BB creams of their own. Garnier launched their first line of American BB creams in February 2012. Since then, many major brands have begun to sell BB creams, some of which include CoverGirl, Maybelline, Clinique, Smashbox and MAC.

How Are Asian BB Creams Different from Western BB Creams?

Before its rise to fame, the BB cream underwent several changes to better cater to Western consumers. For instance, Clinique’s first BB creams were originally made to match Asian skin tones.  When it hit Western shelves, two shade options were added to accommodate the wider range of Western skin tones.

Main Differences Between Western and Asian BB Creams

Shade/Color Options:

Most women in East Asia either have or desire pale skin. As a result, Asian BB creams generally have only 1 to 3 shade options, usually in the MAC NC15 to NC25 range. In an attempt to diversify their lines, some Asian brands such as Etude House have began to offer as many as 4 shades with varying undertones. Currently, the Missha M Perfect Cover BB cream offers the most shade diversity, thus being the most suitable for Western skintones.

Many Western brands such as Garnier offer shades that cater to a wider range of skin tones—most going from a light/medium to a medium/deep shade. These shades are able to accommodate skin tones in the NC15 to NC45 range.

Asian users looking for a Western BB cream should keep in mind that Western shade options are generally more cool-toned. Boscia BB cream is a great Western BB cream that offers warmer shades.

It is important to remember that all or most BB creams tend to start off grayish before adjusting to your skin tone.


Another large difference between Asian and Western BB creams is the amount of coverage. Asian BB creams generally offer fuller coverage, needing only a minimal amount of product.  They have a unique texture, formulated to complement Asian skin, which is generally oily or combination.

The texture of Western BB creams is more similar to that of tinted moisturizers. They are lighter and oftentimes more sheer. In addition, Western BB creams will work better with dry skin types.

Multi-tasking properties:

In Asia, the extra benefits of BB cream are what set it apart from other face products. They are considered one-step facial products, used to cover blemishes, fight wrinkles, correct color and moisturize. They often contain a higher SPF, more coverage and a wider range of active ingredients.

Because of the preference for a lighter and perfectly flawless complexion among Eastern cultures, many Asian BB creams will have whitening agents and blemish correctors. Many Asian countries have high levels of humidity and free radicals that cause blemishes and aging, so it’s common to find that these creams will also contain vitamins, anti-aging benefits and a formula that caters to combination and oily skin types.

Western BB creams tend to be more moisturizing, and usually focus on one main feature, as opposed to many. For example, while Garnier’s Skin Renew Miracle Perfector renews, evens out and protects the skin, the main addition to the product is moisturizer.

Which BB Cream Is Right For Me?

Asian BB creams were originally, and to this day still, used to create a flawless, pale complexion. East Asian cultures prize youthful, white skin, free of imperfections. Many of the benefits found in Asian BB creams are targeted to create that perfect look.

Western BB creams are more focused on creating a natural, clean look. These will often be sheer and contain more moisturizers to maintain a dewy look throughout the day. The main purpose of many Western creams is to create a “no-makeup look”. These are great for those who only want that final finishing touch.

In addition, some BB creams such as Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Beauty Balm can be used as primer underneath foundation, rather than as stand-alone products.

Okay, I’ve decided. Where Can I Get It?

Because of the rising popularity of BB creams, they are becoming increasingly easier to find. Purchasing authentic Asian BB creams requires a bit more effort for Western buyers, as they must be imported. As a result, prices may be higher, ranging from $10 to $40 USD for more common brands (certain brands may cost up to $60 USD). Popular Asian brands such as Etude House and Missha can be found online.

Some sites that carry Asian BB creams include Yesstyle.com, Thebbcreamshop.com, and Gmarket.com. In addition, Dr. Jart BB creams can be purchased at Sephora retailers. If you are lucky enough to live in or near a city with a high Asian population, you can usually find imported BB creams at local Asian markets.

Western BB creams can be found in virtually any store that carries cosmetics. Drugstore brands such as CoverGirl and Maybelline cost between $5-$20 USD. Higher-end brands can be found in specialty stores such as Sephora, ULTA and Macy’s. These BB creams will range in cost up to $60 or even $90 USD, depending on the quality and brand.

There’s no “one size fits all” – every BB cream out there is different, each with a variety of features. Regardless of where it is made, there is a BB cream that is right for everyone.

Breast Fat Transfer For Natural Breast Augmentation

You’ve heard the phrase “Location, location, location” when it comes to real estate or vacation destinations, but what about fat deposits?  How many times have you thought, “If only I could Natural breastsmove this extra fat on my buttocks to my breasts, we’d be in business”?  Plastic surgeons have begun using a new procedure known as Breast Lipotransfer, breast fat transfer, or breast lipofilling, to do just that.

Basically, the procedure takes fat from one area of the body and transfers it to the breasts, enlarging them an average of one cup size.  There are no artificial implants involved, only your own adipose stem cells extracted from your fat.  The result is a remarkably natural-looking and feeling breast augmentation with a life span as long as the patient’s.

The Procedure

First, the woman wears a specially-designed “suction bra” that allows the breasts to expand so there is room to inject the extra fat.   The bra is worn for about a month for a few hours each day.  This helps the graft’s likelihood of staying in place and decreases the chance that multiple injections will be needed.  The surgery is done under local anesthetic.  There is no need to be put completely to sleep with this procedure.

Once the patient is anesthetized, about a liter of fat is removed from a “stubborn” area of the body; usually the buttocks, hips or waist.  The use of this “stubborn” fat means it is likely to resist changes in size due to weight loss.  Most patients say that only a slight pulling or pinching is felt; there is no pain. Then, intact fat cells are “harvested” from the fat removed.  These intact cells contain stem cells, which allow the fat to settle in to its new home and become part of the woman’s body again.

The adipose cells are reinjected into the body at multiple injection sites.  The sites heal quickly and invisibly.


The full effectiveness of the graft can be seen after about a month.  Doctors estimate that each graft will maintain between 70-90% of its volume, and in some cases the fat will grow larger than its original volume.  Doctors estimate that if another augmentation is desired, it can be performed after three months.

Side Effects

Some women experienced formation of cysts or microcalcification of the breasts after the lipotransfer was completed.  There have been reports of these lumps being picked up in mammograms and women being exposed to unnecessary biopsies.  However, studies have shown that these growths are in the minority of patients, and most are satisfied with the outcome of the procedure.


One website lists the potential cost as anywhere from $2,500 to $8,700 per 100cc of fat injected. Another estimates around $2,600 for 100cc, plus an $1,800 “facility fee.”  A typical injection is around 200cc of fat per breast.

As with any medical procedure, the costs will be unique to the patient. Some sources say that the lipotransfer process costs about the same as a typical breast augmentation, while others say it costs a little more.  If you’re looking into the procedure, a consultation with your doctor is essential for accurate pricing.

Pros and Cons

Breast Lipotransfer is a high-tech alternative to traditional breast augmentation techniques.  It creates more natural-looking breasts and they will last longer than breasts augmented with silicone implants.

Since there is a chance that about 30% of the adipose tissue transferred will reabsorb, the needs for multiple augmentations is a risk that women take.  A traditional implant would not require multiple treatments and would produce a more predictable result, but it will not look as natural.  Be sure to speak to your doctor to find out what option is right for you.

Hand Rejuvenation

Hand RejuvenationNo matter how young your face or body looks, your hands can give away your true age.  Hands show many signs of aging – wrinkles, age spots and fat loss. Fortunately, there are a number of procedures which can reverse the signs of aging on your hands, making your true age almost impossible to discern.  More on Hand Rejuvenation

Does Liposuction Decrease Your Risk For Heart Disease?

Does Liposuction Decrease Heart Disease Risk? 
Although liposuction is known as a cosmetic procedure for eliminating fat in unwanted places, a recent study indicates that the procedure may also offer health benefits as a result. Over 289,000 liposuction procedures were performed in the U.S. last year (according to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery), so just what does this imply? More on Does Liposuction Decrease Your Risk for Heart Disease?

Storing Fat Cells for Future Fat Injections

Fat Cell Storage
Thinking about facial rejuvenation sometime in the future? Here’s something to think about – you now have the ability to store your own fat cells for later use.

There’s new hype over freezing your fat cells for future use in cosmetic injections. Fat works as a great filler for your nasolabial folds, cheeks, and eye hollows. Using fat tissue from your own body has the added benefit of allowing your own stem cells to improve collagen growth and blood flow, an advantage over using synthetic injectables like Juvederm and Restylane.

The September issue of Bazaar reports that plastic surgeons are recommending their patients to place their fat “on ice,” particularly after liposuction. The first fat bank in the United States, BioLife Cell Bank in Dallas, has had an increase in activity since late last year, with the number of people banking their fat doubling every three months.

Meanwhile, a plastic surgeon in Orlando, Florida has also opened a “fat bank,” the Liquid Gold Center. Freezing the fat at a negative 192 Celsius degrees, it can be defrosted later for use in cosmetic injection procedures. The doctor says that his patented method of freezing fat benefits patients by making extra surgeries to harvest fat unnecessary.

The Ideal Age to Harvest Your Fat Cells

Don’t wait until your 50’s and 60’s to harvest fat – the best age to remove and store fat cells is during your 20s, 30s, or 40s, when your stem cells are still potent. Fat is able to be banked for at least 20 years. Therefore, if you bank it at 30 years of age, you can use it for cosmetic injections when you’re 45 years old, the common age where fat loss and tissue descent happen.

Thanks to new liposuction techniques, the process of harvesting fat has improved and become more reliable. New and gentler liposuction techniques used by Body-Jet and Vaser break down fat into small particles and then use a low pressure vacuum to suction it out.

What If You Don’t Need Liposuction?

Your plastic surgeon can remove 10 or 12 ounces of fat from your thighs or buttocks, which is enough fat to use as filler for a lifetime – within an hour and without pain.

The Procedure And Costs

After your fat is harvested, it is shipped to the bank, where it is stamped with a barcode and put into liquid-nitrogen vapor as a preservative. The fat storage costs $1,700 for the initial first year, and then $200 a year after that. All in all, the procedure can cost $2,500 and up.

When it’s time to use some fat filler for a cosmetic procedure, a part of your stored fat and stem cells is divided and recombined, put into a syringe and shipped to your doctor’s office via Fed Ex for about $2500. Although this may seem pricey, an article in the Bazaar magazine reports that if you reinject the fat in 5 years, this costs approximately the same as paying for Juvederm and Restylane injections twice a year for 5 years.

To store 250 to 300 cubic centimeters of fat, the Gold Center charges $900 for the first year and $200 every year after that.

Pros And Cons of Storing Fat Cells for Future Use

Both the ASAPS (American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) and Surgery.org endorse the use of autologous fat as a long-lasting and safe filler that can be used to replace volume with natural-looking results. Fat grafting involves harvesting fat from one part of the body, purifying it and re-injecting it in specific areas of the face.

However, some doctors say that injecting frozen fat is a dicey proposition. A Georgetown University professor says that no substantial data supports the effectiveness of frozen fat and whether it is metabolically viable.

A Boston plastic surgeon who has worked extensively on fat transfers also asserts that the best fat bank is the human body, and since only 30 to 50 cc’s of fat is necessary for a facial procedure, it is easy enough to harvest this out of the human body.

LipoSonix – Eliminate Love Handles

LipoSonix for Love Handles
Love handles? No thanks. How about a small, slender waist instead? Well, you’re in luck. Another opportunity has come into the market to help slim those love handles down. The LipoSonix System is a new way to non-invasively reduce the size of your waist. More on LipoSonix

Lipofilling for Breast Reconstruction

Without a doubt, Marilyn Monroe’s lush curves and hourglass shape have a sexy, healthy vigor that Twiggy’s sickly, wispy frame lacks. Ideally, our waists would be neat and trim, and our breasts full like Monroe’s, but our genetics have a mind of their own. More on Lipofilling

Is A Second Facelift Safe For Older Patients?

Facelift for Older Women 
What happens after you get your first facelift?
Your face looks more youthful, sure, but does this appearance last forever? Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Your face will continue to age and gravity will continue to exist. On the upside, however, you’ll have a younger-looking foundation to age from. More on Second Facelift

Ulthera And Its Many Off-Label Uses

Ulthera Uses
We all know disasters can result when things aren’t used for their intended purposes. A quick search on Youtube will find you any number of hilarious videos of treadmills used for skateboarding, trampolines used to pogo-stick and barbeque grills used for science experiments. More on Ulthera Off-Label Uses

Fixing Eye Bags and Sagging Eyelids Without Surgery

Fixing Eyebags and Sagging Eyelids

There’s a reason why doctors no longer perform lobotomies to cure common mental disorders, why you no longer see people walking around carrying “Zack Morris” cell phones the size of bricks or why laptop computers no longer weigh 24 pounds. As technology continues to improve by leaps and bounds, so, too, does the quality of our lives – people are healthier and live longer, information is readily accessible and things happen, well, almost instantly that it seems to be straight out of a science fiction movie. More on Fixing Eye Bags