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 For instance, Clinique’s first BB creams were originally made to match Asian skin tones.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.

Concealer Or Corrector – Which One?

Concealer CorrectorWhen it comes to minimizing your makeup routine, concealers and shade correctors are your best friends. You may be surprised to know how much work you can take out of your foundation routine with the skillful use of concealers and correctors – some find that  foundation isn’t even necessary. Whether you’re running short on time or just wanting to have less makeup on your face, having the right  concealer and corrector is a worthy time investment.

Concealers vs. Correctors

While these two products are very similar and can somewhat overlap, there are some crucial differences. Concealers are stick, powder or cream products that can be used to spot-cover areas of your skin. They come in a variety of skin shades that match most foundations, and are meant to blend in with your skin.

Correctors are products that target specific skin shade issues such as redness, ashiness or blueish eye circles. These come in hue-specific shades that will be discussed later.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Concealer

A concealer is a great tool to camouflage under-eye circles, blemishes, acne scars and minor discoloration. One mistake often made with using concealer is going too light. Using concealer that is too light for your skin tone will draw more attention to trouble areas, which is definitely not what you want!

Your concealer should match your foundation exactly. If you choose to skip foundation, it should match your skin tone as closely as possible. For blemishes, you can get away with going one shade darker in order to make a blemish appear more flush to the skin, but otherwise, look for a shade that blends in with the rest of your face. When concealing under eye circles, avoid any formulations that claim to have “highlighting pigments,” because these will often settle into bags and fine lines.

The Color Correction Rainbow

Most of the problems with concealer comes from overusing it or applying it incorrectly. The reality is that applying the right skin corrector first can significantly minimize the amount of concealer you need. As previously mentioned, correctors come in colors that aim to balance out your skin shade.

Green – Green is one of the more common correctors you will find out there, and it is used to counteract redness. You can find green correctors in liquid, stick, or cream formulas. These are good for spot treating blemishes before applying concealer, as the green will lessen the redness, therefore requiring less concealer. Brands like Make Up Forever and Smashbox also sell face primers in green shades to tone down redness all over the face.

Peach/Orange – Peachy correctors are used to neutralize dark or blueish tints on the face. These are particularly good for under eye circles, and should be applied before concealer to take away any blueish tint. Use peach colors if you are fair-skinned, and lean towards orange if you are darker.

Yellow – Yellow functions similarly to peach in that it tones down any ashy tones in your skin. A light dusting of yellow-tinted powder can take away any sallowness in your face, whereas yellow cream corrector on the eyelids will make them look more fresh and youthful.

Hint: If you have olive-toned complexion, the right shade of yellow corrector can also create an all over lightening effect without looking chalky.

Lilac/Lavender/Blue – Cool-toned correctors will neutralize the yellow tones in the skin. If your face is looking particularly dull, lilac or lavender will help correct that. In addition, blue will fix any orangey tones that result from over excessive tanning.

Pink – Pink is a great color, used to brighten the face all over. It’s one of the more natural-looking correctors, so it can be used all over the face wherever your skin needs a little boost. Pink will also correct olive tones in the face, much in the way that lilac correctors can.

In short, correctors can save you a lot of the work and time. Used wisely, they will usually lessen your need for concealer. Of course, many correctors allow for concealer to be applied over them, so if you’re in love with your concealer, it won’t be a problem.

Do I Really Need All That?

You may be asking yourself if both of these products are really necessary. The answer is to familiarize yourself with your face and the specific areas you want to improve so you have a clear idea what you need – don’t just go off of someone else’s routine. There are some great tutorials on Youtube that show how to conceal and correct your face to near perfection.

Products to Check Out

Concealer Palettes: Coastal Scents’ Concealer & Eclipse Palettes

Corrector Palettes: Coastal Scents’ Camo Quad Color Corrector

Green Correctors: Maybelline’s Corrector in Green, Smashbox’s Color Correcting Foundation Primer in Green

Peach/Orange Correctors: Benefit’s Erase Paste

Yellow Correctors: Benefit’s Lemon-Aid, NYX’s HD Photo Concealer Wand in Yellow

Purple/Blue Correctors: Make Up Forever’s HD Primer in Blue or Mauve

Pink Correctors: L’Oreal Studio Secrets Corrector in Pink


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Sheet Mask 
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glamoxy snake serum

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Does Glamoxy Snake Serum work like Botox without needles?

Is it Botox in a bottle?

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